Skip to main content

Full text of "Dance from the campus to the real world and back again : a resource guide for artists, faculty and students"

See other formats





A Resource Guide for Artists, Faculty and Students 

Suzanne Callahan, Editor 


Bonnie Brooks 

Wally Cardona 

Ann Carlson 

Terry Creach 

Jacqueline Davis 

David Dorfman 

Steve Gross 

Bonnie Oda Homsey 


Amii LeGendre 

Bebe Miller 

Tere O'Connor a 

Sally Sommer 

Ivan Sygoda 

Linda Tomko 

Diane Vivona 

Julia Ward 

Charmaine Warren 

Tricia Henry Young 

A Publication of the 


w y 


/ \\ 

K / 




Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Boston Library Consortium Member Libraries 



Real World 


A Resource Guide for Artists, Faculty and Students 

Suzanne Callahan, Editor 




© D»KC!/USA 2005 
AUGUST 2005 
ISBN: 1 931683 13 1 


1156 15TH STREET, NW 
SUITE 820 

202 8331717 

The National College Choreography Initiative is a Leadership Initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional 
support from the Dana Foundation. The National Endowment for the Arts, an independent federal agency, was established by an Act 
of Congress in 1965. The National Endowment for the Arts enriches our Nation and its diverse cultural heritage by supporting works of 
artistic excellence, advancing learning in the arts, and strengthening the arts in communities throughout the country. 

The National College Choreography Initiative is administered by Dance/USA, the national service organization that supports 
professional dance. For more information about NCCI, please contact consultant Suzanne Callahan, of Callahan Consulting for the 
Arts, which manages NCCI, at 202-955-8325 or For more information about Dance/USA, please contact the 
organization at 202-833-1717 or at, or check the website at 

Purchase Price: $16.00 • Bulk orders of 10 or more copies: $13.00 each • To order, contact Dance/USA 

Cover: Landing/Place, by Bebe Miller. Dancers: Darrell Jones and David Thomson. Photo: Lois Greenfield 
Back Cover: Ann Carlson in "Grass." Photo: Mary Ellen Strom. 


I. The Campus 







1 Foreword 

By Andrea Snyder, Editor-in-Chief 

3 Introduction 

By Suzanne Callahan, Editor 

9 Universities 101: A Guide to 
Long-term Artist Contracts 
in the College and University 

By Tricia Henry Young 
Tricia Henry Young of Florida State 
University sheds light on the struc- 
ture of, and terms associated with, 
college dance departments, focus- 
ing particularly on the jobs that 
artists might apply for. Whether 
it's adjunct or tenure track, she ex- 
plains what to know and ask when 
you're recruited for a position, and 
what to expect once you're hired. 

19 Dance Residencies 101: 
A Guide to Planning for the 
World of Possibilities 

By Jacqueline Davis 
Jacqueline Davis of SUNY Brock- 
port provides a practical guide for 
artists and faculty in planning resi- 
dencies, showing us why the work 
that is done in advance is the key 
to success when the artist arrives. 
Learn what questions to ask, and 
what standards to strive for, in key 
areas, including overall goals (mis- 
sion and curriculum); structure 
(cast size, outreach activities, and 
schedule); and the smallest details 
that often get forgotten (like com- 
puters, refrigerators, and keys). 


38 Choreography as Research: 

Making the Case on Campus 

By Linda Tomko 

Linda Tomko of (he University of Cali- 
fornia at Riverside shows us how the 
creative investigation conducted by cho- 
reographers is on par with other kinds of 
research at universities. She guides artist/ 
faculty members in making their case to 
college administration in order to attain 
promotions, and be better understood by 
their colleagues in other disciplines. 

42 The Real World of 

Adjunct Teaching 

By Julia Ward 

Consultant Julia Ward, who is an adjunct 
faculty member at George Mason 
University, reveals to arts practitioners — 
including choreographers and manag- 
ers — what to expect from a part-time 
position. Learn about the joys as well as 
the potential pitfalls of university work. 

H5 What I Did This Winter 

Bennington Students Experience 

the Real World through 

Field Work Term 

By Terry Creach 

Terry Creach of Bennington College 
shows how an ongoing program of 
internships requires students to pursue 
off-campus professional experiences 
every year of their study. Stories from 
students illustrate the long-term impact 
of establishing relationships with profes- 
sionals, and having direct experience 
with jobs — from outreach programs to 
lighting design to creating dance abroad. 

H8 Poetic Science: Teaching 

Composition to College Students 

By Tere O'Connor 

Choreographer Tere O'Connor puts forth 
his approach to creating dances, leaving 
students open to discovering their own 
possibilities in ways that are indepen- 
dent of preconceived notions and the 
canon of the past. 

51 Historical Dance Residencies 

as Cultural Protein 

By Bonnie Oda Homsey 
Historical dance reconstructor Bonnie 
Oda Homsey describes how teaching his- 
torical dances gives sustenance to college 
dancers' educational experience, and pro- 
vides guidance to faculty on how to make 
these residencies authentic, relevant, and 
worthwhile parts of curriculum. 

55 Keeping It Green: Some 

Lessons on Building Community 
and Igniting Creativity 

By David Dorfman 
Choreographer David Dorfman, who is 
on faculty at Connecticut College, shares 
his proven methods for coalescing a 
roomful of people — be they athletes, 
family members, or relative strangers — 
into a performance cast. As he challenges 
himself anew with each group, he works 
to balance the safe with the risky and 
the humorous with the poignant, all in a 
supportive environment that welcomes 
both the newcomer and the veteran 

58 Finding Physicality, Finding 

Context: A Life-long Study of 


By Bebe Miller 

Choreographer Bebe Miller, a profes- 
sor at Ohio State University, traces her 
own path for locating the context that 
lies within the dances she makes. She 
charges each student to move from 
sensation to physicality and from idea to 
action, in order to ferret out individual 
context and make dances that are in line 
with their lives. 

60 The Secrets Of Our Success: 
Good Relationships are the Key 
to an Ambitious Residency 

By Bonnie Brooks 

Bonnie Brooks of Dance Center of Colum- 
bia College Chicago describes the enor- 
mous potential that can be realized when 
key relationships between the presenting 
program, the academic department, and 
the artist provide the underpinning for 
a residency. 

63 Promethean Fire: 

Talking to Students about 

Talking to Artists 

By Ivan Sygoda 

Long-time agent and administrator Ivan 
Sygoda of Pentacle urges us to take a 
risk: to dare to talk honestly and openly 
to choreographers about the work they 
create and come up with the words to 
express what we see, feel, and think. 

66 Parallel Lives: Three Professors 
Maintain their Edge as Artistic 

By Charmaine Patricia Warren 
Bebe Miller, David Rousseve, and Jawole 
Willa Jo Zollar tell dancer and historian 
Charmaine Patricia Warren about the 
decision to return to college employment, 
and how they have crafted careers on 
campus while maintaining their com- 

68 Good Paid Work: From the 
Studio to the Stage 

By Amii LeGendre 

Young artist Amii LeGendre tells the story 
of From the Studio to the Stage, a program 
that matched students from Cornish 
College of the Arts with dancers from her 
company to create work, and how this 
model could be adapted to other colleges 
and companies. 

71 Gateway to the City: 

NYC Field Experience Has 

a Profound Impact on Students 

By Sally Sommer 

Sally Sommer of Florida State University 
tells how — and why — the semester-long 
field experience, FSU in New York, has 
had a profound impact on students who 
participate. Through the story of the bap- 
tism-by-fire experiences it affords stu- 
dents, she charges faculty to break down 
the door between the academy and the 
real world — before students face the 
hard choices about their future. 

II. The Real World 

77 Real World 101 

By Steve Gross and Diane Vivona 
Artists/administrators Steve Gross 
and Diane Vivona, who both have 
worked for The Field in New York, 
provide a supportive and detailed 
guide for students in making the 
leap from the campus to the real 
world: deciding where to move, 
getting oriented to a new city, what 
kinds of jobs to consider, and how 
to thrive as a young artist. This 
guide summarizes their collective 
learning and personal experiences 
in helping literally thousands of 
emerging artists over the years get 
acclimated to new surroundings, 
and provides exercises for thinking 
ahead to reduce culture shock and 
maximize students' comfort levels. 


125 Getting Close to Real 


Emerging artist Jane Jerardi leads us 
through her transition out of college, 
including what she did — and did 
not — learn from school and how she 
proactively made up for the gaps along 
the way by looking hard at her own skills 
and expectations as an artist. 

128 Success in 10 Minutes or Less: 
Reflections on Life and Work 
as a Contemporary Artist 

By Wally Cardona 

Choreographer Wally Cardona describes 
his path for reexamining and reinventing 
his own notions of success, and his dis- 
covery that his ideas at graduation were 
far different from the realities. 

132 Oasis 

By Ann Carlson 

Artist Ann Carlson offers an honest and 
poignant story of her path from college to 
the real world — and back again, through 
NCCI and other residencies. She reveals 
that what may appear to be an oasis in 
college can sometimes turn out to be a 
mirage, but may also lead to moments of 

135 Contributors 

Tools and Exercises 

Residency Planning Checklist and Questionnaire 

Sample Agreement Letter for Colleges and Artists 

Sample Contract for Colleges and Artists 

Sample Rehearsal/Performance Schedule 

Chart for Personal Goals 

Location Options 

Web of Connectivity 

Identifying Skill Sets and Priorities 

Project Budget Worksheet 

The Time Pie 

Further Life Goals 















It gives me great pleasure to present From the Campus to the Real World (And 
Back Again): A Resource Guide for Artists, Faculty and Students, the latest in 
a series of publications developed by the National College Choreography 
Initiative (NCCI). What was to be a one-year initiative to join professional 
artists with college students in residencies has grown into this extensive guide, 
which can be used throughout the country by current and future members of 
the dance field. This publication is the culmination of four years of activity and 
dialogue with artists, faculty in academic settings, administrators and students. 
It is designed for college faculty, professional artists, and the administrators 
who serve them, as well as the next generation of dancers they are dedicated 
to educating. 

With our commitment to serving all areas of the professional dance field, Dance/USA realizes that direct 
contact with artistic leadership is the key to inspiring the next generation of dancers and artists. College 
and university dance departments are once again becoming primary sites for the field's development. We 
are at a moment when mid-career artists are returning to colleges not only through hundreds of annual 
residencies (including those supported by NCCI itself), but by securing permanent positions as professors. 
And at a time when the field is changing dramatically, students must have a realistic sense of what to 
expect once college ends. 

This publication was made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, 
which has been instrumental in developing and managing NCCI and in sharing this information across 
the country. Our heartiest appreciation also goes to the generous contributions of the 20 writers who have 
lent their time and expertise for the benefit of their peers and the next generation of young artists. 

The world of dance is vast and growing. Each generation has much to learn from another. We hope 
that this resource guide will teach, enlighten, and inspire dance professionals — and aspiring dance 
professionals — of today and tomorrow. 





Andrea Snyder, Editor-in-Chief 
Executive Director, Dance/USA 


By Suzanne Callahan 

Until recently, dance on the col- 
lege campus and in the pro- 
fessional environment have 
coexisted, each in its own world. The 
purpose of this publication is to help 
join those worlds. 

The term "world" implies a distinct 
place — when we enter one world, we 
leave the other. In the dance field, our 
worlds are made up of our campuses, 
theaters, studios, and offices (whether 
those offices exist in a brick building, 
or our apartment, or our car). In the- 
dance galaxy, we rotate around each 
other in relative harmony, struggling 
to keep up with our own concerns. 
Depending on which world we live in, 
our orbits are guided by the next gig, 
grant deadline, conference, midterm 
exam, or facility review. 

Given the distinct set of pressures 
under which we operate, we seldom 
engage outside of the performance. 
Faculty are burdened by academic 
requirements and the isolation that 
comes from being spread out in dance 
departments throughout the country, 
rarely interacting outside of an an- 
nual academic conference. It is no 
wonder that they haven't seen the lat- 
est premiere at Danspace Project, for 
example, or last summer's festival in 
Avignon; their time is spent redesign- 
ing curriculum and justifying their 

budget line to the college's president 
(so that, ironically, artists can come 
in and work with their students, in 
hopes that they may one day perform 
at Danspace or in Avignon). For stu- 
dents, the need to learn about the 
world they will soon face upon gradu- 
ation is eclipsed by the more pressing 
mandate to write papers, pass courses, 
and graduate — hopefully, with a high 
grade point average. 

Circling around the country at any 
given moment is a constellation of 
hundreds, even thousands, of profes- 
sional dance artists, who work their 
day jobs, tour when they can and 
conduct residencies. College residen- 
cies allow professionals to enter the 
students' world for a day or a month, 
sometimes longer. When these art- 
ists enter the university system — or 
better yet, reenter, since many of 
them graduated from it — they real- 
ize how much this world varies from 
their own. Artists' lives and value 
systems are sometimes at odds with 
the demands of academia, and they 
may struggle to connect with fac- 
ulty, whose course loads deter them 
from even interacting with the art- 
ist during the residency. (More than 
one artist has reported having been 
in residence at a college without the 
faculty even knowing she or he was 








National College 
Choreography Initiative 

Designed to foster appreciation for 
American dance creativity, the National 
College Choreography Initiative (NCCI) 
brings newly commissioned work and 
classic American dances of the past 
century to students and audiences in 
communities across the nation. Since 
it was established in 2001 with the 
leadership of the NEA, the program 
has made possible 12i residencies, 
bringing choreographers to college 
campuses in each of the 50 states plus 
DC, and attracted almost 175,000 audi- 
ence members. In funding the almost 
80 artists and ensembles that visited 
87 different colleges, the overall goal 
has broadened to enhance the quality 
of collaboration between colleges and 
professional artists. 

One of the many unanticipated 
outcomes of all the activity spurred by 
NCCI residencies has been a greater 
realization of the issues that face artists 
and faculty. As residencies took place 
around the country, the separation of 
these two worlds became apparent, 
as did the need to bring them closer 
together. Apart from a brief evaluative 
discussion that may occur at the end 
of a residency, artists, students and col- 
lege faculty rarely had the opportunity 
to discuss their joint efforts, let alone 
to plan or consider their impact on the 
long-term health of the art form. 

In response, Dance/USA convened 
the NCCI Forums, which joined artists 
and faculty in a national dialogue. This 
guide is an outgrowth of the ideas, 
recommendations and rich discussion 
that took place in the Forums. 

The names of NCCI panelists and 
Forum participants can be found at the 
end of this book. 

there.) They struggle almost as much 
with overburdened students, who 
fear that their grades will be compro- 
mised if they cut class to work with 
the artist. For some choreographers, 
being employed full-time by the very 
colleges from which they earned 
degrees should ideally offer a sense 
of homecoming. Yet, the perks that 
tempt them, in the form of a regu- 
lar paycheck, health insurance, and 
maybe tenure, are counterbalanced 
by the striking contrasts they face on 
a day-to-day basis: between creating 
a dance and creating a course sylla- 
bus, between balancing a company 
budget and balancing an academic 
schedule, between taking risks in 
the creative process and respecting 
the traditions taught in academia. 
(Sometimes these are the very tradi- 
tions against which these artists were 
revolting when they struck out on 
their own to form companies.) 

The good news is that these worlds 
are drifting closer together. Numer- 
ous dance artists and faculty from col- 
leges around the country have told us 
over the past four years that "change is 
afoot." We are entering a new era; not 
since the 1940s have colleges been in 
positions of such importance to the 
dance field. Our university dance de- 
partments are at a crucial point where 
change seems not only possible, but 
inevitable. Shifts in ways of thinking 
and working are beginning to reverber- 
ate throughout the field — a fact that 
has become clearly visible in the dia- 
logue during all three rounds of NCCI 
residencies. New and potential points 
of intersection among the artist, the art 
and the academy have emerged and are 
prompting a reconsideration of the pri- 
orities for all involved. In the past de- 
cade, amidst the dismantling of much 
of the ecosystem that supported profes- 
sional dance, universities have emerged 

as one of the few sources for "gigs" and 
creative exploration, not to mention 
ongoing employment and benefits. 
Leading college presenters are the com- 
missioners of new work. Their faculty 
and students are the reconstructors of, 
and their libraries are the repositories 
for, historical dances. Scores of artists 
have migrated from downtown studios 
in urban centers to full-time positions 
in college dance programs. This wave 
of transition has dramatic implications 
for what is being taught — as well as 
kinds and caliber of work that is being 
made by professional choreographers, 
and that eventually will be made by 
their students. ' 

The NCCI Forums 

This guide is an outgrowth of a se- 
ries of forums for artists and college 
faculty that the NCCI has convened 
over the past several years. The Forums 
joined professional artists and college 
faculty in a national dialogue to raise 
the visibility for the issues they face, 
solve common problems, and share 
information, not only for the benefit 
of students, but also the professional 
field. The enthusiasm for this dis- 
course, combined with an overall feel- 
ing of willingness to put difficult issues 
on the table, has raised the intensity of 
the discussion to a new level. Fueled 
by overall changes and issues in the 
dance field that are much larger than 
the NCCI, the questions that arose in 
the Forums are thought-provoking and 
have far-reaching implications for the 
future of the field itself. Though the 
NCCI did not intentionally prompt 
such debate, its timing and circum- 
stances have provided an opportune 
moment for reflection and action, as 
well as a lens through which the field 
could be viewed. As one faculty mem- 
ber said, "The NCCI has intersected 

with much larger, complex issues that 
come from all directions and are in 
motion. It has tapped into vital and 
important aspects of artists, universi- 
ties, and communities." 

As we have found throughout the 
Forums, many faculty and artists are 
ready for the challenge. They recog- 
nize that being on the cusp of such 
profound change is setting the stage 
for not only the next generation of 
the dance field as they launch their 
careers, but for veteran artists who are 
returning to college settings. 

About the Guide 

At the urging of Forum participants, 
From the Campus to the Real World has 
been developed to shed light on the 
worlds of colleges and professionals. 
It is designed to prepare artists, faculty 
and students to navigate between and 
within these worlds, by offering them 
a roadmap filled with information and 
insight. In two sections, entitled "The 
Campus" and "The Real World," the 
longer main chapters serve as guides 
for the journey into each world; they 
are presented in a how-to format, 
and some include tools and exercises. 
Whenever we take a journey, we have 
a choice as to exactly how to get there, 
so the main chapters are followed by a 
series of essays from artists, adminis- 
trators, and faculty, who speak to their 
own experiences. The 20 writers come 
from a wide variety of backgrounds in 
contemporary and traditional dance. 
They are faculty who work in private 
and public colleges and universities. 
They are artists, both emerging and es- 
tablished, who have recently graduat- 
ed, or toured on scores of residencies 
for decades, or returned to take full- 
time positions. And they are adminis- 
trators who have dedicated their lives 
to serving the needs of artists. 

In "The Campus," two main chap- 
ters focus on the entry points for artists 
on campus. "Residencies 101" deals 
with planning and implementing resi- 
dency projects and provides guidance 
on the kinds of advance preparation 
that should be done and questions 
that should be asked by artists and 
faculty. "Universities 101" orients us 
to the lay of the land on campus, in- 
cluding the structure of departments, 
the definition of tenure, and the roles 
of positions such as chair and provost. 
It addresses in detail the long-term 
contracts for employment as faculty, 
whether tenure track or adjunct, and 
guides those who are considering tak- 
ing faculty positions on what to expect 
and ask. Essays cover a broad range of 
topics that arise in working on cam- 
pus: building a sense of community 
in the classroom; reconstructing his- 
torical dances; arranging meaningful 
student internships; re-envisioning 
composition and choreography; in- 
troducing students to the New York 
dance scene; and making the case for 
why choreography and performance 
should be considered on par with oth- 
er kinds of academic research. 

In "Real World 101," the main 
chapter orients young dancers (and 
faculty) to what life will be like once 
they graduate from college and begin 
a professional dance career. Draw- 
ing from the outstanding work of 
The Field, an organization in New 
York that assists emerging artists, this 
chapter provides students and oth- 
ers who are just starting out with the 
tools to think through decisions they 
may want to consider before or after 
graduation. Questions cover the per- 
sonal as well as the practical, among 
them setting goals, deciding where to 
live and what kind of work to do, and 
getting started in performing and pro- 
ducing work. Fxercises provide a way 

for students to put what they've read 
into practice. The essays that follow 
are written primarily by artists, who 
share poignant stories about what it's 
like to make the leap from the cam- 
pus to the real world, and offer ideas 
about the kind of preparation they 
feel would help. 

We hope that faculty, artists, and 
young dancers — armed with this 
guide and its distinct set of tools — will 
be able to think ahead about major is- 
sues, communicate in advance and be 
better prepared for entering each oth- 
er's worlds. This resource guide can be 
used in a variety of ways: 

• It can assist artists and college fac- 
ulty in planning residencies and 
negotiating contracts with artists. 
Dance artists, particularly those 
who are just beginning to work on 
the college circuit (including those 
who do or do not have degrees 
themselves), will have guideposts 
on learning to ask for what they 
need and negotiating their own re- 

• It encourages artists and faculty to 
establish a dialogue around their 
own collaborations so that new 
ideas can be explored as residen- 
cies are shaped. And, it provides a 
flexible blueprint for considering 
the range of opportunities that 
residencies offer for artists and stu- 
dents — to broaden awareness of the 

• It gives faculty a document that 
they can share with their own col- 
lege administrations, to build un- 
derstanding at higher levels about 
artists and the creative process 
what's expected, what is needed, 
what it will cost, and what students 
will gain from the experience. 





• It can assist faculty in modifying 
curriculum to better prepare stu- 
dents for what to expect when they 
graduate, including the range of 
professional careers in dance. 

• It can arm students with the aware- 
ness and tools to prepare them- 
selves to enter the professional 
dance world upon graduation, and 
make decisions that are grounded 
in reality yet informed by their own 
values and talents. 

^ • It can support emerging artists who 

are in their first years of working by 

C validating their experiences and fill- 

6ing in the gaps of what they didn't 
learn in school. Likewise, it can ori- 
ent artists without college degrees to 
making the leap into the profession- 
al world, as well as the academic en- 



The guide will be disseminated nation- 
ally to colleges, artists, and funders, 
and parts of it will be made available 
on Dance/USA's website. We encour- 
age its use as an excellent reading as- 
signment, even textbook, for college 
students and artists. 

The NCCI is pleased to play a role 
in joining together the constellation 
of creativity that exists on college cam- 
puses and in the real world. We think 
that sparking a gentle collision will 
have lasting benefits. 

. • »' 


■ ■ *\ i 



■■1 ■■■ R 

■ r 
'•'•' HI vtt&SOKsH 



'.tX. : ■ ■ 



■HERS JM19 vfl*.," BBSKEB 

(■■■I S3 SKgRSC 

ni Spa ■■ **£ 

izTotJiuii jmT- 

;^EBHSa ■■ flw&N ftra 

■ ■■■■■ 
■ . ■ .-cv' EMI Bl 

;-^ ■awaH -SHE •* •'<*£'■ RlSSS 

HMHHHBi nia BH I •><■■* « cMuSI mj 

A -»•,.■? J£ ■■ ■■■■■■■■ 


Hi m 


'V. ■ 




■■HOI vKn> 

r I ■■■■ B *&& ' N -; f v> ^ I B ■ SfiStf 

1 1 I :'£k ti» '■'»' > % I -U ■ •"*/.' InR Mr 

tvr "-.>.-": 






■ ■ ■ m s^^a 

■ B 







iRT* 1 1 



Universities 101 

A Guide to Long-term Artist Contracts in 
the College ancfUniversity Environment 

By Tricia Young 

We've all probably been there. 
A friend e-mails it to you, 
or coming out of rehearsal 
you see it on a bulletin board: a job 
announcement for a position in a 
college dance department. Could this 
be dance nirvana, the beginning of the 
long-term stability you've dreamed of? 
It looks too good to be true: 

Full-time, tenure-track assistant 
professor of dance. Nine- 
month appointment. Salary 
commensurate with qualifications 
and experience. Terminal degree or 
professional equivalency required. 
Successful applicant expected to 
actively contribute to the life of the 
department, college and university. 
Other teaching and non-teaching 
assignments to be determined by 
the needs of the department, and 
qualifications of the applicant. 
Benefit package includes health 
insurance and a retirement fund. 

Full-time... salary... benefits... got it. 
But wait a minute. What do all those 
other words mean? And will I look 
like an idiot if I ask? 

As the prospect of university em- 
ployment becomes more attractive to 
working professionals as a means of 
financial security, and the prospect of 

hiring working professionals becomes 
more attractive to universities seeking 
high visibility and the funding poten- 
tial that comes with it (in the current 
national economic environment, uni- 
versities are increasingly charged with 
raising their own funding), it is time 
to bridge the gap in understanding. 
Artists are often unfamiliar with poli- 
cies and procedures of jobs in me col- 
lege/university environment and col- 
leges/universities are often unfamiliar 
with working arrangements in the 
professional arts environment. What 
is taken for granted by one group as 
common knowledge can be baffling 
jargon to the other. Here are a few real 
life stories: A highly intelligent arts 
administrator recently hired by a uni- 
versity dance department told me that 
when someone suggested to her that 
visiting artists might want to "audit" 
university courses, she thought they 
were referring to some sort of finan- 
cial review rather than sitting in on a 
class with the instructor's permission 
without officially registering as a stu- 
dent. In another instance, a high-pro- 
file professional dancer who was hired 
as a full professor with tenure thought 
this simply meant that he would be 
hired full-time. It was only much later 
that he learned that faculty are usu- 
ally promoted through a hierarchy of 










• MM 

• MM 



faculty lines, and that the rank of full 
professor and acquisition of tenure 
normally takes years to earn. 

Long-term employment of profes- 
sional dance artists by college and uni- 
versity programs has enormous poten- 
tial for the field. In an era of dwindling 
resources for the arts, the academy 
may well become the crucible of 21st 
century concert dance in the United 
States. As (relatively) stable economic 
institutions, colleges may offer the 
artist secure employment (often with 
such benefits as health insurance and 
retirement plans, so rare in the dance 
world); access to facilities, technol- 
ogy, and dancers; and time for creative 
activity written into their official job 
description. Artists, in turn, may offer 
the university dance program a vital 
connection to the professional world: 
they expose students to current pro- 
fessional standards, they bring fresh 
approaches to performance and cho- 
reography, they mentor students wish- 
ing to enter the professional arena, 
and they bring high visibility for the 
program — greatly valued by universi- 
ties for its influence on national rank- 
ings, recruitment potential, and fund- 
raising. While a lively and synergistic 
relationship between the college and 
professional dance worlds can be a 
win-win situation, it is imperative that 
both groups develop an understand- 
ing of each other's worlds. 

Over the past several decades the 
professional and college dance worlds 
have become increasingly isolated 
from one another. One reason is that, 
as college dance programs have be- 
come more numerous and diversified, 
a self-referential loop has sometimes 
developed. Many university dance 
faculty spend the greater part of their 
careers as professors, often in regional 
areas throughout the country, with 
few opportunities to see current dance 
in urban arts centers. This can result 
in artistic, as well as geographic, iso- 

lation. Faculty and student interaction 
with dance outside the academy is often 
lateral — between various college dance 
programs. Moreover, many graduates 
of college dance programs seek employ- 
ment as university faculty immediately 
after receiving their degrees. Likewise, 
professional dancers who spend most 
of their time in urban arts centers, and 
who work outside the university system, 
often have little knowledge of college 
dance departments or how the academic 
system works. 

Parties on both sides of the profes- 
sional artist and university faculty equa- 
tion are often hesitant to ask for clarifica- 
tion of terms and procedures for fear of 
appearing embanassingly uninformed; 
or sometimes they just don't know what 
questions to ask. For artists seeking long- 
term employment in the university set- 
ting, information about how these envi- 
ronments function, as well as ideas for 
new ways of working together, can be 
beneficial to all parties involved in nego- 
tiating successful contracts. 

Sometimes artists don't think to 
address the most basic questions 
when negotiating employment at col- 
leges and universities. This may be, 
in part, because college employment 
opportunities for artists can seem so 
appealing that job offers are accepted 
enthusiastically, without contempla- 
tion of the nuts and bolts of a con- 
tract. Likewise, colleges may have little 
or no experience catering employ- 
ment opportunities to working art- 
ists, or those that do have experience 
may assume that a model used in the 
past (e.g., a choreographer is hired to 
set a work on students, teach a master 
class, and perform) is the format ex- 
pected by both parties. As part of the 
research for this article, participants in 
the NCCI Forums, discussed in the in- 
troduction to this book, were asked to 
collect examples of contracts used spe- 
cifically for employment of dance fac- 
ulty from a variety of colleges. Almost 

all the examples were generic contracts 
used for employment of faculty from 
all fields at the institution; none were 
specifically designed for dance artists. 
Contracts may have many negotiable 
aspects that could encourage creative 
thinking in developing tailor-made, 
rather than one-size-fits-all, employ- 
ment opportunities. Policies and pro- 
cedures for faculty hires vary widely 
from one institution to another, as 
does the value placed on the arts in 
general. Many colleges and universi- 
ties have traditionally based employ- 
ment policies on academic rather than 
artistic models. 

Questions You 
Should Ask 

For professional dancers who need a 
basic orientation to dance in academia, 
the following questions may be useful 
to understanding the college land- 
scape and negotiating job contracts. 
The information below pertains to 
U.S. academic institutions; situations 
in other countries may be very differ- 
ent. Whether adjunct, associate or full 
professor, these questions will help to 
frame discussions and decision-mak- 
ing so that all involved have a clearer 
picture of what life will be like if and 
when you take a job in a college. 

What is the role of the 
arts generally, and 
dance specifically, in 
a particular college or 
university? What are the 
possibilities for a work- 
ing artist in academia? 

When an artist considers long-term 
employment in a college or university, 
looking at the big picture — the context 

the school provides for the arts — can 
be invaluable in assessing whether the 
artist-university match is likely to be 
mutually satisfying. Some basic con- 
siderations might include: Are the arts 
generally recognized and valued at the 
school? Does the mission of the uni- 
versity and/or dance program resonate 
with the artist's interests and goals? 
Do the aesthetic values of the program 
resonate with the artist and vice versa? 
Is there mutual respect for aesthetic 
values and creative processes between 
the dance program and the artist? 

