Linda Shelton receives the 2015 Dance/USA “Ernie” Award for
“an individual working ‘behind the scenes’ within the infrastructure of
the dance field. A long-time arts administrator, Shelton has a long-view of the dance field through her extensive work with the Joyce Theater in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. A current trustee and former chair of Dance/USA’s board, Shelton has spent a career serving the non-profit concert dance world. Listen in as dance writer and scholar Mindy Aloff and Shelton talk about her work.
In America, with the exception of a few male dancers, our ballet companies remain unrelievedly white.
It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when we stay so busy putting out fires and keeping a dozen balls in the air at once. But as dancers, arts managers, and company directors, we shouldn’t discount the importance of forging and solidifying relationships with our government officials on the local, state, and national levels.
Many of us working in larger cities take exposure to high-caliber arts for granted. We are presented with a myriad of professional performance options on a daily basis. This is not the case, however, across the country particularly in dance where touring is getting more expensive, presenting is getting riskier, and selling tickets is more and more challenging.
Collaboration may generate energy; ignite relationships that build trust, further knowledge and group effort that continue to infuse the creative process.
I am unequivocal about the need for most artists and companies to find the required resources to create digital content. Unfortunately, this demands a complete rethinking because most non-profit dance company business models allocate resources to creating work for the stage and for marketing those works, with little, if any, surplus remaining to invest in creating media content.
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.