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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.

TemperanceHall_Andrea_larger

Reflections on TPAM and American Visibility, by Carolelinda Dickey

1 Mar

 

I recently attended TPAM in Yokohama, Japan. I was eager to go as I had attended one of the early TPAMs. In 1996, TPAM was the Tokyo Performing Arts Market and I was part of an official delegation of 20+ American programmers, managers and funders. It was a prominent list of programmers from img_1613arts centers, universities, festivals, foundations and agencies. I was honored and thrilled to be part of the group.

At the time, Japan was the primary Asian focus for American presenters of contemporary work. As programmers, we were clamoring to jump on tours of Japanese artists. There was Dumb Type, H Art Chaos, Min Tanaka, Dairakudakan, Sankai Juku, and, of course, Kazuo Ohno. At one performance I sat directly behind Ohno and spent so much time watching him watching the performance that I have no memory of what company we saw.

It was an immersive and thought-provoking trip. We attended seminars at the Saison Foundation offices enlightening us about theater, dance, and music of Japan. It is likely that the trip in 1996 first imprinted on me the importance of “going” and understanding that one cannot create authentic cultural partnerships from behind one’s desk.

Fast-forward 22 years and I am at TPAM again, but it is now the Tokyo Performing Arts Meeting. Or, was it Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama 2017? Both names seemed to be used interchangeably. The bottom line is that there was no marketplace, whereas the market back in the 1990s was a destination to easily meet people. The current TPAM was a meeting packed full of TPAM-sponsored panels and equally interesting discussions self-identified by the attendees. Attendees came from over 40 countries.

Parallel meetings of the Asian Dramaturgs’ Network Meeting added to the quality of the programs. Without question, TPAM’s meetings were fascinating and informative. I felt more of an observer than a participant as the complexity and magnitude of Asian networks continue to grow. There is Arts Network Asia (ANA), which has been around for many years. There is early stage discussion about an Asian dance house center, similar to the European Dancehouse Network. Do we have a Dancehouse Network?

img_1617The organization of the performances in Yokohama and in Tokyo was extensive. The highlights for me were Host, an enthralling solo by Eisa Jocson that juxtaposed the images of female hosting across Asian cultures and Picnic in the Cemetery (presented by Point of View/Creative Links), a theatrical chamber music performance located in the subterranean level of a bar. There was also some terrific new circus and a re-envisioning of Wheat and Soldiers (1938), which celebrated the dance company of Takaya Eguchi and Misako Miya. Who knew of such contemporary work in Japan of the 1930s?

With my CityMaps2Go app on my iPhone and a spare power bank in my pocket, I traipsed around Yokohama and Tokyo to the studios, black boxes and concert halls to see mostly terrific performances. I was glad for my map app because I was alone most of the time. Alone time is not a bad thing, but it was a reminder for me that American dance remains largely absent at most international gatherings. Occasionally, there will be a handful of American presenters who are “invited,” a code word meaning that organizers are covering the cost of travel, lodging and/or registration. When feasible, American Dance Abroad hosts U.S. choreographers and managers to travel with us to major dance meetings, festival, and img_1619marketplaces as American Corner delegates. The importance of being there, meeting people, joining conversations, seeing work – it is critical for American dance and, more importantly, important for American choreographers.

By the end of my week in Yokohama, the few Americans who had attended had left and a deeper realization set in. American work and American artists were absent from virtually all of the discussions. We were invisible. This was not about politics. Those Americans in attendance were very welcomed, but we need to do more. We need to make international engagement a core value of our daily work. We talk about the decline or loss of international touring, but sitting there listening to others discuss their co-productions and new networks, I developed a new mantra, “Forget touring, go forth and network.” I wanted to shout “Learn, insert yourself, or we will be left behind.”

American Dance Abroad’s 2016 Year-in-Review

3 Jan
Highlights from each month in 2016

 

2016 was packed with international activity: six artists toured with subsidies from Rapid Response;  American choreographers attended numerous marketplaces, festivals and platforms courtesy of The American Corner program; and American Dance Abroad was present at the British Dance Edition, Czech Dance Platform, Aerowaves, Internationale Tanzmesse NRW, Shanghai International Arts Festival, CINARS, and ICEHOT! Several programs and services were offered to educate and promote the U.S. dance field. Read on to learn more about our exciting year… 

January


The first Rapid Response engagement of the year was supported

New York-based movement artist, performer, and choreographer Eiko Otake performed at the Festival Santiago a Mil, in Santiago, Chile with the help of funding from American Dance Abroad’s Rapid Response program. Yanira Castro, Diavolo | Architecture in Motion, Megan Bridge/fidget, Stephen Petronio, and 10 Hairy Legs were also awarded subsidies for engagements that took place in 2016.

eiko


February


The Professional Critique evaluation program was launched

ProfessionalCritique

American Dance Abroad launched our Professional Critique initiative in February. Participating American companies are provided a one-on-one, comprehensive review and personalized feedback by an international programmer from a world region in which they are interested in touring. Companies are evaluated on artistic content, technical expertise, and quality of promotional materials.  Nine companies participated in 2016.