The arts may be configured in a 
variety of ways into the fabric of the 
university. Dance programs may range 
from highly valued, well-established, 
and well-funded departments that 
grant undergraduate and/or gradu- 
ate degrees to small programs nestled 
within larger units, for instance a per- 
forming arts department or even a 
physical education department. (We 
are indebted to RE., which gave dance 
in U.S. colleges its first home; this is 
why many college dance departments 
are still housed in the old women's 
gymnasium.) It is not the size or 
glamour of the dance program that is 
important (many fine college dance 
programs are quite modest in size), 
but rather the potential for a healthy 
and productive relationship. 

What is the official 
position being offered? 
What do all the titles 
mean, anyway? 

Among the most common catego- 
ries of academic employment are 
visiting professor, adjunct professor, 
assistant professor, associate profes- 
sor, and (full) professor. The concept 
of tenure is key to most faculty hires 
in American colleges and universi- 
ties, particularly those supported by 
public funds. 


The concept of tenure was developed 
to insure that college and university 
faculty have the freedom to hold and 
advance controversial views without 
the threat of punitive action by the in- 
stitution. Tenure in American universi- 
ties dates to 1915, when the American 
Association of University Professors 
(AAUP) linked academic freedom and 
job security. In 1940, the AAUP issued 
the "Statement of Principles on Aca- 
demic Freedom and Tenure" stating, 
in part, that: 

Institutions of higher education 
are conducted for the common 
good and not to further the 
interest of either the individual 
teacher or the institution as a 
whole. The common good depends 
upon the free search for truth and 
its free exposition. 

Freedom in research is 
fundamental to the advancement 
of truth. Academic freedom in its 
teaching aspect is fundamental 
for the protection of the rights of 
the teacher in teaching and of the 
student to freedom in learning. 

After the expiration of a 
probationary period, teachers 
or investigators should have 
permanent or continuous tenure, 
and their ■service should he 
terminated only for adequate 
cause, except in the case of 
retirement for age, or under 
extraordinary circumstances 
because of financial exigencies.' 

In recent years tenure has become a 
controversial issue. Opponents assert 
that it is an outdated institution that 
gives an unreasonable degree of job 
protection rarely found in other voca- 
tions. There is a growing trend toward 
non-tenure-track faculty lines, which 
may be annual or multi-year contracts 
renewable based on faculty perfor- 

mance and institutional priorities. In 
any case, tenure remains a common 
element of academic employment; an 
understanding of how it works, and 
what it entails, is essential. 

A tenured professor is someone 
who has served the required proba- 
tionary period and deemed to be 
worthy of permanent employment 
by meeting a rigorous standard of re- 
quirements in the areas of teaching, 
service, and scholarly or creative activ- 
ity. Tenure is usually earned through 
an arduous process of review through 
various levels of university faculty and 
administration. However, in some cas- 
es, a person of exceptional merit may 
be granted tenure when hired. A ten- 
ure-track professor refers to someone 
who holds a position that requires 
working toward the goal of tenure, but 
who has not yet completed the proba- 
tionary period. Tenured and tenure- 
track jobs are designed to develop and 
retain permanent faculty members of 
high quality. 

It is important to note that while 
tenure-track positions may come with 
the possibility of greater job security 
and benefits, the administrative and 
service duties expected from such fac- 
ulty members can be daunting and ex- 
tremely time consuming. (This is dis- 
cussed more specifically below, in the 
section on service.) It is a good idea 
to weigh the pros and cons of various 
types of positions when considering 
university employment. 

Visiting professor 

A visiting professor is someone em- 
ployed to teach for a limited period 
of time. This person may be a faculty 
member at another institution, or a dis- 
tinguished scholar or artist who is not. 

Adjunct professor 

An adjunct professor is someone who 
does not have a permanent position 
at the academic institution. This pei 








son is usually hired to teach courses 
on a contractual basis, often with a 
renewable contract. This is generally a 
part-time position, although the num- 
ber of courses taught can vary from a 
single course to a full-time load (or 
even an overload). Adjunct faculty are 
usually not obligated to participate 
in administrative responsibilities that 
are often expected of other full-time 
professors at the institution. Adjunct 
professors in dance departments may 
teach a wide range of courses, but they 
are often contracted to teach courses 
outside the core curriculum. These are 
often "special topics" courses such as 
hip-hop, jazz, tap, or various forms 
of "world dance." (For more, see Julia 
Ward's essay, "The Real World of Ad- 
junct Teaching.") 

Assistant professor 

This is considered to be the entry-level 
tenure-track faculty position, which 
usually requires a "terminal" degree 
from a college or university. A termi- 
nal degree refers to the highest degree 
offered in a given field. For academics, 
this is usually the PhD (Doctor of Phi- 
losophy); for artists, usually the MFA 
(Master of Fine Arts). Many colleges 
recognize "professional equivalence" 
for practicing professionals in a given 
field, and do not require them to hold 
a formal degree. For dance faculty, this 
may include recognized standing in 
the field as evidenced by, for example, 
a distinguished choreographic or per- 
forming career, or membership in a 
dance company of note. 

Associate professor 

This is the mid-level faculty position. 
It is usually awarded after a probation- 
ary period as an assistant professor, 
during which time the faculty member 
demonstrates significant achievement 
in his or her field. On occasion an ex- 
perienced scholar or artist is hired at 
the associate level. The position is gen- 

erally tenure-track. Criteria for attain- 
ing the rank of associate professor vary 
considerably between institutions and 
departments. Most institutions that 
hire tenured or tenure-track faculty in 
the arts recognize "creative activity" as 
the equivalent of "scholarly activity." 
(See Linda Tomko's essay, "Choreogra- 
phy as Research," which addresses this 


Sometimes also referred to as full pro- 
fessor, this is the senior faculty posi- 
tion. In public institutions, this is al- 
most without exception a tenured po- 
sition. Promotion to the rank of (full) 
professor is contingent upon recogni- 
tion as a person of national and/or 
international standing in a given field. 
In some instances, a senior scholar or 
celebrated artist is hired at the rank of 
professor. However, in most cases, a 
faculty member must serve a designat- 
ed number of years at the rank of as- 
sociate professor before being eligible 
for consideration for promotion. 

While salaries vary widely for a num- 
ber of reasons, the pay scale usually in- 
creases with acquisition of tenure, and 
with promotion through the ranks. 

Other positions and titles 

In addition to the faculty categories de- 
scribed above, special faculty appoint- 
ments may be created for specific peo- 
ple or catered to special circumstances. 
For instance, some institutions have 
special professorships held specifically 
for die purpose of diversifying the fac- 
ulty. Depending upon the demograph- 
ics, field of study, or other criteria, the 
definition of diversity may vary widely. 
One dance department made a suc- 
cessful case for men qualifying as mi- 
norities in the field of dance education. 
Other examples are positions such as 
"Artist in Residence," or "Named Pro- 
fessor," usually created to attract noted 
artists or senior scholars to the school. 

These may come with special condi- 
tions, such as flexible teaching sched- 
ules, travel or research funds, etc. 

What is the organization 
of the college or universi- 
ty and how do these jobs 
fit into the big picture? 

The organization of colleges and uni- 
versities may vary from one institution 
to another in their specific details. For 
example, a dance department may be 
found in a school of performing arts, 
a school of physical education, or may 
be a stand-alone unit; it may offer a 
dance degree (e.g., Bachelor of Arts, 
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Arts, 
Master of Fine Arts), or a specializa- 
tion within another degree. In gen- 
eral, however, American colleges and 
universities currently follow a basic 
structure that is organized something 
like this: 


These are usually areas of concentra- 
tion that operate under the auspices 
of a larger body, such as a department 
or college. Depending upon the pro- 
gram, it might grant its own degree, or 
specify an area of specialization with- 
in another degree program. Programs 
are usually administered by a director, 
coordinator, or head. 


These are units made up of one or more 
degree-granting "major" programs. For 
example, a dance department might 
have several majors: an undergradu- 
ate BFA, a graduate MFA, which are 
both studio-based degrees, and a MA 
in dance history. Departments are ad- 
ministered by a chairperson. 

College or school 

These terms are often used synony- 
mously, although various degrees of 

prestige, and sometimes types of orga- 
nizational structure, may be attributed 
to them. 

Within a university system, a col- 
lege or school is made up of a number 
of departments, usually in related ar- 
eas. For instance, a dance department 
might, together with departments of 
music and theater, make up a school 
or college of performing arts. Colleges 
or schools within a university system 
are administered by a dean. 

Many colleges are not part of a larg- 
er university system and function as 
self-governing institutions. The chief 
administrative officer in this case is 
usually referred to not as a dean, but 
as the president. 


A university is usually made up of a 
collection of colleges or schools. For 
instance, a university might include 
colleges or schools in the performing 
arts, modern languages, medicine, law, 
etc. The chief administrative officer of 
the university is the president. 

Because of the size and complexity 
of the university structure, there are 
usually a number of other important 
administrative offices. The provost of 
the university is the chief academic of- 
ficer and is responsible for the faculty 
and the curriculum. All academic units 
report to the provost, as do academic 
support units such as the library. In ad- 
dition to the deans of academic units, 
there may be other, higher-ranking 
deans, such as the dean of undergrad- 
uate studies, dean of graduate studies, 
dean of the faculties, dean of student 
affairs, etc. There may also be a variety 
of vice-presidents, directors, coordina- 
tors, and managers at various levels of 
the administrative hierarchy. The fac- 
ulty handbook, orientation materials, 
or other university publications usu- 
ally have detailed information about 
a specific university's administrative 
structure and a listing of its officers. 

One of the most useful and read- 
ily available sources of general infor- 
mation about a particular school is 
the institution's faculty handbook. 
Schools also often have informative 
orientation materials for new faculty 
members, which could be useful for 
prospective (rather than only already- 
hired) employees. In addition, there 
are a number of books geared toward 
acquainting new faculty members 
with university culture, and toward 
administrators (department chairs, 
deans and others) providing mentor- 
ship for new faculty members. A brief 
bibliography of suggested reading on 
this and related subjects is included at 
the end of this chapter. 

What is the salary? 

Salaries vary widely from one insti- 
tution to another and, often, even 
between departments within a single 
institution. In negotiating a contract it 
may be useful to become familiar with 
salary ranges of comparable appoint- 
ments at other schools. Unfortunately, 
this information has not been system- 
atically collected and made available; 
the best way to find this out is prob- 
ably to ask friends and colleagues who 
hold these kinds of jobs. 

Are benefits included 
in the employment 

Many university jobs come with bene- 
fits such as health insurance, life insur- 
ance, and retirement plans. These may 
be available for family members as well 
as the employee. (Benefits for domestic 
partners are rare, but possible.) Avail- 
ability of benefits may vary depending 
upon the rank or category of position. 
For example, adjunct faculty positions 
often do not include benefits while ten- 
ure-track positions often do. 

What is the length of 

Visiting faculty employment may 
range from several days or weeks to 
a semester, a year, or even longer. Ad- 
junct positions are usually one-semes- 
ter or one-year contracts, and are often 
renewable. Some institutions have re- 
strictions on how long a person may 
hold a visiting or an adjunct position; 
it is useful to know these policies in 
order to determine eligibility for con- 
tract renewal. 

Tenured and tenure-track positions 
are usually based on renewable one- 
year contracts; however, with the ac- 
quisition of tenure, contract renewal 
becomes highly probable. For a fac- 
ulty member entering at the assistant 
professor level, the period of proba- 
tion is usually five to six years. Faculty 
members who have earned tenure or 
held tenure-track positions at other 
universities may, with the consent of 
the proper administrative authorities, 
"transfer" a given number of years 
toward tenure to the new institution. 
This may subsequently abbreviate their 
probationary period. Under most cir- 
cumstances, if a faculty member does 
not earn tenure after the prescribed 
number of years, their contract is not 
renewed. In the world of academia, 
this can be a grave situation; failure 
to achieve tenure becomes part of a 
faculty member's employment record 
and makes the prospects of securing 
tenure-track employment at another 
institution unlikely. The adage "pub- 
lish or perish" refers to this academic 

At the end of the probationary pe- 
riod, there is usually a window of one 
or two years during which time the as- 
sistant professor may be nominated 
for tenure by members of the depart- 
ment and/or administration. 









What is the assignment 
of responsibilities? 

Many colleges and universities have as- 
signment of responsibilities forms that 
give details of duties. Details of the 
assignment of responsibilities may be 
worked out after a contract is signed, 
but a general understanding of the fol- 
lowing information is important in de- 
termining/assessing what is expected. 

Full-time faculty members em- 
ployed for one or more semesters are 
usually expected to fulfill a percentage 
of their duties in each of following 
three categories: 1) teaching, 2) ser- 
vice, and 3) scholarly and/or creative 
activity. (Many institutions recognize 
choreography, performance and other 
artistic endeavors as the equivalent 
of scholarship in their field). Evalua- 
tion of tenure-track employees for the 
awarding of tenure and promotion is 
heavily based upon performance in 
these three categories. It is, therefore, 
important to ensure that the job de- 
scription allows for reasonable oppor- 
tunity to fulfill promotion and tenure 
requirements. Most universities have 
specific criteria for evaluating faculty 
for the purposes of promotion and 
tenure; they are usually detailed in the 
institution's faculty handbook. 


Employees may be assigned to teach 
entire courses and/or specific classes. 
Courses consist of regularly scheduled 
class meetings over a period of time, 
usually one semester. For example, 
dance department curricula generally 
consist of courses in a number of ar- 
eas such as technique, choreography, 
history, production, etc. Teaching a 
course means serving as the official 
faculty of record, and being responsi- 
ble for its content and teaching, prepa- 
ration of a syllabus, and grading stu- 
dents. Sometimes special short-term 
courses are arranged for visiting fac- 

ulty. Teaching classes refers to teach- 
ing individual sessions. For example, a 
visiting instructor may teach individu- 
al classes in a course officially assigned 
to someone else; or they might teach 
specific class sessions in a specially ar- 
ranged workshop, master class, or lec- 
ture-demonstration that is not part of 
a particular course. Teaching classes in 
this context does not usually require 
responsibility for managing a course 
in its entirety. 

Assigned teaching duties may be 
negotiable depending upon the needs 
of the department and expertise of 
the faculty. Issues to consider include: 
what courses a faculty member will 
be responsible for, how often and for 
how long the classes meet, proficien- 
cy level and maturity of the students 
(e.g., beginners, advanced dancers, 
undergraduate or graduate students), 
and amount of flexibility/freedom al- 
lowed in developing course content. 

Other activities may also be con- 
sidered part of the teaching assign- 
ment; because of the nature of dance, 
teaching often overlaps with the areas 
of service and creative activity. For ex- 
ample, a faculty member in charge of 
a department performing company 
might be responsible for teaching 
company class, choreographing and 
rehearsing repertory, and mentoring 
student choreography. 


The breadth of assigned service may 
vary widely and entail duties at de- 
partment, university, community, re- 
gional, national, or international lev- 
els. What is defined as service may also 
vary widely, from arranging communi- 
ty outreach performances and master 
classes to participating on committees 
for the department to sitting on pro- 
fessional Boards. 

New professors are often unaware 
of the amount of service that can be 
required, particularly for tenured and 

tenure-track faculty. For instance, di- 
recting a department concert can en- 
tail weeks or months of work, assess- 
ing and mentoring student choreog- 
raphy, scheduling and overseeing re- 
hearsals, coordinating production and 
publicity activities, and even house 
management. Service is often required 
on separate committees that oversee 
areas such as curriculum, promotion 
and tenure, academic policy, and fac- 
ulty search for new hires. Other duties 
may include student advising (meet- 
ing with students at least once a se- 
mester to help them select and register 
for courses required for their degrees), 
service on faculty senate or other 
governing bodies, recruiting new stu- 
dents, and conducting auditions both 
on and off campus. Many faculty find 
that service can take up an increasingly 
disproportionate amount of their time 
and distract from their own creative 
or scholarly work. This is particularly 
important if a very large service assign- 
ment keeps a faculty member from 
having adequate time to fulfill promo- 
tion and tenure requirements. Heavy 
service loads are not necessarily the 
norm, but it's good to remain aware of 
service responsibilities, which may be 
negotiable with your chair. 

Creative activity 

Many universities with programs in 
the arts recognize "creative activity" as 
the equivalent of "scholarly activity," 
and consider both to be the result of 
"research." (This has not always been 
the case, and the thanks for enlight- 
ened attitudes should go, in large part, 
to university administrators who have 
fought long and hard to gain recogni- 
tion and prestige for the arts in Ameri- 
can institutions of higher education.) 
Creative activity may be assigned in 
place of the traditional scholarly ac- 
tivity, and considered in assessing 
a faculty member's progress toward 
promotion and tenure. In the past 

decade, a growing number of dancer- 
scholars have emerged who have both 
significant professional dance experi- 
ence and a PhD in dance history or a 
related field. It is, therefore, becoming 
more common for dance programs to 
include faculty with assigned duties 
in both studio and scholarly work; as- 
sessment of their accomplishments is 
considered accordingly. 

As is the case with teaching and 
service, assigned duties vary widely 
from institution to institution and 
even between faculty members in a 
given department. It is important to 
understand how a particular university 
defines creative activity, and the kinds 
and amounts of activities that are ex- 
pected. Following is a list of examples 
that are often considered as the creative 
equivalent of scholarship: original 
choreography (set on students or pro- 
fessional dancers); live performances; 
choreographic commissions or invita- 
tions to create or set work in respected 
venues; reconstructions or stagings of 
another artist's repertory; lecture/dem- 
onstrations; recognitions; awards; and 
grant funding for creative work. 

It is important to understand and/ 
or negotiate specific expectations re- 
garding creative activity. For example, 
will the artist be expected to produce 
an artistic "product" such as a choreo- 
graphic work, concert, or film? Will 
they be expected to create work for de- 
partment concerts? 

What funding sources or 
in-kind support is avail- 
able for creative work? 

Many universities award internal 
grants on a competitive basis. While 
the majority of funding has tradition- 
ally been available to the sciences, 
many universities have created en- 
dowments specifically for the arts and 
humanities. Most campuses have de- 
velopment offices that assist faculty 
in locating funding both within the 
university and from outside sources, 
and sometimes provide assistance in 
the application process. It is important 
to be aware that when a faculty mem- 
ber acquires funding from outside or- 
ganizations that require application 
through official university channels, 
the university often takes a hefty per- 
centage of the award. It is advisable to 
be aware in advance of this percent- 
age, which is called indirect cost or 
overhead, by contacting the develop- 
ment office. In addition to monetary 
support through grants, universities 
may provide funding for creative ac- 
tivities through their regular budget- 
ary allotments. For instance, a depart- 
ment may have an annual budget for 
faculty concerts, travel, or equipment 

Perhaps the most valuable institu- 
tional support for the arts is in-kind 
support. Artists may be able to use 
facilities such as rehearsal space and 
performance venues, as well as pro- 
duction services and state-of-the-art 
technology. If an artist is on faculty 
and has an independent professional 
company, the college may extend use 
of its facilities to that company dur- 
ing specified periods, such as sum- 
mers when facilities are often used 
minimally on college campuses. Or, 
the college may be willing to book the 
company into an artist series, or hire 
them for a residency. 

What are possibilities 
for creative scheduling 
and job descriptions? 

Other invaluable sources of in-kind 
support for practicing artists are flex- 
ible scheduling and job descriptions. 
Historically, the academic world has 
already accommodated somewhat er- 
ratic schedules, especially if they sup- 
port special projects or research. For 
example, sabbaticals grant eligible fac- 
ulty members, usually through a com- 
petitive application process, paid leave 
(usually one or two semesters) to un- 
dertake specific creative or scholarly 
projects. Many faculty appointments 
are nine-month contracts, employing 
faculty members only during the aca- 
demic year (fall through spring), leav- 
ing the summer free for professional 
development or creative projects. 

College employers may entertain 
many other possibilities for creatively 
configuring schedules and job descrip- 
tions. A few examples follow: 

Allowing faculty to be in resi- 
dence for short, intensive periods. 
This could mean that instead of teach- 
ing several classes a week over an en- 
tire semester, a faculty member could 
teach intensive mini-courses or work- 
shops over a much shorter period of 
time. Many artists have expressed an 
interest in teaching intensive sessions, 
not just for their own convenience, 
but because some activities work best 
in a concentrated time frame. Work- 
ing in a variety of situations may also 
provide students with a more realistic 
approximation of professional work 
environments. The best example is a 
course designed to choreograph new 
work, which emulates the rehearsal 
process in the real world. The depart- 
ment would have to be willing to re- 
lease students from regularly sched- 
uled classes to accommodate this kind 
of flexible scheduling. 












Allowing artists to be off-campus 
for given periods for professional ac- 
tivities. Flexible scheduling, such as 
the example described above, could 
accommodate this. 

Faculty exchanges. Faculty mem- 
bers at different institutions exchange 
positions for a period of time to allow 
them access to different students, pos- 
sible collaborators, facilities, etc. This 
can also be beneficial to students by 
exposing them to new faculty and 
teaching approaches. 

Internal sabbaticals. A faculty 
member teaches an extra-large course 
load for a given number of semesters 
and then earns a term (paid) during 
which their full assignment of respon- 
sibilities could consist of creative activ- 
ity. This would allow the faculty mem- 
ber to work either on or off campus. 

Job sharing. Two or more faculty 
share teaching responsibilities for a 
semester. This is, in effect, a mini-in- 
ternal sabbatical. Each faculty mem- 
ber teaches an overload for part of the 
term, and then gets the rest of the term 
"off" to do creative work. 

Half-time tenure-track position. A 
faculty member has a permanent ten- 
ure-track position, but only works one 
semester a year. This faculty member is 
paid half of a full-time salary, has bene- 
fits, and becomes eligible for tenure and 
promotion after the same number of 
semesters in service as a regular tenure- 
track line (which will take twice the cal- 
endar years in service to accumulate). 

Sharing a tenured or tenure-track 
line. Two people share a single faculty 
line so each has half time employment. 

Rotation of service duties. Colleg- 
es may configure duties like commit- 
tee service, student advisement, etc., 
to relieve a faculty member from time- 
consuming service for given periods 
of time. (As mentioned earlier, some 
faculty, for various reasons, find them- 
selves burdened with an inordinate 
number of service activities, which can 

be extraordinarily time-consuming 
and distracting from creative activity.) 
Alternative models such as these 
can create a win-win situation for artist 
and school. The artist has the opportu- 
nity to continue professional activities 
and artistic endeavors while benefiting 
from stable employment and perks 
like insurance, access to facilities, and 
engagement in the academic environ- 
ment. The school benefits by having 
an artist on faculty who brings profes- 
sional work, insight, and visibility to 
the program. 

Who owns the copyright 
to a faculty member's 

Current copyright laws and policies 
are extremely complex and vaguely 
defined, particularly in the digital 
age where reproduction/duplication 
and transmission of information is 
such a simple and readily available 
process. In the United States, there is 
no single interpretation of copyright 
law. Institutions and individuals vary 
widely in their interpretations, and 
inconsistent views about copyright 
entitlement (and infringement) have 
created a great deal of anxiety in the 
culture at large, including the academy 
and the field of dance. For example, in 
the 1970s, the question of ownership 
of Gatorade made national headlines. 
Who owned the rights and who was 
entitled to the profits from this unex- 
pected commercial success: the pro- 
fessor who invented it or the univer- 
sity that employed him and supplied 
the necessary resources for his work? 
Dance, as an ephemeral art that is 
more difficult to commodity than a 
sports drink or a Hollywood movie, 
has, at times, seemed removed from 
these debates. However, high-profile 
legal battles, such as the recent dispute 
over ownership of the Martha Graham 

technique and repertory, have brought 
issues of copyright front and center in 
the dance world. 

It is therefore advisable to give con- 
sideration to such questions as: Who 
owns the rights to work created by a 
faculty member while under a univer- 
sity's employ? 2 Who owns the rights to 
a commissioned work? How long may 
a commissioned work remain in the 
repertory of a university dance depart- 
ment? Will it be videotaped or other- 
wise documented and, if so, to whom 
will it be made available? One uni- 
versity dance department has recently 
spent a tremendous amount of time 
and money with legal counsel trying 
to determine who might be entitled to 
any profits produced from selling the 
rights of a faculty member's choreo- 
graphic work to a theme park. In the 
current legal culture, it is possible that 
situations like this may become more 
common. It seems best to consider 
these issues before, rather than during 
or after, such a situation arises. 

Are there employment 
opportunities for a 

Although rare, some colleges may con- 
sider employing a qualified spouse or 
domestic partner as a recruiting tool, or 
as a way to retain highly qualified faculty. 
Some schools may have services in place 
to assist spouses in finding employment 
in their field outside the university. 

May a faculty member 
seek a degree at the in- 
stitution in which he or 
she is employed? 

Some colleges allow faculty members 
to seek degrees while serving on the 
faculty. A number of faculty members, 
most often those hired on the basis of 

professional equivalency, have found 
this to be a valuable opportunity to 
continue their formal academic train- 
ing and, thus, broaden, or even refo- 
cus, their employment options. Some 
colleges have special tuition reduc- 
tions for employees and/or their fami- 
lies, or special arrangements such as 
"pre-paid" college tuition for children 
through regular payroll deductions. 

May a faculty member 
be concurrently em- 
ployed elsewhere? 

Colleges generally have policies about 
"outside employment." Some schools 
require faculty members to disclose 
outside employment and confirm that 
it does not present a conflict of interest 
or interfere with assigned college du- 
ties. This may pertain to choreograph- 
ic commissions, application review 
panels for foundations, payment for 
master classes, etc. This does not usu- 
ally present a problem, as most col- 
leges are happy for faculty members to 
engage in outside activities that bring 
recognition to the school. However, it 
is important to be aware that official 
notification may be required; usually 
the department administration alerts 
new faculty to this kind of routine de- 
partmental procedure. 

Will relocation expenses 
be covered? 

Sometimes funds for relocation are 
available for new employees. This may 
not be routinely included in an initial 
job offer, but it may be negotiable. 

Does the institution have 
a faculty union? 

Many colleges have faculty unions that 
represent, and advocate for, faculty em- 
ployment interests. Faculty unions vary 

widely from very active organizations 
with high membership rates to mini- 
mally active organizations with low 
membership rates. Prospective faculty 
hires may wish to research the status 
and activity of the local faculty union. 

How can artists and 
colleges communicate 
effectively with each 

Communication between 
artists and colleges 

When artists are educated about how 
the college functions, and faculty are 
educated about how the professional 
dance field works, everyone benefits. 
Artists (and arts advocates) need to be 
able to tell college administrators what 
they do, why they do it, why it is im- 
portant, and what tools they need to 
work in their field. Knowledge of the 
academy can help artists draw paral- 
lels between art and scholarship; this 
can help translate ideas into a language 
that is understood and valued by aca- 
demicians unfamiliar with the arts. For 
example, by describing dance video- 
tapes as valuable primary source mate- 
rials equivalent to written texts in tra- 
ditional historical research, one dance 
department was able to make a success- 
ful case to the university administration 
for the library to purchase them under 
their "monograph" category; previ- 
ously, videotapes were not considered 
"scholarly" research materials and were 
not eligible for acquisition. 

Another dance department made a 
successful case for creating their own 
"student assessment of faculty tool." 
These tools, usually questionnaires de- 
signed to collect data for promotion, 
tenure, and contract renewal consider- 
ations, most often cater to traditional 
academic classroom settings and may 
not be well suited for the artist-teach- 

er. For example, students may be asked 
to evaluate teachers on the amount of 
reading or homework, which may not 
be a central component of a technique 
or choreography course. While devel- 
oping a new dance-oriented assess- 
ment tool was a labor-intensive task, 
the department found that it was ex- 
tremely valuable and worth the effort. 

Communication between 
artists and faculty 

If artists are familiar with the depart- 
ment in which they will be working, 
and the department faculty are famil- 
iar with the work of the artist, more 
informed dialogue about how the two 
might productively interface is possi- 
ble. Exchange of information between 
the two parties should be encouraged. 
Promotional materials, recruitment 
materials, websites, etc., are usually 
readily available sources of informa- 
tion about artists and schools. 

Communication among 
faculty members 

While the addition of professional 
working artists to college dance de- 
partment faculties has rich potential 
for both the profession and the acad- 
emy, it is important to consider how it 
might affect the ecology of the depart- 
ment, and to carefully consider, and 
plan for, the kind of working relation- 
ship that is desired. 

What are other burning 
issues in the field? 

Fairness and collegiality 

As job opportunities for artists em- 
ployed by colleges diversify, how does 
the field address "fairness"? In recent 
years, some dance programs have de- 
veloped new faculty positions with in- 
novative assignments of responsibil- 
ity. This could mean that a new hire 














has what may be considered to be spe- 
cial privileges, such as more perform- 
ing opportunities, flexible schedules, 
more time off campus, or exclusive 
access to certain student populations. 
Many college faculty members con- 
sider themselves to be professional 
artists and may resent the "star status" 
given to new hires. In some cases, a 
previously hired faculty member may 
be (or may consider him- or herself 
to be) equally qualified, and might 
have been eligible for such a position 
if it had existed at the time he or she 
was hired. There may also be existing 
faculty with seniority (for example, 
someone who has been on faculty for 
20 years or more, or who is even chair 
of the department) who find them- 
selves out-ranked and under-paid in 
comparison to new artist hires. It is 
important to consider how changes 
(albeit welcome ones) in artist-faculty 
opportunities may impact the dance 
department environment. 

While it is important for existing 
faculty to understand the circumstanc- 
es of new hires and value what profes- 
sional dancers may bring to the univer- 
sity, it is equally important that artists 
who are new to university dance facul- 
ties understand the roles of full-time 
and long-term college dance faculty 
and value what they offer to the larger 
field. If artists enter a university dance 
setting with an attitude of superiority 
or arrogance towards their colleagues 
or students, it can result not only in 
an unpleasant working relationship, 
but also in a plethora of missed op- 
portunities for productive interaction 
and collaboration. 


A mentoring network for artists and 
colleges to discuss existing models, 
and new possibilities, for faculty ap- 
pointments could be extremely use- 
ful. For instance, a list of faculty-art- 
ists who would be willing to discuss 

terms and conditions of their own 
employment could provide a valuable 
resource for artists seeking college 
positions. Likewise, such a list could 
provide a resource for college admin- 
istrators interested in educating them- 
selves about possibilities and existing 
paradigms for artist-faculty hires. A 
mentoring program within a specific 
academic institution that matches art- 
ists new to academia with seasoned 
faculty members could create a mutu- 
ally beneficial and efficient means of 
acquainting the two cultures. It could 
also prove invaluable in building mu- 
tual understanding and respect. 

