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.


The Saison Foundation

17 Jun



Type of Opportunity: Open Call for Artist in Residence 

Deadline: June 30, 2022

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Foundation for Contemporary Arts

21 May



Type of Opportunity: Open Call for Emergency Funding

Deadline: Rolling

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International Solo Dance Contest

21 May



Type of Opportunity: International Solo Competition

Deadline: June 30, 2022

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Solo Contemporary Dance Festival

21 May




Type of Opportunity: International Solo Competition

Deadline: July 3, 2022

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National Dance Project Travel Fund

29 Sep




Type of Opportunity: Open Call for Travel Funding

Deadline: Rolling

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Dance Dialogue: Focus on Péter Ertl, Executive Director and Zoltán Sándor, International Manager at National Dance Theater Budapest

8 Apr
Five Questions with Executive Director Péter Ertl and International Manager Zoltán Sándor

– What are your positions or roles with the Nemzeti Táncszínház (National Dance Theatre Budapest)?
Péter:  I, as the executive director of the theater, support the organizational work. National Dance Theatre Budapest has been serving Hungarian culture since 2001 as the center of the Hungarian dance scene. Its main task is to represent Hungarian dance and to promote it both nationally and internationally. Approximately 300 performances are presented annually. The new building of the National Dance Theatre Budapest was opened in 2019. The theatre has a Great Hall with a capacity of 368 seats, a small stage with 120 seats. The café in the new lobby – independently from the theatrical season – also serves the concept of creating a new community space. National Dance Theatre Budapest organizes (generally in springtime) the annual Budapest Dance Festival, which is coordinated by the team at the National Dance Theatre Budapest.
Zoltán: I began my career as a dancer, but for last 10 years I have been working as a cultural manager. In January 2021, I began my position as the International Manager at the National Dance Theatre Budapest, under the direction of Péter Ertl. As the International Manager, I handle the international relations of National Dance Theatre Budapest and organizing the international performers of Budapest Dance Festival.

– Are your drawn to a particular aesthetic or genre when you are programming?

Basically, our festival represents modern and contemporary dance companies, but when organizing it, we always strive to include as many genres as possible in our program with a constantly updated professional concept. Thus, in addition to contemporary Hungarian and foreign folk dance, classical and neoclassical ballet have been included in our program.

We are focusing rather on quality, variety, colourfulness and internationalism rather than genres in our program. We try to present a wide range of styles for the Hungarian public when inviting foreign companies. At the same time, our goal is to introduce Budapest and Hungary to the wider circle of international dance.

– Is your programming national or international in scope?

Budapest Dance Festival is an annual international cultural event in Hungary. We compile the program from the performances of Hungarian modern and contemporary dance companies, which inform the repertoire of the National Dance Theater Budapest, and we also schedule performances by foreign companies.

– Do you gravitate to particular country or region and why?

National Dance Theater Budapest pays special attention to establishing new contacts with foreign, European, overseas and Asian professionals, and to expand the existing relationships. Therefore, every year we host artists from different nations, dance companies from several countries, but the selection is made on an artistic rather than geographical basis.

– If an artist believes that you might be interested in his or her work, what steps should they take?

Péter: The National Dance Theatre is very fortunate to have a dedicated position for international relationships.  Zoltán as the International Manager of National Dance Theater Budapest joined our staff in 2021.  He has a strong background in dance from his years as a dancer himself.  Zoltán follows the international dance scene all year round and constantly refers us the material of the most exciting dance companies/productions. We work closely with professional companies performing at National Dance Theater Budapest so, if possible, premieres or performances can take place in the frameworks of the festival.  My door is always open to those who want to join as a new performer to National Dance Theater Budapest.

Zoltán: Péter and I, as well as the other competent colleagues of the National Dance Theater Budapest, are constantly monitoring the Hungarian and international dance scene throughout the year and, thus, we have the opportunity to present the works of more and more exciting artists and companies in the program of the Budapest Dance Festival. Usually we reach out directly to the companies that are invited to perform at the National Dance Theater Budapest, but the management of the theater is open and happy to receive proposals from companies and artists from different countries who want to perform for the Hungarian public. Of course, we have a limited possibility to invite foreign artists and companies, but we are happy to keep materials and invite the companies later, when the right time has arrived. I am reachable under the following address: zoltan.sandor@dancetheatre.hu

Credit for the photo of the National Dance Theatre Budapest: ©Hlinka Zsolt
Credit for Zoltán’s portrait photo: ©Csendes Krisztina

Dance Dialogue: Focus on Jacky Fung, Programme Manager, City Contemporary Dance Festival

8 Apr


This year, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought exceptional challenges to the world. How to adapt to the new environment, creating arts with the social distance is no doubt the top mission for us who are working in the creative industry.

