Observations on Dance Massive, by Andrea Snyder

28 Mar

DanceMassiveSiteDance Massive is the biennial Australian dance festival held in Melbourne over the course of two weeks in March. It is a massive celebration of contemporary dance, including well-established choreographers, indigenous contemporary voices, and emerging artists. Organized by three presenting venues (Dancehouse, Arts House, and Malthouse), it is easy enough to move among the three sites and walk the city.

One of its purposes is to showcase the works of selected choreographers/companies to Australian and international dance presenters. Dance Massive is geared towards interested presenters; being an official presenter delegate has its benefits. Each week contains a AngelaConquet_ClaudiaLaRocca_Andrea.JPGcombination of essential events (“must go to” or participation in) and a dense schedule of performances. International delegates came and went throughout the two weeks, some for several days, and a few for the entire stretch of time.

My purpose in attending was to scope out the gathering in order to advise U.S. dance artists about the possibilities for relationship-building, and to continue to build awareness of international programmers who might appreciate the opportunity to attend a future American Dance Recon (ADR). I JarmoPentilla_LindaYip_AnnaChanwas delighted to have reunions with ADR international “graduates” during the five days I attended (Cathy Levy, Jarmo Pentilla, Angela Conquet, Anna Chan, György Szabó, Jerry Remkes, Tay Tong, Josh Wright). I was also thrilled to spend some time with the few U.S. delegates attending during the time I was there (Paul King, Walter Jaffe, Ben Pryor) and to cross paths with Claudia LaRocca (teaching a workshop) and artist Emily Johnson (involved in a collaboration).

I arrived on Sunday, March 19, and departed Friday, March 24. Over those five days, I saw seven performances, presented a 3-minute Pecha Kucha Pecha-Kuchaabout American Dance Abroad, listened to a panel discussion about dance curation, participated in a series of Roundtable discussions with choreographers, visited a former Temperance Hall now being re-established and renovated as a performance space, and with Paul and Wally met with the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate to share what we are doing as well as learn about the Consulate’s interests and priorities. Nothing definitive to report here, since the State Department is in transition, staff is on the move, and budgets are in flux.

PaulKing_WalterJaffe_BillFurnish_largerAs opposed to the current state of unknown about the NEA, the day before I arrived the Australian Arts Council received news that over half of the $100m funding that was siphoned off by the Minister of Culture several years ago (for his own determination) was being restored. There was plenty of sympathy and understanding from the internationals for what the U.S. is facing with the new administration.

I was struck by the similarities between U.S. and Australian dance. Much of what I saw came from a very strong physical base, the dancers were highly skilled, and the content was, for the most part, abstract. There were several outstanding productions. I wondered if the European presenters thought the same about U.S. and Australian dance (“lights and tights”, too physical, and not context-driven enough)?

In conclusion, Dance Massive seemed primarily geared towards making connections between Australian artists and interested national and international presenters.  I did, however, have conversations with several Australian colleagues who were impressed and intrigued with what American Dance Abroad does for U.S. dance.


ArtsLink Back Apartment Residencies for US and International Artists & Curators 

28 Nov


Type of Opportunity: Residency

Deadline: December 15, 2018

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PRISMA–International Contemporary Dance Festival of Panama 2019

19 Nov


Type of Opportunity: Call for Festival Applications

Deadline: December 31, 2018

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ACT International Festival for Emerging Performing Artists

13 Nov


Type of Opportunity: Call for Emerging Performing Artists

Deadline: December 15, 2018

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Ork_Kota_Platform_2019 in Budapest

13 Nov


Type of Opportunity: Call for 1-min. Dance Films

Deadline: January 6, 2019

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The International Competition for Choreographers “Choreography 33”

9 Oct


Type of Opportunity: Choreography competition

Deadline: April 17, 2019

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Dance Dialogue: Focus on Shoghakat MLKE-Galstyan, Chief Coordinator of HIGH FEST

1 May

HIGH FEST International Performing Arts Festival was established in 2003 by Artur Ghukasyan. This festival gives Armenian audiences a great opportunity to get in touch with the values within the world of performing arts. The organizers aim to bring the best and most innovative companies to Yerevan, and provide its people with a rich and unique palette of worldwide art. At the same time, the Festival promotes Armenian culture in the international sector, making it closer and more connected to the world of performing arts.