Accreditation and advocacy 

A number of national service organi- 
zations dedicated to the field of dance 
may play important roles in foster- 
ing new paradigms for artist-univer- 
sity relationships, as well as serving 
as liaisons between various factions 
of the discipline. The National Asso- 
ciation of Schools of Dance (NASD), 
for example, is the accrediting body 
for American college dance programs. 
Ideally, accrediting bodies benefit the 
field not only by monitoring qual- 
ity, but also by educating institutions 
about the needs of the field and serv- 
ing as advocates for their support. For 
dance, this could mean systematically 
addressing such issues as creative ac- 
tivity as scholarly equivalence, non- 
traditional course scheduling, and 
curricular flexibility. 

The national dialogue about art- 
ist-university relationships sparked 
by NCCI, and fostered by Dance/USA 
working groups, is an important and 
timely one. Bringing together constitu- 
ents from an even wider cross-section 
of the field to share ideas, informa- 
tion, strategies, and resources has the 
potential to galvanize and reinvigorate 
21st-century dance. It may be a key to 
our survival. 


'American Association of University 
Professors website, 
2 Sample contacts that address 
ownership of work are available on the 
Dance/USA website, 

Recommendations for 
Further Reading 

Bensimon, Estela Mara, Ward, Kelly and 
Sanders, Karla. The Department Chair's 
Role in Developing New Faculty into 
Teachers and Scholars. Bolton, MA: Anker 
Publishing Company, Inc., 2000. 

Boice, Robert. The New Faculty Member: 
Supporting and Fostering Professional 
Development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass 
Publishers, 1992. 

Schoenfeld, Clay A. and Magnan, 
Robert. Mentor in a Manual: Climbing the 
Academic Ladder to Tenure. Madison, WI: 
Magna Publications, Inc., 1994. 

Wergin, Jon F. Departments That Work: 
Building and Sustaining Cultures of 
Excellence in Academic Programs. Bolton, 
MA: Anker Publishing Company, Inc., 

Dance Residencies 101 

A Guide to Planning for 
the World of Possibilities 

By Jacqueline Davis 

Residencies can support the cre- 
ation of new work, provide in- 
valuable experiences for young 
dancers, and help build dance audienc- 
es. University residencies offer much 
more than part-time employment for 
choreographers; they are special op- 
portunities for partnerships that can 
accomplish artistic and educational 
goals of equal value to the artist and 
the host community. Faculty and guest 
artists entering into these partnerships 
need to raise important issues long be- 
fore a residency begins, with the hope 
of encouraging the kind of trust and 
risk-taking that breed success. When 
there is a clear understanding of roles 
and expectations, partnerships can be 
harmonious and exciting, and provide 
truly satisfying experiences for every- 
one involved. 

At SUNY Brockport, we have a long 
history of working in residencies and 
are proud of the quality and variety 
of artists who have visited our cam- 
pus. Over the years, we have become 
a recognized regional venue for dance 
presenting and have developed strong 
relationships with public schools and 
other colleges. However, it was an in- 
vitation to participate in the New York 
State DanceForce that propelled us to 
new and better ways of working. This 
consortium of artists and presenters 

meets regularly and speaks openly 
about successes and difficulties in 
conducting residencies. With the help 
of these colleagues, our thinking has 
expanded and our expectations have 
risen. We have learned to work pro- 
ductively with artists, recognizing the 
strengths that each can contribute as 
well as the potential challenges of ev- 
ery new relationship. We've learned 
to identify needs in advance, plan 
thoroughly, and take risks. Our work 
is based on the premise that projects 
that involve good ideas and well-cho- 
sen partners are often challenging, but 
bound to succeed. We once perceived 
our greatest challenge to be lack of 
funding, but we are also challenged to 
dream big and make a personal com- 
mitment. As a result, Brockport resi- 
dencies are now more focused, better 
organized, and geared toward lasting 
experiences. The workload is some- 
times overwhelming, but worth it. 

Our process, in a nutshell, is this: 
We choose artists whose expertise 
matches our identified needs, and we 
involve faculty, staff, students, the art- 
ist, and other partners in the planning 
process. We look for meaningful ways 
to help artists and students connect; 
by the end of a successful residency, 
we find that artists are as stimulated 
as the students. But both sides have 










significant responsibilities in this part- 
nership. We try to enter new relation- 
ships with a commitment to ongoing 
dialogue and respect. This is most suc- 
cessfully accomplished when goals, 
and arrangements to achieve them, are 
openly discussed and made clear to 
everyone. Having frank conversations 
at all stages is invaluable — during con- 
tract negotiation, advance planning, 
the work period, follow-up to the resi- 
dency, and evaluation. 

The following questions often arise 
in planning and conducting residen- 
cies. These are our recommendations 
for how to best address these issues 
in advance. This guide covers a wide 
range of topics suggested in the NCCI 
forums, though some issues may be 
more relevant than others for a particu- 
lar project. Several of the questions ad- 
dressed may seem remarkably obvious, 
yet they are often overlooked and can 
cause misunderstandings. Experienced 
residency planners, both artists and 
hosts, were anxious to share their ad- 
vice so that others could learn through 
their experiences with wonderful (or 
occasionally disappointing) projects. 


What exactly is a dance 
residency? What is the 
range of possibilities? 

Residency is a term that covers many 
possible options for professional 
dancers and choreographers to join a 
dance department (or program) and 
contribute to a specific community. 
Although it's common for a touring 
company to teach an isolated master 
class or two at a university or com- 
munity center, a dance residency is 
more complex and might unfold over 
days or months. A residency might 

include opportunities for creating 
new choreography, restaging reper- 
tory works, presenting lecture/demon- 
strations, teaching technique classes, 
or coaching a particular movement 
style. Residencies may include formal 
or informal performances by the art- 
ists, who are sometimes invited to use 
studio space to create or rehearse their 
own work. But most often the artist is 
asked to provide services to students 
to supplement an ongoing program. 
In the best case, a long-term relation- 
ship may develop, whereby the artist 
returns periodically. 

Residencies may include a signifi- 
cant community component, involving 
such entities as public schools, other 
colleges, community centers, churches, 
and other partners, some of whom may 
be participating in their first dance ex- 
perience and thus may be unfamiliar 
with procedures common to danc- 
ers. Artists who have worked in pub- 
lic schools as part of their Brockport 
residencies include H. T Chen, Dian 
Dong, Doug Elkins, Tere O'Connor, 
and the Limon Dance Company. Our 
first residency with H. T Chen & Danc- 
ers included activities in Rochester's 
Chinese community, and some com- 
munity members even performed with 
Chen and the Brockport dancers. 

The content and quality of universi- 
ty dance programs can vary greatly. Fac- 
ulty may be made up of nationally rec- 
ognized dancers and choreographers 
who are committed to the develop- 
ment of young artists and knowledge- 
able dance lovers. They may maintain 
close ties to dance professionals and 
presenting venues in the area or across 
the country. In a large or well-estab- 
lished program, faculty and students 
may be accustomed to working with a 
variety of guest artists each year. How- 
ever, some programs are newly estab- 
lished, perhaps by a single pioneering 
faculty member who is anxious for the 
additional support that a visiting art- 

ist can offer, but who has little experi- 
ence with residency planning. Faculty 
in any program may be starving for 
opportunities to work with guest art- 
ists — but at the same time, they often 
maintain heavy schedules, including 
their own creative time. The students' 
level of experience can range from the 
extremely sophisticated pre-profes- 
sional to the total novice. 

The first requirements of a success- 
ful residency are good communica- 
tion and a willingness to talk about 
goals and dreams — in other words, 
to lay out the possibilities for some- 
thing that can be truly exciting. The 
focus of our three-week Limon Dance 
Company residency in fall 2005 was 
intensive study of Limon movement 
principles, including several presenta- 
tions on the Limon aesthetic and com- 
pany history. When we became inter- 
ested in the American Dance Legacy 
Institute's Repertory Etudes™ Project, 
artistic director Carla Maxwell agreed 
to teach and rehearse the new Limon 
study with 25 students, providing an 
in-depth experience with that mate- 
rial. We also agreed to her last-minute 
request to change the location of com- 
pany performances from the theater 
to our spacious performance studio, 
a former gymnasium with seating on 
three sides and no wings, which let 
the audience feel as though they were 
inside the dances. We were able to 
adapt to changes in the residency plan 
because this was our fourth residency 
with the company and a trusting re- 
lationship was well established. The 
company is a good match for our pro- 
gram and, most importantly we have 
found a fresh focus each time we have 
worked together. 

Sometimes it's important that a vis- 
iting artist have a visible campus-wide 
presence; in another residency, the art- 
ist may be asked simply to focus on 
working quietly with a small group of 
students. Artists may be asked to at- 

tend public events as honored guests 
(probably a good PR opportunity for 
the artist, the project, and the dance 
program) or to interact only within 
the department. Guest artists might be 
treated royally and supported with a 
team of experienced assistants or, once 
acclimated, expected to function like 
regular faculty. The important idea is 
that the better the communication be- 
tween artist and hosts, the more pro- 
ductive and satisfying the experience 
will be for all involved. 

Information and 
Setting Goals 

What is the college cur- 
riculum and calendar? 

Familiarity with the mission, student 
body demographics, and location of 
the institution can be useful for a pro- 
ductive conversation between artist 
and host. College websites are loaded 
with information and provide a great 
way for artists to learn about campus 
life and the institution's culture. An 
artist can check for an NASD accred- 
ited dance program — this means the 
college has met peer-reviewed nation- 
al standards of excellence and has ar- 
ticulated its mission and goals. These 
institutions should be able to easily 
share information about the general 
values and goals of the dance program. 
Institutions that are not NASD ac- 
credited may be able to do so as well. 
It will be easier for an artist to meet 
needs that are well articulated, and a 
conversation about the curriculum 
can be a helpful start. (For example, 

a program may include a strong tech- 
nology component, ballet curriculum, 
or emphasis on improvisation.) It may 
also help the artist to know about the 
institution's previous residency expe- 
rience. Does the host invite frequent 
guests for a variety of projects or are 
residencies a new undertaking? 

Knowing when the institution's 
academic year begins and ends is use- 
ful information — a visit in late Sep- 
tember might fall at the beginning of 
a quarter or well into the fall semester. 
Faculty and student workloads can 
also vary — in a large department, ev- 
eryone may be busy with preparations 
for a number of productions, while 
other departments may focus on only 
one or two a year. Dance skills aside, 
students at a small liberal arts college 
two hours from the nearest airport are 
academically and socially different 
from those at a research university in a 
major city, or from those in a complex 
conservatory dance program. In other 
words, learning about the host culture 
can provide the artist with knowledge 
about how to work effectively. Be sure 
to check the facilities too; there are aca- 
demic institutions around the country 
with some of the finest dance facilities 
in the world, while at others, there is 
only one studio and limited access to 
a good performance space. 

What can the artist offer 
to the college's students 
and department? 

Faculties want to find a good artistic 
match for their current needs — to fill a 
curricular gap or to develop an area of 
study. Sometimes their choices follow 
trends, as with contact improvisation, 
technology applications, spoken word, 
or culturally based dance forms. What 
might the artist contribute that meets 
an institutional interest or need? Per- 
haps there's a current campus-wide 

focus that begs for a certain artist or 
project; the priority could be working 
in the community on a social issue, or 
an interdisciplinary collaboration with 
artists and faculty in other disciplines. 
Perhaps a particular movement style, 
historic period, or teaching approach 
is of interest. 

We brought La Yedra, a small new 
flamenco group, to give a lecture/dem- 
onstration after two previous experienc- 
es with their director, Rebecca Thomas, 
as a guest teacher. We liked the quality 
of her teaching and wanted students 
to have an opportunity to experience a 
form that we don't offer. Another com- 
pany, Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, 
was in residence for a longer period 
because we were interested in their 
combined African and modern exper- 
tise. Our students were already famil- 
iar with the style and ready for further 
study. The company's artistic director, 
Abdel Salaam, also had extensive expe- 
rience with high school students and 
we knew that a public schooi partner- 
ship would work well. 

It's important for an artist to be 
able to articulate his or her strengths 
as well as any special interests. What is 
it that makes this artist a good match, 
and what special contributions can 
he or she make? If she has permis- 
sion to mount a piece of repertory on 
a student group, can she also lecture 
about its history? What is the focus of 
his current work and how might it be 
used with the program? What could 
she do with this particular popula- 
tion? What has he done successfully at 
other institutions and what challenges 
might he want to pursue now? For the 
artist, the residency can be a unique 
opportunity to explore his or her own 
interests and develop new work with 
unusual resources. A collaborative and 
flexible artist with ideas to contribute 
is a welcome guest and highly valued 
resource in any dance program. 













What is the relationship 
between the artist and 
the curricular goals? 

It helps if the artist knows how the 
project fits into the big picture. The 
curricular goals may have a lot to 
do with who will work with the art- 
ist — the selection and casting process, 
number of dancers, and skill level. The 
length of the residency can also have 
significant implications. Obviously, a 
semester-long special appointment al- 
lows for very different activities than 
are possible in a highly focused one- 
week residency. Perhaps the plan is for 
the artist to quickly mount a particu- 
lar concert work independent of the 
ongoing curriculum. Keep in mind 
that in some institutions a perform- 
ing ensemble exists separately from 
coursework in the academic program 
and students must be excused from 
classes to attend special rehearsals. In 
others, the artist's presence is the main 
event of the academic year and a full 
schedule of activities is developed to 
include classes for the dance program, 
for students in other disciplines, and 
for the public as well. It is imperative 
that there is someone in the depart- 
ment — a faculty member or a gradu- 
ate student — who is both willing and 
able to serve as rehearsal director and 
assistant for this specific artist. 

How will the artist be 

The artist can benefit from understand- 
ing how he or she was selected. If a 
group of people on campus reviewed 
videotapes and press kits during an 
open selection process, it's more likely 
that the artist is a known quantity before 
arrival. Some colleges have well-funded 
student organizations with significant 
responsibility for residencies and those 
students might elect to bring artists of 
particular interest to them. Perhaps the 

artist was selected by a representative 
faculty committee, or by the artistic di- 
rector of the department's performing 
ensemble, or only by the department 
chair. Knowledge of the selection pro- 
cess might have significant implica- 
tions for the success of the residency; 
when an entire department is on board 
for a project, there is likely to be better 
support for a visiting artist. Unfortu- 
nately, a guest can't assume that every- 
one in the department is familiar with 
the project, much less in full support. 
If the production staff wasn't consult- 
ed in advance about special costume, 
lighting, or set piece needs, there could 
be friction later. A project planned for a 
limited number of participants, such as 
intense rehearsals to mount a repertory 
piece on a select group, will create a dif- 
ferent atmosphere than one with full 
department focus. Is there potential 
conflict in the department that a guest 
should know about in advance? 

Why is this residency 
going to happen? 

Is there a special purpose for using 
this artist or for bringing a certain 
choreographic work? Perhaps it was 
determined based on an applicable 
funding source, or there is an upcom- 
ing community celebration, or a pro- 
gramming hole in the concert season. 
The artist needs to know if there are 
particular goals to meet. For instance, 
in a Limon Dance Company residency 
at Brockport a few years ago, several 
students were invited to learn a rep- 
ertory work with company members. 
The goal was to give advanced stu- 
dents a professional level internship 
experience. Or maybe you're planning 
a dream residency with total flexibility 
and the artist is free to pursue his or 
her own interests. In that case, the goal 
might be to share the creative process 
as it unfolds through a series of open 
rehearsals and conversations. 

What is the size and 
technical ability of the 
student body? 

There has to be a conversation about 
the students with whom the artist will 
work. To speak simply of "majors" 
and "non-majors" can be misleading; 
the terms "skilled" or "inexperienced" 
might be more descriptive. Artists can- 
not assume that even advanced student 
dancers in an educational setting can 
work at a professional level. Even in the 
largest of programs, there may be limi- 
tations: too few dancers with appropri- 
ate skills for the work; not enough with 
advanced ballet training; too few males; 
limited partnering abilities; good mod- 
ern technique but not in the appro- 
priate style; or little or no experience 
in the ethnic form to be taught, be it 
Caribbean, Balinese, hula, etc. Though 
student dancers might learn the basic 
structure of a work quickly, they may 
need more rehearsal time than the art- 
ist anticipates in order to bring it to 
performance level. Scheduling can be 
another problem — we've had semes- 
ters when the strongest dancers were al- 
ready heavily committed, leaving them 
unavailable to work with a guest cho- 
reographer. Learning from that experi- 
ence, we now audition dancers earlier 
so they can build guest artist rehearsals 
into the next semester's schedule. 

Time can be saved if the artist is 
clear from the beginning about any 
specific casting requirements. The art- 
ist should think ahead about what 
kinds of dancers might be needed. 
Sometimes an artist is expected to 
work with everyone, while in other 
situations he or she can hold an au- 
dition and select from a large group. 
Discussing the student body and the 
audition process in advance allows 
the artist to determine the amount of 
rehearsal time needed, and make any 
necessary adaptations to the material 
based on the dancers' skill levels. 

Have the goals been 
stated in writing in 

Everyone benefits from a clear agree- 
ment about goals and how they fit into 
the program. Otherwise, the residency 
may be perceived as an intrusion or 
an unwanted diversion from impor- 
tant work. Surprises aren't good — all 
faculty members need to know well 
in advance about the residency and 
how to coordinate students' other as- 
signments and rehearsals during that 
time. Faculty who feel forced to work 
with a guest artist might not exude a 
positive attitude to students. When 
a residency is geared toward accom- 
plishing specific goals, it's important 
to communicate those goals clearly to 
the artist in advance. The artist should 
think about the implications of these 
goals and clarify any cloudy areas 
well before deciding to accept. Artists 
should ask questions without feeling 
intimidated; hosts should raise issues 
and really listen to artists' responses. 
The plans may be simple, but they 
have to be clearly stated. If either the 
artist or the host institution is new to 
residency planning, there may have 
to be room for negotiation along the 
way. But if everyone agrees on what is 
most important to accomplish in the 
residency, they will also know how to 
judge its success. 

Shaping the 
Advance Visits, 
Schedules and 

What's the planning 

It is always better to bring the artist to 
the site for advance planning. Having 
auditions a semester ahead can allow 
for planning a course in which all the 
dancers register as part of their com- 
mitment to the residency. Time after 
time, we have seen that students who 
have opportunities to meet, however 
briefly, with a future guest are excited 
and much better prepared to work 
productively with that guest later. The 
same applies to the support staff — ev- 
eryone who will work with the artist 
should have an opportunity to meet 
during the planning process. 

Preparatory meetings where local 
partners from other departments, pub- 
lic schools, or the outside community 
can have face-to-face conversations with 
the artist will accomplish more than can 
ever be done^by telephone and e-mail. 
The best ideas take a long time to hash 
out together and then to germinate. The 
advantage of this kind of planning is mat 
the artist is ready to plunge in when he 
or she returns, already familiar with the 
facilities, students, faculty, and staff, and 
equipped with ideas developed for this 
specific residency. 

In some instances, faculty may be 
communicating with the artist's man- 
ager rather than the artists themselves, 
and should make sure that the infor- 
mation is communicated to the artist. 

Is there clear under- 
standing in advance 
about residency plans, 
including the details and 

Unless residency plans are actually dis- 
cussed (and preferably documented in 
writing or via e-mail), there can easily 
be misunderstandings. Everyone needs 
to know what is to be accomplished, 
and that plans are reasonable given the 
available resources of time and money. 
If the residency is divided into parts, 
what is the specific goal for each seg- 
ment? Students need to be prepared 
in advance and have a clear under- 
standing of their own responsibilities 
and specific time commitments dur- 
ing the residency. It's reasonable that 
they be informed in advance about 
any required schedule adjustments so 
they can plan their often complex lives 
accordingly. How much time can be 
reasonably allotted for guest teaching 
and rehearsing? For informal or purely 
social activities? Will the artist be avail- 
able for PR opportunities such as guest 
appearances, interviews, and photo 
shoots? When will the artist have a 
draft of the complete work ready to 
show? Will the artist have scheduled 
preparation time and reserved studio 
space for warming up before planned 
activities? Will relationships with the 
community be developed, or will the 
artist focus solely on work in the de- 
partment? If the department wants 
the artist to return for concert-week 
rehearsals or the concert itself, that ex- 
pectation should be spelled out at the 
beginning and not taken for granted, 
because there are related scheduling 
and financial implications. 












How much flexibility is 
in the plan? 

The dance program's administrator 
is always juggling multiple needs, so 
changing residency plans may be more 
complex than it first appears. It's help- 
ful to understand how requests for 
changes should be handled and the 
amount of advance notice needed. 
The guest can't assume that it's okay to 
change the location of a rehearsal or to 
ask students to work at another time. 
There may already be other classes 
scheduled in the studio, and students 
often have many obligations outside 
of dance. Everyone recognizes the need 
for flexibility, and while a guest artist 
may have top priority for the limited 
time he or she is present, the host will 
still appreciate an artist's respect for 
other people's needs. An artist who 
is aware of what else is going on is in 
a better position to work collegially 
while in the department. To keep ev- 
eryone informed, a weekly departmen- 
tal rehearsal and class schedule can be 
posted for the guest artist to consult. 

Don't assume that everything will 
go as planned. Perhaps the dancers just 
can't handle the choreographer's work. 
Or perhaps the artist believes that the 
piece will look better with more danc- 
ers, or wants to add a new section 
with different music. Maybe the work 
begins with improvised explorations 
and the final decisions about the work 
are to be addressed later. Discuss in 
advance how such questions can be 
addressed when plans change. In the 
end, everyone wants to have a good 
piece that students can perform well. 

What is the expected cast 
size and length of work? 

Though this may seem like an obvious 
question, it must be clear to everyone 
if there is a specific expectation for cast 

size or the length of the work. Is there 
a minimum or maximum length re- 
quirement? Does the host expect a cer- 
tain kind of work, or is the choreogra- 
pher totally free to create a work of his 
or her choice? A reconstruction may 
require a specified number and type 
of cast members, but new work might 
not. The choreographer should know 
about the concert(s) in which his or 
her work will be presented, and what 
the performance space is like. Perhaps 
details about the work are negotiable, 
but if it's important to the host or art- 
ist, these can be included in the writ- 
ten agreement. It can be awkward if the 
guest decides without consultation to 
make an hour-long dance for a shared 
concert, or if the host is surprised with 
a brilliant, but very short, new dance. 


The questions below will help you 
shape your contract, and the samples 
at the end of this chapter will give you 
ideas for creating your own. 

What kind of contract is 

A written document is always useful to 
guarantee a verbal agreement. While 
some artists use a standard contract 
initiated by their manager or book- 
ing agent, others use a simple letter of 
agreement that describes the general 
residency plan and terms of employ- 
ment with clearly stated dates and 
fees. This varies with both the artist 
and the size of the residency project. 
If an agent is involved, the agreement 
should be clear about when the artist 
can/should talk directly with the host. 
A standard university contract or letter 
of appointment will probably be used 
for a semester or year-long residency, 

but could be supplemented with an 
informal written agreement about 
specific expectations within the de- 
partment. The university's student or- 
ganization may have a contract of its 
own for events under its sponsorship. 

What details should be 
included in the contract? 

A formal written contract or informal 
e-mail agreement can include expec- 
tations about the length and type of 
choreography as well as specifics about 
additional activities like the number 
of classes and other presentations. 
It's sometimes helpful to list planned 
rehearsal times and locations (even 
as total hours needed rather than the 
specific schedule) and related needs 
like music and costumes. No one 
can work well for too many days in a 
row, and the agreement should build 
some down time into longer residency 
schedules. When planning far in ad- 
vance, residency details cannot all be 
finalized, but it might help to set a 
date by which final arrangements will 
be agreed upon and put into writing. 

The contract may also cover logis- 
tical questions related to housing ar- 
rangements and transportation for the 
guest artist. Is housing provided or is 
the artist responsible for finding and 
paying for it? Does the artist have any 
special needs for housing, such as an 
elevator? Who books the artist's travel 
to the university? Who pays for it? Will 
airport transportation be provided in 
both directions? What is the provision 
for meals or per diem? Will the art- 
ist be driven to and from activities or 
should he or she rent a car? 

Who owns the work? 

Is the institution commissioning a 
new work for its student company's 
repertory? Some choreographers are 

happy to create new dances or new 
versions of works for students and, in 
essence, simply leave the work in the 
department for use at faculty discre- 
tion. Some dances can be performed 
only in certain situations or only dur- 
ing the current academic year. Perhaps 
an additional fee will be required to 
carry a piece into another academic 
year or to bring a choreographer or 
designated rehearsal director back to 
the college later. Performance of major 
works may require special permissions 
and involve fees. Obviously, this must 
be understood in advance. 

Can the artist take the 
work with him/her? 

Artists should understand in advance 
about ownership of the work they cre- 
ate for the university and whether per- 
mission is required to make variations 
of the work elsewhere or set it on their 
own companies. There may be owner- 
ship implications because of a particu- 
lar funding source, such as a university 
research grant. The university might 
simply ask that its name be listed in 
company program credits if the chore- 
ographer uses the piece later. 

What about payment? 

The artist is a guest but not a volun- 
teer, and has a right to expect fair work 
practices, including appropriate and 
timely payment for services rendered. 
The process will vary depending on the 
funding source, but university bureau- 
cracies are not famous for speed. The 
artist will be asked to provide specific 
information in order to receive pay- 
ment, such as correct name of payee, 
address, and social security or tax ID 
number. Contract and check delays can 
usually be expected if arrangements 
aren't made far enough in advance. To 
minimize problems, answer the fol- 
lowing questions in advance: Will the 

artist receive an advance, get checks on 
a specified schedule, or be paid only 
after the project is completed? How 
will travel and housing be covered and 
who will make the arrangements? 

Agreeing on 
Roles, Respon- 
sibilities, and 

Who are the local 
contacts and what are 
their roles? 

It's helpful to know specifically who is 
responsible for the on-site details that 
can make a residency run smoothly. 
Leaving this unstated can create fric- 
tion. Often a department has well-de- 
fined procedures and students, faculty, 
and staff accustomed to providing as- 
sistance. Perhaps a specific person will 
be present at all times and the guest 
artist will have no responsibilities 
other than to work with dancers. The 
artist should have complete contact 
information for all the main partners 
in the project, in case of questions 
or emergencies. Discussion may be 
needed about details, such as who will 
post cast lists, write up and distribute 
the rehearsal schedule, set up sound 
equipment, get video equipment, and 
record rehearsals. What door should 
be used on weekends, and will the 
artist have his or her own set of keys? 
Most artists are quite capable but need 
to know what they should be prepared 
to handle and when they can count 
on others to help. The artist certainly 
needs to know what musician will 
accompany a technique class or if re- 
corded music should be prepared in 
advance. Knowing who is available to 

get coffee might be important, too. 

The main organizer needs to be 
clear with the outside partners about 
what is expected at each location. 
Even details like being sure that the 
floor is clean should be stated. The 
host can provide schedule details, 
maps, and driving directions for the 
artist or escort, as well as informa- 
tion about where to park, where to 
go once inside, and the name of the 
person who will meet them. Check 
with outside partners about their pro- 
cedures — most public schools have a 
process and may give visitors 
special tags to wear. 

What are the roles and 
responsibilities of fac- 
ulty, staff, and students? 

Everyone in the department should be 
familiar with the residency plan and 
should expect to lend their support. If 
the residency is a departmental prior- 
ity, all students, faculty, and staff will 
be better prepared to give assistance 
as needed and to deal with problems 
if they arise. Even when there is en- 
thusiasm for the project, most faculty 
members have heavy schedules and 
won't be able to participate in all of 
the residency activities. The faculty 
will most likely take on specific re- 
sponsibilities that will help make the 
project a success. In a large depart- 
ment with specialized faculty, some 
will be more involved than others. 
When a special class or presentation 
is scheduled during a regular class 
meeting, a conversation between the 
faculty member and the guest allows 
for planning how to use that limited 
amount of time most effectively. If 
this was not already addressed in the 
planning process, the artist and faculty 
member should find time to talk prior 
to the activity. Most faculty appreciate 
having guests in their classes and like 













to prepare students so they can ben- 
efit fully from the experience. And no 
artist wants to repeat things that were 
recently covered in class or to present 
inappropriate material. 

The role of students, and their re- 
sponsibilities as part of the residency, 
will vary at each institution. Students 
in many programs are treated like 
professionals and expected to func- 
tion that way, but other colleges might 
have less experienced students and 
faculty. Inexperienced dancers, or stu- 
dents from other disciplines on cam- 
pus, may need to be told very specifi- 
cally about things one might assume 
are obvious, such as class or rehearsal 
protocol (standing quietly or travel- 
ing across the floor in lines) and the 
artist's rehearsal expectations. If the 
posted time for a rehearsal is 5:00 
p.m., is that when students should ar- 
rive or when they should be warmed 
up and ready to begin work? What do 
students do when the choreographer 
is not working directly with them? Can 
they miss a rehearsal or leave early for 
work? Should they take notes? 

What production 
support is available? 

A guest choreographer should have a 
clear idea about the amount and level 
of support available before creating a 
new piece, especially for costumes and 
technical requirements. Perhaps the 
sky is the limit, but it is more likely 
that there just is not sufficient funding, 
expertise, or time to create the ideal 
costumes or lighting design. The same 
standard applies to mounting an estab- 
lished work, to assure that all required 
needs can, and will, be met. Most large 
dance departments have their own pro- 
duction staff and facilities, but small 
departments or programs within other 
departments often share staff, hire 
part-time help, or provide the produc- 

tion support themselves. It's important 
to be specific about the artist's produc- 
tion budget and for the artist to know 
the name of the person who makes de- 
cisions about its use. During planning, 
consider the following questions: Who 
decides when production staff will at- 
tend rehearsals, and confirms those ar- 
rangements? Should the artist take ini- 
tiative for setting up meetings with the 
costumer and lighting designer, or ex- 
pect them to contact him or her? Who 
decides when the guest can rehearse 
in the theater? Who is responsible for 
acquisition of music rights and when 
do they need to know about musical 
choices in order to create a master re- 
cording before the concert? 

Will the chair or 
administrator spend 
time with the artist and 
monitor the project? 

