Dancing is an art that takes a lifetime to perfect – and just a moment to lose. In fact, more than 80 percent of dancers experience injury during their careers, with some grave enough to end an individual’s role as a dancer forever.
It is these numbers that make those behind the stage question what steps need to be taken to improve the dance floor – the integral component of a dance environment – to protect the welfare of performers and ensure they have long, healthy careers ahead.
Artistry doesn’t come out of thin air; it evolves by being nurtured, sweated over, re-worked, perhaps a little bloodied, and revived. Believe it or not, sometimes art needs to fail. Jennifer S.B Calienes, director of Tallahassee’s Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, one of our nations top-tier dance residency programs, says of necessary artistic failures, “Some of the best work dies … but it is critical that (dance makers) have that time and space to think, develop, edit, and hone.” These efforts are called the artistic process.
Beyoncé released her newest video, a little guilty pleasure called “Countdown.” The video is an open homage to a whole lotta stuff, from Audrey Hepburn’s dance scene in Funny Face to the seminal Vogue photo shoots of the 1960s to Twiggy’s distinctive makeup stylings. But thrown into the collage of-many-good-things-made-by-other-artists-a-long-time-ago is a one-to-one remake of Rosas Danst Rosas by Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker.
While many popular culture observers assume the recent upsurge in competitive dance programs on commercial television is the result of the current reality TV trend, televised dance competition shows have a long history in the United States, dating back nearly to the birth of the television age.
Perhaps then, teaching dance-lovers the importance of entering the conversation may be a better project to undertake. Dance writing, whether it appears online or in print, begs a response from the community. With the advent of new media, dancers, choreographers, and dance enthusiasts have more opportunities than ever to share thoughts and opinions and so sustain their field.
Rather than employing a new, permanent artistic director to shape the company’s artistic footprint in the dance world, Morphoses is planning to reemerge this fall without a permanent artistic director.
Don’t let her small stature and soft-spoken, polite nature fool you. She is highly intelligent and a fiercely passionate advocate for dance. Julie Nakagawa, co-founder and artistic director of DanceWorks Chicago (DWC) and an officer on the Board of Trustees for Dance/USA, is an artist, teacher, mentor and director that focuses on nurturing not only the individual artist, but the global dance community as a whole. There is no ego here.
Amid the intensity to embrace and understand the new, it is worthwhile to consider enduring dynamics that apply to an old yet evergreen story: the care and feeding of a volunteer patron base. With an eye toward continuous improvement in how we manage relationships and cultivate commitment from patrons, it is worth reviewing – and recommitting to – skills that have always made a difference in forging strong relationships with our most dedicated supporters.
Dancer wellbeing represents a glaring and puzzling concern within the dance world. The physical and psychological health of dancers becomes especially tricky to foster within an environment where worth is often based on physical appearance. Many other factors, such as limited funding and resources, also complicate the matters, making it a difficult terrain for dance professionals to navigate.