March


The Pitchbook promotional publication was announced

PitchbookCoverAmerican Dance Abroad announced Pitchbooka new publication to promote American dance. Pitchbook is issued biannually through print and digital formats and is distributed to international programmers by American Dance Abroad at professional dance gatherings. Each edition includes a selection of new dance projects in search of international partners and/or commissioners. We received 52 applications for Volume I! Volume II will soon be complete, followed by a new call for submissions for Volume III.


April


Marketplace services were introduced through American Dance Abroad’s website

The new Marketplace section of American Dance Abroad’s webbasket.jpgsite was launched, offering services designed to help dance companies strengthen their international profile. In addition to Professional Critique and Pitchbook, offerings include International Connections; Strategic Publicity for your Tour; Professional Development workshops; and Individual Consultations. Several of these projects are supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.


May


A Beyond Our Borders workshop provided skills for working internationally

American Dance Abroad offered a weekend-long Beyond Our Borders workshop in San Francisco to provide dance, music, and theatre professionals with the tools, skills, and resources needed to thrive in the global performing arts marketplace. Participants were guided in understanding the global scene; integrating international work into their organizations; and building their international profiles. Following completion of the workshop each participant was invited to apply to become a delegate at an upcoming performing arts event of their choice. The workshop was supported by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation.

bobsf


June


Programmers utilized the American Dance Recon/Global
initiative to see Dorrance Dance

untitled-1American Dance Abroad assisted several European programmers to attend Dorrance Dance’s performance of ETM: Double Down at Staatstheater Darmstadt, in Germany. The programmers were supported through American Dance Abroad’s American Dance Recon/ Global initiative, which provides opportunities for international programmers to see American dance that is already touring in their part of the world.


July


International engagements thrived in our E-newsletter

ada_intltourbuttonThe July edition of American Dance Abroad’s monthly e-newsletter promoted an impressive 30 international engagements by U.S. dance companies, across four continents. We invite all professional dance companies to complete our International Touring Form to have their performances and residencies abroad listed on our website and promoted in our newsletter.


August


U.S. dance was represented in The American Corner at Tanzmesse

American Dance Abroad represented U.S. dance at the internationale tanzmesse nrw, with the help of our esteemed American Corner delegates: Abraham.In.Motion, Ballet West, The Bang Group, BodyVox, Christine Bonansea Company, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Eva Dean Dance, fidget, inkBoat, 3 Pony Show / keila cordova dances, LeeSaar The Company, Lotus Arts Management, Patricia Noworol Dance Theater, RIOULT Dance NY, Rosy Simas Danse, and Verb Ballets. The American Corner was supported by the U.S. Consul General (Dusseldorf, Germany). Congratulations to fidget and LeeSaar, who performed on the official program, and to Abraham.In.Motion and The Bang Group, who pitched their new works in the Open Studio program. American Dance Abroad also hosted The New Americas, a T-Talk regarding the dance world’s evolving definition of the Americas, and the relationship between North America and Latin America.

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September


A new Dance Touring Survey was developed in collaboration with CMU

apapAmerican Dance Abroad joined forces with the Master of Arts Management program at Carnegie Mellon University to capture data on the prevalence of American dance touring internationally. Students created a condensed version of the survey originally administered by American Dance Abroad in 2009, and updated it with contemporary concerns. The resulting snapshot of the field will be presented at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference in New York City. The survey responses will help American Dance Abroad target our programs to best support U.S. dance companies in the future.


October


The Mellon Foundation supported the future expansion of
American Dance Recon

The Andrew W Mellon Foundation LogoAmerican Dance Abroad was proud to accept an Arts and Cultural Heritage grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The $250,000 award will be utilized to expand American Dance Recon into six American cities over three years. The grant will support American Dance Abroad to link ADR to several important dance events and major summer dance festivals in cities that foster strong dance communities. Mellon’s investment will also enable American Dance Abroad to support U.S. artists who receive invitations for creative residencies as a result of connections made during the American Dance Recon symposium. Please read our Press Release for more details.


November


American Dance Recon brought programmers to NYC for a fifth time

American Dance Abroad hosted 10 international programmers for American Dance Recon in New York City. This signature program, supported by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, is an intensive symposium designed to reconnect programmers with U.S. dance and help them to appreciate its diversity. Programmers engaged with the local community through attendance at performances, visits to company rehearsals, informal discussions, and conversations with foundation leaders. Dance/NYC and American Dance Abroad also co-hosted the fifth edition of “American Dance Recon NYC: an Open Town Hall discussion,” during which local dance makers and colleagues learned about our guests and their work, their curatorial styles, and trends in dance abroad.