The program administrator will want 
to meet the artist and will probably 
monitor, in some way, the project's 
progress. Many responsibilities may be 
delegated to others, but, especially for 
complex or large projects, the admin- 
istrator should speak periodically with 
the artist to be sure that everything is 
going well. The artist should know if 
the program head has oversight for the 
whole project, or whether another per- 
son is officially in charge. It's important 
for the artist and host to discuss who is 
available to troubleshoot if problems 
arise, clarify confusing issues, or sim- 
ply offer advice about how best to pro- 
ceed. Occasionally an artist encounters 
a difficult situation that may require 
intervention, but with good planning 
there will be fewer surprises. 

Have students been 
introduced to the 
artist's work? Have 
students, faculty, and 
collaborators been 
prepared in advance for 
the residency? 

Even well-established choreographers 
may be unknown to young dancers, 
so it's helpful if students have seen 
and read about the artist's work be- 
fore the artist arrives. It's unfair to 
throw the artist into a situation that 
is a total surprise to the students. This 
can be addressed in many ways, from 
giving research assignments to post- 
ing articles online or on hall boards. 
Artists can provide video of their cho- 
reography, photos for display, press 
kits, and other PR materials that can 
be distributed to students. Teachers 
and other community partners should 
receive materials about the artist and 
take responsibility for disseminating 
them to their constituents. Addition- 
ally, the artist might be asked to make 
a presentation about his or her chore- 
ography and creative process, either in 
the planning stage or early in the resi- 
dency. In this way, dancers will know 
something about how the artist is 
likely to work before auditioning and 
can make an informed commitment 
to participate. A residency will be most 
successful if 1) the artist is welcomed 
openly and enthusiastically, regardless 
of anyone's aesthetic preferences; and 
2) participants are given information 
that can help to build that excitement 
and deepen the experience. 

Ideally, everyone should be pre- 
pared to get to work as soon as the 
guest arrives. Residency schedules have 
been posted and information distrib- 
uted well in advance of the artist's ar- 
rival. Students have committed their 
time to the residency, made plans to 

attend special events and, if extra re- 
hearsals are needed, are available to 
work. Publicity for special events is 
everywhere, adjustments in regular 
room assignments have been made, 
production meetings are scheduled, 
and preparations for a "welcome" 
event have been completed. It's clear 
who will go to the airport and who is 
in charge of other details pertinent to 
the artist's time at the university. The 
artist will be prepared to jump in as 
planned, and the schedule will be fol- 
lowed unless changes are agreed to. 

How should artists "fit 
in*'? How should they be 

The artist should be thought of as an 
honored guest invited to the host's 
professional home and should be 
treated well. Ensure that all the ma- 
jor bases are covered, but don't forget 
the details. Providing little things like 
fresh fruit and bottled water will be 
appreciated. Residencies are hard work 
and the longer the residency, the more 
tired everyone becomes. Some artists 
love lunch and dinner invitations and 
others need more down time. After 
getting to know your guest artist dur- 
ing the planning period, you can tailor 
the schedule to his or her needs. (For 
example, our residency with Forces of 
Nature began on a Sunday evening 
with lively African dancing and lots 
of food at an event planned by the 
students to get everyone involved.) 
The residency creates a significant op- 
portunity for positive press about the 
department and art form, but be sure 
to give the guest advance notice if he 
or she is expected to attend an event. 
To ensure that the guest is comfortable 
and well prepared, provide informa- 
tion about the event and offer an es- 
cort if it is in an unfamiliar location. 
It's nice when guests really enjoy 

being in the department. (One of our 
rare bad experiences happened when 
visiting dancers were overheard in the 
local movie theater making rude com- 
ments about our students' abilities to 
perform the company's technique.) 
Good guests treat everyone respect- 
fully, never place students in difficult 
situations, and stay out of local poli- 
tics. If problems do arise, they need to 
be addressed as soon as possible with 
the appropriate faculty or staff. 

Taking good care of your artist is es- 
sential, not only because he or she is 
your guest, but also because the proj- 
ect is at stake. The reputations of the 
institution and the artist are affected 
by the outcome. 


Is video equipment 
available? Will docu- 
mentation be provided? 
Is it okay to tape? 

The artist and/or the host may want to 
record the residency activities, wheth- 
er for internal or personal use, or for 
major documentation purposes. The 
department may have equipment, or 
have access to it elsewhere on campus, 
but the type and quality may vary, so 
it's wise for the artist to ask about it 
before leaving home. University policy 
as well as artist approval may need to 
be considered; participant signatures 
may be required, or limitations may be 
placed on uses of the recorded materi- 
als. For informal taping for rehearsal 
and teaching purposes, it's sufficient 
for a dancer or the artist to set up the 
equipment. For other purposes, faculty 
may be able to provide more experi- 
enced technical support. Because addi- 
tional costs for supplies and personnel 
may be incurred, budgeting in advance 

is always better, especially if grants are 
available to cover these costs. If the 
theater and/or costumes will be need- 
ed for a special taping with lights, this 
should be planned in advance. 

Can the artist obtain a 
recording of the students 
in performance? 

Often this is handled informally, but if 
it's important to the artist to have a good 
record of the completed piece in perfor- 
mance, the request should be included 
in the planning process. Extra costs may 
be involved and additional planning 
may be required if a separate time has 
to be arranged for taping. Copying and 
mailing a performance tape may take 
the department a little while, due to the 
varying levels of technology support at 
different institutions. 


Will the artist have 
access to extras like a 
computer, telephone, or 
refrigerator? What about 
office support or training 


Any visitor feels more at home when 
well-informed about the place— the 
dance facility, shopping, places to eat, 
how to get around, quiet and comfort- 
able housing, some local history. One 
crucial item is an accurate and com- 
plete contact sheet with office, home, 
and cell numbers of the local contacts, 
including the housing address and 
phone number. 








• ■■> 






Artists value studio space for warm- 
up, rehearsal preparation, and per- 
sonal use, and will want to know how 
to arrange for it, especially if access is 
limited. Studio time should be built 
into the residency schedule during 
planning. A parking permit, appro- 
priate keys, and other details need to 
be addressed. Depending on housing 
arrangements, the artist might appre- 
ciate having an office or other place 
where personal items can be stored 
and securely locked — carrying tapes, 
dance clothes, and water bottles all the 
time can be a real pain. Many artists 
are accustomed to regular gym or pool 
workouts, and will want information 
about locations, hours, and how to ar- 
range for guest access. It might be bet- 
ter to arrange this in advance. 


Computer access is important. Art- 
ists should be told where there is an 
available computer, including Internet 
access. (Preferably this will be in the 
department.) Even with cell phones, a 
guest artist will appreciate having lo- 
cal phone access and a number where 
he or she can be reached for a private 
conversation. If the secretary is willing 
to take occasional messages, the office 
phone number should be provided; 
access to fax and photocopying can 
make the artist's life away from home 
easier. Sometimes a small refrigerator 
or a coffeemaker is a lifesaver. If the 
campus can provide other services, 
such as a photographer during a re- 
hearsal or shuttle service around the 
area, the guest artist will most likely 
appreciate these extras. 

Finally, a scheduled "welcome" 
meeting provides a good opportu- 
nity for everyone to review plans and 
ask questions about all of the above. 
Something always comes up. 

Final Comments 

With all that has gone into the plan- 
ning, the residency will be wonderful. 
The host will be hospitable and gen- 
erous, the artist will make every effort 
to establish good relationships in the 
department, and everyone will prob- 
lem-solve when the need arises. The 
only thing remaining is the post-resi- 
dency discussion that probably starts 
with, "How did things go?" With good 
forethought and follow-through, the 
answer is likely to be, "Great!" and 
that assessment will be enthusiastical- 
ly passed on through the artist's — and 
the institution's — networks. 


1 These issues were explored in depth in the 
NCCI publication Artist College Collaborations: 
Issues, Trends and Vision, written by Suzanne 
Callahan and published by Dance/USA. 
That publication has been a useful tool in 
illuminating the needs of dance departments 
and is available through Dance/USA at www. 

Residency Planning Checklist and Questionnaire 

The following list can be used to guide artists and faculty in planning for residencies. Not all topics must be covered in 
your planning process; it depends on the residency. Some will be answered by faculty and some by artists; yet others 
will require reaching agreement together. Some are to be checked off when completed. Others require explanation. 

Relationship between Artist and Faculty 

Residency's relationship to curriculum: □ separate from coursework □ part of coursework 

Residency's focus: □ dance program only □ campus-wide □ campus and local community 

Artist selection process by: □ faculty committee □ department chair 

□ other process 

Other faculty and staff engaged in decision-making about the residency: 

College Curriculum & Resources 

General values of program 

Goals of residency activities 

Focus of artist's work and how it fits within the department's goals 


Needs residency might meet 

Department's previous residency experience: □ indicate none, or complete list below: 

















Location of college and travel considerations for the artists (i.e., how easy or difficult it is for the artist to reach campus) 


Proposed length of the residency: 

Proposed date(s) of the residency: 

Dates of currently scheduled dance department productions: 

Other restrictions of the academic calendar: 

Student Checklist Pre-Audition 


Casting requirements: 

Minimum technique level 
Student responsibilities: 









Anticipated time commitment per student: 




Person responsible for scheduling auditions: 

Date and time of auditions: 

Audition requirements (repertoire, length): 


Person responsible for publicizing auditions: 
Publicity outlets: 

Audition information to be disseminated 

Student Checklist Post-Audition 

weeks before auditions 

Level and range of students' technique: 

How will students be prepared for the residency: 
When will students be prepared for the residency: 

The Work 

Length of work: Minimum Maximum, 

Cast size Costume requirements 

Technical requirements 

How changes to work will be handled 

Who will hold copyright of work at the end of residency: 
□ artist □ college/university □ other 

Video documentation of work: 

Format Budget 


Residency Details 

Residency manager: 
Artist liaison: 


Date of pre-residency planning meeting(s) with artist: 

Support staff and production staff involved in planning (names and roles): 

Artist's schedule: 

Guest teaching 

Studio time/ rehearsal 

Social activities 

Other activities 

Final presentation 
PR opportunities: 

Roles/expectations of outside community groups or other campus partners: 

□ Production budget developed 

Music for master classes & teaching: □ accompanist □ recorded music □ music rights acquired 


Artist's Contract 

Type of contract: □ letter of agreement 

□ university contract 

University requirements communicated to artist: Date By (name) 

• Number/type of classes, presentations, other activities: 

• Details about work to be created or restaged (length, type, name, other): 

• Hours or schedule of rehearsal: 

• Breaks/designated unplanned time (longer residencies): 

Deadline for finalized details that aren't known at the time of the agreement: 

Transportation needs: 

Housing needs: 


Meals or per diem provided: 



Payment schedule 

Advance needed? □ (If yes, by what date: ) 

Payee SSNorEIN 



Complete contact information of project partners 


Preferred method of communication: □ phone □ e-mail Dother_ 

Preferred method of communication: □ phone □ e-mail □ other_ 

Person responsible for cast lists and distribution of rehearsal schedule 
Contact info 

Logistical information to artist: Date By (name) 

• Residency schedule 

• Maps, driving directions 

• Contact person 

• Area information such as shops and restaurants 

• Other information 


Video equipment: □ university requirements considered 

□ technical liaison identified 

Building access for artist arranged □ with (name) 

Production meeting with artist scheduled for 

Theater schedule for artist (if relevant) 

Artist hospitality: □ lunches 

For Number of Events 



□ bottled water 


□ other 



Artist local transportation: □ parking permit 

□ campus shuttle 

□ department escort 

Details about campus facilities to artist: Date By (name) 

• Studio space/rehearsal time 

• Office 

• Gym or pool 

• Computer/Internet access 

• Local phone 


Sample Agreement Letter Between Colleges and Artists 

The following contract includes many of the items that colleges and artists may want to include in their own agreements. The letter 
below can be used for simple residencies; the contract is for more in-depth residencies. Not all contracts must include all items. The 
sample dates provide a sense of the amount of lead time required to plan. 

[June 8, 2006] 

[Artist Name] 

Dear [Artist Name]: 

We're delighted that you will be a guest artist at [Name of College] this year. This brief letter serves to confirm what we have already 
agreed to through e-mail and other discussions over the past [four] months. 

You will be here from [August 26 through September 22] to work with students and faculty. We will provide a private office for your 
use while here. You will create a 10- to 20-minute dance work on students during that time and plan a mutually acceptable rehearsal 
schedule with [Name of Faculty], whose class you'll be working with. You will present a shared solo and/or duet concert in the [Name of 
Theater] on [September 20 and 21].* Please plan to attend the reception after the Friday performance. 

Please send materials about yourself and your work that can be used for publicity purposes and hall bulletin board display by [Date]. 
Photos would be appreciated. We can make multiple copies of them for press releases. 


This residency is funded by [Name ofFunder] and should be credited as such. You will receive a [Fee] honorarium payable to [Name 

of Artist], with a check for [Amount of Advance] as soon as it can be processed, [Amount of Interim Payment] after the second week, 

and [Amount of Final Payment] at the conclusion of the residency. You [will/will not] be reimbursed for transportation, lodging, or food 



Please sign and return one copy of this letter. It can be mailed or faxed to the number below. 




[Name of Chair] 

*A production meeting is scheduled on [August 23]; poster information is due by [August 27]; all program information is due by [Sep- 
tember H]. 

[Name of Artist] Date 

Sample Contract Between Colleges and Artists 


This AGREEMENT is made this [26 lb day of September, 2005] by and between 


Department of Dance 






(herein after referred to as the COLLEGE) 







(herein after referred to as the ARTIST) 

for the services of ARTIST and other assisting personnel as needed. 

1. Engagement. The College hereby engages the Artist for an on-site residency period with the purpose of: 

planning meetings with choreographic and musical directors of [Name of Theater], technical and dress rehearsals, performances in 
College's end-of-year concerts scheduled for [April 29-May 2, 2006]. 







The Artist shall be engaged during the following dates: 

Residency Period 1: [April 5-10, 2006] 
Residency Period 2: [April 25-May 2, 2006] 

The specific residency schedule will be as mutually agreed to by College and Artist as shown on rehearsal/performance 
schedule. (See attached.) 

2. Fee. The College shall pay the Artist the sum of US $[Fee] Dollars and will be made in two payments: the first, a check in the amount of 
[Amount of Advance], will be mailed to the Artist at the address listed above by approximately [March 15, 2006]; and, the second, a check 
in the amount of [Amount of Final Payment], to be hand delivered to the Artist upon completion of the College's concert performance on 
[May 2, 2006]. Payment will be made without any deduction or offset whatsoever and net of any and all taxes, fees, duties, withholdings, 
border entry and customs fees imposed by any and all foreign or domestic federal, state or local authorities or any subdivisions thereof. 

3. Ownership of Music. If, as part of this residency, the Artist sets or rehearses any new or existing music on any ensemble of dancers 
participating with the College's program under this agreement, it is understood that all music and artistic ownership of any referenced 
work remains solely with the Artist. 

H. License to Perform Music. It is also understood that, as part of this agreement, the Artist is providing the license to perform refer- 
enced music to the College's participants for the period of one year from the date of this agreement. Following the expiration of this 
initial license period, the College will be required to enter a new agreement with the Artist, and a royalty payment will be negotiated for 
the new license. 

5. Travel, Per Diem. Housing. The Artist will be responsible for all travel, per diem, and housing costs incurred as a result of this resi- 
dency. [Name of College Staff Person] will make reservations for housing at [hotel name, address, phone. Room rates: April 5-10 and 
25-29, 2006 at $50/ night; April 30-May 1, 2006 at $79.90/night. Hotel confirmations: #P16693 and P16693.] 

6. Program and Publicity. If the licensed music of the Artist is performed in public performance or any other manner, the College 
agrees to give appropriate credit of creation and ownership of the music as designated by the Artist. Prior to the publication of any 
program or publicity, the Artist will provide complete program credits to the College. The credits must be printed as requested by the 
Artist, and College agrees to make no changes to the said credits. Artist agrees to credit funding sources, as designated by College, in the 
following manner: [Crediting Language] 

7. Funder Acknowledgements. To avoid conflict and accommodate our respective funders, please notify College as soon as possible 
of any sponsor or underwriter you may secure with special requests for this engagement. Please also note the following: 

• funder credit placement appears after artist company bios 

• artist or funder may arrange for advertising in house program at their own expense 

• non-commercial flyers and/or booklets that artist may want to distribute at residency activities and/or performances must be ap- 
proved by College before distribution 

8. Insurance. (Refer to your organization's own Insurance Policies.) 

All individuals organizing and coordinating Artist's role within this project or providing rights or services to Artist during or related to 
this project have been engaged by Artist and not College and are covered by Unemployment Insurance, Worker's Compensation and/ 
or Disability Insurance procured by the Artist to the extent such coverage is required. Except for College staff, College is not responsible 
for procuring any such insurance coverage of independent contractors. In the event Artist does not have general liability insurance, Art- 
ist discharges and releases College, its partners, and their respective trustees, directors, officers, employees, and agents from any and 
all liability for injury, loss, damage, obligation, or penalties which may be sustained in connection with participation in this project. 

Xq 9. Force Majeure. This agreement and the obligation of Artist, College, and its partners are subject to conditions beyond the reason- 

able control of the independent contractor, College, and its partners such as illness, accidents, or delays in transportation or otherwise, 
failure of instrument or equipment, snow emergency, fire, flood, strikes, riots, acts of God, etc. If any activities are prevented for any of 
the above reasons, neither College nor its partners shall be under any obligation to compensate the other for any services or expenses 
incurred in connection with such activity or in connection with re-scheduling such activity. 


10. Indemnification. Artist agrees to indemnify and hold harmless College from and against all claims, losses, judgments, demands, 
and expenses (including reasonable attorneys' fees arising out of or in connection with engagement activities), except to the extent that 
such claims result solely from College negligence or intentional wrongdoing. This indemnification includes, without limitation, claims 
resulting from: loss, damage or injury to property; personal injury or loss of life; infringements of copyrights or other artistic or other 

rights; and breaches or alleged breaches of this Agreement. 

11. Arbitration. Any claim, controversy, dispute, or question arising out of or in connection with the validity, interpretation, perfor- 
mance or non-performance of this agreement, or breach thereof, shall be determined and settled by arbitration before a single arbitra- 
tor in accordance with the then-current rules of the American Arbitration Association and judgment upon any award rendered may be 
entered in a court of competent jurisdiction. 

I N WITN ESS WH E R EOF, the parties hereto have executed this Agreement as of the date first above written. 

FOR: [Name of College] FOR: [Name of Artist] 

By By. 

[Chair] [Artist] 

Date Date. 


[Higher Level Administrator] 




April 5-10, 2006 

[Name of Studio and 

Monday, April 5, 2006- 5-8pm 
Tuesday, April 6, 2006- 3-6:15pm 
Wednesday, April 7, 2006 - 5-8pm 
Thursday, April 8, 2006 - 3-6:15pm 
Friday, April 9, 2006 - 5-8pm 
Saturday, April 10, 2006 - 1-Hpm 

Planning Meetings with Choreographers Monday-Friday, April 5-10, 2006 - l-3pm 
and Musical Director: Conference Room 1H2 


April 25 -May 2, 2006 

Complete Concert 
Runthrough on Stage: 

Technical and Dress Rehearsals: 

Sunday, April 25, 2006 - 6-9pm 
[Name of Theater] 

Monday, April 26-Wednesday, April 28, 2006 - 6-9pm, [Name of Theater] 

Concert Performances: 

Thursday, April 29, 2006 - 6:30-10:30pm 
[Name of Theater] 

Friday, April 30, 2006 - 6:30-10:30pm 
[Name of Theater] 

Saturday, May 1, 2006 - 6:30-10:30pm 
[Name of Theater] 

Sunday, May 2, 2006 - 12:30-H:30pm 
[Name of Theater]] 






There may be the need for additional rehearsals and/or performances/classes. 

as Research 

Making the Case on Campus 

By LindaJ.Tomko 






How can dance faculty convey to their uni- 
versities that choreography is research, and 
presentation of choreography is publica- 
tion? These are questions that arise when perfor- 
mance and choreography faculty present their work 
for review as part of the administrative cycle, which 
awards them pay increases, tenure, and promotions 
in rank. Such personnel actions endeavor to recog- 
nize faculty excellence and productivity, and they 
typically focus on some or all of the following: fac- 
ulty research, teaching, and service. Administrative 
review cycles can range in length from one to five 
years. Whatever their frequency, review processes 
call upon dance faculty to present their work for as- 
sessment by their peers and administrators who may 
or may not be familiar with dance as a broad field 
of endeavor, or understand the practices that their 
campus colleagues pursue. This article addresses 
some ways in which faculty working in the early 21st 
century United States might approach the challenge 
of conveying to their university colleagues that pre- 
sentation of their work can be considered publica- 
tion. It also suggests ways in which to present cho- 
reographic work to review committees in support of 
this contention. 

Choreographers as 
Producers of Knowledge 

Research, as the creation of new knowledge, and 
publication, as the circulation of those new find- 

ings, have been standard pursuits of university fac- 
ulty since the 19 th century, when many American 
students and educators looked to German models 
of the research university and also took graduate de- 
grees in German schools. The early 20 th century U.S. 
saw calls for increased focus on vocational prepara- 
tion in university curricula, but even with this, re- 
search and publication have continued to be distin- 
guishing features of the labor expected of university 
faculty. Dance choreography faculty today can justly 
and accurately locate themselves as part of the re- 
search community at their institutions by conceiv- 
ing of and articulating themselves as producers of 
new knowledge and circulators of the same. 

I propose that choreography faculty are produc- 
ers of new knowledge because they investigate move- 
ment lexicons, they explore compositional strategies, 
and they experiment with relationships between 
bodily movement and various media (including, but 
not limited to, light, text, dress, sound, and film and 
digital modes). Further, as the past 20 years of dance 
studies research has shown, choreography has the 
capacity to comment upon, contest, and/or confirm 
ways of being in the world. The investigative and 
experimental procedures and processes that inform 
choreography make it parallel to chemistry or art his- 
tory research, for example, even if choreography uses 
different methodologies. The investigative and inter- 
rogatory stance makes the work research. 

I propose, too, that circulation of the thing dis- 
covered or created (the "product," to some) lies 

at the heart of publication, and thus performance 
of choreography parallels the process and fruitage 
of scholarly publication. For more than a century, 
scholars in diverse disciplines have articulated their 
research findings in oral and written formats. That 
is, they have delivered conference papers, participat- 
ed in forums and roundtables, and published jour- 
nal articles and books. These formats enable feed- 
back in different ways. The "question and answer" 
periods that follow paper presentation in scholarly 
conference sessions are de rigueur; they formally cre- 
ate a space for auditors to query the presenter, make 
counter-arguments, and introduce new points and 
data. Similarly, book reviews and review essays do 
more than summarize published articles and books; 
they also place the questions pursued (and answers 
found) in that research in perspective with debates 
animating the field. Further, the requirement made 
of oral and written publication alike — that they cite 
the sources and data used in reaching the conclu- 
sion — purposefully enables fellow investigators to 
try out the methods, replicate the experiments, check 
the data, scrutinize the theories invoked, or config- 
ure materials found therein for pursuit of a differ- 
ent question. Thus, a vibrant feedback loop runs 
between presenters and receivers in this exchange 
of information garnered from investigation — a loop 
that circulates findings, and informs, buttresses, and 
propels further research. 

The parallel is clear with circulation of 
choreography. Live public concert performance of 
choreography is a long-standing means of presenting 
newly created work to contemporary audiences. Pub- 
lished reviews, be they in print in newspapers (or 
their online versions), online arts discussion pages, 
in trade journals (such as Dance Magazine), or in 
scholarly journals, provide tangible feedback to the 
choreographers. As well, present-day audience out- 
reach strategies, such as pre-concert interviews or 
post-performance dialogues with choreographers, 
provide much broader opportunity for direct "Q&A" 
exchange between choreographers, sometimes also 
their dancers, and live audience members. Thanks 
to video, film, and emerging digital technologies, 
capacities have grown enormously for circulating 
choreography beyond the instances of premieres, 
"appearances" or "seasons" at particular venues, 
or geographic tours of specific repertoires. Simi- 

Even if 
uses different 
methodologies, the 
investigative and 
interrogatory stance 
makes the work 

larly, festivals like the Dance Camera West Festival 
in Los Angeles further enable the circulation of 
choreographies. Here, too, audience-choreographer 
exchange opportunities that are structured into such 
festivals (in addition 
to media coverage of 
the works showcased 
and the events them- 
selves) extend the 
reach of the new cre- 
ations, providing food 
for thought, a shared 
basis for pull-and-tug 
in dialogue and de- 
bates, and a catalyst 
and incitement for 
new work in turn. 

Dance faculty cho- 
reographers can con- 
fidently claim their 
place in this economy 
of production and cir- 
culation of new knowledge and new creation that 
has so long characterized research activity in univer- 
sity settings. And, they can recognize the preparation 
of their "review file," or the supporting documenta- 
tion required for the process, as the opportunity to 
forward their claim. How can this be done? 

Making the Case on Paper 

Each university will stipulate the documentation 
that its faculty must present as part of a review 
process. The extent and kinds of documentation may 
differ depending on the type of merit assessment or 
promotion in rank being sought (or required, in the 
case of tenure). Choreographers should start by de- 
veloping a detailed list of work created, and modes 
by which it has been circulated. At the University of 
California, Riverside, the inclusion of an additional 
document, a narrative "self-statement," affords fac- 
ulty members an invaluable opportunity to present 
their work. About two single-spaced pages in length, 
this descriptive and analytical statement presents the 
faculty member's research, teaching, and service as the 
faculty member wants it to be seen by her or his peer and 
administration evaluators on that specific campus, 
and within any larger system of which the campus 
may be a pan. In focusing specifically on presenting 









choreography as research, what should such a self- 
statement articulate? I recommend the following: 

• Articulate what the choreographic work is and does, 
- ~~ how it proceeds. By 

The self -statement dung rework in 

richly descriptive but 

enables the dance c °§ em terms < me sdf - 

statement can supply 
campus reviewers 
with a vocabulary 
for distinguishing, 
say, group from solo 
.j work improvised from 

What meaSUreS choreographed work; 

evening-length from 

of significance 

faculty to voice 
and illuminate 

apply to a given 
circulation of 

"cameo" from "festival 
feature" work — and 
the many points in 
between. The self- 
statement characterizes 
different movement 
lexicons invoked 
and compositional 
sUategies deployed, 
to inform reviewers 
of choices made 
and assist them in parsing what it is that they 
are reviewing. It is always helpful to supply 
accompanying good-quality video documentation, 
but choreographers should never assume that "one 
picture is worth a thousand words." The ability to 
"read" or discern dance choreography is a highly 
trained skill that is not gained in a day. Campus 
reviewers from diverse disciplines absolutely benefit 
from the framework for viewing choreography that 
self-statements supply. 

• Articulate how the choreography figures into 
the choreographer's short- and long-term 
projects. Universities typically expect their faculty to 
pursue research trajectories. These can be one-, two-, 
five- and even 10-year plans. Self-statements can 
and should talk about the shape and timing of the 
choreographer's larger projects. They should identify 
shifts that have happened, and/or discoveries made, 
during the current review period, and indicate 
where the next phase of the project is expected to 
go. This is precisely the place to elucidate concerns 

with particular themes, or efforts to critique cultural 
constructions such as race or gender, and to say how 
the choreography pursues these goals. 

• Articulate how the choreographic work addresses, 
takes stock of, and perhaps challenges current 
debates, issues, and concerns in "the field." Here, 
choreographers can state what they deem to be 
the current issues for investigation in professional 
choreography. (Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, for 
example, constituted more than a late 20th century 
remake of Petipa's Swan Lake that substituted 
men for women in swan roles.) Put another 

way, choreographers frame for the reviewers the 
context(s) in which they wish their work to be 
seen and comprehended. In addition to clarifying 
the choreographer's own position, this kind of 
discussion confirms to campus reviewers that 
choreography can be a lively, querying risk-taking, 
and productive enterprise. 

• Articulate the significance of the venues in which 
their work has been performed, or means by 
which it has circulated. Self-statements can provide 
valuable information about the nature of the 
performing venue, festival, or media through which 
choreographic works reach their audiences and 
engender discussion, debate, and feedback. Given 
the size of the United States and the richness of 

its regional cultures, the sheer scope of possible 
venues is likely to be unknown to campus review 
committees, and sometimes even to colleagues in 
one's own department. The significance of a venue 
can be presented in terms of audience size, or 
number of performances offered, or the historical 
importance attached to appearing in a particular 
festival, or the cutting-edge curatorial approach 
inaugurated by a community series. I emphasize 
that many different measures are possible. The self- 
statement enables the dance faculty to voice and 
illuminate what measures of significance apply to 
a given circulation of choreographic work. Why 
is this important? In the same way that a dance 
faculty might not know just how prestigious 
it is in chemistry to have a paper accepted for 
presentation at a Gordon Research Conference, 
a campus reviewer may have no framework for 
weighing the significance of an invitation to present 
choreographic work at a historic summer arts 

festival, a cultural dance festival, a newly-erected 
concert hall, as part of an opera, or for a breast- 
cancer fund raiser. 

Some universities may request statements by the 
department chair instead of, or in addition to, a self- 
statement. Communiques from departments can ab- 
solutely address the same points above, so that cam- 
pus colleagues and administrators can readily parse 
choreographic works as research and publication. 

Procedures for reviewing university faculty may 
call for the inclusion of evaluations from peers in 
the professional world and at other universities. At 
the University of California, Riverside, "extramu- 
ral reviewers" are solicited for their assessment of 
faculty who are being reviewed for tenure and for 
certain promotions. The faculty candidate has the 
opportunity to suggest to the department names of 
appropriate peer reviewers; the department draws 
on some of these but selects additional extramural 
reviewers. How can the faculty candidate shape the 
selection in positive ways? My recommendation is 
to network. Faculty should seek out opportunities 
to circulate their person and their work away from, 
as well as at, their campus. Faculty can volunteer to 
serve on the Boards of national dance service organi- 
zations and scholarly societies. They can participate 
in festivals that present their own work, and/or the 
work they set on their students, to regional and na- 
tional gatherings. 

Faculty also can offer their campus as the site for 
conferences or festivals of national or international 
organizations. This hosting work is demanding, but 
it must be done, and done well, to make professional 
and scholarly gatherings proceed productively. And, 
the investment of time and resources pays off. Bring- 
ing people from across the country to campus ac- 
quaints visitors with the nature of the department or 
program. It also gives visitors close contact with the 
host peers who facilitate the presentation of papers 
or choreography from colleagues in the field. This 
raises the profile of the host department in the eyes 
of visitors (a point that can be made to deans and 
administrators when requesting funding support). It 
also offers choreography faculty rich opportuni- 
ties for conversing with colleagues who are navi- 
gating similar review processes, who may be able 
to help mentor them, or may serve as extramural 
reviewers. Finally, it can connect the department and 

campus colleagues with a much wider array of cho- 
reographic work and workers than they might oth- 
erwise engage in their immediate communities. This 
stands to enrich and expand the identification of 
extramural reviewers. 

