KF: I agree with Erin in terms of this being a potential framework for arts organizations to use when cultivating young arts participants and their first learning experiences. I especially like the quotation, which Erin also references: "The real point is that a parent’s focus should be on the exploration—or the journey—rather than thinking about the destination— or where this interest might lead." The arts, including dance, is much more than just the final destination. I did not pursue professional ballet (hello injuries and lack of amazing dance talent/skill), but years of training definitely affected my life for the better...minus the injuries. As we all know, skills learned through the arts can be applicable in many different aspects of life.
Culture Hive. Discover and share the best practice in cultural marketing
KF: I wanted to share this link because I had never heard of CultureHive--a cultural marketing site in the UK. It has information about a multitude of topics, including case studies (like the Ballet Memphis one in the link), research, and articles. Definitely a good research tool and it has quite a bit on dance.
Judith Mackrell: A new Baileys liqueur ad based on the ballet The Nutcraker is the latest in the industry's current love affair with dance
(Allison) Not an extremely insightful article on the new popularity of using dance in advertising campaigns, but it pairs nicely with our dicussions of the commercialization of art in our technology driven age as well as Kathleen's post regarding ballet dancers as brands. At least they're using legit, highly-trained artists!
KF: Thanks for sharing Jillian! I'm not familiar with this organization, but it's exciting that 92nd Street Y is now sharing its archives with the public as opposed to letting them "collect dust." This project also definitely reminds me of Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive, which Deb scooped on our page.
Diversity remains a sensitive subject in the world of ballet. Many major companies have only a handful of dancers of color in their ranks.
This is a nice article about an outreach project at American Ballet Theatre called "Project Plie" which focuses on providing training opportunities to students in under-served communities with the goal of increasing the "pool of well-tranined dancers across the racial and ethnic spectrum." One of the elements I like about this program is that in additional to the outreach portion of the program, ABT is also working to recruit dance teachers with a minority background and train them in the ABT curriculum so as to provide additional role models for those students who are of varying racial backgrounds. There's also a section about how they've established nationwide partnerships with other ballet companies for the program.
"If professional ballet is going to be relevant in the 21st century, we need to look like America."
Deb: As we're talking about digitizing performance art, here is my favorite example. Not only can you get a curated experience, but it's an interactive game, if you want it to be. I think it was smart that they designed options into the format so you can search for something specific, or you can spend an hour procrastinating!
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra faced near-bankruptcy in 1995 and 2001, a major labor dispute in 1999, half-full halls, crippling debt, and a CEO and conductor who jumped ship, yet it has come out the other side in great shape.
KF: Thanks Nicole for posting this positive article about arts organizations reaching younger audiences and succeeding. I wonder what programs like the Toronto Symphony's 18-35 year old $14 "tsoundcheck" program exist in the dance world? I particulary liked one of the patron's comments: "'It’s the same prices as the movies and it’s more of an outing and it’s cultural.'" The Symphony took out price from the equation and specifically catered their programs (time and price) to fit with younger audiences, and it worked.
Deb: With autism rates rising, it is great to see this as a headline. Theater companies have made huge strides in the field of autism friendly performances and it is slowly but surely happening in other art forms.
He may be nearing 60 but Mark Morris has no time for looking back. The great choreographer is too busy swearing, feuding – and creating dazzling dance. Judith Mackrell sees him in action
KF: This articles explores the idea of legacy in the dance world. How should dance/choreography be remembered? Or, should it fully concentrate on the present? Does it fit into a museum setting? I'm curious how Morris feels about Jacob's Pillow's online archive. On a side note, I also love Morris' comment about being remembered by being a speed bump.
Also, the article presents Morris' interesting business model. His company has its own private and public funded structure, while also being a complete community space: Parkinson-related movement classes, child dance classes, and affordable studio rental spaces in NYC. Seems like a great way to be part of the community, while still creating your own work.
The International Olympic Committee recently voted to restore wrestling to the Olympic Games in 2016
This article provides a bit of insight into how competitive dance events have affected the professional world and the perception of what makes a "great" dancer. Beyond the decreasing emphasis on the value of artistry that I certainly agree with, I would also argue that the way many of these events are based increasingly on spectacle over quality is completely distorting the viewers' understanding of how an individual progesses to achieve greatness.
Deb: I've never really understood why performance art equals pain, tears, and constant degredation? Is it just embedded into the DNA or artists so they expect it? I doubt it! I remember when this happened and the whole world found out that what happens on stage is completely different than what happens off stage. It does make me wonder about outside respect for art when the general public hears about attacks like this, or watch the antics on Dance Moms, and think that the arts aren't worth supporting because it's fully of crazy people. No one deserves to lose their sight because they were mean and negative; but no one deserves to be treated poorly day in and day out and told that this is just how it goes.
"City.ballet," developed by Sarah Jessica Parker's production company Pretty Matches and shot by Zero Point Zero, follows several dancers in their professional lives and will have its debut next month on AOL On.
KF: This article discusses the new AOL online documentary "City.ballet" which will showcase New York City Ballet (NYCB) dancers in the rehearsal room and on stage. A couple of interesting things:
1) Is this a trend in the dance world? "City.ballet" distances itself from Ballet West's "Breaking Pointe" [a reality show on the CW] by saying that it will only highlight the dance aspect of the company, not the "interpersonal drama."
2) Will this be a good way to grow audiences and ticket sales? "Breaking Pointe" did not necessarily do that for Ballet West, but it will be interesting if this documentary style strengthens NYCB's audience base.