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December


U.S. dance was represented by American Delegates at ICEHOT

American Dance Abroad attended the ICEHOT Nordic Dance Platform with four American delegates: Megan Bridge (of fidget), Alice Gosti, Zoe Scofield (of zoe|juniper), and Amy Seiwert (of Amy Seiwert’s Imagery).  Megan, Alice, Zoe, and Amy were outstanding ambassadors for American dance!

Amy Seiwert, Alice Gosti, yours truly, Zoe Scofield, C, Megan Bridge.JPG


Thank you for joining us on this journey through 2016!

AMERICAN DANCE ABROAD AWARDED $250,000 BY THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION FOR GLOBAL CONNECTIONS AND INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE

14 Oct

(New York, NY, October 14, 2016) American Dance Abroad is honored to be a recipient of an Arts and Cultural Heritage grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The $250,000 award will be utilized to expand American Dance Recon (ADR), a signature program of American Dance Abroad, over a three-year period. Read the full press release.

Reflections on Santiago a Mil Festival, by Andrea Snyder

4 Feb

Festival signageIn mid-January Carolelinda and I attended the last week of the Santiago a Mil International Festival, a three-week theatre (and dance) festival. The last week – the Platea – welcomed over 200 international professionals, whose work is crucial to enabling the production, distribution and programming of the performing arts. The days were spent in discussions, roundtables, informal conversations, and staying cool in the 90+ degree weather. The late afternoons and evenings were packed with performances.

Dancers using space at GAM to rehearse

Dancers using space at GAM to rehearse.

Fleeting Impressions:

  • Festival  heavily focused on theatre—discussions took place with leadership about strengthening dance programming in future.
  • Much of the theatre work – and some of the dance – was edgy, political, and non-mainstream.
  • Theatres were full and audiences were enthusiastic.

The relaxed atmosphere allowed for easy dialogue with international colleague—plenty of opportunities to meet new programmers and network, while drinking lots of coffee!

For those who attended the festival, what were your impressions? Please share your thoughts!

Waiting to attend dance work Insomniac

Waiting to see Insomniac dance performance

Reception at Santiago A Mil Festival

Reception at Santiago a Mil Festival

“On the road with American Dance Abroad: inkBoat in Seoul,” a report from Shinichi Iova-Koga

25 Jan

On October 6, 2015, inkBoat performed “Line Between” at Mary Hall in Segong University as part of the Seoul International Dance Festival (SIDdance) with strong support from American Dance Abroad (ADA). It only took 7 years to pull it together.inkBoat

The path to Seoul begins at Tanzmesse in Dusseldorf in 2008. It is here that I meet Andrea Snyder and Carolelinda Dickey, who are the life and blood of American Dance Abroad. I witness many performances at Tanzmesse, each with full production support. I meet fellow Bay Area residents KT Nelson and Brenda Way during post show discussions over beer (it takes leaving your country to meet your next door neighbors). This leads to KT and I co-directing a work (“Listening Last,” 2011) on the ODC Dance Company (and establishing a deep friendship).

Later in 2011, in the midst of developing “Line Between,” Carolelinda and Andrea invite me to attend Performing Arts Market Seoul (PAMS). I meet two pivotal folks at that time: Jong-Ho Lee of the Seoul International Dance Festival (SIDance) and Sukjin Lee, a traditional musician. I spend time with Sukjin over Makgeolli, a fermented rice drink. I pitch the work to Jong-Ho Lee at a PAMS speed dating session (see: video report below).

In 2012, I spend 3 months in Japan, supported by the US/Japan Friendship commission, studying Kagura (folk dance), Nihon Buyo, Aikido and Shakuhachi. I don’t make it to Seoul that year.

In 2013, supported by the MAP Creative Exploration Fund, I travel again to Japan to study Kagura, Butoh and Aikido. Then, travelling to Seoul, I reconnect with Sukjin, who organizes 12 musicians to join me in a collaborative improvisation. Jong-Ho Lee attends and joins us for dinner (and drinks) afterwards.

In 2014, Jong-Ho Lee travels to the Bay Area as part of an international contingent organized by Carolelinda and Andrea, and witnesses a work in progress of inkBoat’s “Without Us.”