I am Jacky Fung, the program manager of CCDC (City Contemporary Dance Company) Dance Centre and China Dance Development. I’m happy to share my works with you, to let you know the situation in Hong Kong, and the status of our company during the pandemic.
The theatres in Hong Kong have been closed since the end of July, and they re-opened only recently. First for renters for rehearsals then for performances or activities without a live audience. Due to the development of the pandemic, the major facilities are expected to be opened for performances or activities with a live audience from October 1 onwards with special seating arrangements. The number of audience members will be limited to half of the original capacity.
At CCDC, we launched a Digital Dance Season. To keep is running, we moved the productions and activities to the online streaming platform. For example, the Jumping Frames International Dance Video Festival became an online screening. A Lover’s Concerto, originally a stage production, we transformed the duo pieces into dance videos and streaming online.

The REAL Showcase Series – Solara and Luna recorded the premiere in our studio and put it to the online streaming platform. As the theatre will re-open for the audience in this October, the Project NEXT Wave will have the stage performance and also streaming the dance video version online in the Digital Dance Season.

As a dance company and a dance center, CCDC tried quite a lot of possibilities during this period, including the productions, the residency programs, dance classes and educational programs etc. Although most of the original planned programs were suspended, we still programmed but in different formats. Honestly, it was a really big challenge, but we are happy to deal with them in this special moment.

We also launched a new arrangement to help our local artists. The plan called POST IT FOR YOU encourages the artists to share their thoughts, ideas, or any new idea about dance and make it as a Facebook post, selected posts will be posted on the CCDC social media platform and the artists will receive a financial reward determined by the interactions and comments. Our hope is that this idea will help the freelance artists who lost normal income during this period, and also encourage to keep dance in different way although we are in quarantine.

We planned a series of programs for the local and international audience in 2021. Mr. Yuri Ng who will be the 4th Artistic Director of CCDC, will take part in the future planning of the Company. The International Dance Festival – including the City Contemporary Dance Festival (CCDF) and the HOTPOT – East Asia Dance Platform are already on the list, we look forward to joining hands together again with the globe.

To learn more about CCDC, click here.

Casa Na Ilha

2 Mar

Type of Opportunity: Residency Program

Deadline: Rolling

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Stories from Quarantine: Valerie Green, Dance Entropy

13 Jan

Guest Blog by Valerie Green, Executive/Artistic Director  

For Valerie Green/Dance Entropy 2020 started with wonderful performance opportunities alongside local NYC festivals, many exciting plans to expand our NYC educational programs, and a full scheduled tour of our growing project entitled Home. As the year continued forward, what we did not expect was a vivid realization of what home meant for us.

Home, a collaboration with choreographers from Colombia, India, Lebanon, Sweden, and Burkina Faso, began in 2019, examining issues of identity, human migration, dislocation, and the search for a sense of home shared by all cultures. This ambitious project came to a halt along with the rest of the world and would inevitably shape this project and its new-found meaning.  However, this past December we were able to forge ahead resuming an in-person Phase 4 of the project at Green Space with Souleymane Badalo, complete with a hybrid performance! We hope to continue to pull the project into a completion by the end of 2022.

In finding new ways to adapt, a film project was initiated – “Time Capsule: A Physical Documentary.” Eight solos physically trace emotional experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic, woven together with a score of vocal reflections and incidental sound from the diverse sampling of New York City landscapes in which each dancer was filmed. A dynamic interplay of beauty, strength, and resilience, “Time Capsule” is a testament to the faith we have in our city, its vast infrastructure, the delicate spirits that inhabit it, and the tender terrains we all hold within.

The video project also spun off an all-male trio man/Mother, the compelling work, featuring a thick branch, suspended down stage center, makes its way into each of the three physical trails. Both an obstacle and a comfort, it confronts us with hard truths that demand reflection and action. Why would mother nature create such an affliction? What have we done as humans to contribute to bringing it into being? How can we mend our fragmented relationship with that which made us?

