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.

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Battery Dance Festival

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8 Jan

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Reflections on Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, by Andrea Snyder

26 Dec

I can’t believe I waited this long in my life to experience Israel! What an amazing and thrilling trip to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. A week is clearly not enough time.

Atanas Marc, Mary-Louise Albert and me outside the Old City

Andrea Snyder, Atanas Maev and Mary-Louise Albert outside the Old City

I was invited to attend the Jerusalem International Dance Week presented by MASH (Machol Shalom Dance House) from December 2-6, 2017, which lines up conveniently in advance of International Exposure at the Suzanne Dellal Centre in Tel Aviv. The convening in Jerusalem is a fairly intimate gathering (approximately 60 international presenters and guests, only three of which hailed from the U.S.) focused on independent dance artists. Exposure is in its 23rd year of showcasing a range of Israeli companies and artists, some with international recognition, for several hundred international presenters and guests (including a larger group of Americans).

First, a few impressions about the cities themselves. Jerusalem is magical for its centuries-old history, the dynamics of four cultures (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Armenian) functioning in close quarters within the Old City, the light, sounds, smells, food, marketplace… every sight and moment is thrilling. Tel Aviv has a different feel, for sure, but still interesting. The city is more laid back than Jerusalem, and the beach/sea dominate the environment and focus. I was only there for a very short time, and spent 99% gravitating to the Dellal Centre, so my appreciation of the city was limited.

A participatory performance in the David Tower Museum

Participatory performance in the Tower of David Museum, Jerusalem

Although I saw more dance work in Jerusalem than in Tel Aviv, overall the choreography reflected the general environment and current climate – themes generated around aggression, relationship struggles, and gender politics. One or two works focused on healing, sharing, and trust. The dancing was rich with passion, intensity, honesty, humor, and great skill. Both festivals were lively with interaction, hospitality, and friendliness.

My purposes in attending both festivals were several-fold. First, I was able to inform international colleagues about American Dance Abroad’s upcoming projects, SPOTLIGHT: USA and American Dance Recon, both of which were met with great enthusiasm.

Presenting info to colleagues in Jerusalem

Andrea Snyder presenting information about SPOTLIGHT to colleagues in Jerusalem

Second, I had the chance to talk with MASH’s leadership about future efforts for international residency exchanges, a focus that American Dance Abroad has on its radar.

Third, it was a terrific opportunity to meet new international colleagues and introduce them to American Dance Abroad’s efforts on behalf of U.S. dance artists and companies, as well as to learn about and be inspired by their own initiatives. There were ample opportunities for striking up conversations – at the sumptuous hotel breakfasts, on buses to the various venues in Jerusalem, at receptions, or sitting next to someone new in a theatre, to name a few.

It was a great, intense, valuable and positive trip!

New England Dance Fund, National Dance Project Production Grant and more

26 Dec

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CINARS Biennale 2018 Official Programming

21 Dec

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“Choreography 32” International Competition

4 Dec

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Barcelona International Dance Exchange

4 Dec

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