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HIGH FEST presents productions in all genres of performing arts, including theatre (drama, comedy, mime, movement, circus, street performances, puppet/marionette, fingers and visual theatre), dance (contemporary, folk, classic), music (opera, classical, musical, contemporary, jazz, folk), and more.

Over 3,000 participants (500 foreign companies, organizers of well-known international festivals, representatives of international networks, producers, promoters and presenters, critics, etc.) from 50 countries have participated in the festival. Performances have been held in numerous venues (indoor and outdoor) throughout Yerevan.

Besides the Main and Fringe program of the festival, other events such as seminars, master classes, roundtable discussions, and trainings are organized to create a favorable atmosphere for the exchange of ideas and experiences on New Writing, Networking, Cultural Management, International Cooperation in Arts, Cultural Policy, and other issues. The master classes, led by foreign arts practitioners, concentrate on new trends and methods of contemporary performing arts and present these new approaches in different spheres of art.

My journey with HIGH FEST International Performing Arts Festival began in 2003. It was the first edition of the festival, I was 15 years old, and my brother and I had just established our theatre when we saw a TV interview with the festival’s president, Artur Ghukasyan. We were so inspired that the very next day we went to the office and said: “I don’t know English well, nor using a computer, but I am so eager to help you!” The following day I had already started putting up posters all over the city and preparing coffee in the HIGH FEST office. Now, I am currently the NGO’s head of international programs who runs the HIGH FEST International Performing Arts Festival. Although at first I felt extremely naive, I now am confident with my familiarity of every side of the festival – even within – as I also have performed and taken part in it with performances by MIHR Theatre.

Each programmer tries to find the ‘golden middle’ between his/her own aesthetics and the audiences’ needs. Armenia has an ancient history in national dance, but only a Soviet period of ballet dance. During the independent years, Armenia’s main outlet of dance education lied on the shoulders of the HIGH FEST International Performing Arts Festival. Thus, a lot of the programming of workshops begin with the choreographers. In the beginning, people thought that contemporary dance was hip-hop, but nowadays they seem to more accurately see the differences between urban choreography and modern ballet. The main criteria for our selection is having “inspiring” works; we are not searching for the big names or shows, we are searching for choreographers and performers who can inspire our dance community to further create and inspire others. It is difficult to define the term “inspiring,” but a feeling and a gateway to the region represented comes close to what we have in mind. Besides our own programming, we also have international programmers visiting the festival. We all have a similar vision of our wants and it is captivating to come together with this common goal.

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HIGH FEST was first established as a theatre festival, but since 2006 it has become a performing arts festival that welcomes all genres. I can definitely say that this change has been one my greatest achievements while working in programming with this festival. The performing art scene is so diverse and multidisciplinary that it is very difficult to distinguish between a dance performance and a theatre piece, a circus act or an artwork. That’s why we have removed boundaries in performing arts. However, I add here an unwritten rule to have dance shows take up twenty percent of programming.

We have been international in scope from the beginning, with the aim to support the artistic mobility of emerging artists. Each year we host around 20 countries and each time the festival becomes more diverse. The only country which has had a single participantion is Iran. Unfortunately, it is a very closed country to the international scene, but as our neighboring country we organize an Iranian theatre program to support its artists and have them internationally presented. For us, it is also crucial to keep a balance between countries, so if, for example, there are three shows from the same country, we try to limit any additional. From time to time we organize showcases of the participating countries; we have had experiences working with a Polish Dance Showcase and a Russian Drama Showcase. Additionally, we program small-scale shows on tour (up to seven people).

Those interested in participating in HIGH FEST should visit our website (www.highfest.am) to request an application (it is currently being updated and will be active after June 15, 2018). They can also send an e-mail to info@highfest.am to request an application. The deadline is the 30th of March of each year for that year’s edition, and the festival dates are 1-8 of October (the first week of the month). Applicants will be asked to submit photos and a full-length video of the performance. As an “open-hearted” festival, we also select pieces accompanied by rehearsal videos. The advisory board makes its selection by the end of April of that year. In May, the applicants hear back from us with their results and conditions of participation.

National Dance Project Travel Fund

27 Apr


Type of Opportunity: Funding for U.S. presenters, curatorial staff, residency directors, or current NDP artist grantees

Deadline: Rolling

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