Sharing Practice: EDA Round Four Webinar Series on Community and Audience Engagement

Dance/USA presents its fourth series of biweekly webinars on community and audience engagement, made possible by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In spring of 2018, Engaging Dance Audiences (EDA) Round Four grantees shared the engagement practices and methods used in their projects. These interactive webinars began with grantees live on camera and segued discussions and questions. During each webinar, a shared whiteboard captured a summary of speaker comments, resources, and answers to questions posed. The goal was for everyone to leave with fresh ideas, new resources, and guidance. Webinars are appropriate for artists and administrators in the areas of marketing, education, and fundraising, as well as teachers and even those working in other art forms who want fresh ideas for engaging audiences. 

Recordings of each webinar and links to each whiteboard are available below.

Webinar #1. Engagement in Neighborhoods and Festivals

Recording here.  Shared Whiteboard here.

Hear from dance organizations that engage people within their own neighborhoods and cities through festivals or ongoing programs:  
Ananya Dance about Buniyaad/Foundation, their strategies to engage communities of color in the Twin Cities; Chicago Human Rhythm Project, whose percussive dance festival happens alongside events in Chicago neighborhoods; and Dance Theatre Etcetera, which engages audiences in the predominately African-American and Latino neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn.  

Webinar #2.  Engaging Youth

Recording here.  Shared Whiteboard here.

Some of the EDA grantee projects are designed to expand young people’s views not only about dance, but about themselves, so that they feel comfortable in arts venues, develop artistically, and speak their minds.  Hear from artists who strive to understand and address the needs of youth:  Dancing Grounds, whose Dance For Social Change Festival trains young people to create and tour work; Destiny Arts Center, whose African Roots of Hip Hop is created and performed by professional artists with their youth company; and TU Dance, who trained youth ambassadors to orient the adults in their lives to contemporary dance.   

Webinar #3. Engagement on Tour

Recording here.  Shared Whiteboard here.

How can artists foster meaningful connections with audiences while on tour, when both the time with and access to communities are limited? Hear from
Alabama Dance Council, whose Community Forum Series takes place in three cities in Alabama, and involves five guest and 10 local artists; and Camille A. Brown and Dancers, who draws from its Black Girl Spectrum and other engagement practices during its national tours

Webinar #4. Engagement Across Time, Tradition and Place

Recording here.  Shared Whiteboard here.

Hear from artists who will take the ideas that inspire them and traditions they study and practice to new places: Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, whose Young, Gifted, and Black, tours to Historically Black Colleges and Universities; Urban Bush Women, whose new work, Hair and Other Stories draws upon their use of storytelling, processionals, and nontraditional spaces to engage African American women and other audiences; and Viver Brasil, whose Samba in the Streets brings Afro-Brazilian carnival dance forms to Los Angeles, CA and Birmingham and Selma, AL for processionals and discussions about the history of civil rights activism in the United States and Brazil.

Webinar #5. Engaging With The Body: Disabled, Black, Liberated

Recording here.  Shared Whiteboard here.

As concert dance broadens its notions of physicality in the performers onstage, audiences’ perceptions are expanding as well. Hear from Dance/NYC about its Disability. Dance. Artistry. initiative with six physically integrated dance companies; Heritage Works, about its Cultural Scripts series on the historic and contemporary role of the Black body within Detroit, Muslim, African, and African-American contexts; and Holly Bass|360, whose Trans-Atlantic Time Traveling Company (TATTCO), in collaboration with court-involved African American teen girls, explores the metaphor of time travel as movement between enslavement and liberation.

Webinar #6. Engagement and Local Activism

Recording here.  Shared Whiteboard here.

Hear from artists who choreograph in places and ways that raise awareness of social issues, rallying neighborhoods to action: Forklift Danceworks, whose new work around Austin Parks’ city pools, engages Parks staff and residents in the Eastern Crescent community; Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, whose ArtBursts for the African American community in the Five Points neighborhood of Denver explore issues and community stories affecting neighborhoods; CONTRA-TIEMPO, whose engagement with the Community Coalition in South Los Angeles, includes choreographic labs, leading up to the premier of their new work, joyUS; and Ping Chong and Company, whose Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity uses dance as a vehicle for exploring Muslim American identity.

Webinar #7. Engagement By, With and For LGBTQ Communities

Recording here.  Shared Whiteboard here.

Hear from artists whose projects are designed to speak to and embrace the LGBTQ community: Abraham.In.Motion, who developed a pre/post engagement strategy for multigenerational LGBTQ audiences during the tour of the new work Dearest Home and Sean Dorsey Dance, about audience engagement work with transgender, gender non-conforming, LGBQ people and people living with HIV/AIDS during the tour of his work, The Missing Generation.