Articulating the idea that choreography is re- 
search, and that presentation of choreography is 
publication, may seem to be most urgently required 
during formal university review cycles. But advocacy 
and communication of this point of view require 
sustained pursuit. I believe this articulation can be, 
and needs to be, ongoing in day-to-day campus ex- 
perience, ranging from discussions between depart- 
ment chairs and deans, to faculty service on multi- 
disciplinary campus committees. It strikes me as less 
important for us to establish exact equivalencies 
between, say, sociology research and choreography 
as research, than to identify similar commitments 
to the research process in a university context — the 
process of creating new knowledge; circulating find- 
ings and creations; participating in the pull-and-tug 
of querying and weighing those findings and cre- 
ations; and acting as a feedback loop that leads to 
new and continuing creativity. 






The Real World of 
Adjunct Teaching 






When I was a child, I used to fantasize about 
university life. Being a bit of a young An- 
glophile, I romantically thought it would 
involve striped scarves, bicycles, tweed jackets with 
corduroy patches at the elbows, and only one sea- 
son — a perpetual autumn. My vision of working 
in the academy was something like Dead Poets So- 
ciety with girls. As I got older and eventually began 
to teach as an adjunct in universities and colleges, 
I learned that what conservative pundits accuse of 
being the most liberal of institutions is actually the 
most regressive when it comes to labor practices, gen- 
der politics, and the concept of the "living wage." 

The plight of the adjunct faculty member isn't so 
different from that of the vast majority of dancers 
in the United States. Adjuncts do not make a living 
wage from teaching or, with the exception of the 
staff at NYU and maybe a few other institutions, re- 
ceive benefits. Few university adjunct and part-time 
faculty members unionize, and because adjuncts are 
contracted course by course, rather than year to year, 
few know whether or not they will have a job once 
the semester comes to a close. 

Of course, no one intended to set up such 
an exploitative economy. In an ideal situation, ad- 
junct faculty members augment the offerings of 
a department by bringing in a certain expertise, a 
fresh face, and news of the outside world. Teaching 
is something done for the prestige, for the sake of 
mentoring, or to make a little extra money on the 
side. Theoretically, acting as an adjunct faculty mem- 

ber is not your sole or primary source of income. As 
with any practice, however, there is the "ideal" and 
"real," and the "real" in this case means adjunct fac- 
ulty members' cobbling together a wage from mul- 
tiple, low-paying teaching jobs while waiting for a 
break into full-time academia or, in the case of many 
artists, the next gig. 

Due to cost-cutting measures at most major uni- 
versities, adjunct faculty comprise the cheap labor 
force that keeps departments running on or under 
budget. According to the American Association of 
University Professors, the number of adjuncts teach- 
ing in American colleges and universities has risen 
from 22 percent in 1980 to 42.5 percent in 2000. 
Why is there no shortage of people willing to take 
on these positions? Being an adjunct faculty mem- 
ber does, despite its drawbacks, give you a degree 
of flexibility that other jobs do not provide. It aug- 
ments your income, keeps you in the company of 
your peers and the terrain of your field when other 
opportunities are scarce. And for many, these posi- 
tions do art as stepping stones to a full-time contract 
or, should the planets align properly, the potential 
of tenure. 

There is also — and I say this with a complete lack 
of facetiousness — the joy of teaching to be consid- 
ered. Much like dance, teaching is an art form in 
and of itself. It can be difficult to learn, but at its 
best, the classroom is where old ideas are wrestled 
with, new ideas are generated, and the creativity of 
a group of people comes to fruition. Joy, of course, 







doesn't buy health insurance, but it does make tak- 
ing an adjunct faculty position infinitely favorable 
to waiting tables. And, depending on the university 
or college you are affiliated with, labor negotiations 
may be ongoing or reaching a positive conclusion. 
Or, should you be blessed with a progressive depart- 
ment head, the resources you need to continue your 
own creative work such as time, space, equipment 
and even bodies can be made available. 

So, it's not all bad. It's just a good idea to make 
an educated decision about pursuing or taking on 
an adjunct position. Whether the role is right for 
you will depend entirely on your financial situation, 
your schedule of projects and tours, desire to teach, 

estimation of the university or college's bureaucracy, 
and trust of a given department's administration. 

Should you decide to take on an adjunct faculty 
position, consider the following. 

Your Role in the 
Academic Department 

Adjunct faculty members are typically not invited 
to participate in the culture of the departments 
for which they work. Adjuncts are rarely given of- 
fice space or even mailboxes. Some departments, 
with more thoughtful leadership, do try to involve 
adjuncts into the decision-making processes of the 
program, but as an adjunct faculty member, your 



relationship to an academic unit or program, as a 
whole, will largely be defined by your own efforts. If 
your schedule doesn't allow you to set normal office 
hours or participate in faculty meetings, then at the 
very least, have an advocate on the inside. It's unlike- 
ly that you'll uncover the mysteries of the school's 
bureaucracy without the guidance of your full-time 

Teaching Methods 

Adjunct faculty members can be outstanding teach- 
ers. Unlike tenured faculty, who are encouraged to 
act as researchers, adjuncts are hired to oversee class- 
room instruction. However, if an adjunct is hired for 
his or her professional expertise in order to teach 
a highly specialized course, that adjunct may have 
little or no teaching experience at all. While your 
department's leadership may act as a guide, most 
schools do have some sort of teaching development 
center or assistance available to faculty. It is more 
than wise to seek the advice of these individuals. 
Teaching may come more naturally to performers 
than to others, but learning how to switch between 
teaching methods, work with multiple learning 
styles, facilitate discussions, and construct a syllabus 
requires work. 

Office Hours and E-mail 

One of the major complaints of students, in addi- 
tion to the sometimes novice teaching abilities of 
new adjunct faculty members, is the extent to which 
their professional schedules, outside the university, 
make them inaccessible to students. It is important 
to establish regular office hours and maintain them 
or be available via e-mail. You can define this rela- 
tionship, but having an open, regular time for stu- 
dents to interact with you beyond the classroom is 
essential — particularly with graduate students, who 
look to you for your career experience outside of 
academia to guide their future choices. 


Grading can be a difficult task for anyone to learn. 
Adjunct faculty members are sometimes referred to 
colloquially as "easy A's" because their lack of job 
stability and dependence on student evaluations as 
the only measure of their work forces the hand of 
serious grade inflation. If a tenured faculty member 

gives a student a C, and that student loses a scholar- 
ship because of it, the tenured faculty is safe from 
student criticism and parental intervention. An ad- 
junct faculty member, on the other hand, could re- 
ceive a series of nasty student evaluations for tough 
grading, resulting in the loss of his or her job. (You 
may also have to endure the informal critique of 
students at For artists, 
grading can seem like a terrible system for assess- 
ing largely subjective material. You can try to set up 
objective standards for grading, or you can grade on 
individual improvement. However, it's best to seek 
the help of an experienced professor or the teaching 
professional development center at your institution 
for guidance. 

Adjunct Faculty Resources 

As an adjunct faculty member, there are resources 
available to you covering basic teaching skills to or- 
ganizing for part-time faculty rights. The following 
websites provide useful information for adjuncts in 
any university or college setting: 

Arming yourself with the knowledge available 
through these sites, along with dismantling the poli- 
tics of your own institution, is the best way to begin 
improving the adjunct system. With the pervasive- 
ness of budget cuts and the prevalence of regrettable 
labor practices in universities, improvements to the 
situation will only come from a department-by- 
department, grassroots effort on the part of higher 
education workers. Improve your own situation as 
an adjunct faculty member, and you will inevitably 
contribute to the improvement of livelihoods be- 
yond your own. 

What I Did This Winter 

Bennington Students Experience the 
Real World through Field Work Term 

By Terry Creach 

Students at Bennington College joke that they 
are sent away each January for "real-world" 
experience so the college can save on heating 
fuel, but, in fact, the school's founders considered 
the internships an essential testing ground for the 
students' developing interests. 

"Real-world" experience was built into the col- 
lege's original design — a progressive idea in 1932 
when the college was founded. Today, our Field 
Work Term (FWT) requires that students complete 
internships during each of their four years. 

While many colleges require internships, the dif- 
ference for Bennington students is the consistent 
practice. Over the course of their four years in col- 
lege, students gain progressive experience with, and 
understanding of, the world beyond the campus. 
Most first-year students at Bennington start with the 
database in the College's Field Work Term Office and 
seek jobs and connections close to home. The pro- 
fessional staff gives the young job-seekers training in 
the daunting world of cold calling, resume writing, 
and interviewing. For many, it's their first encounter 
with not-for-profit organizations, with professional 
artists seeking assistants, and with institutions and 
individuals outside their family connections. 

Carson Efird (class of '05)T\ad a typical starting 
point, finding her first internship through the school 
database with Moving in the Spirit, a dance center 
for at-risk youth in her hometown of Atlanta. She 
spent seven weeks there writing press releases, stuff- 
ing envelopes, and serving as a teaching assistant. 

In the following years, her forays became more ad- 
venturous. After connecting with David Dorfman at 
a summer dance festival, she spent her sophomore 
internship in New York as his rehearsal assistant. 
In her junior year, she landed an artist residency, 
making dances in the Costa Rican rainforest at an 
ecological research station. Then, in her senior year, 
wanting to test the waters of New York City again, 
Carson signed on as Susan Rethorst's rehearsal as- 
sistant. Of that time, she comments, "I had no 
idea what to expect; I didn't even know her well. I 
thought I was going to observe/video her company's 
rehearsals. I arrived on the first day to realize that it 
was just Susan, her assistant, and me brainstorming 
movement ideas. We really worked together, making 
small pieces to serve as kindling for her next project. 
All goals accomplished — established a relationship 
with Susan, gained choreographic intelligence/in- 
spiration, gained know-how in New York." 

In order to keep Field Work relevant, Bennington 
requires that: 1 ) students complete internships every 
year of their study 2) the student's internship search 
is supported by a professional staff and a database of 
prior internships, 3) faculty connections are utilized 
to create and sustain internship opportunities, and 
4) the college's ongoing relationships with national 
arts organizations increase students' communication, 
career opportunities, and knowledge of the field. 

Although many internships offer the more typical 
envelope-stuffing or go-fer situations, the sustained 
practice of interning seems to lead to deeper con- 










nections and richer ex- 
periences. As Susannah 
Keebler ('98) reflects: 
"With each year I was 
given more and more re- 
sponsibilities. It was hard 
work, five days per week, 
learning my way around 
the city, how to conduct 
myself in a professional 
manner, what the down- 
town dance scene was 
all about, and getting a 
taste for what it means to 
work in the arts and arts 
Bennington faculty maintain active professional 
lives and their contacts help to keep opportunities 
available for each new crop of students. Because 
the FWT student is only seeking a seven-week try- 
out, it's not difficult to refer students to professional 
colleagues, to alumni in the field, or to arts service 
organizations. Current long-term relationships in- 
clude Movement Research, The Joyce Theater, Dance 
Theater Workshop, and Danspace Project, to name 
a few. One such relationship is with alumna Joanne 
Robinson Hill ('68), director of the education pro- 
gram for The Joyce Theater, who feels "proud about 
the fact that relationships between Bennington in- 
terns and myself are ongoing and long term." Stu- 
dents have worked at the Joyce while attending Ben- 
nington; a few have returned during the summers 
and following graduation. Because of her relation- 
ship to the college, Hill takes "a particular interest 
in the students [and attempts] to provide them with 
work that will be of interest to them." 

Every fall we begin anew to connect students 
with Field Work Term positions, and this constant 
practice keeps faculty and students alike aware of 
the professional scene, working alumni and active 
presenters and service organizations, as well as en- 
try into the scene in various urban centers nation- 
ally. Dance students create their own network by 
recommending good internship situations to each 
other, including, most recently, Dance Magazine, 
Dance Place/Washington, DC, and ODC Dance/San 
Francisco. We see the value of having students in an 
academic setting go out in the world on a regular 

basis, as they examine their ideas in the professional 
arena, reflect on their movement practice and train- 
ing, and build lasting connections with artists in the 
field. Looking at students' stories shows the points 
of entry and the ways in which they prompt students 
to turn corners in their own career, sometimes reex- 
amining their own goals. 

Benefits of the Field Work Term 

• Students can explore community-based 
organizations that deal with specific populations 
and sociopolitical concerns. Maria Tripodi's ('02) 
first internship was with the San Francisco Mime 
Troupe as a teaching assistant in their Youth Program. 
Aside from continuing her teaching experience, "It 
gave me the opportunity to work with children and 
the arts, something I still do today full-time. Also, it 
opened me up to different forms of sociopolitical 
performance groups." In addition to the Mime Troupe, 
these included Boal's Theater of the Oppressed and 
Rhodessa Jones' Media Project/Theater for Incarcerated 
Women. For the last two summers, she has taught a 
create-a-skit class in Dance Place's Summer Program in 
Washington, DC. 

• Students are encouraged to confront their interest 
and skills in creating art versus administration. 
Bonnie Eldred ('01) worked for Hospital Audiences, 
Inc and carted musicians around New York in an SUV 
to performances in hospitals and nursing homes. 
Though she was asked back, she says, "Unfortunately, 
the job I returned to was in administration. I wanted 
to be on the other side, doing the performances, 
working at the sites, not coordinating it from afar, and 
I quit after the three-month trial period." 

• Students gain exposure to new areas, which leads 
to discovery of new interests. Rhiannon Wells ('02) 
presented a project with Wendy Perron on the Harlem 
Renaissance, transcribed interviews and joined her 
for a radio show on Katherine Dunham. Wells talks 
about this turning point, which "was the beginning 
of my interest in the anthropology of dance. I went 
on to spend the semester in Nepal, where I studied 
traditional Buddhist and Tibetan folk dances." This 
fall, she spent three months in Brazil, where she 
joined a company and performed contemporary and 
improvisational dance. 

• Students build relationships with artists that last 
long after the internship. Cori Olinghouse ('01), who 

dances with Trisha Brown Dance Company, worked 
for Molly Davies in Dumbo, learning about electrics 
and projections. She became very close to Molly and 
her partner, and the relationship may continue. As 
she says, "I hope to work with them further, or at least 
have them as mentors for projects." 
• Finally, the value of being immersed in New York 
City leaves lasting impressions on many students. 
As Susannah Keebler ('98) reflects, "Those times were 
so rich with learning for me that I don't know where 
to begin. I am still friendly with some of the people I 
met during those FWTs, but 1 think the main, lasting 
consequences, for better or worse, are a love and 
dedication to living in New York City and to make 
dance a part of my life." 

Creative Alliances: The Movement 
Research Exchange 

Bennington Dance Program has always appreciated 
the services and mission of Movement Research in 
New York City, urging students to go there for intern- 
ships, classes, and Judson Church performances. That 
cooperative history developed into a much livelier 
exchange program in 1994, when we linked up with 
the Movement Research Exchange (MRX) program. 

Although we wanted Bennington students to 
know more about the current dance scene, we lacked 
the financial resources to invite artists to our rural 
Vermont campus. But when we considered other re- 
sources at our disposal — our great dance studios and 
Martha Hill Dance Theater — we realized we could 
offer time and space to emerging choreographers 
who were developing their identities and figuring 
out how to sustain their art making. In spring 1994, 
we developed this format: Bennington offers a week- 
long residency to emerging artists, including at least 
four hours of rehearsal space each day, plus housing 
and meals, and a small stipend. Movement Research 
selects the artists and provides them with any ad- 
ditional stipend. The visiting artists are expected to 
make their working process visible to the Benning- 
ton College community through weekly informal 
showings. That's it. No particular product required. 
No teaching, unless the visiting artist requests it. We 
wanted primarily the choreographic activity, the in- 
quiry and process in our midst, so that our under- 
graduates could see creation in action. 

We hosted Margarita Guergue, Clarinda Mac 
Low, and Patricia Hoffbauer that first spring, and 15 
more artists in the next five years. Some effects of 
the exchange program were immediate, some lon- 
ger-term. Immediately, students were involved in 
the discourse with artists, asking why this process, 
why that use of text, why this music. Students were 
stunned by the work ethic of the guest artists and 
the vast amount of process hours for a few minutes 
of movement. 

Longer term, students got to know the guest art- 
ists. And, they realized that these artists would be 
working in New York during their next Field Work 
Term and could be potential connections. Intern- 
ships at Movement Research and elsewhere in New 
York took on a new layer of connectivity, and stu- 
dents become more interested in performances in 
the city. Student Willa Carroll refers to her intern- 
ship at Movement Research as "a seminal experi- 
ence." She says, "I met a couple of choreographers 
who I would later work with and be curated by. I 
met many artists I'm still in contact with today. I re- 
ceived a strong sense of the field — at least the partic- 
ular scene in New York supported by Movement Re- 
search. I saw a lot of performances, took classes, and 
took in a lot of information about dance artists and 
Movement Research's programs to support them." 
Carroll became a work-study intern at Movement 
Research, in exchange for classes and workshops, 
and describes MRX as "an important resource, espe- 
cially when I first came to New York and wanted to 
continue studying and seeing dance and fostering 
creative relationships." She also interned at Judson 
Church and commented: "It was a great thrill for me 
to finally perform my own work there in 2003." 

Through MRX, working artists bring their lively 
artistic concerns to campus, and, in exchange, our 
undergraduates seek out their classes in New York 
City, recognize them on the street, and model their 
practice. This relationship continues to support a 
mutually beneficial dialogue between our students 
and professional dance artists. 





Poetic Science 

Teaching Composition to 
College Students 

By Tere O'Connor 



Over the past 10 years, I have had the plea- 
sure of being a guest artist in the dance de- 
partments of many colleges and universities 
around the country. I teach technique classes and a 
course about choreography called "Making Dances," 
which I have developed over many years. I also fre- 
quently create original works on students and have 
incubated many of my company works in this set- 
ting. Recently, I created a dance on students at the 
University of Minnesota that was initial research 
for Frozen Mommy, my most recent company effort. 
When I first started doing these projects, I endured 
with great discomfort the humbling experience of 
standing before a group of students, creating a new 
work from zero and navigating a range of states from 
fallibility to inspiration. I soon realized that for me, 
this was an excellent, almost crucial, educational 
tool. It is invaluable for a student to watch a working 
artist ask questions and dab at his or her creation. 
Witnessing the actual creative process — the myriad 
questions posed and their subsequent elimination 
from or inclusion in a work — creates an unparal- 
leled learning environment. 

1 prefer not to teach my old works. I only create 
new dances and willfully use this time as research. 
As I make a student dance, I try to remain trans- 
parent, talking as I work and tracking for them the 
trajectory of each choice I make. I try to elucidate 
the origin of ideas, their development down differ- 
ent avenues and the reasons for the final edits of the 
movement material. In addition to clarification for 

the students, this approach offers me the welcome 
effect of bringing into focus the systemic logic of a 
given work. It has been very valuable for me to be 
consistently re-infected with the revelatory energy 
of students discovering their creative voices and to 
glean essential cultural updates from their world. 
The inspiring presence of students in my life has 
contributed much to the path of my own work. 

In my early days, I participated in one compo- 
sition class at university. It was based on musical 
structures and how to make dances to these. Dance 
was new to me then and I loved it deeply, but I did 
not perceive it as a visual manifestation of music. I 
set out to find my own methodology based on the 
questions that I had about the form. What can cho- 
reography do that language can't? On what levels 
does it communicate? How does one derive mean- 
ing from it? How does one grow metaphor into 
theater? Out of these and many other questions, I 
developed research projects for myself and started 
making dances. As I assembled a plan to locate my 
creative voice, I documented, in writing, the differ- 
ent approaches I used and the results we achieved. 
By doing this, I developed what I think of as the "sci- 
ence of my poetics." I still derive my process from 
this type of questioning. 

When I teach "Making Dances," I do so as a fa- 
cilitator assisting young artists in the development 
of tools born of their own questions. I help them 
turn these into process. I attempt, within reason, to 
keep my own taste out of the teaching and present 

methods for students to locate their creative voices 
and unearth structures intrinsic to their own lives. I 
attempt to move them toward a radical use of their 
imagination and into rigorous investigation of this. 
Part of this process involves offering up examples 
of contemporary artists, working in diverse media, 
whose output is non-canonical. I feel it is important 
to show students a large range of applications — not 
styles — of dance and performance, lest they perceive 
the rarified dance languages of technique class as 
content for their choreographic work. 

I recently spoke to some students in Seattle who 
had just seen a copy of Rosa Lee Goldberg's book 
Performance, Live Art Since the Sixties. Their eyes had 
been opened wide by seeing pictures of Dancenoise, 
Chris Burden and other artists in various states of 
nonconformist behavior. Many important works 
of recent years (and I am talking beyond Judson) 
discard "mastery" and dancing, often including un- 
trained forms of movement and contemporary cul- 
tural critique. Much as a science department would 
remain current at the level of the research in its field, 
it is imperative for us to witness the state of the art 
and include it in our programs. To this end, I have 
often dreamed of starting an annual DVD collec- 
tion of dance and performance works from around 
the world for distribution throughout the system of 
dance departments. This could also take the form of 
a website. I receive many requests, as do my fellow 
choreographers, from professors around the coun- 
try for videos of my work to use in their classes. It 
would be great to provide this and more for them 
in an organized way and contribute to an expanded 
contextual framework for teaching. To be sure, this 
idea has potential problems relative to curation and 
the inadequacy of "clips," but I am certain that it 
would benefit students greatly by giving them per- 
mission to enter deeper areas of their own imagina- 
tions. This permission is key. 

It is my experience that students harbor in their 
heads the voices of endless imagined authorities, 
voices they need to expel in order to become artists. 
1 feel we should guide them toward this while they 
are in school. We need to cultivate open, curious stu- 
dents who take in vast amounts of information and 
sort it out over time according to their own affinities. 
It is common to find derivative work from students 
who fall in love with an aesthetic and try to replicate 

it. Of course this is natural to a point, but it is im- 
portant to remind ourselves that imitation is an early 
stage of learning. We need to nurture expansive ana- 
lytical capacities in tandem with physical creativity. 

Each time I travel, I wonder how recent works of 
living artists, creating brand new contexts, could be 
brought into university programs. It would be won- 
derful to find a way for these contexts to be present 
in universities in their nascent stages and create lab- 
oratories for the growth of these ideas together with 
students and faculty. I have often dreamed about 
very long residencies, with my company present, in 
a collaborative situation involving faculty, students, 
myself, and my dancers. We have been blessed with 
a couple of these. One, through the generosity of the 
dance department at Virginia Commonwealth Uni- 
versity, afforded us great amounts of rehearsal time 
for LAWN, which we were making at the time. At 
the same time, I was making a new work for the stu- 
dents. The interplay between the creation of these 
two pieces was very inspiring and generative for me. 

I recently had a wonderful time working at I'lori- 







da State University's Maggie Allesee National Center 
for Choreography. We were there for a three-week re- 
search residency — and research means research here. 

There was no prod- 
TV" 1 € lYWf uct rec l u i rernent nor 
I teaching involved, 

CXp&Tl&YlCV llllil to wor i< deeply on an 

j .j j idea. This was an ex- 

students harbor ceiiem, fruits ex pe 

rience. Our rehearsals 

in their heads were °p en to a11 and 

people came in and 

the voices of out T looking for 

J a performance, but 

enaieSS nUa^ineii engagedwithstudents 

1 , , and faculty through 

aiittlOritieSf a talk and through a 

couple of interactive 
VOKeS theV need experiences .I had stu- 
dents from one of the 

to expel in order com p° sition classe ^ 

i watch some material 

m 1 > • i we had made the first 

3 to become artists. week Then , asked 

them to think about 
what they would do 
next with this material, as though it were their own. 
On the third week they returned and actually cho- 
reographed their ideas on the brilliant and generous 
dancers in my company. It was enlightening for me 
to see what the students saw. It was empowering for 
them to be choreographing their thoughts on pro- 
fessional dancers. My dancers told me that it was 
very interesting to add these layers into the construc- 
tion of their own performance. For all of us, play- 
ing with our expectations kept us immersed in a real 
choreographic state, where meaning changes as time 
passes and an imaginative space is created in which 
the mind can be flexible and unleash its thoughts. 

I have benefited greatly from the dialogue I have 
had with a large network of intelligent, caring col- 
leagues and students around the country. I feel that 
a deepening of the co-active relationship between 
working artists and universities could help define 
a new way of teaching dance in this country and 
strengthen the form immeasurably. 

Historical Dance 
Residencies As 
Cultural Protein 

By Bonnie Oda Homsey 

In the mid-1990s, while I was interviewing for 
booking management, the representative asked 
me, "Why the focus on preserving dances from 
the past? Isn't that like being forced to eat vegeta- 

Well, I like vegetables. But that aside, 1 regard his- 
torical dances (i.e., those created more than 20 years 
ago) as cultural "protein," essential to the curricular 
"diet" for a student of dance. Other performing art 
forms have a tradition of incorporating the classics 
in teaching canons and performance repertoire. So, 
why are historical dances marginalized? Exposing 
students (and viewers) to creative landmarks in the 
evolutionary arc of dance is an indispensable facet 
of dance education. 

I have observed that departments giving students 
access to a full educational spectrum — from the clas- 
sics to original dances — do graduate an impressive 
number of students into the professional workforce. 
In part, I interpret this as a correlation between 
those students fortified with the value of cultural 
"protein," and how that scope of knowledge enables 
them to distinguish individual standards of artistry 
and develop a sophisticated creative voice. 

My experience as artistic director with American 
Repertory Dance Company taught me that artists 
and university dance departments are both increas- 
ingly under pressure to make the argument about 
value for any residency. Historical dance residency 
projects face unique challenges and will have to 
compete with other departmental priorities. Obtain- 

ing the green light for an historical dance residency 
requires the most persuasive arguments to justify 
the expenditures of time, energy, and money. In or- 
der to sway departmental members who have never 
supported these types of residencies, it is critical to 
prepare adequately and specify the deliverables (i.e., 
performances, works, etc.). The duty of residency 
planners is to translate meaningful ideas into realis- 
tic residency strategies. Consideration of the follow- 
ing questions can help start this process: 

• What are the host institution's mission, goals, and 

• How can the residency enrich the department's 
programs, services, and activities? 

Once these questions are addressed, the actual res- 
idency strategy planning can progress. For example, 
my residency strategies for the Dance Department at 
University of California, Irvine (UCI) were anchored 
in their institutional mission, to study dance from 
historical, philosophical, and scientific perspectives. 
I devised diverse strategies that would address the 
department's program and activity needs. 

Be mindful that residency planning can extend to 
a year and a half or more. Chart your master calen- 
dar accordingly! The following is a template of sug- 
gested phases and responsibilities of the planning 
process developed over the course of many projects, 
from the dual points of view of the artist and depart- 
ment. (Although I developed this list with historical 















dance residencies specifically in mind, many of the 
points are salient for residencies of every kind.) 

Phase 1: Preliminary Preparation 

The artist 

Note: The term "artist" refers to the choreographer's trust, 
foundation, or company, and the restaging artist. 

1. Advance research and preparation is critical. It is 
a good practice to contact other artists who have 
conducted similar residencies. 

2. Familiarize yourself with the department's 
reputation, faculty, facilities, production 
calendar, etc. 

3. Review a videotape of prior concerts and/or a list 
of repertory performed in the last few years. 

4. Be sensitive to budget constraints, particularly if 
the host institution is a smaller college or has a 
smaller number of dance majors. 

5. Formulate proposals that consider dances that 
are challenging, yet appropriate for students; 
small or large-ensemble dances suitable for the 
venue and scheduling concerns; potential of live 
music; any special production requirements; 
and, if applicable, the faculty member who can 
maintain the dance between the restaging and 
performance period. 

The host institution/dance department 

1. Communication is essential. The chair should 
obtain approval for the residency with all 
faculty and staff to ensure components are well- 
coordinated and the artist's non-staging time is 
maximized for other services and activities. 

2. The department's project coordinator should 
establish a budget threshold. I also recommend that 
a certain percentage of residency expenses already be 
committed by the institution. This communicates 
the significance of the residency project to the artist 
and will have a positive impact on subsequent 
negotiations of terms and conditions. 

3. If no prior relationship with the artist exists, 
schedule a visit, if possible. Include key faculty 
administrative staff and production personnel in 
meetings or observation of the artist's interaction 
with students. Suggested issues for discussion might 

• Selecting the dance and agreeing on casting 
procedures (i.e., whether the number of 
performances and rehearsal period wanants 

• Inquiring about the suggested number of 
rehearsal hours for the restaging. 

• Establishing the estimated line item costs 
associated with the restaging. 

• Identifying key faculty/ staff and details of the 

• Extending the residency into coursework like 
dance history, music studies, composition, or 
studies involving other departments. 

• Identifying community partnerships. 

• Discussing marketing/PR suategies to promote 
the residency. 

• If required, determining the methodology to 
evaluate the residency, identifying the person(s) 
responsible for the task, and deadline for reports. 

Note: Anything but enthusiastic participation becomes 
detrimental to the project. Obtaining consensus from 
the entire department is very important so the priority 
of the residency is understood in light of any compet- 
ing faculty activities or budgetary issues that may arise 
such as casting, choice of prime rehearsal slots, pro- 
duction elements, etc. 

Phase 2: Budgetary and Legal 
Arrangements by the Department 

If communication has been exclusively with the art- 
ist, confirm with the choreographic trust/founda- 
tion that the artist is authorized to do the restaging. 
Once the project details are verbally agreed upon, 
the focus shifts to getting institutional approval and 
generating the letters of agreement. Identify whose 
responsibility it is to sign off on budget line items 
for expenses, salaries, and income/funding sources. 
Licensing fees can vary due to existing relation- 
ships, faculty authorized to restage, etc. The fee 
might include a number of performances of the 
dance; otherwise, royalties can range from $50-150 
per performance. Less expensive options are utiliz- 

ing the resources of the Dance Notation Bureau's 
extensive library ( or the 
"Etude Project" of the American Dance Legacy In- 
stitute, which provides short dances based on sig- 
nature works of selected American choreographers 

The music publisher/copyright holder and record- 
ing entity often accommodate college/university use 
with reduced licensing fees. The ballpark for music 
royalties is $25-150 per performance. The artist's fee 
might be negotiated separately and an average range 
is $1,500-2,500 per week plus expenses. 

