The answer used to be twofold: I love doing it, and it was my vocation. Between 1997 and 2011, I had a small touring group of dancers, and we’d play various theaters, festivals, performance venues, and colleges. We depended on grants, donations, and commissions to augment performance fees and tickets sales. Concert dance has a dedicated but small audience. And after the early-21st-century recession, my grant amounts got smaller. And then I became a “mid-career” artist, a euphemism for someone who no longer gets a lot of attention. I’m not complaining; worse things have happened...
Though I was grateful for every commission, grant, and good review I received, I noticed that my dances were less satisfying for me: less personal, made with less time, less inspired. Some contracts were quite specific as to what kind of dance I was to make, but I was also letting myself be influenced by the specifics of a grant narrative or the vicissitudes of dance critics. Burned out, I spent the past two years planning a dance event based more in community than industry. Without any government grants, private foundation funds, commissions, curation, or advertising, I will be presenting new dances at downtown Brooklyn’s Actor’s Fund Arts Center, part of the Schermerhorn building, a residence for performing artists, people from Brooklyn’s Community Board 2, and formerly homeless people living with HIV or mental health needs.
Beholden to no one, eight dancers and I have set out to change the model of concert dance as I’ve known it. I won’t be advertising in mainstream publications or inviting press to the shows. I’m not inviting industry people. I’m not advancing anything except the acts of making and sharing dance.
A Brooklyn native, I am investing $5,500 of my savings into this project. And I am devoted to keeping the ticket price low ($18), so that the shows will be affordable to residents of many Brooklyn neighborhoods. And kids get in free on Friday, September 20.
I’m left with an $8,000 shortfall. That’s almost the exact amount I need to pay my eight dancers. I ask for your help in bringing dance beyond the small group of marginalized dance artists that have typically comprised its audience. The show is about an hour and features new work that is exciting, poetic, and sophisticated without being self-indulgent, opaque, or elitist.
So, why make a dance? Because I love it, and I want to share it with you.
Risks and challenges
Self-producing a dance concert but not inviting press or taking out mainstream-press listings and ads?! Who's gonna come???
Well, that's a risk. But we've done the research and are confident we can sell tickets through community-based email groups, Facebook promotions, Reddit, and neighborhood websites.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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