In mid-2015, dancer/choreographer Nejla Y. Yatkin began a yearlong tour to engage, connect, and collaborate with people and sites around the world. Learn about Yatkin’s process for preparing for Dancing Around the World, which took her to 20 cities.
Leadership Corner continues with this conversation featuring Brian Williams, founder and director of Step Afrika! the Washington, D.C.-based troupe dedicated to bringing step dance to the concert state here in the United States and around the world. Williams says: “First came the artistic opportunity, then came the business. For me, the
question was, ‘How do I make this happen? What do I need to do and what
are the first steps?’ I wanted to share stepping with the world. Making money really wasn’t the idea. If money had been the primary
motivation, then I am sure I wouldn’t have gotten too far. Instead … it
was the idea to step all across the continent of Africa, learn
traditional dances, and explore the nexus between stepping and
traditional African culture that really motivated me to launch Step
Afrika! The question became: ‘How do I make that happen? And what are
the opportunities?’” Read on for more.
October 1, 2014, was a big day for the dance field. Around the world,
five of the world’s best ballet companies joined together for a full day
of behind-the-scenes live streaming on YouTube featuring rehearsals,
interviews and company class. On the same day, the Wallace Foundation
announced a six-year, $40 million initiative to support building
audiences for sustainability. While I wondered if the planners of the
two events were each aware of the other, I also found myself staring at
the negative space between the two and wondering if anyone else noticed
the solution to be found within. Combine these two events with
Dance/USA’s recently announced “Call for Questions” for next year’s
conference and I figured it would be as good a time as any to posit a
few questions that I know are seldom asked (or answered properly) across
the arts community.
Working abroad holds an enormous catalogue of
benefits for American artists and our nation: increased visibility;
expanded marketplaces; enrichment of the art form through global
exposure; decreased insularity; plus the more elusive contribution that
dance enhances public diplomacy between our country and the world. While many
dance organizations are eager to work abroad, lack of knowledge and resources can make it difficult to happen. Read on for more on bridging the passport divide.
China is exciting and chaotic and your dance company should go. Before
you buy your plane tickets, however, it is important to understand the
context of China’s performing arts market in order to manage your
expectations and plan a strategy for touring successfully.
While 2009 marked the 30th anniversary of Sino-U.S. diplomacy, dance exchanges between China and the U.S. continue to be a renewable theme. For both countries, cross-cultural dialogues in the arts offer significant potential for strengthening ties between people. Although in recent years, more U.S. dance companies have appeared onstage in China, due to many circumstances, the road to China is indeed long and full of obstacles.
The Hundred Flowers’ Long March East: Achievements and Challenges of U.S. Dance Tours in China, Part 2
Besides collaborating directly with Chinese dance troupes, U.S. repertory companies may tour in China by following the Department of State’s Administrative Regulations on Commercial Performances (in effect since 1997). Main steps include seeking a Chinese presenter and obtaining a performance license.
To study dance today is to gain a window on a very foreign culture often (when I was growing up in England, all we could learn was the foxtrot or the polka). And this itself moves children to think of home in a much larger, perhaps more invisible way
Watch the kids of Osaka dance salsa (as they love to do), listen to Norah Jones or see how the girls of Beijing are dancing Swan Lake, and you see people literally going places they haven’t gone before.
Dance/USA, as an active member of the Performing Arts Visa Working Group, has been advocating for an improved and more reliable visa processing system. Noticeable progress has been made in processing times and visa petition adjudication, but the challenges to petitioners still abound.