In 2015, Jong-Ho Lee invites inkBoat to the Seoul International Dance Festival… a delightful and risky opportunity for us. SIDance can only cover a fraction of our costs. We must make significant reductions to bring the show to Seoul. We launch an Indiegogo campaign. ADA provides us with a “Rapid Response” grant. With these two funding sources we are able to cover our travel costs, but no artist fees. Most cannot make the journey without payment. For this trip, we lose our main performer Dohee Lee, musician Jason Ditzian, performer Peiling Kao and our lighting designer Allen Willner. At the deciding point of whether to bring a less involved show or continue on with “Line Between,” we invite Noh performer Jubilith Moore in to take over primary dancer/performer Dohee Lee’s role. Katherine MacDonald takes over musician Jason Ditzian’s role. Dana takes on Peiling’s role and both Dana and Amy Rathbone take on the lighting design, under Allen’s tutelage. Carolinda and Andrea are there at every critical point to help us pull it together.

Once in Seoul, SIDance takes good care of us. The crew and facilities at Mary Hall are excellent. Staff members of SIDance make themselves available for our needs. Difficulties arise in translating the set to the space, but Amy adjusts to the conditions and makes modifications.

In the end, the travelling company does extraordinarily well in pulling together the performance under Dana’s direction, finding solutions to the challenges. Could we have done better with more resources? A clear yes. I believe this question of resources is one that ALL American companies face when it comes to international touring. It is at the heart of what ADA struggles with. For me, though the road to Seoul was rocky, we now have the information and experience to do it better next time and we found in the process a solid team that travels well together.

Thank you ADA for all that you have done and continue to do to support American dance companies seeking to reach an international audience.

-Shinichi Iova-Koga

American Dance Recon/New York 2015

10 Dec

From November 18-23, American Dance Abroad hosted 11 international presenters and programmers in New York for the fourth year of American Dance Recon. The participants hailed from Mexico, Hong Kong, Norway, Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Denmark, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Belgium, and France.

American Dance Recon (ADR) is an intensive introduction to the contemporary dance scene in New York City.  Over 4-1/2 days, the international participants saw 20 New York dance artists in rehearsal or performance, met with colleagues in the dance field, and participated in a Town Hall panel/Q&A session open to the public.  The artists who participated in ADR were selected based on who was in rehearsal & performance during the week, with an eye to ensuring diversity of genre, race, gender, aims, and touring experience.  Many artists also requested to be included in the schedule. The full schedule of the symposium can be viewed here.

The ADR group preparing to watch Abraham.In.Motion in rehearsal (setting up headphones to listen to a specific piece of music while watching the work)

The ADR group preparing to watch Abraham.In.Motion in rehearsal (setting up headphones to listen to a specific piece of music while watching the work)

ADR is one of American Dance Abroad’s most valuable and successful projects to date.  It fosters real conversations and connections across spaces where isolationism and economic difficulties have traditionally dictated relationships.  The perceptions around American dance in the international marketplace varies by country and person, but many of the sentiments expressed included things like:

My impression is that it’s a big focus on the physical dance – the movement itself, and not so much on the dramaturgy.

So far I know the “big names”, but I don’t know a lot about young scene, independent artists.

I’m very interested in American dance because their history is the history of modern dance…Unfortunately I’m not an expert in new names of American dance and the high fees of these big companies make them impossible to present in our countries.

American Dance seems for me more modern than contemporary. It is highly skillful but a bit old fashioned and market-based.

International participants eating New York pizza for the first time in between rehearsal visits and an evening performance.

International participants eating New York pizza for the first time in between rehearsal visits and an evening performance.

After participating in American Dance Recon, many of those same participants expressed thoughts such as:

Diverse. Powerful. Re-emerging – alive. Fresh. Exciting….This in terms of a general view. Aesthetically talking I think it is still unbalanced between form and content. Form, technique and virtuosity is over all. Maybe that is American dance. Now I know there is a bunch of new artists doing great job. New generation. New blood!

Seeing work live is an essential element of ADR, but so is discussion.  To that end, participants were involved in daily morning meetings to discuss obstacles, prominent ideas, reflect on work, and learn about each other’s programming.  They also met with funders and service organizations in New York, ate lunch with several dance agents, and were a part of an annual public Town Hall co-hosted with Dance/NYC to share knowledge with the New York dance community about working internationally.  (To watch the video of the Town Hall, click here.)

The ADR group meeting with (last three from left) Ella Baff of the Mellon Foundation, Leah Krauss from the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and Lane Harwell of Dance/NYC

The ADR group meeting with (last three from left) Ella Baff of the Mellon Foundation, Leah Krauss from the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and Lane Harwell of Dance/NYC


 

Are you interested in learning more about positioning your work strategically in the global marketplace?  Andrea Snyder and Carolelinda Dickey, American Dance Abroad & Performing Arts Strategies’ Co-Directors, are offering a one-day intensive on the nuts and bolts of working internationally on January 14th, 2016.  The workshop is a part of APAP’s Professional Development Institute and is only $125, with a discount available for APAP members.  Register early as space is limited.