Allow adequate time for this process! Remember 
to schedule deadlines for executed contracts and 
payments. Agreements may include: 

• Foundation/trust licensing and royalty 
arrangements. Remember to inquire whether final 
approval by a designated representative is required. 

• The artist's fee, travel, lodging and per diem, if 
negotiated separately from the foundation/trust's 

• Agreements for music recording and publisher/ 
copyright holder's licensing and royalty, costumes 
or other production rentals, contract labor for 
production or marketing, and community 

• Necessary paperwork to arrange air travel, 
ground transportation, lodging, rehearsal studio 
reservations, etc. By a fixed date, the artist should be 
sent the residency itinerary. 

Phase 3: Conducting 
the Residency 

Preparing students 

It is ideal if students have master classes in the tech- 
nique/style, and gain conceptual knowledge of the 
choreographer and the work in advance or in tan- 
dem with the residency. If the department does not 
have faculty with appropriate expertise, the trust/ 
foundation can often suggest people for guest lec- 
tures or master classes. 

Remember: If the dance requires special produc- 
tion elements (i.e., sets, props, or costumes) these 

Bonnie Oda Homsey. 

must be constructed and in place for the start of re- 

Rehearsal objectives 

My personal objective is to equip students with new 
skills and a craft that can serve them beyond the 
residency. To accomplish this, I must get to know 
the students. One scenario is to ask for a brief writ- 
ten statement describing what they are seeking from 
the experience, followed by an in-person meeting 
in the studio or a restaurant. I find that the ensu- 
ing dialogue gives me insights into things like their 
approach to craft, aesthetics, life experience, disap- 
pointments, and aspirations. This information be- 
comes a foundation to convey the myriad of influ- 
ences inherent in the dance as points of entry for 
students to "own" it! 

Once students grasp the choreographic frame- 
work, the next hurdle is extracting the subtle lay- 
ers of physical expression. More complex strategies 
guide their transition from the muscle memory 
stage to discovery of new performance approaches. 
Adequate time is needed for the discovery and prac- 
tice to be reinforced so the students' learning curve 











segues into the rehearsals that will be handled by 
the designated faculty member. 


Directorial approaches vary from artist to artist. Of 
course, it goes without saying there is no deviation 
from maintaining integrity in stylistic execution of 
the choreography. One approach is using the restag- 
ing process to build confidence and self-reliance by 
encouraging students to find their way to owning the 
dance. The lighter touch gives students room to ex- 
plore phrasing, dynamics, nuance, musicality, arc of 
action, and resolution, before the artist exerts direc- 
torial choices. There is great merit in this approach, 
particularly when working with a department train- 
ing pre-professional artists. As we all know, in the 
real world of dance companies there is no time for 

Another directorial approach can be more hands- 
on. My preference for this approach was probably 
influenced by working with Martha Graham, Ant- 
ony Tudor, and theatrical directors Jose Quintero 
and Sanford Meisner. Following the oral tradition, 
I share images, stories or scenarios that were ex- 
plained to me. 

The first run at rehearsal is always a mark-through 
with music. This reinforces memory of physical ad- 
justments or notes from the prior session. More im- 
portantly, the attention on the music supports my 
final objective to knit the choreography and the mu- 
sic in an exquisite symbiosis. The next run is danced 
fully to build stamina and test the constructs of the 
personal preparation. 

When I determine that students have gone 
through their own discovery process, the final phase 
is stripping the excesses and distilling everything to 
a finely-honed product. We delete extraneous prepa- 
ration into movement, fine-tune musical phrasing, 
and refine choices to underscore significant mo- 
ments such as arriving a micro-second before the 
sound cue. This can occur by reinforcing imaginary 
or personal triggers as catalysts to shorten the im- 
pulse/reaction time. Finally, we continue to develop 
trust and respect between the dancers so the bond of 
ensemble is achieved. 

In the final phase, 1 also request that students 
adopt a professional preparation ritual. As they enter 
the studio, the mundane chatter ceases. They quietly 

warm up (or I will lead a warm-up) and review their 
log of notes. Each student takes a moment to walk 
the room or sit to gather their thoughts and energy. 
Rehearsal notes are framed in a positive manner to 
reinforce new performance approaches, in keeping 
with my goal to secure the value to students beyond 
the residency. The only time I lower the boom is if a 
student ignores my rule to eat some protein at least 
half an hour prior to the rehearsal! 

The preparation ritual carries into the concert 
period. After socializing, eating, and putting on 
make-up, students retreat to a private "me" period of 
warming up and the mental and emotional prepara- 
tion. Depending on the dance and by their choice, 
the students sometimes breathe together in a circle 
to bond before taking stage. 


Before the residency concludes, and if the agreement 
allows, I recommend documenting a studio showing 
with relevant production elements. Memorialize pro- 
duction elements, such as curtain, bows, lighting and 
cues, etc., for reference by the lighting designer and 
stage manager. If necessary per the agreement, make 
sure marketing/PR and program copy materials are 
approved by the appropriate entities/individuals. 

I believe in historical dances as valued "protein," 
intrinsic to the educational "diet" of dancers. The 
value of classic literacy is certainly acknowledged 
in other disciplines. I have never heard students 
complain that exposure to historical dances com- 
promises, impedes, or represses their creative voice. 
On the contrary, the response from students has 
been overwhelmingly positive. The importance of 
adequate preparation and delivery of the strategies 
can't be overstated. The reality is, regardless of how 
well-planned the residency may be, there will be the 
unexpected snafu. At those times, remember that ad- 
age, "Be part of the solution and not the problem." 
lust bite your tongue in those insane moments and 
take a deep breath. As my mother used to say, "To- 
morrow will be a better day!" 

Keeping It Green 

Some Lessons on Building 
Community and Igniting Creativity 

By David Dorfman 

In the early '90s, I set out to "get the whole world 
dancing" via community-based dance projects. 
The first came to fruition in 1992 through the 
Flynn Center for the Arts in Burlington, Vermont. 
We called it Out of Season/The Athletes Project, and 
invited athletes of all kinds who had never been on a 
stage before to band together and make a dance with 
our seven-member company. The title referred to the 
obvious fact that rehearsing for a theatrical produc- 
tion is not possible in the day-in, day-out routine of 
a professional or amateur athlete — it is more likely 
to be something they would try in the off season. 
The title reflected two ideas: The project was com- 
pletely out of our realm as a company in that we 
really had not done anything like it before — we were 
learning on the job, every step of the way — and al- 
though the athletes had not been on stage before, 
they were ready. In fact the biggest lessons of our 30- 
plus self-selecting community projects — which in- 
cluded this project as well as Familiar Movements/The 
Family Project and Arts in Action/The No Roles Barred 
Project — were that everyone is ready, everyone is a 
performer, and acting as a facilitator for this kind of 
explosion and growth is the most gratifying experi- 
ence in the world. 

The main question I have been asked hundreds 
of times is "How do you motivate yourself, your 
dancers and the participants? And how do you or- 
ganize a community project, from start to finish?" 
At a certain point, the tack of the question started to 
change. "What do you get out of the projects? How 

has the work with the community influenced your 
company choreography, and your life?" All these are 
key questions that fit into any catalogue of growth 
and learning: How to do it better the next time — to 
make a better process, a better product, to promote 
more change in participants and audiences alike? 

This being said, the central issue is that I (or we, 
when the company is present, which is often the 
case) try, and need to, build and re-build a commu- 
nity in every project on a day-to-day basis, whether 
the project sits in a dance department or a local 
theater or a community center. We can never, ever 
rest on our laurels. Learn from our experience — yes; 
improve due to new techniques and lessons em- 
bodied — yes. But rest when there is new work to be 
dpne? No. 

What Have I Learned? 

• Always to be ready to teach to different levels in 
a class or rehearsal setting and, paradoxically, to 
teach at the same high level to all present. 

• To include a mix of learning set material with 
creating new material, whether in a rehearsal for 
a piece to be brought to the stage in a week or in 
a technique class that lasts a semester. Knowledge 
is ultimately about varying levels of ownership (a 
complicated issue). The ways in which a student 
or performer "owns" (can read as "shares") a 
dance phrase or a choreographic assignment or 








a content-driven concept are very similar — it all 
comes down to depth of understanding and sense 
of participation and collaboration he or she has 
with the skill acquired. We need to feel we are part 
of the activities in which we are involved. 

The greatest tragedy, I find, is feeling distant and 
left out of something you are supposed to be "in" — 
this goes for any relationship as much as for a dance 
or dance phrase. 

I am constantly looking for movement and text 
metaphors (the meaning of an arch or a turn that 
we do every day how do we feel about it, how does 
it read, what about physical contact/weight bearing 
with someone you don't know, or someone you 
do know) that apply to daily life — that go beyond 
the studio or stage and creep effectively into our 
collection of admittedly ever-changing principles 
(i.e., the fabric of our lives). 

What Can Educators Do? 

What can we as educators do to encourage stu- 
dents' sense of involvement and learning? 

Include safe, creative exercises in all kinds of 
classes or rehearsals alongside the challenge of 
learning new material. Create an active and support- 
ive environment where chances can be taken, new 
discoveries made, with no risk of failure or ridicule. 
Put some improvisational work in a technique class. 
Have students tell jokes as they stretch, or sing during 
battements. Figure out how to stress self-improve- 
ment rather than meeting a norm (which is usually 
misunderstood anyway). In this manner, partici- 
pants can look for growth inspired by colleagues, as 
opposed to being intimidated by colleagues. 

I no longer believe that we need the "tough love" 
syndrome, "old school" discipline, or negative rein- 
forcement or pressure. The word "old" is included 
in that phrase for a reason — it's been done, and has 
proven less effective over time, particularly for the 
needs of a project and a student of today. We no lon- 
ger reside in the world of needing to know only one 
thing very well. We need to be diverse in our knowl- 
edge and talents (i.e., we must know several things 
very, very well). I am not for a lax environment with- 
out specific goals— not at all. But I do feel strongly 
about all taking ownership in the most positive of 

manners of these goals and being ready to change 
the goals as a project or class evolves. 

We work hard to keep the experience fresh for 
students and ourselves, even when we are work- 
ing with existing material. Sometimes this is more 
challenging for us than it is for them. Our company 
never "sets" the same exact community-based proj- 
ect from place to place. A certain portion of the proj- 
ect does have set, same movement over time and an 
overall structure that we adhere to but due to both 
the assignment-driven way of creating portions of 
the piece and the fact that each piece should in some 
way speak to its specific environment, audience, and 
participants, we make up anew a good portion of 
the piece each and every time. 

This process keeps it fresh for us as a creating 
community and, I believe, continually exciting for 
the participants. However, I have learned over time 
to leave less to be done at the very end (temper the 
"fresh" a bit), since a group of inexperienced stage- 
dwellers have every reason in the world to be afraid, 
be very afraid, of learning something completely 
new just days before the show. So we now have strict 
timetable goals for completion of certain sections so 
as to allow for maximum rehearsal of those parts or 
the piece. Running the piece and tweaking for maxi- 
mum communication is the goal of the last days of 
rehearsal (i.e., the whole two-week or 10-day process 
needs to be front-loaded for best success). 

A valuable lesson happened on the fifth resi- 
dency project with athletes. We were at a "co-op" 
university, one in which almost all the students had 
off-campus jobs. We did our advance workshop/au- 
dition visit, which is usually a tremendous bonding 
experience, a high-energy event that starts things off 
with a bang. Although the number of hopeful par- 
ticipants is always up in the air until the moment of 
the workshop, we had been drawing good crowds 
up to this point. 

But we had a very small turnout — mostly, I think, 
because there are stringent demands on the students 
for extracurricular hours, including some that are 
just economic-survival in nature. So we decided to 
return a day before rehearsals to re-audition, so to 
speak. This worked and we got a great and talented 
cast. But it was still a unique experience, again due 
to the culture at this institution: The students were 
not used to socializing and building groups outside 

of class, or finding a way to motivate themselves 
within a process. I had not run into this situation 
before and was a bit daunted. I kept thinking that 
somehow the situation would take care of itself and 
in a way, reverse itself. So I laid back, first as a "give 
them their space" tactic, then as an "I don't know 
what to do" tactic, then as an "I'm tired of this but 
don't know how to change it so I'll become sarcastic" 
tactic. Well, the reaction to my responses went from 
bad to worse; thankfully, my assistant called me on 
my behavior. I then realized that since we had been 
pretty darned successful in the first four projects, I 
had begun to assume that they all would take care of 
themselves in the long run. This was obviously not 
true, and the sooner I came to this conclusion and 
began reigniting the group each and every moment 
of each and every rehearsal, the sooner the project 
turned around and became great. 

Recently, the parent of a wonderful student at 
Connecticut College (where I am now on faculty) 
observed me in class and asked whether I really 
enjoyed teaching as much as it looked like I did. I 
told him it was true — I did, and I credited the above 
experience with setting me straight with the notion 
that you can never take anything for granted while 
teaching. You need to teach every exercise, give every 
explanation as if it were the first time for you and 
the first time for the students, and, hopefully, this 
newness will be felt by all, thus creating an environ- 
ment ripe for learning. I learned a few other things 
as well: 

• Don't let "stars" dictate the pace and environment 
of the rehearsal, just as you would not want to hold 
back those who are ready to roll because one person 
is having difficulty. There are many ways of keeping 
the person who is learning more slowly engaged 
and growing that do not preclude a crisp pace for 
the majority. 

• "Simple" communicates, and theatricality can exist 
with any level of experience or technique. Technique 
is relative. What is gripping — what "holds you" — is 
the greater question and one that is not dependent 
on mere technique or experience. How many times 
have you sat through a devastatingly less-than- 
riveting show performed by very well-trained folks? 

• People like to be challenged, of course, and a lack 

of structure taken too far can undo itself and lead 
to too much wonder and not enough learning 
and practice. So repetition and routine, although 
seemingly "old school," can be very helpful, and, 
ultimately, can be productive for any project. 

• Poetry speaks louder than preaching. Composition 
and rigor should exist and flourish no matter what 
the material. Sometimes mediation within a cast is 
appropriate and necessary. Sometimes participants 
unknowingly or consciously undermine the project 
and/or your authority, and everyone is better off if 
you can mediate those involved in, or affected by, 
the controversy. 

• Listen to all. In one project, a "star" was off base 
with star mentality demands, and yet that star's 
desire was for a great project, great performances. 

x Clear repetition of movement and overall logistical 
flow of the project helped the group, made me 
aware of learning differences, and gave ideas for that 
performer's role. 

Which leads me to my conclusion: subtext equals 
context! To me, this means that the inner experience 
of the people involved in the project is fodder 
for the content communicated to the audience. 
We are products of our environments, whether 
immediately or historically, so why not share these 
discoveries with each other and the audience? 
Enjoy it all: the tremendously hard work and long 
hours as well as the play that goes with engaging 
new folks and old folks alike. That's why we're here. 
Life is one big community project! 






Finding Physicality, 
Finding Context 

A Life-Long Study of Composition 

By Bebe Miller 




When I was studying art at a small midwest- 
ern college, I went to a Merce Cunning- 
ham master class on a whim. 1 hadn't 
studied dance since I was 13, after 10 years of Sat- 
urday classes with Murray Louis followed by a di- 
sastrous six months of ballet with suburban bridge- 
and-tunnel girls in New York City. At that master 
class, Merce talked about surprising oneself, about 
taking unexpected turns towards what you may not 
recognize. Murray always talked about energy, time 
and space, about dancing like a spice jar (in the best 
of ways). Both images suggested envisioning conse- 
quence, in a way. Marshall the body, sense the effect. 
Delicious, fun, hard. The classes with the suburban 
girls, though, that's where the politics of the situa- 
tion overwhelmed the sensations, shooting the con- 
text to the forefront. My self-consciousness as the 
only black girl in class weighed down the joy of the 
new experience, but was nothing new. What to do: 
Follow the sensation? Assess the context? Something 
between the two? 

Getting lost in physicality is the big reward in 
dancing. The seductive pull of kinetic awareness is a 
lot of why we continue to make, to train, to play. But 
"lost" has other implications we can't really afford to 
ignore. The world awaits — no, the world is not wait- 
ing for us, it is here. I teach part of the year at Ohio 
State, and every day on the way home I pass the vol- 
leyball pit outside one of the dorms, and 99 times 
out of 100, it's a completely homogenous group of 
healthy-looking boys and girls who don't demon- 

strate any urgency to diversify. It's not their fault that 
the picture seems incomplete, but it is their prob- 
lem. We are all world citizens, even when we can't 
tell. There are keystones of energy, vibrations of dif- 
ference everywhere we look. We haven't the excuse 
of denial, even as we insist on our point of view. 
Can we take it on faith that all of us are to be reck- 
oned with? At some point we realize the complex- 
ity of the world, the zoom and hum of all of these 
fierce insistences of viewpoint, that everyone is say- 
ing I AM HERE at the same time, and that the world 
doesn't disappear when we close our eyes and imag- 
ine our spines. Someone said, "Be kind, for everyone 
you meet is fighting a great battle." That's helpful, 
but I'm not that consistent, or that good. Someone 
else said that dance can never be abstract because 
it's human beings who are making it. Every gesture 
tells a culture, history, rhythm, time and space, as 
well as a story. We are fully implicated in the act. 
My own interests as a choreographer are in finding 
context in the physical expression, along with its re- 
verse: using physicality as a device for locating one- 
self in our current times. How we listen to the weight 
of a gesture, how we qualify the space between mov- 
ers, is a constant current of interest, packaged with 
how we see ourselves in the world. There is com- 
munity in our practice. Our daily work is to take a 
risk into the unknown, and that unknown extends 
into the relationship between dancers and choreog- 
raphers as well as the body, the move, the audience, 
the venue. The civilian body in dance is really inter- 

esting for me right now. I respond to work when I 
recognize that there are people living through a mo- 
ment in front of me, and that they recognize that 
moment and are changed by it. In performance, the 
difference seems to be between seeing yourself being 
seen and feeling yourself being felt. And in rehearsal 
it's the difference between defining the gesture from 
its design and articulating the impulse that gets you 
there. It's the feel of weight/torque/resistance, not 
the arrangements of parts, that lets you know what 
your partner is capable of doing. Pushing back, giv- 
ing in, allowing, and resisting have political ramifi- 
cations as well as aesthetic ones. And it seems that 
how we treat each other in the studio relates to those 
vibrating keystones of global energy, the volleyball 
pit (or its equivalent) in our own backyards. There's 
community in our practice and we have to practice 
to get it right. 

So how do we make this dance (verb form)? I am 
most interested in collaborative art making that de- 
pends on shared insights into the problem at hand. 
If we take it on faith that our composing eye is ac- 
tive while we're making sense of what's around us, 
perhaps the connections between idea and action 
can be seen as ongoing discovery rather than prob- 
lems to be solved. I'm interested in creating a space 
for in-depth exchange on the manner of process as 
well as the details of movement. What's the path 
from idea to dancing? Where did I get stuck today, 
and is it the same as yesterday? What are current 
obstacles in current work? Where does this thing 
we're making want to go? What movement vocabu- 
lary is specific to this current dance? These are use- 
ful questions to instigate action and conversation, 
to help in using one's studio mindset (which one 
do I put on to begin, today?) as a creative practice. 
I am personally fascinated with partnering, have 
been for a long time. It's the basis of my choreo- 
graphic practice, even when I decide there's No 
Touching Allowed. The space between people is the 
thing: partnering is the craft and performance of ac- 
tion, thought, and interactive presence. It teaches 
commitment, intention, and problem solving, dis- 
covering and creating relationships in ways that solo 
and ensemble work do not. It creates "story" from 
the compelling nature of human interaction. When 
I work, I use improvisational structures and compo- 
sitional trial-and-outcome to generate movement 

■ » 

t - 



^^r i v 

vocabulary as well as context. Talking about the idea 
with dancers puts it in the body, not quite immedi- 
ately, but pretty swiftly. Figuring out how not to be 
seduced by the previous problem, or the gorgeous- 

ness of the dancers ("I love how you do !"), or 

by something else entirely is the hard part. 

By locating initiation and focus in the body, in 
dynamics, in phrase-making and state-making, I 
think we make context visible and tangible. I also 
see that simple fascination with the exactly right 
movement has a context as well — bring it on. Per- 
haps it's helpful to step back for the long view: We 
have many dances to make, even more connections 
to contemplate, stories to tell, epiphanies to shiver 
through us. My intention is to accumulate "dance 
matter" in line, hopefully, with our lives. 









The Secrets of 
Our Success 

Good Relationships are the Key 
to an Ambitious Residency 

By Bonnie Brooks 

It was a "command performance" on a Friday af- 
ternoon. Eight young women from the Colum- 
bia College Chicago Dance Department took 
the stage for the dress rehearsal of a Cunningham 
MinEvent (a collage of excerpts from Cunningham 
repertory) for an audience of honored guests: Merce 
Cunningham himself, along with members of his 
company who were in Chicago to perform, under 
the Dance Center's presenting auspices, in the city's 
brand new Harris Theater. The company's perfor- 
mances were the culminating activities in our Con- 
versations on Cunningham residency and MinEvent, 
which would premiere on Saturday morning. The 
dress rehearsal had been scheduled on Friday after- 
noon so that Merce and members of the company 
could attend. Once everyone was seated — Merce was 
in the front row, which in our theater put him about 
eight feet from the stage — the performance began. 
Our young women danced ferociously for 34 min- 
utes. At the end, Merce turned to me and said, "They 
were so strong! They had the same marvelous en- 
ergy at the end that they showed at the beginning." 
Moments thereafter, all eight dancers had a chance 
to meet and greet the master, and hear him compli- 
ment their hard work. 

It was a joyous moment, one of many during our 
four-day extravaganza. Conversations on Cunningham 
was the most ambitious and multi-faceted residency 
ever envisioned and fulfilled here. Presenting Mer- 
ce's company was a long-time dream for me. Once 
we knew that the Harris Theater would become a 

reality in November 2003, I knew that we would 
have a theater that might actually allow the dream 
to become a reality. With the exception of an appear- 
ance at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art in 
winter 2000, the Cunningham Company had not 
been seen in Chicago for close to 15 years. 

In February 2003, I met with Robert Swinston, 
who in addition to dancing with the company is 
assistant to the choreographer, while the company 
was in residence at UCLA. We began to hammer 
out the details of the element of the project that 
would involve Dance Center students. Initially, 
Robert proposed a piece from the repertory, Win- 
terbranch, but as we brainstormed, he began to 
formulate the idea for the MinEvent. At the time it 
was unclear if this was doable, as the company had 
never assembled or licensed a MinEvent to a col- 
lege or university program. But seven months later, 
Banu Ogan, a former Cunningham dancer, came to 
the Dance Center for 10 weeks to train and set 34 
minutes of material on eight of our student danc- 
ers. The MinEvent, a seamless assemblage of ex- 
cerpts of recent and historical Cunningham reper- 
tory, was developed in New York using the "RUGs" 
(Cunningham's Repertory Understudy Group) by 
Robert, with Merce's oversight and cooperation. It 
marked the first time that the Cunningham Com- 
pany approved development of a MinEvent for an 
ensemble of student dancers. 

Funded by the National College Choreography 
Initiative, the MinEvent was the central event in 

our academic semester as well as a key element of 
our Cunningham residency in November 2003. The 
recipe for the overall project included the MinEvent 
premiere; a two-day multi-session conference/cele- 
bration of Merce's work and influence featuring over 
20 speakers ranging from Carolyn Brown and Jonah 
Bokaer to Ralph Lemon and Elizabeth Streb; two 
pre-performance talks; and two different programs 
of performances by the Merce Cunningham Dance 
Company at the newly-opened, 1500-seat Harris 
Theater in Chicago's Millennium Park. 

For a small, albeit ambitious, dance presenting 
series embedded in an over-extended college dance 
department, this was an audacious project to tackle. 
In the end, thanks to the hard and generous work of 
scores of people, including Merce and his marvelous 
dancers, administrators and crew, as well as Robert, 
Banu, and our wonderful dancers, administrators, 
faculty and crew, we had a success that exceeded our 
wildest dreams. The MinEvent was a striking accom- 
plishment for our young dancers; the symposium 
(the first of its kind in over a decade in the United 
States) was a delight; and the repertory performances 
were near sell-outs both nights in an untried theater 
featuring a company that is sometimes considered, 
at least in the U.S., a "hard sell." 

One of the Dance Center's considerable advan- 
tages in taking on such an ambitious project was 
that, unlike many college and university dance pre- 
senters, there is no distance between our present- 
ing series and our academic training program. Our 
presenting series is housed INSIDE the Dance De- 
partment. Thanks to the vision of the Dance Cen- 
ter's founder, Shirley Mordine, our learning center 
encompasses dance creation and presenting, and a 
degree-granting (BA and BFA) curriculum, all under 
one roof and under common leadership. As depart- 
ment chair, I oversee the presenting series and the 
academic activities. Unlike most university present- 
ing programs where the executive director reports to 
a dean and works independently of the academic 
programs, our executive director is based within the 
department and works in direct collaboration with 
me and the faculty on a daily basis. We therefore were 
not faced, in developing the Cunningham residency, 
with extensive negotiations or communication gaps 
between the presenting and academic units. This al- 
lowed us to focus our energies on the construction 

We live 

of the project and our collaboration with the Cun- 
ningham Dance Foundation. 

Another advantage we had was our commit- 
ment to the full participation of the Cunningham 
Company in every aspect of the project. Given the 
company's reputation for keeping things closely 
held, we knew from the 
beginning of the project 
that their ongoing involve- 
ment in planning was es- 
sential. It wasn't that they 
needed to dictate content 
or speakers in every single 
workshop we proposed. It 
was more that they needed 
to feel invested in the de- 
tails of what we were try- 
ing to do. Because we set 
the stage for this through 
frequent, detailed and 
thoughtful conversations 
with numerous CDF repre- 
sentatives, we were able to dailV \Yl tlfie 
proceed — on their side and 
ours — with confidence and 
imagination every step of 
the way. When issues came 
up, we benefited from a 
great deal of goodwill op- 
erating in both directions. 
At one point, Robert faced 
the frustrating possibility 
o(an all-female cast for the 
MinEvent, but the trust we 
had already established al- 
lowed both of us to keep 
a sense of humor and stay 
the course. 

In another instance, 
the company suggested 
and — when we said no — 

expressed some disappointment that we were not 
able to include a significant visual arts exhibition in 
the project. Though we had neither the resources nor 
space to mount a true retrospective featuring samples 
of visual art designed for Cunningham works, we im- 
ported 19-year old Robert I leischman, a Kansas City- 
based photographer who was one of Merce's Split 






crossroads of 

theory and 








Sides collaborators, to participate in a panel discus- 
sion on collaborating with Merce. Heischman's ap- 
pearance was a delight, given his youthful and fresh 
perspective, and the company was more than happy 
to have one of the visual artist contributors to Split 
Sides involved. 

My longtime relationship with the company 
was inevitably a factor in keeping the planning and 
delivery of the whole project smooth and cordial. 
Having fallen in love with Merce's work in 1979, I 
first met him in 1981 and had contacts with vari- 
ous people — dancers, administrators, and Merce 
himself— associated with the company from that 
time forward. I knew, from the start, that it would 
take a certain amount of mutual diplomacy to as- 
sure that we would have a wonderful tango rather 
than a testy tangle in plotting out the complex 
agenda that we wanted to fulfill. As a scholar and 
Cunningham devotee, I secured a Faculty Develop- 
ment Grant from Columbia and spent almost two 
weeks in New York in June 2003 doing study in the 
Cunningham Dance Foundation archives and also 
at New York Public Library for the Performing Arts 
on Merce's work, in preparation for the pre-perfor- 
mance talk 1 gave during the residency. During that 
time I was able to meet multiple times with Robert, 
General Manager Trevor Carlson, Executive Director 
leff James, and Archivist David Vaughan about our 
project. They were exceptionally generous with their 
time, which I believe was in part a tribute to the long 
history of commitment that I had to Merce's work. 
While such a relationship is not a prerequisite to a 
residency's success, it does underscore the value of 
presenters making the effort to learn as much as they 
can about the work and people they are going to 
present. It also demonstrates the value of artists and 
their representatives' willingness to listen to present- 
ers about their programs and goals in a residency. 
This approach is admittedly more labor-intensive, 
but — appropriately in my estimation— it transcends 
the buying/selling/booking model that has long 
been the norm in American dance presenting. Un- 
til we move wholeheartedly beyond that model, our 
field will remain stuck within the frame of a market- 
driven understanding of a product — contemporary 
dance — with little capacity for contextualizing or ap- 
preciating it in terms of the process or ideas that the 
dancing conveys. 

The last critical ingredient to our success was a 
team of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to mak- 
ing something extraordinary happen. For months, 
they were all willing to go the extra mile in the plan- 
ning and execution of the project. In 2000, three 
years earlier, we had gotten a taste of what trying 
something on this scale might be like when we pre- 
sented the White Oak Dance Project's PastForward 
program featuring work by dancemakers from the 
Judson Dance Theater era. It was then that we began 
a practice we sustain to this day: weekly production 
meetings in which the staff and relevant faculty meet 
to review the status of our numerous projects (pre- 
senting series activities and performances, academic 
concerts, rentals, and special events, etc.) and make 
sure all the bases for this week are covered and that 
we are where we need to be with all timelines. The 
information exchange in this forum is essential to 
managing a program with so many different academ- 
ic and professional elements operating together. 

The internal model we use at Columbia — inte- 
grating the presenting series into the curriculum, 
and running our public programming and academic 
training under one roof — is not for everyone. For us, 
it works. We live daily in the sometimes confound- 
ing, always invigorating crossroads of theory and 
practice. Conversations on Cunningham was a rich 
and vital collaboration that put us in the thick of 
everything from planning to producing to promot- 
ing to fundraising to dance training to scheduling 
to diplomacy to theorizing to making airline and 
hotel reservations for an awful lot of people. If we 
were all in it together when the pressure was on and 
we were feeling pretty frazzled, we were also all in 
it together and feeling great pride when the spon- 
taneous standing ovation of more than a thousand 
people occurred as Merce came out on stage during 
the second intermission to prepare to read in How 
to Pass, Kick, Fall, and Run. It was the last night, and 
our wonderful Chicago audience offered a fitting, 
unorchestrated, and symbolic appreciation for the 
man who has given so much to dance for half a cen- 
tury. Moments like that are what fuel our next big 
audacious idea. 

