Soul of the City
Help Xclaim launch it’s fifth season by funding our premiere entitled Soul of the City, a new evening length contemporary dance program, performed by Xclaim’s 10 person ensemble the weekend of October 26th-28th, 2012 at Columbus Dance Theater’s intimate 100 seat Fisher Theater.
The concert will feature a lighthearted review of the movements and mindsets that shaped generations, in four shorter works choreographed by Xclaim veteran dancers J. Shannon Filmore, Crystal Irvin, Kelsey Schafer, Deena Schmidt and Laura Schoessler. This includes an ode to the flappers in a piece about liberation, a rock-and-roll swing style piece reflecting on postwar pep and pomp, a piece celebrating the flamboyance of ‘70s disco, and another highlighting the boisterous self-expression of early ‘80s and ‘90s hip hop.
The headlining choreographic work by Artistic Director Mariah Layne French is developing as a multimedia collage that highlights the history of Columbus residents, their spirit of resiliency, adventure and innovation. Soul of the City will be danced in a gritty contemporary jazz style, set to a soundscape of soul music with the backdrop of historical images. A celebration of Columbus’ bicentennial, the message honors the past while inspiring the next generation to create a vibrant future.
As a part of continuing arts education and inspiring the future generation, through the generosity of the Greater Columbus Arts Council, students from Xclaim’s Neighborhood Pride and Franklin County Children’s Services talent mentorship programs will receive complimentary tickets for the opportunity to see their mentors perform.
This concert will be fully produced with professional lighting, sound editing, and original costuming. Fabulous sepia-toned retro style dresses have been designed to really capture the essence of bygone days.
We have the theater booked, dances are being choreographed and rehearsed, costuming made, props designed, photographs taken, publicity designed, budgets crunched; and yet we are missing one key element: funding. While we have already raised a portion of our budget through the receipt of a small grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, a couple delicious bake sales, and some generous individual donations — we are still left with a total of $4,600.00 to raise to make this project possible.
What will your pledge do?
$850 Theater Rental: The Fisher Theater at CDT is a wonderful intimate performance space. It is inexpensive but technically well equipped. The perfect fit for this project, it suits our needs well.
$1200 Costuming: This is particularly important to the vintage feel of the entire program. Design and Craftmanship has been generously donated for one Act by the talented DiAnn Schmidt, but fabric is a considerable expense. The other Act consisting of four works still needs to be costumed and your generous donation will have a huge impact on the quality and authenticity of this costuming!
$350 Theater Tech: A professional theater technician running lights and sound makes all the difference in the production of this project. We have learned through experience that good technical support can make or break a performance.
$1400 Dancer/Choreographer Honoraria: Our choreographers have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Their creativity and blood should be accounted for... even if the honorarium doesn’t quite pay what they’re worth. Any contributions above our ask will feed our hungry dancers!
$300 Prop Design and Construction: Wood costs money and so does the carpenter who will build us some beautiful and sturdy dancing props.
$500 Marketing and Promotions: Although we have found very generous a and talented photographer, graphic designer, and print formatting specialist, there are still significant costs associated with printing. Posters, postcards, pamphlets are the means by which we generate the interest necessary to fill the Fisher Theater for all three performances.
Remember: Kickstarter operates on an ALL-OR-NOTHING funding model. This means that if we do not reach our goal, not a single donation will be processed and we will not receive any of the funds.
Risks and challenges
As Xclaim approaches this project we face some unknowns.
Choreography is well underway, but there have been added challenges this season. I (Mariah, Director and lead choreographer) have had some injuries that have temporarily incapacitated me and have forced me into new ways of creating and staging movement for this project. The inability to create movement phrases by physically working out the movement myself is a particular challenge because I am constantly using unconventional dance vocabulary. It has also taken considerably longer to hash out ideas, often by trial and error. The four years of directing this group of dancers through many successful projects informs my decision making process. The rehearsal and choreographic process to date has included more conversations and descriptive cues than in the past, something that has had many positive outcomes as well. It is also demanding more patience from the dancers. Most of our dancers have worked with me for several years, so they have been able to adapt to these challenges, growing through the process. They have also been able to offer some of their own physical input. Two new men join us this season and are unfamiliar with the way I work. Several of the veteran dancers have stepped up to the plate to offer support through their physical bodies during teaching and coaching times. Will these new ways of working result in a flawlessly executed technical performance? Probably not, but we are finding that the “slow art” of dance is working deeper meaning into the project as we go.
Interruptions... We have had more publicity opportunities this time around than ever before. While I am grateful for the articles written and photos taken, that’s time away from rehearsal that I hadn’t accounted for. Attention and authenticity during these times have been short rehearsal prep lecture topics for this unexpected “first world” arts problem. The lectures aren’t 100% effective, but dancers have been working hard at staying focused when there isn’t a reporter or photographer in the room.
We are an organization run by volunteers. The dancers are passionate and approach each project with professionalism even in the face of little or no pay (which has been the norm thus far). We have strong bonds and believe in the work we do together. Some of our dancers have to regularly request off of their bread and butter job to attend rehearsals. Rarely but occasionally the grocery bill wins-especially with the threat of loosing employment. Because missing dancers poses a challenge for the others involved, we have contracts in place that assure that dancers are cast in a way that honors faithful rehearsal attendance.
Costuming is an enormous expense. In the past a considerable amount of time and resource has gone into the design and construction of costuming. The resources we have been able to access in the past aren’t all available this time around. For this project some of the costuming has been provided in-kind. The rest however is going to demand some creativity, wardrobe repurposing and vigilant thrifting.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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