3) Does this tarnish the general ballet mystique? This question refers to some of the NYCB dancers' misgivings about showcasing the hard work that goes into dance. Specifically, "Principal dancer Teresa Reichlen said she initially struggled with the larger implications of allowing the audience backstage. 'At the end of the day, you don't want to show the work," she said. 'You want it to look effortless, so it's a weird paradox.'"
4) Finally...this article also mentions unions! Specifically, union regulations restricted the filming of the dancers performing at Lincoln Center. The article doesn't mention the specific union, but I assume it has to do with theater personnel/technicians.
Ok...sorry to write so much! Ever since my dance days, I have been an avid follower of shows like these and can't help but be a little excited to see a behind the scenes look at NYCB.
Deb: This has nothing to do with dance, but I wanted to make sure that everyone saw this report published this week. This is the first time that a federal study has been conducted to see the impact of the arts and cultural sector on the GDP, and it is glorious! The gross impact was $504 billion, larger than travel and toursim!
KF: Thanks Vann for posting this article/sound byte. The branding discussion applies nicely to the article I posted earlier on ballet dancers and brands and how companies are in danger of becoming homogenized. It will be interesting to follow how ballet company's brands are affected as dancers move around. What will this mean for their programming and how will a watered down brand affect their organization's identity? Or, will they find a way to avoid losing their core brand?
Deb: What an incredible thing to read on World AIDS Day! "Edutainment" is how many of us learn. Who remembers School House Rock?! Art with a purpose and a passion that is reaching out into a community and literally save lives.
Increasingly, star dancers like Natalia Osipova, aware of the brevity of their time in the spotlight, are switching among companies.
KF: An article about the growing trend in top-level dancers no longer staying with one company, but rather traveling like opera singers, from one international gig to another and establishing their own brand. The article also discusses the disparity between opera star and ballet star salaries- why is there such a difference? Finally, another important note from the articles is how this trend is causing companies to lose their uniqueness. As one quotation states:
"But as star dancers now fly in and out of these companies, and dancers jump ship at earlier ages, the purity and continuity of these styles are becoming harder to maintain, leading to fears of homogeneity."
It will be interesting to see whether this trend continues and what it truly means for the ballet world.
Deb: With so much confusion regarding the Affordable Healthcare Act, it's great to see DanceUSA getting actively involved in helping dancers understand how the mandate affects them. It was also nice to see that The Actors Fund has been helping non-Equity menbers understand insurance options for performers since 1998!
A collection of GIFs and videos that document projects that bring together dance and creative technology.
KF: Some fun links regarding dance and the use of technology. One particularly interesting example is when a dance troupe used technology that responded to movement from the dancers and the audience. After discussing The Chalk Line and audience interaction, this seems like such a cool way to interact with the audience, but still in a passive, non-anxiety inducing (for the audience), way. The specific performance is called "Seventh Sense" and is a collaboration between a Taiwanese dance group (Anarchy Dance Theatre) and Ultra Combo (tech creator).
RICHMOND, Va. >> One museum has among its vast Confederate-centric collection Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s sword and the flag that flew at Robert E. Lee’s headquarters.
This is museums, but since we're talking about mergers, here ya go! I think this merger is a really wise decisions that will help keep the orgnanizatoins viable. It was not a hasty decision and the organizations are similar in scope, so I think nothing but good things will happen. -Deb
Joy Womack, an American dancer at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet, says she was told she would have to pay a $10,000 bribe to get a solo role.
This is just one of many stories that have been released this year regarding corruption and poor management the Bolshoi ballet. It is truly a shame as they are a staple in the classical ballet world. I'm certain that there is more to come.
Are we witnessing a major transition in the arts from regional organizations to fewer mega-organizations with the sophistication to mount large scale productions, to market them well and to raise large sums of money?
KF. An interesting article from Michael Kaiser posted by Marissa. It's interesting to ponder these questions with a dance lens. Already, two ballet companies have created reality/documentary tv programs. Is broadcasting across the country with full performances the next step? Although, public television and stations like Ovation do broadcast ballets to millions of homes. If larger dance companies start growing their audience in the national market, will smaller, regional dance companies suffer? I hope that won't happen, but it's definitely something to ponder.
NEW YORK — The sign on West 152nd Street, in Harlem's historic Sugar Hill neighborhood, reads "Dance Theatre of Harlem Way" — an appropriate indication of the permanence of the distinctive, dance organization that has struggled and evolved, but...
KF. After furloughing 44 dancers in 2004, the Dance Theatre of Harlem has officially bounced back from its troubles. The article details how the company revived itself--going from 44 member company to a smaller touring company. The managers are both people who were involved in the artistic side of the company. The artistic director, who began in 2010, is a former Dance Theatre of Harlem ballerina, and the Executive Director, who began around 2004, is a former dancer, choreographer, and school director. He also trained at Harvard Business School.
Overall, it's really interesting to gain insight into how the company changed itself and adapted to its current market. Also, I remember when Dance Theatre of Harlem disappeared from the Kennedy Center ballet season, so it's nice to see that they are touring again.
(KF). A really interesting article posted in the theater group. Two specific quotations include:
"And now we are challenged to add innovation to the list of empty phrases to live by."
"Since when is it the job of funders to dictate what every nonprofit should do? What is the Foundation’s “core competency” that entitles them to tell museums, symphonies, dance and theater companies what is essential to fulfilling their separate, varied, and sometimes vital missions?"
Do organizations cater too much to what funders will fund? And, is "innovation" an empty phrase? The questions raised in the article are definitely applicable to the dance world, and it's interesting to see someone speak out against the buzzwords surrounding the arts world, which are now becoming rather generic.