Promethean Fire 

Talking to Students about 
Talking to Artists 

By Ivan Sygoda 

Graduates of arts administration programs 
emerge with impressive and useful skills: 
double-entry bookkeeping, knowledge of 
501 (c)3 reporting requirements, familiarity with 
employment regulations, and marketing techniques. 
These are of necessity generic skills, applicable to 
all manner of arts enterprises. This makes eminent 
sense; creativity and idiosyncrasy in accounting of 
the sort we admire on stage would land the arts ad- 
ministrator in court. On the other hand, it is precise- 
ly this kind of idiosyncrasy and creativity that distin- 
guish one artist from another, especially among the 
single-choreographer troupes at the heart of much 
contemporary dance. We expect them to be distinc- 
tive, original. It's part of their mandate. We tend not 
to rush up to a choreographer after the concert and 
blurt out: "I loved it, it was so derivative!" Yet what 
do we say to artists about their work, especially if it 
wasn't a masterpiece (which it almost never is)? We 
have no compunction about deconstructing the lat- 
est film or song. That is how comfortable we are as 
a culture with those art forms. But we are not (or no 
longer) comfortable talking about dance, and so we 
avoid doing so. My thesis here is almost simplistic: 
budding arts administrators rarely graduate with the 
expectation that they will talk to artists, that they will 
talk about work in substantive ways ("I just loved 
it!" is not substantive), and most particularly, that 
they will talk to their artists about the artists' own 
work and then use the information thus gleaned to 
inform marketing goals and business decisions. 

This skittishness stems from an ambivalence that 
is firmly entrenched in our culture. Artists are sha- 
manistic oracles bringing precious knowledge to hu- 
mankind, and are therefore to be cherished. Artists 
are unreliable and dangerous creatures, the devil's 
spawn, and are therefore best kept at a distance. Re- 
spect and fear are not always polar opposites. What 
complicates the picture is 
that artists themselves of- 
ten buy into this ambigu- 
ous mythologizing process: 
"If I could say it in words, I 
wouldn't have to dance it." 
Some seem to think clarity 
is synonymous with sim- 
ple-mindedness. Defense 
mechanisms are as varied 
as dance itself. 

My second thesis is that 
administrators who allow 
themselves to take verbal 
possession of their artists' 
work thereby give them- 
selves a powerful resource 
that cannot be bought or 

borrowed in any other way. What does this mean, 
to take "verbal possession" of the work? It means 
to forge your own understanding, perforce in words, 
of the wordless dance work — where it comes from, 
what artistic values are embedded in it, what audi- 
ence it is made for, what kinds of factors dictated or 

You are 
part of the 
dialectic that 
is the artist's 
zigzag road to 








suggested the myriad choices actualized in rehearsal 
and performance. Sometimes previous publicists 
will have provided useful language, at least about 
last year's work. Occasionally a perceptive journal- 
ist will have captured the essence of some piece or 
process. Sometimes the artist her-/himself will be 
incandescently articulate and forthcoming. But of- 
ten enough, especially in the case of emerging art- 
ists, there will be little to 
work with, especially if the 
artist is coy or reticent, and 
reasonably so, it should be 
emphasized. Perhaps they 
fear explaining away the 
magic. Perhaps they are 
loathe to overemphasize or 
oversimplify what they in- 
tend to be read as subtle or 
complex. Or they may sim- 
ply have no idea yet where 

hnvA nt thenew P ieceis 8 oin §- 

\tiX\%X \Xv In college, you grappled 

with Flaubert and Word- 
sworth, ferreting out their 
essence and figuring out 
how to write about it. I bet 
you aced the course. But 
you had an unfair advan- 
tage. Flaubert and Word- 
sworth were dead. They 
couldn't talk back. They couldn't change direction. 
They couldn't contradict the professors. But in con- 
temporary dance, perpetual reinvention is the glory 
of the art form. Your hard-won understanding of the 
artist's work will become outdated by the time the 
next piece premieres, maybe even by the time of your 
next conversation if they are in the thick of creativity 
in the studio. But it isn't that you misunderstood or 
got it wrong. You are part of the mesmerizing dia- 
lectic that is the artist's zigzag road to discovery. You 
will always be playing catch-up. 

As I see it, forging your own direct connection to 
your artist's work is your best protection against the 
slings and arrows sure to come: the presenter who 
says no, the gig that falls through, the grant denied, 
the mindless bad review, the snowstorm that deci- 
mates the box office, even the artist's bad hair day. 
Your possession of the artist's work centers you in 

Your artist 

works hard in 

the studio. You 

have to work 



watching the 

work, at really 

seeing it. 

the office just the way the artist's vision centers her/ 
him on stage. On days when things go awry, it re- 
minds you why you are there, and why you care. 

1 do not mean reciting official chapter and verse, 
no matter where it comes from, nor quoting reviews 
verbatim. I mean understanding the work your way 
and in your own words so that you can, in turn, ar- 
ticulate the vision to others. You are an ambassador, 
a champion of the artist and the work, a missionary, 
if you will, sent to convert the heathens. 

A word of caution: Your artist works hard in the 
studio. You have to work correspondingly hard at 
watching the work, at really seeing it. Yes, it's your 
eyes that are doing the seeing, but it's the artist's 
work that is being seen, not some construct built 
mainly of your own expectations, prejudices, pre- 
suppositions, preferences, and frames of reference 
(although these will of necessity color what you do 
see). Your job is most emphatically not to recho- 
reograph the work, nor to recast the dancers. You 
have to let the work itself teach you how to watch it. 
This takes practice, and the fact that you may need 
practice is nothing to be defensive about. (I studied 
French for years. When I finally got to Paris, I was at 
first very distressed to realize that some very dumb 
people speak French fluently. It didn't seem fair. But 
the realization was ultimately empowering. I had all 
the equipment I needed; I just needed to practice 
more. The only thing between me and my goal was 
me myself.) By practicing, you serve as a mentor to 
others. We need to build a much larger audience of 
dance-goers willing to engage in their own dialectic 
with the work, willing to wrestle with it, so to speak, 
and make it their own. This is the real way to grow 
the audience, addict by addict. 

Another word of caution: I used the word "master- 
piece" above. Our culture has a masterpiece mental- 
ity, party because of technology. The entire contents 
of museums and libraries and archives are available 
at the touch of a button — any Oscar-winning film, 
any top-of-the-charts song, any Rembrandt that has 
been digitized. In the comfort and privacy of your 
own home, you can contemplate the best this, the 
most that, the biggest "whatsis" and the largest 
"whoosis." It's easy to talk about masterpieces be- 
cause it's easy to talk in superlatives. But contempo- 
rary dance is just creating itself, even as we speak. It 
doesn't have huge archives of digitized masterpieces, 

and they don't read well on the screen anyway. It's 
rarely about superlatives. (I take that back a bit. We 
have superlative performers, and we adore them.) It's 
about process. Yeats be hanged; sometimes one has 
to tell the dancer from the dance. We have to learn to 
describe process and intention, to give voice to intan- 
gible things that are in the midst of being born. 

Nothing in the arts is more empowering than 
fully engaging your own intellect and passion in the 
art work and, through it, in your own work as an ad- 
ministrator. It gives you your own credibility. It en- 
ables you to serve as an effective surrogate for your 
artist in times and places the artist can't be yet — at 
the booking conference, on the application form, 
over drinks with the prospective donor. It allows you 
to be a place-holder until the artist can get there with 
the work itself. 

In myth, Prometheus was the first artist. He stole 
fire from the gods. Allow yourself to steal a bit of 
that fire from your artists. It won't diminish their 
own flame, but it will give you power to exert on 
their behalf. As with all fire, you might get singed 
from time to time. You'll heal. 





Parallel Lives 

Three Professors Maintain Their 
Edge as Artistic Directors 







By Charmaine Patricia Warren 

In recent years, numerous notables in the dance 
field have chosen to join academia. Whether the 
decision was made in order to survive while mak- 
ing work, or to follow through on a tempting invitation 
to return after teaching master classes on the college 
circuit, artistic directors and their company members 
are joining university faculties as never before. These 
artists, who eventually answer to Professor So-and-So 
instead of only to their own muse, find fulfillment as 
mentors for students of dance in academia. 

Three dance artists — Bebe Miller, David Rous- 
seve and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar — addressed some 
questions about their concurrent careers as artis- 
tic directors and professors, including why they 
decided to join academia, what was going on in 
their respective careers when they made the deci- 
sion, how they chose a particular institution, how 
the decision has affected their art — and, finally, 
whether they would recommend it for others. At 
the present, Miller is a professor at Ohio State Uni- 
versity (OSU) and her 21-year-old company, Bebe 
Miller Company, is based in New York. Rousseve's 
17-year-old company, david rousseve/ REALITY, 
will soon be moving from New York to Los Ange- 
les, where he is the chair at LIniversity of California 
Los Angeles' World Arts and Culture (UCLA WAC). 
Jawole Willa Jo Zollar is a professor at Florida State 
University (FSU), and her New York-based com- 
pany, Urban Bush Women, celebrates its 20th an- 
niversary in 2005. 

Without question, the decision to join academia 
is made for myriad reasons. Rousseve and Miller, 

for instance, made the decision to move outside of 
New York (Miller only part-time), so they would be 
able to buy homes and live in ways that New York 
would not allow. Professionally, the move also of- 
fered each the prospect of developing as a teacher, as 
well as lessening the strain of constant touring, and 
being able to change to a project-to-project model. 
There was also the allure of the kind of security that 
is scarce in the dance world: One gets health insur- 
ance and a regular paycheck. Undeniably, the rea- 
sons for joining academia are not only "economics 
in the money sense," as Miller is sure to offer, "but 
how much energy [you have to expend]." For exam- 
ple, Zollar posits, "(UBW) was undergoing physical 
challenges, and because of that I was losing time: 
rehearsal time and time to continue developing my 
process." And though, she says, "finances come and 
go," the root of her decision seemed always to re- 
turn to economic realities and the kind of stability 
that would provide a creative and supportive atmo- 
sphere for making work. The technical and creative 
resources available in academia thus made campus 
life seem a good option. 

Between the late 1990s and early 2000s, Miller, 
Rousseve and Zollar were each offered viable posi- 
tions in prestigious institutions that sought them 
out not only for their life's work in the field, but also 
for their reputations as educators and innovators. 
Offers came at a time in their careers when change 
was essential to the future of their companies. Miller 
remembers that "Performing opportunities suddenly 
were being dropped. We had grants, but suddenly 

we were really in a crisis, having never been in the 
red before... and didn't really have enough resources. 
And Zollar recalls, "I had just gone through a big up- 
heaval with the company, where six members quit 
two days before a performance. [But] I was also doing 
a lot of soul-searching and a lot of wanting to make 
new starts." For Rousseve, the situation was a bit dif- 
ferent. "Things were going spectacularly well on the 
professional level, with major commissions and tons 
of touring," he says. But he began to find that the bur- 
den of constantly touring — the way for companies 
to survive — was hindering personal (and sometime 
artistic) growth. Consequently, he did away with the 
company model, accepted the position at WAC and 
moved to a project-to-project model. 

All three colleges fit perfectly into the artists' 
plans for moving forward — Miller at Ohio State 
University, Zollar at Florida State University, and 
Rousseve at UCLA. Zollar had not only done her 
graduate degree at FSU, she was familiar with and 
loved the community. For Miller, who had com- 
pleted her graduate degree at OSU, the draw was 
the school's reputation. And UCLA's WAC program 
lured Rousseve, he says, because it was "grounded 
on the principle of exploring new, interdisciplinary 
and multicultural dialogues. They were interested in 
me because I was progressive, which is not always 
the case with academia. Also, the director Peter Sel- 
lars and choreographer Victoria Marks were already 
in the department — there was already an attempt to 
create a place where working artists could be on fac- 
ulty and continue their professional profile." 

As artistic directors for 20-plus or minus years, 
and as long-term faculty members, each is well-po- 
sitioned to answer the question, "How does your 
faculty position work favorably for your art?" One 
of the many advantages for Miller and Zollar is that 
they are on faculty one semester out of the year — ap- 
proximately four months — which gives them access 
to their companies. Rousseve serves full-year terms, 
most recently as chair of the department, and fol- 
lows a project-to-project model in producing work. 
Overall, the definitive response is that they have ac- 
cess to studio space and theaters and they are able 
to create, collaborate, and engage with a rewarding 
community of artists and scholars. Equally gratify- 
ing is the fact that working among peers in a univer- 
sity community gives relief from the alienation of 
working as an artistic director, which Zollar says can 

be isolating. "On a fac- 
ulty there is so much ex- 
pertise and so many peers 
around." Miller reminds 
us that the decision is not 
strictly economic: "In a 
way, my day-to-day liv- 
ing is not dependent on 
my art work — how free- 
ing that is. I don't have 
to perform in order to get 

Conversely, they must 
share their time between 
the campus and the stu- 
dio, which can have a 
negative impact on their art because they don't get 
to make as much of it. What, then, does becoming 
a faculty member to support and give creative space 
for making art really mean? Rousseve says, "Time is 
the essential problem. Even in a department that 
supports artists' taking time for creative work, it is 
difficult to take time away to do so. I also served as 
chair of my department [and] the level of admin- 
istration I encountered was oppressive. Yet I did, 
and do, feel it is important that artists step up to the 
plate in leadership roles to fight to make academia 
more conducive to the creative process." For Miller, 
the time constraints of her faculty role means not 
having "open-ended studio time or working with 
professionals on a day-in, day-out basis, [and] not 
seeing new dance work." It doesn't necessarily work 
unfavorably for Zollar, who contends that being a 
part of academia is another priority. In fact, Zollar 
gives accolades to people in academia who work for 
the benefit of the student. "That's a great service for 
the university and for the students," she says. "But, I 
also think that that can take away your edge." 

In the end, whether or not the move to academia 
takes away your edge, all three artists highly recom- 
mend it, but with caveats. Zollar asserts, "Know how 
much release time you will have to create your work. 
It's |a matter of] being clear on that and how you 
negotiate that." And Rousseve insists, artists should 
"think about what their creative process needs in 
order to survive in academia, and introduce those 
issues during the hiring process. It is vital that you 
are aware of what you get and also what you don't 
get from academia." 



Paid Work 

From the Studio to the Stage 

ByAmii LeGendre 




I see an emerging responsibility for any art insti- 
tution to not only put outside artists in touch 
with students, but to create jobs for these art- 
ists. Universities, in particular, are in a position to 
offer incredible opportunities to connect artists with 
greedy, worthy, wonderful students who want infor- 
mation. Artists are just as greedy to share their exper- 
tise in an environment where it will be appreciated 
and absorbed — and they need to be paid for this. 
Few artists will have a vast array of skills and experi- 
ences if their only work situations are underpaid or 
non-paid projects that stress them out and dampen 
their spirits. 

Cornish College of the Arts, where I am a member 
of the adjunct faculty, truly understands this mentor- 
ship model. It was in the spirit of such a model that 
From the Studio to the Stage was born. This project 
resulted in the creation of a new work that involved 
a considerable collaboration between the profes- 
sional artists and the students. Integral to the proj- 
ect design was a power-share at both the artistic and 
administrative levels. A dance education institution 
and an independent choreographer co-produced 
and co-funded the project and related performance. 
The project also addressed the economic issues of 
desperation and validity among all dance artists that 
come from being in such a low-income profession. 
It provided good paid work for a group of talented 
professional artists, linked them with ambitious 
young students, and reconfigured some historical 
authority relationships between older/younger, in- 

stitutional/independent, group/individual. One stu- 
dent spoke of the value of the experience and the 
possibilities she now envisions: 

"[I was] inspired by the fact that I was in collabo- 
ration with people I admired so much. It was very 
helpful to see where I had similar strengths as well 
as the places that I would grow over the next coming 
years. It helped me be inspired that I am not as far 
away from the professional world as I fear, and that 
there are many opportunities to help me continue to 
grow and succeed." 

This project emerged from a series of questions 
I doggedly ask myself as a teaching artist: How can 
I share my expertise and that of the dancers in my 
company without feeling like a beggar? What do my 
students need from me as a teacher with respect to 
their emergence into the field? Is there a Utopian 
intersection? And more importantly, in the largely 
underpaid field of dance, how do we create mean- 
ingful lives? What do students on the precipice of 
their professional lives need emotionally and what 
do those entrenched in their professional lives con- 
tinue to need emotionally? And to what degree is 
the depth and intimacy of a particular process an 
answer to this question? 

From the Studio to the Stage began when I proposed 
to Kitty Daniels, chair of the Dance Department at 
Cornish College, that my contemporary dance com- 
pany of six women collaborate with students from 
Cornish on a project under my direction, and that 
everyone get paid decently, including students. I 

Amii LeGendre. 

dreamily began by proposing that Cornish fund this 
grand idea, but as conversations unfolded, I realized 
that it would be better if my company co-funded 
and co-produced this new work and concert. 

It was understood that to model dance as a viable 
career choice, the project must pay the professional 
dancers adequately. Early in the project, I learned 
that Cornish, like most small private institutions, is 
not the bottomless wishing well that I often want it 
to be; it doesn't have a lot more earning power than 
I do as a director of a small company, just a larger 
budget over which to spread the damage. So sharing 
the work of fundraising for this project also meant 
sharing the risk. As usual, funds were being spent as 
fast as they were being raised, and there was no mag- 
ical institutional development officer who dotted I's 
and crossed Ts. Kitty and I raised the money our- 
selves, I from the usual local and regional suspects. I 
wrote the same number of grants as I usually do but 
pointed them to this project and she tapped a com- 
bination of new grants and existing college funds. In 
the end, we were able to pay the professional dancers 
well, give the students a stipend, share administra- 
tive support for the project, and produce this show 

with a spot of grace and aplomb that rarely comes 
out of a fast and furious self-production. The show, 
an evening called BLUESPACE (a nod to the staircase), 
featured Pluto Water, the work that we created, along 
with two other works I choreographed. 

For my company, this was a job — not merely a 
job as in "paid work," but a job in its fullest and 
best connotation: work that respects the body of 
expertise one has cultivated, and that requires one 
to make decisions from that place. I don't know a 
dancer alive who does not profoundly struggle with 
and/or suffer from the reality that very few people in 
this culture can access their particular blend of wis- 
dom and work. This goes to the heart of the dancer's 
identity, interfacing with other very real issues about 
the hard road the dancer has to pave in reinforcing 
his or her validity as a citizen. It very often leaves the 
dancer with a rickety set of beliefs about the danc- 
er's role in the culture — as a non-participant, as a 
recluse, as a rebel, or as a mute. 

This project addressed these enormous concerns 
by squeezing them out of the room. The very fact 
that professionals were being paid for their work 
and that alumni were working with paid profes- 








Amii LeGendre. 

sionals offered a rare vision of what working in the 
field could be. The worth bestowed upon these pro- 
fessional dancers in asking them to interface with a 
well respected institution via a job was simple and 
important for all participants. As one said: 

"I [felt] legitimized as a professional dancer, yet 
still a fledgling student of the exploration of col- 
laborative creation. This experience allowed me to 
delve more deeply into the processes of creation and 
composition, and helped me to feel confidence in 
the fact that dancing for 23 of my 26 years of my life 
did equate to something besides a hobby. " 

One of the luxurious aspects of From the Studio to 
the Stage was how the process of dance-making pro- 
vided emotional support and a chance to confront 
some exhausted power models. 

For the seniors/alums, this project represented 
a coming of age: a bit of a ritual welcoming them 
into a family, into a community, and into a distinct, 
scary, and rewarding time in their lives. As one said: 
"It was an honor and a relief to have something 
to look forward to after graduation. I think we all 
had fears of feeling empty-handed with nothing on 
our plate, and participating in the project helped me 
cope with those fears. . . " 

The process also provided the opportunity for 
re-envisioning the meaning of authority. Because 
the field of dance, in many ways, is interested in the 
whole performer as a combination of spirit, tech- 

nique, politics, and generosity, I wanted to establish 
a work environment that echoed these larger inter- 
ests. I didn't want to run the show like a parent or 
have any parent/ child dynamic between my compa- 
ny and the students, any more than I ever want to see 
this dynamic reiterated in the professional world. I 
wanted to run it like a company, under the direction 
of a fallible human who is expected to take risks. 

We created exercises that allowed all the partici- 
pants to honor their power and curiosity. Everyone 
presented incredible stuff: technique work, poetry 
and movement, voice and contact work, solo per- 
formance labs situated in the outside environment, 
a gorgeous, gifted movement-and-story scavenger 
hunt, authentic movement, and writings that seg- 
ued into interesting movement explorations. Every- 
one got a chance to lead the group, and those who 
were terrified of leading their elders had to answer to 
that terror of possessing their authority. A wonder- 
ful thing happened. They owned their experiences 
as artists and leaders, more so than anything I could 
have given them as a director or teacher. It was es- 
sential to divide the time and authorship so as not 
to be always riding in my ship, but to be in our ship, 
to make a real laboratory. 

The final show, designed as a nod to the journey 
from college into the professional world, was almost 
a metaphor for the journey from school to gradu- 
ation. The first piece was all students; the second 
was our collaboration; and the final work was for 
my company only. The whole process reverberated 
powerfully. Of the Cornish participants, four of the 
six are working in Seattle professionally now, one 
is a new mother teaching dance, and one woman is 
dancing and performing actively in NYC. 

A project of this kind could help any college 
community support local professional artists, and 
empower students newly entering the often-lonely 
and economically crazy-making field of professional 
dance. As one participant reflected: 

"More than just steps or design, this project cre- 
ated a real sense of belonging or at least of shared 
experience and time to reflect on our ever-changing 
crazy lives." 

Gateway to the City 

NYC Field Experience Has 

a Profound Impact on Students 

Note: "FSU in NYC" was initiated by Drs. Sally Sommer and Tricia Young of the MA program in American Dance 
Studies at Florida State University, Department of Dance (MA/ADS); Sommer has lived and worked in the New 
York City dance field for more than 30 years. 

By Sally R. Sommer 

FSU in NYC is an intensive semester in New 
York City that introduces Florida State Univer- 
sity students to the city's dance community. 
FSU in NYC takes place each fall, and functions as a 
gateway to the professional dance world for gradu- 
ate students in a mentored, stimulating environ- 
ment while they continue with their regular aca- 
demic studies and take studio classes of their choice. 
During this semester, students learn about the arts 
while learning to navigate the city and the dance 
world. The aim is to better prepare them for life after 
college — while they are still in college — by provid- 
ing them with professional training and the crucial, 
intangible insights about self and careers that come 
from experiential immersion in the life of the city. As 
student Meredith Howard wrote: "The importance 
of having time in this city as a dance student can be 
compared to a student studying medicine needing 
experience in a hospital. A realistic perspective of the 
field is present so I am far more equipped for my life 
after college than I would have been otherwise." 

The realities of university dance programs are 
that they function at a disadvantage. The better- 
funded, extensive programs in history or science (for 
example) with hundreds of faculty members enjoy 
the fractious tug-and-pull of multiple opinions and 
educational approaches that enrich the mix. Dance, 
by comparison, has few faculty lines, and new hires 
are often chosen for compatible philosophies about 
technical training, dance-making, and dance educa- 
tion. This promotes harmony in dance departments, 

but also effectively perpetuates uniform practices 
that separate them from changes in the wider field. 
Even under the best circumstances — with progres- 
sive governance and guest artists and teachers con- 
tinually refreshing the pool — students cannot expe- 
rience on campus the wide range of dance genres, 
techniques, or choreographic approaches available 
in the world beyond. Students are insulated, with 
little chance to collide with different ideas about 
what dance is, what art is, and why they are doing it. 
These are core issues that must be confronted by any 
serious young artist. 

I often hear in academic dance departments, "Oh, 
we are just as good as they are in New York!" In a 
technical and production sense, that is often correct. 
New York is scruffy and often crude, but the rich- 
ness is in the enormous variety and sheer number 
of the city's arts activities. My favorite art dictum is: 
"Quantity begets quality." Young dancers need first- 
hand exposure to quantity — the good and bad con- 
temporary developments that influence where the 
larger dance world is moving and affect individuals' 
assessments of where they fit in that world. As stu- 
dent Amy Flanegan said in our class discussion: "I've 
seen so much crap that it makes me feel good, like 'I 
can do that.' I've also seen so much great stuff, I feel 
like I didn't know anything before about what was 
really going on." 

Immediacy is one of the beauties and one of the 
disadvantages of the performing arts. Whether the 
effort is in training or in observation or in bringing 











The philosophy of 

FSU in NYC is 

to spread before 

the students the 


York as a world 
arts capital. 

history to life, the exchange must be experiential 
and living. As student Dajhia Ingram wrote: "New 
York City is packed with opportunity a rich his- 
tory and culture that I will continue to study and 

learn from. Its history 
took me on a jour- 
ney through the lives 
and struggles of the 
people who inhabit 
the island — from 
the 1 700's through 
today... [and] in- 

trigued me because 
of its endless connec- 
tion to the New York 
City of today. I've felt 
those connections 

that defines New ^^^ from rid 

J ing the subway to the 

roof of the MET; and 
I'm thankful for the 
opportunity to be- 
come a part of [it]." 
Technically, dance re- 
quires replication and 
response in the body. In dance writing, as in writing 
about theater, art cannot be properly described, ana- 
lyzed, and critiqued unless seen live. Nor can history 
have vitality unless the past is directly linked in a 
meaningful way to the present. 

The overarching challenge is how to make the di- 
verse elements of the program relevant. One key to 
understanding how the city and its arts function is to 
look at the whole as a system of inter-connections. 
Thus, the job of the program and of each individual 
class is to reveal these intersections. The two-part 
course, "New York City as Art and Resource," twines 
academics with performances. Professional intern- 
ships place students inside the dance workplace. In 
American Dance History, students become contribu- 
tor/participants in a larger research project, "Library 
without Walls: George Washington Project," and 
thesis research can exploit all the city's archives, li- 
braries, and museums. 

"New York City as Arts and Resource" (six cred- 
its) is based on the fundamental principle that the 
city itself interacts with dance, causes dance. Dance 
history is everywhere, interwoven with exhibitions 

and performances, films, libraries, and especially 
with the people — the prominent, generous guests 
who participate in the course: choreographers, per- 
formers, film people, and arts administrators. With 
this inclusiveness, practical paradigms for theoreti- 
cal and/or historical analyses are created. "It helped 
to be amidst such a wealth of resources," wrote 
Dajhia Ingram. "Space and history provide telling 
information about dance and social movements; 
actually going to a variety of these places was of infi- 
nite importance. Meeting and chatting with so many 
artists also helped me to define the relationship of 
dance to personality, history, and space." Dance his- 
tory and theory gets placed within the larger urban 
intellectual and arts context, showing how the city 
and the arts— traditionally and currently — operate 
in a gigantic interlocked system. Because the class 
is dependent on what performances are happening 
each fall, the syllabus changes each semester to suit 
the offerings. 

For example, in fall 2004, as a complement to 
seeing Baroque dance, we visited the spectacular 
Dangerous Liaisons exhibit at the Metropolitan Mu- 
seum, based on Choderloc de Laclos' 1782 novel, 
Les liasons dangereuses. Mannequins languish in 
tableaux vivants charged with sexual innuendo. Les- 
sons are historical, dancerly, and choreographic. The 
figures' arrangements brilliantly visualize how sus- 
pended poses and body groupings convey narrative. 
Ballet technique is explained: Once students see the 
dresses they understand the pragmatic placement of 
the ballet/Baroque arms, positioned slightly in front 
of the torso and gently curved to accommodate the 
clothes. Corseting reveals why the ballet torso is up- 
right and restrained, while neck and shoulders are 
fluid. These are the elusive social and human histo- 
ries behind the ballet technique. 

Other class units study immigration patterns, 
or the effects of the Revolutionary War, and how 
these forces determine what styles of dancing were 
performed onstage and off. "Library Without Walls: 
The George Washington Project," a collaboration 
between FSU MA/ADS and New York Public Li- 
brary/Dance, centers research in the politics and 
dance practices of George Washington's time. When 
the students study that time period, they become ac- 
tive contributors to a national research project, so 
studying 18th century dance/social practices (not at 

the top of most wish lists) gains relevancy in today's 
world. Older patterns of immigration also affect 
contemporary dance-makers. Choreographer Doug 
Varone talked about his dance Neither, specifically 
created for, and performed in, the tight unlit rooms 
of the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side. 
Watchers and dancers felt the claustrophobia of 
ghetto life and death — paralleled later in the creation 
of hip-hop and its explosive dance battles. Research 
courses (three credits) are individualized to suit spe- 
cific interests, work is focused in a particular library 
or archive, or on oral/video histories, or other viable 
approaches the students undertake. 

Voluntary, professional internships put the stu- 
dent in the network of presenting institutions, pro- 
ducers, arts managers and administrators, and along- 
side their creative peers. Dajhia Ingram described her 
experience as providing "a behind-the-scenes look 
into the dance world [ that is] extremely helpful and 
important in dealing with the logistics of a company 
( e.g., grant writing, marketing, touring, etc.) One of 
the most beneficial parts. . . is the connections. I have 
learned important tools from the people I worked 
with, and the projects I completed go beyond the 
classroom of dance." Professional arts organizations 
serve as conduits for the students to transition into 
the professional dance field. 

While NYC can be exhilarating, it can also be dis- 
tracting and depressing. Therefore, an emphasis is 
put upon the fact that work is expected in the classes 
and in the internships, that life is structured with ex- 
pectations and results. It helps the student master 
focus, to feel self-confident, and to finish projects — 
but it does this while also providing them with as 
much support and direction as necessary. 