This continued theme of being at home continued to spark inspiration for many of our now virtual programs that are offered. Our signature trauma workshop series, Skimming the Surface, provides free workshops and performances to halfway houses, women’s shelters, substance abuse rehabilitation facilities, and other organizations supporting trauma victims. During this crisis, we opened up a virtual workshop to our surrounding community and to those all over the world. This workshop has continued to be a space for safety and healing. This also spear headed the transition to working online with local senior citizens, school residency’s and our annual summer intensive. This allowed for a more direct reach and participation that provided an outlet for movement, community and engagement during the quarantine.

As we think back on all the wonderful gifts and obstacles we faced this year, we find ourselves very thankful as we continue to remain present in our community while at a distance. Dance Entropy will continue to develop our mission as we grow and learn together to build a better world.

Stories from Quarantine: Verb Ballets

13 Jan

Guest Blog by Dr. Margaret Carlson, Producing Artistic Director  

Re-Imagine, Re-Conceive, Re-Deliver
Due to the arrival of the coronavirus in Feb 2020, many goals, activities, performances, and income were disrupted. The company was on tour in Cuba at the time and very relieved that we returned home before things shut down. While we all quarantined beginning in March, Verb continued to pay its dancers and staff while we worked from home. We applied for a PPP loan that we received in April and that was used to continue to pay employees and rent. The dancers returned to Cleveland on May 1 and sheltered at home for 14 days, and then we began having them report to work for 2.5 hours a day. Sanitizing protocols were in place, and when we had safely completed two weeks of working, we then returned to work starting June 1 with a 25% reduction in hours for all dancers and staff. Verb applied to enter the Shared Work program through Unemployment services, and by doing this we were able to continue to work with reduced hours and receive unemployment benefits. For the month of June, dances were created that did not require the dancers to touch or partner each other. Then, our entire season was canceled and we lost our earned income putting us into a situation of “survive or close.”

We have definitely been on a steep learning curve. During the initial lockdown the dancers came to the studio individually and recorded classes that were offered to our students. We worked with a local musician, Angie Haze, and her band, and made our first of several Covid Creations. It is called, SHOES. https://verbballets.org/shoes/ and marked our first venture into the virtual performance world.

Returning to work and having all of our shows cancelled, we began the process of re-imagining what performance is, how to then re-conceive the move away from the traditional and finally how to deliver it to audiences. At first, I was adamant that we figure out how to broadcast live performance as a one-off scheduled time. I wanted to preserve the anticipation that comes from going to the theatre. We utilized a service called Boxcast and figured out how to re-digitize and run the performances through our website. After the first attempt, we learned that we would do better to utilize a switcher that would allow us to move back and forth from live and pre-recorded content. By October, we were ready to move away from the live concept into finding ways to use the camera as a creative bridge to various realities. We produced a Halloween weekend film that was shot in a cemetery, the studio, and an outdoor Renaissance Colonnade. It was a “for fun” piece and we quickly learned that if moving into the world of film there needed to be a very clear storyline or way of connecting material https://verbballets.org/carnival-macabre/. In our latest production, we partnered with the Blue Water Symphony in a program where they filmed the orchestra in a different location from the one we were in and used the camera and effects to make it look like we were in the same location https://verbballets.org/building-bridges-together/. For our next production, we are moving into a theatre in a collaboration with rock musician Neil Zaza to produce a 20-minute film of a sneak peek of our December 2021 new production called The Revenge of the Rat of King, a play on the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. We will have a film crew as well as a rock lighting designer and a dance designer. And finally, with Cares Act funds in hand we are about to convert our largest studio into a black box theatre so that we can permanently produce both live audience and virtual shows. The future, we believe, will continue to demand a virtual component.

Our final challenge was in finding a way to monetize our work. In our first attempt, we made it donation only, then tried a small charge with a donation option, then went to a set ticket price and finally ticketing options for children/seniors/families. The really fascinating discovery was that no matter which option we tried, the average ticket price came out the same, which was $25/person. So, the market determined what it would bear. On a good note, our virtual shows draw a viewership from an average of 26 states and 3-5 countries. It has allowed us to spread our name in much the same way as touring minus the cost.