Dance: Is It a Field Endangered? What Can We Do?

The conversations about dance as a field endangered have escalated in the past year, both in online forums and social media and in board rooms, rehearsal studios, dressing rooms and classrooms around the country. These conversations note that while the dance field is attracting an abundance of students to the profession, there are fewer full-time professional companies to hire these dancers once they leave academia with their freshly minted BFAs and MFAs. As a result, dancers, choreographers, company managers and presenters are facing greater competition. We have also seen a rise in pick-up companies and choreographers who work on a project-by-project basis. Thus, the question arises: have options and opportunities diminished or have they just shifted direction? Are dancers and choreographers finding more work, less or is it about the same? Has the type of work simply shifted and we’re facing a new normal composed of more shorter term opportunities and fewer full-time company positions? If so, what can we as a field do to bring stability to this new normal?

Dance/USA’s From the Green Room is opening up a moderated discussion on this topic. This is not meant to be a place to document woes and the failings of the field or the economy. Rather, here is an outlet for the discussion to implement change and share new ideas, models, methods or practices that can help us acclimate to this shift in the field. What do we want: stability, job opportunities, long-term contracts, insurance? We look forward to your fruitful and productive contributions to this conversation.

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We accept submissions on topics relevant to the field: advocacy, artistic issues, arts policy, community building, development, employment, engagement, touring, and other topics that deal with the business of dance. We cannot publish criticism, single-company season announcements, and single-company or single artist profiles. Additionally, we welcome feedback on articles. If you have a topic that you would like to see addressed or feedback, please contact journal@danceusa.org.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in guest posts do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Dance/USA.