The philosophy of FSU in NYC is to spread be- 
fore the students the art-abundance that defines 
New York as a world arts capital. It affords the widest 
array of technique classes, the largest dedicated com- 
munity of dance creators and presenters, producing 
the broadest variety of performances. Students rec- 
ognize that, as one said, "The very city in which the 
program dwells is extremely important in why this 
program must exist." The student, Meredith I loward, 
added, "In such a specific field of study as dance, it 
can be extremely difficult to get a realistic grasp of 
what is happening ... unless you are literally in the 
thick of it. I have learned more, grown more rapidly 

and matured more steadily in this single semester 
than I have in my years in school." In addition, New 
York City has the finest dance research archives and 
libraries and is the center of print, media, and film 
industries. In having a pool of experiences, students 
can choose relevant areas of concentration that 
deepen them artistically and intellectually, and they 
are given a template for evaluating their career goals. 
FSU also enhances curriculum choices for New York 
University graduate dance students in their individ- 
ualized study program, called the Gallatin Division. 
In fall 2004, three Gallatin students participated in 
our "American Dance History I" class, and in the 
"NYC as Arts and Resource" class. New York Uni- 
versity student Kate Enright noted, "I heard many 
students describe how eye-opening it was to be in 
the city. They now understand what it is like to be 
in a non-sheltered environment, working in their art 
form of choice." Students need to understand — bet- 
ter yet, they need to feel — the difference between 
the accommodating womb of the university and 
the tough dynamic life-style of young NYC dancers. 
Simply finding acceptable housing is horrendously 
difficult. And, since FSU does not subsidize student 
housing in any way, they learn to scrounge for ac- 
commodations like all of the rest of the young danc- 
ers. New York City is also notoriously poor in physi- 
cal performance and rehearsal facilities. As a result, 
focus is fixed on individual creativity, and on the 
dancer dancing — very often in odd places. 

The scope of today's "dance study" extends be- 
yond the studio and stage to include research and 
theory, writing, and media explorations. Students 
exploit the city as classroom, and once they grasp 
the logistics of how NYC functions as an arts center, 
they can apply that knowledge to any city. The pro- 
gram maintains the student in a socially supportive, 
yet individually interactive, way. Beyond the basic 
training in academic courses, studio work, thesis re- 
search, and internships, they see about four events/ 
performances per week. Some of them have far out- 
stripped that number and became culture vultures, 
eating up six to nine performances per week. They 
learn to work the system to scrounge up tickets, tak- 
ing full advantage of ushering, student rush, ticket 
lotteries, half-price, and reduced rates. One young 
woman made a point of trying to see something ev- 
ery night of the week, defeated only when she had 










to go to bed instead. Kate Enright remarked, "FSU in 
NYC offers a wide variety of resources and person- 
alities and the program did a great job of utilizing 
resources. As a Gallatin student, who has the city as 
her school, I found the FSU program easy to navi- 
gate; it opened many 
doors for me in the 
process. I now have 
a better understand- 
ing of how the dance 
community works in 
the city, and how to 
stay in contact with 
it. The 'NYC as Arts 
and Resource' class 
taught me to look at 
many various aspects 
of society in order to 
inform my dance re- 

The opportunity 
for students in re- 
gional universities to 
become active mem- 
bers in the NYC arts 
capital fulfills a deep 
pedagogical need. As 
a pilot project of Flor- 
ida State University, 
FSU in NYC has been 
enriching and excit- 
ing — the best that 
arts education can promise. Students, ultimately, are 
the best evaluators. 

As Nicole Durfee said, "Everything Eve learned at 
FSU has been in preparation for joining the larger 
dance world, which is primarily centered in New 
York City. Therefore, this gave me my introduction 
into the entire community in which I hope to work. 
I was able to see what kind of work is being done 
and who is doing it." 

Students need 

to understand — 

better yet, they 

need to feel — the 

difference between 

the accommodating 

womb of the 

university and the 

tough dynamic 

life-style of young 

NYC dancers. 

■ M 

This chapter offers some ideas about what 
life will be like once you graduate from 
college and begin your professional dance 
career. It will give you the tools to think 
through decisions you may want to consider 
before or after graduation. Among these are 
managing your time and activities; creating 
and administering your work; and paying 
the bills while fulfilling your artistic passion. 
The sidebars explain about how real artists 
and organizations have solved some of 
the challenges you might encounter. The 
exercises provide a way for you to put what 
you've read into practice. "Apply It!" sections 
provide ideas for steps that you might take 
now to answer these questions. To get 
started, we'd like to tell you a bit about our 
own first steps as artists. 

Steve Gross 

Diane Vivona 

The Unintentional 

Steve Gross 

I was 18, finishing my freshman year in college, 
when I met a professional dancer for the first 
time. I got curious about dance and, before I 
knew it, I was hooked on the thrills and challenges 
of moving. I took as many dance classes as I could 
while making sure my academic studies didn't teeter 
into oblivion. During my senior year, I was asked 
to join a local dance company. Through that heady 
time of discovering my body as an instrument of ex- 
pression, of finding a whole world of artistic feeling 
and interest within myself that I never knew existed, 
I also came to suspect that there are two types of 
male dancers who start late in life. There are those 
who go on to become Paul Taylor or Jose Limon, 
and those whose late start is obvious. I was squarely 
in the latter group. This point was driven home after 
I left Philadelphia upon graduation and moved to 
New York to see how I stacked up against others. 

There's a small studio (about the size of a mod- 
est suburban den) at the back of the Cunningham 
school in New York. This is where dancers learn 
Cunningham basics before they're admitted into 
the main studio where the "real dancers" get to 
take class. Usually this graduation takes less than 
a month, but I made three month-plus attempts. It 
wasn't that 1 hadn't improved, or couldn't improve. 
But in an odd moment of clairvoyance, watching 
myself go across the floor in a regimented line and 
still not getting it quite right, I saw my future: the 
tall male dancer in the back, given the implicit (or 
even explicit) demand to blend. I would be the one 

whose main job was to lend heft, height, and hair 
(on the chest) to the stage picture. 

This realization wasn't as devastating as it might 
have been, because, luckily, my lack of robust tal- 
ent at dancing coordinated with an interest in how 
dances were made. Through my year in the Phila- 
delphia company and subsequently in the work of 
various independent choreographers in New York 
(yes, I benefited from the opportunities available to 
the rarer gender in this field), I learned that I had 
different ideas about how work should be made. 
I experienced, time and again, the frustration of a 
choreographer taking a great movement phrase and 
pairing it with the "wrong" music. I'd see all of us 
directed to leave the stage to the right when it was 
obvious that having us leave to the left would be a 
better choice. I saw a powerful gestural sequence ru- 
ined by overuse. And so on. Whether my instincts 
were right or wrong, I was itching to dig my hands 
into the stuff of making work. 

My interest in how things worked, I found, ex- 
tended into making programs for artists. How could 
things be organized in a way that would help artists 
like myself gain a foothold in a community, make 
better work, and find the resources they needed? 
In New York, 1 studied at Pineapple Dance Centre, 
which had three floors of studios, lots of battle- 
ship-gray Marley, and a staff with accents. I became 
friendly with one of them, a woman from Austra- 
lia named Wendy Lasica. Wendy was establishing a 
weekend performance venue in the largest studio, 




and eventually named it The Field. I posed an idea 
for a workshop in which choreographers could show 
their work as it was developing. My idea was spurred 

by two things. The 

Sometimes, if 






you're open to 
it, your path can 
have a way of 
finding you. 

first was taking simi- 
lar workshops with 
Bill Evans, a chore- 
ographer, and Bessie 
Schoenberg, a teach- 
er, both of whom 
had been mentors to 
countless choreogra- 
phers over many de- 
cades. The second was 
discovering that get- 
ting feedback about 
my work was utterly addictive — I would never con- 
sider showing my work before finding out how it 
was coming across to others, perhaps because I often 
performed in my work and couldn't see it myself. 
Wendy agreed, and the workshop that I wanted to 
start was dubbed Fieldwork. 

About a year after The Field was established, 
Pineapple had to close for financial reasons and 
Wendy moved back to her native Australia. Before 
leaving she tapped me — would I be interested in do- 
ing something with The Field? Maybe she saw some- 
thing in me I didn't yet see in myself, or perhaps 
she was desperate to have the bit of an organization 
she'd worked so hard to bring in existence survive 
into the future. At 26 years of age, I spent several 
sleepless nights alternately doubting I had the guts 
to take on the challenge, and having grandiose fan- 
tasies about being interviewed on talk shows about 
my humble, if prophetic, beginnings as an arts ad- 
ministrator. I took the job. 

The first step seemed obvious: I had to offer some 
programs. Fieldwork was going along okay, but what 
else would The Field do? 1 didn't want to get my 
hands on another space; I'd seen how all of Wendy's 
time had gone into looking after the facility and the 
events that occurred there. But what about a per- 
formance? There were many artists, and not many 
places to show work. So, I'd organize an event. 

I placed an ad in the Village Voice requesting vid- 
eotapes from choreographers who wanted to per- 
form in a shared evening. I engaged a space — a loft 
where we'd end up doing many Field events over the 

next several years. And then the tapes came in, 20 of 
them. I piled them on my rug in front of the VCR. I 
invited two friends over to watch them with me and 
make choices. While I was waiting for my friends, 
I got curious and popped the first tape in. It was a 
woman doing a solo, her arms mimicking the move- 
ments of the hands of a clock. She'd been working as 
a choreographer for a number of years, many more 
than I had. I didn't really like the piece that much. 

I imagined calling her and telling her I was sorry. 
My stomach sank. Maybe I could send notes to peo- 
ple who didn't get in, avoiding the whole rejection 
thing? Then I wondered: Who was I to make choices 
anyway? I was a relative newcomer to the commu- 
nity. What right did I have to tell people that their 
work was worthy or not? When my friends came 
over, we discussed the situation. Then it occurred to 
me. We'd have a show with 20 works, a marathon 
performance, and audience members could pay one 
price and come and go as they pleased. With that 
decision the mission of The Field was born: not to 
curate, but instead to strive to provide opportunity 
to any interested artist. 

I tell this anecdote because it underscores one 
reality in the process of finding one's professional 
path. Sometimes, if you're open to it, your path 
can have a way of finding you. I never intended 
to become a performing artist, yet I met a dancer 
and I got curious. Without this chance meeting, I'd 
most likely be in journalism or working at the UN 
or something quite different than what I've done. I 
never intended to run an organization, yet one was 
offered to me and I took the bait. I never intended 
to fashion a mission for that organization around 
being inclusive, yet when forced to choose, I listened 
to my gut and found a personal distaste of rejecting 
others. Perhaps there is an interplay between chance 
and choice: We are bombarded every day with stim- 
uli and input from all directions, pulls and pushes 
that could propel us into many different avenues 
were we to give in to them. The paths we do find 
ourselves on — whether they seem quite surprising 
or inevitable, the result of happenstance or delibera- 
tion — are our paths for a reason. We just may not 
have had enough time or perspective to connect the 
dots, or even recognize yet that they are dots. 

The Intentional 
Dancer Diane Vivona 

I was about three years old when I took my first 
dance class. I had a lot of energy and loved mov- 
ing to music, so my mom whisked me into a 
class as soon as she could. My first teacher was a for- 
mer Rockette, and that, of course, was what 1 want- 
ed to be. I practiced kicks in the living room and 
yearned for a short velvet skirt with white trim. This 
lasted for a few years until I discovered fairies and 
tutus with my second teacher, a former member of 
the Pennsylvania Ballet. We changed residences sev- 
eral times during my childhood, but one thing that 
stayed consistent was my after-school dance class. 
Depending on the specialty of the studio where I was 
studying, my aspirations switched from ballerina to 
tapper to jazz baby to musical theater star. When 
we stopped moving, I was studying with a woman 
who taught from the perspective of the Royal Ballet 
School; she became my most influential teacher. Her 
small company performed TJie Nutcracker as well as 
various story ballets that toured the local school sys- 
tems. I was smitten with the satin toe shoes, the glit- 
tery costumes, and the glamour of rehearsing and 
performing in a whole evening-length production 
(rather than just a recital number). I eagerly audi- 
tioned for the part of "Pied Piper's Friend" or "Span- 
ish Dancer." 1 discovered that this was what I wanted 
to do professionally. 

The studio owner's daughter was studying at the 
School of American Ballet in New York. She became 
my idol. She would take me to open classes where 
I would stand at the barre with dancers I had previ- 

ously seen only in picture books or on PBS — Natalia 
Makarova and Gelsey Kirkland. I was enthralled. I 
wanted to move to New York as soon as possible. 
Instead, I went to a summer ballet camp in Vermont. 
Here I was "discovered" by Sally Bliss, then the direc- 
tor of Joffrey II. She wanted me for the company. 
All of a sudden, my dreams could come true! But 
first I had to finish high school. I convinced my par- 
ents that I needed to dance, every day, and take more 
classes than what were offered in my hometown. We 
began to look at private schools. Sally told me about 
St. Paul's School; the teacher there was a former ABT 
dancer and the program allowed for three hours or 
more of training per day, as well as performance op- 
portunities. I was accepted for my junior year and 
was in heaven. 

My meteoric path to becoming a ballerina was cut 
short during my senior year when I sustained a serious 
injury. What had seemed like a sure future dissolved. 
Many dancers vied for a company spot at loffrey, and 
when I got injured, I was practically trampled. Instead 
of studying the works ofTudor and Arpino at City Cen- 
ter Studios, I ended up studying Plato, Marx, and Hegel 
at Columbia University. During my freshman year, my 
only connection to dance was working in Barnard's 
dance office (a work-study position) and choreo- 
graphing for the Gilbert and Sullivan society. I gained 
the requisite freshman 15 pounds (or was it 30?) and, 
despite some physical therapy visits to address stress 
fractures and tendon damage, I was depressed and not 
inspired to plie. Working in Barnard's office, however, 



Giving up wasn't 

an option. I knew I 

would always 

be in dance, I just 

didn't know how. 



• MB 



kept me in the mix. I learned that there were other 
kinds of dancers, not just ballerinas, who seemed to 
have a similar love of moving. I learned about and 

enrolled in a dance criti- 
cism course. (If I couldn't 
dance, maybe I could 
write about dance?) Par- 
ticipants were required 
to attend concerts at 
various venues in the 
city. Most of these were 
modern, rather than bal- 
let performances. Wow! 
This was cool stuff. One 
day a faculty member 
sent me downstairs to be an extra body for a Laban 
notator who was restaging a Charles Weidman piece 
on the dance majors. I balked — I was fat and clad in 
tight jeans and an oversized shirt — but it turned out 
to be a blessing. Muddling through Humphrey-Weid- 
man falls, I was bitten again by the dance bug. 

I began sneaking into dance classes, both on 
campus and downtown. I also took dance history 
and became even more familiar with modern dance. 
One of the many companies I was exposed to was 
The Lar Lubovitch Company, which became my new 
love. I took their summer workshop but they did not 
have a school, and I needed some serious training 
after studying the classics with a box of Entenmann's 
cookies at my side! For a short while I attended the 
Graham School, but I felt out of place. A friend rec- 
ommended the Cunningham School and there I 
found a home. I worked at the front desk to help pay 
for classes. I auditioned for scholarships but didn't 
make the list until my third try. I loved it there. The 
classes were challenging, the company inspiring. 
My classmates danced for many different choreog- 
raphers and introduced me to the downtown dance 
community. Eventually, I was asked to dance for a 
few choreographers myself. Working at the front 
desk gave me the courage to organize and produce a 
showcase of work by students from the school. Soon 
after that, I produced a show of my own work at the 
Cunningham Studio. I was discovering new ambi- 
tions and a network that supported them. Of course, 
my ultimate desire was to dance for Merce's com- 
pany. I came close, but no cigar. Instead, I ended up 
teaching for him. 

I taught at the Cunningham Studio for two years 
and might have stayed longer had it not been for 
a complete stroke of luck, guided by a very timely 
helper. My former best buddy from the Cunning- 
ham Studio had gone to Los Angeles to be with his 
partner, and had joined Bella Lewitzky's company. 
Lester Horton had created his technique on Bella 
and she had become the star of his company. After 
that, she became a seminal dance figure on the West 
Coast, teaching, educating, and establishing her 
own critically-acclaimed dance company. My friend 
suggested I FedEx a videotape of my dancing to the 
company's manager. I wasn't looking to move, but I 
sent the tape anyway. The day it arrived, one of the 
Lewitzky dancers was severely injured. My tape was 
viewed, my friend said I was a quick study, and that 
night I received a call from the manager asking if 
I could come out, learn a few dances and perform 
with them on the next tour. For whatever reason, 
this seemed better to them than hiring someone lo- 
cally. Perhaps it was because they knew that I would 
have no expectations of further employment, or be- 
cause there are fewer dancers in Los Angeles from 
whom to choose; or perhaps my friend convinced 
them that I would be great. I didn't know and didn't 
care. I flew out, learned five dances in as many days, 
and performed with the company in Lyon, France 10 
days later. What originally was a short-term contract 
turned into a five-year, life-changing commitment. 

My path as a dancer is not so uncommon. I in- 
tentionally placed myself in schools and situations 
that fostered my interests, developed my skills, and 
gave me access to others in my chosen field. I was 
pretty determined and, when one thing didn't work 
out, I kept my eyes and ears open for other ways to 
keep dancing, or stay involved with dance. Giving 
up wasn't an option. I knew I would always be in 
dance, I just didn't know how. Of course my goals 
shifted, from Rockette to ballerina to modern danc- 
er to writer to... well, they keep shifting, even today. 
What hasn't shifted is a love of dancing that has car- 
ried me through these changes. 

As this chapter unfolds, Steve and I will share 
more about how our paths developed. In the mean- 
time, let's explore some of your options in embark- 
ing on your journey as a professional artist. We'll 
start by talking about your goals and finding places 
to pursue them. 

First Steps 

Landing on Your Feet 

Completing college exams, hand- 
ing in that last paper and finally 
receiving a hard-earned diplo- 
ma is exhilarating: Freedom! Liberty! 
Time! Sleep! A few weeks later, after 
indulging in all the things that aca- 
demic life had held off, you may find 
this same sense of freedom daunting: 
now what? The possibilities of where 
to go and what to do may appear end- 
less, and overwhelming. Landing as a 
professional in the arts usually isn't as 
straightforward as a landing in engi- 
neering or law, and that's the beauty 
of it: You can create a path specifically 
suited to you. 

There are a number of things you 
will need to consider in sculpting this 
path. These include: 

► Your personal and professional 

► The best location for you 

► How to take advantage of your 
current connections, and how to 
forge new ones 

In the following pages, we will offer 
some things to think about, and some 
exercises that will help you put your 
ideas into action. 


Consider what your personal and pro- 
fessional goals are at this moment. 
Most graduating dancers want to work 
as performers, choreographers, teach- 
ers, and/or administrators. Perhaps 
it would be helpful to conjure a day 
packed with the things you like to 
do. For example, if you enjoyed your 
pedagogy class and teaching intern- 
ship at the local grammar school, you 
might consider looking into programs 
that hire teaching artists, or children's 
creative movement classes at the lo- 
cal community center. If talking and 
reading about dance as a cultural form 
was exciting, you may wish to look 
into work or internships at the local 
library and/or cultural center. If you 
hated taking class everyday, you might 
want to reconsider auditioning for a 
company that requires class as part of 
its daily schedule. Remember— you're 
the one deciding what's best for you. 
That's the fantastic and terrifying thing 
about post-educational life: No one's 
grading you. 

Chances are good that you're leav- 
ing college with some goals in mind. 
The exercise on the next page can help 
you identify and/or refine them. 




Chart for Personal Goals 

First, put in order of priority the following four professional activities: 

► Performance 

► Choreography 

► Teaching 

► Administration 

(or add your own if it's not represented) 

Look closely at your current top two choices. Ask yourself the following questions: 

► What do I like best about this activity? 





► What do I like least about this activity? 

► What are the potential financial rewards from this pursuit? 

► What are the personal rewards? 

► What assets, including skills, experience and personal connections, do I have to give to this activity? 

► What would this activity require of me? 

► What do I hope to gain from this activity? 

► How long am I willing to pursue this activity if I don't get the rewards I hope for? 

Your priorities may shift, even within a few months, and that's fine. Reevaluating your goals and changing your 
personal path is all part of the process. In the meantime, keep your goals in mind as you begin to answer the 
question that often goes hand-in-hand with goal setting: Where do I want to live and work? 


Artists graduating from a college, uni- 
versity, or conservatory have many op- 
tions. These include studying abroad; 
relocating to a dance-friendly metrop- 
olis like New York, San Francisco, Chi- 
cago, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, or 
Seattle; returning to their hometown; 
or staying in an adopted campus loca- 
tion. As you consider these options, 
you may wish to begin a log of your 
ideas. Feel free to include places that 
may seem outrageous as well as those 
that appear obvious. Then, under these, 
list what each has to offer and what 
challenges it presents. For example: 

Location Options 

► Stay in adopted campus home 


• keep my current job 

• work with dancers from the uni- 

• keep my apartment (cheap rent) 

• know "the lay of the land" 

• not much effort involved in get- 
ting started 


• limited performance opportuni- 

• local artistic community is al- 
ready established and hard to 
break into 

• local community is very separate 
from the college 

• community is overcrowded with 
artists like me 

► Travel internationally 


• exciting to study Butoh in Japan 

• get away from everything for a 

• really be on my own 

• chance to travel in a way that I 
won't be able to do once I settle 


• language barrier 

• money issues (research a fellow- 

• very, very big step — will I be 
lonely, will I be able to handle it 
on my own? Is going all that far 
really necessary to get away from 
family influences? 

► Return to hometown 


• can stay with parents until I have 
a job 

• know people who can help me 
reconnect with the arts com- 

• nice to feel like a big fish in a 
little pond 

• safety net nearby 

• people remember me as a jazz 
dancer and now 1 work in mixed 
media/video based pieces 

• overcoming conservative think- 
ing could be difficult 

• I might feel like a loser, coming 

• Mom and Dad will expect me to 
move back in (no way!) 

► Move to "dance-friendly" city 


• amazing number of 

• some people I know can give 
me a couch to sleep on and 
some leads on artist-friendly 
places to explore 

• feel more like a "real" dancer 
making it here 

• if I change my mind about what 

I want to do, 1 can find other op- 
tions here pretty easily 

• really, really small fish 

• the costs are high; I'd have to 
work a lot to afford it 

• so much competition 

• too many options? 

The exercise chart on the next page 
will help you lay out these thoughts. 
As you write, your ideas and gut feel- 
ings will uncover where your priorities 
lie. You may discover that financial 
worries far surpass your current desire 
for adventure and travel. Or you may 
discover that your hometown, previ- 
ously known to you only as a haven 
for after-school softball, is actually a 
hotbed of artistic activity. Did you end 
up listing people with whom you want 
to study or perform? Does your list in- 
clude performance venues, producers, 
showcases and festival opportunities? 
Did you note schools and community 
centers where you could teach, work 
or study? Within your writing you'll 
find that you are further uncovering 
your personal goals. Each of us has 
particular interests in the realm of the 
performing arts. For those of us who 
don't know exactly what aspects of 
this realm we will call our own, part of 
the job is to use the process of landing 
as a means to discover these goals. 





Location Options 

► Stay in adopted campus home 



► travel internationally 




► Return to hometown 



► Move to "dance-friendly" city 



Apply It! 

What can you use to aid you in making the decision about where to land? 

► Investigate rents on websites like Craig's List ( 

► Research venues that might be hubs for either seeing work or performing yourself, using Musical America 
(, the National Performance Network (, GoTour (, 
Alternate Roots (, the National Association of Artists Organizations (, or 
the Association of Performing Arts Presenters ( 

► Talk with mentors, recent graduates, professionals you know through internships, and teachers 

► Think of costs inherent in each option (moving, travel visits to friends/family, cost of living, local transportation) 

► Explore costs of art making (studio rental, performer pay, theater rental, printing) 

► Factor in student loans and other ongoing commitments that may have an impact on your income/expense equation 

True Stories 

Returning Home: Megan Bridge 

Following are examples of artists who 
folloived very different paths after 
college — paths determined, in part, 
by their skills, interests, and aesthetics. 

Megan Bridge graduated from Purchase with a BFA in Dance in 2000. After gradua- 
tion she moved back to her hometown of Philadelphia and has lived there for the past 
five years. To learn more, visit 

When I graduated, all my friends were going to New York. I decided to 
move back to my hometown of Philadelphia. The main reason was per- 
sonal, as the man to whom I was engaged, and am now married, was there. 
My fiance and I had had a long-distance relationship throughout my four 
years at college. I would travel home whenever I could, and this allowed me to 
continue building professional relationships here as well. I took class and saw 
performances. My husband is a composer and works with choreographers. He 
introduced me to many people in the community and this helped me realize 
that having a career in Philadelphia could be fulfilling. 

Philadelphia's dance community is smaller than New York's, but I had a 
clear reason to be here, and I had a foot in the door. I had a personal knowledge 
of the people, venues, and resources. I had developed significant relationships 
with two different choreographers — Myra Bazell and Rennie Harris. Through- 
out college, I took Myra's class whenever I was in town. She is an independent 
choreographer and was interested in me as a dancer. I commissioned Rennie to 
choreograph a solo for my senior concert. I hadn't taken his class but had seen 
him around and I admired his work. Working with Rennie was inspiring and 
broadened my knowledge of, and connections with, other dancers and dance 
forms in the community. 

During my last semester I applied to the Philly Fringe Festival to perform the 
solo Rennie created for me as well as another one I had choreographed. 1 think 
Rennie's name got me through the door. The festival accepted both pieces and 
so, right after graduation, I was in the midst of the Philadelphia dance scene 
with two solos on their main festival stage. People who came to see me then rec- 
ognized that 1 had joined the community. I met many more artists. I was asked 
to be in a Philadelphia-based company, Group Motion. Since that first foray 
into the Philly scene, I've continued as a member of Group Motion and my 
work has been selected for the Fringe Festival every year. As an emerging artist I 
was dancing a Jot and doing interesting work. My friends in New York were frus- 
trated about their dancing, waiting tables and finding it difficult to produce their 
work. I've been really happy and satisfied artistically here in Philadelphia. 

If you're a good dancer you can get tons of work in Philly; choreographers 
are especially open to newcomers. Philly doesn't have a take-class-every-day 
mentality. The dancers rehearse, practice yoga, and go to the gym. (Although 
recently there are more places to take class, so this may shift.) I take contact 
improvisation once a week, but rehearse a lot. I used to think dancers in Philly 
were lazy. Now I think they are busy in the creative process, rather than the 
training process. But maybe that's because I'm one of them now and my per- 
spective has changed. 











New York or Not? 

For many artists, making it in New 
York is the gold standard of achieve- 
ment. The abundance of cultural 
opportunities draws artists from all 
over the world and the high level of 
competition spurs artists to reach 
excellence in their dancing and cho- 
reography. There is no question that 
New York is a fertile place for artists. 
The question is, "Is New York the 
right place for you?" Below are the 
top pros and cons of living in New 
York, collected from dancers who 
currently live and work there. 


1. Abundance and diversity of class- 
es and training opportunities 

2. Opportunity to see performances 
and art exhibits from all over the 
world every night of the week 

3. Access to other artists (dancers, 
collaborators, writers, designers) 

H. Acceptance of "artist" as a profes- 
sional pursuit, rather than a hobby 

5. The inspiration of being around 
others who are so unfailingly 
driven and engaged 


1. Expensive to live and create work 
(high costs for rehearsal space, 
classes, and rent) 

2. Difficult to get dancers and col- 
laborators together; everyone is 

3. Intense competition for money, 
space, jobs, audience, resources 

H. Quality of life issues (limited in- 
come, high stress levels, isolation 
from things that others take for 
granted, such as nature) 

Moving to New York: Clarinda Mac Low 

A group of women from Wesle]'an University in Connecticut decided to move to 
New York upon graduation in 1987. Once there, they teamed up with several New 
York dancers for their first performances. Clarinda continues to live and make art in 
New York. To learn more, visit 

There were five of us: me, Molly Rabinowitz, and Wendy Blum from Wesley- 
an, and our new New York friends, Allison Foley and Sarah East Johnson. 
We all wanted to make work and be seen, but no producer was going to give us 
that opportunity. Instead, we made our own opportunity by coming together 
as an informal collective to self-produce a shared evening. We pooled our com- 
plementary skills and conceived of a performance where our aesthetics were 
interwoven, where each piece would contribute to a whole, rather than a series 
of disconnected works. It was a showcase, but in a novel form. People were im- 
pressed by our passion, innovation, and organization. We didn't have formal 
funding, but the spaces we rented were subsidized and we gave what we could 
of our skills, time, and resources. We may have received some donations, but 
most of the income was either from the box office or out of our own pockets. 

By our third production we had all started gaining other opportunities. I 
was offered a gig at a fairly prestigious venue, which meant additional fund- 
ing and administrative support, giving me the resources I needed to create the 
work as I wanted it. This was the kind of thing we had been working toward— 
gaining attention and seeing whether and how we could make work — so when 
opportunities arose we took them. The collective organically dissolved after 
several performances, as each of us needed to delve deeper into our individual 
aesthetics and intentions. Now, years later, we are all still supportive and 
friendly; some of us continue to collaborate. The old "college tie" is strong. 

If you are self-producing in New York, consider pushing the boundaries of 
the theatrical presentation in addition to pushing your own work. This will 
gain attention, and will use your creativity to its fullest. The other piece of 
advice I wish I had heard then is this: Don't be timid. I avoided seeking out 
certain opportunities because I was afraid of hearing "no." Arts organizations 
are there to serve you so don't be intimidated — ask questions and be friendly, 
pleasant, and open. This will serve both your art making and your career, be- 
cause it's all about communication. 

The top reason for moving to New 
York City is to be in the arts capital 
of the U.S. Artists continue to live 
in New York despite the challenges 
because they find a very solid sense 
continued on next page 

Staying in Your College Town: Amy Caron 

Amy Caron was born and raised in Vermont. She holds a BFA in dance from the Uni- 
versity of Utah. After graduation, she explored Europe for six months, then went back 
to Salt Lake City. For more information, see 

When I graduated I had the same goal as my peers: to be in a company. I 
had auditioned in New York and California during my senior year, so 1 
knew what the big cattle calls were like. There was a lot of competition and the 
odds were not good. I did okay in some auditions, even got to the last rounds, 
but eventually I was cut. I came to realize that my top priority was to be able 
to love where I was living and what I was experiencing, whether things worked 
out in dance or not. I wanted to explore something different. 

A professor of mine suggested I go to Brussels to look into a dance com- 
pany whose movement style suited my athleticism. 1 didn't get a job, but I 
took classes and attended great workshops. I stayed about six months, until I 
ran out of money. While in Brussels, I had an idea for a dance video project. I 
had never written a grant application before, but I took my time and wrote a 
great application for the Utah Arts Council. Later I found out that 1 was chosen 
based on the quality of the works I had completed during my senior year at the 
university. 1 still had my apartment in Salt Lake City, and I knew I could find 
the resources there to complete the project. Getting the grant gave me the mo- 
tivation and confidence to keep going. 

I stayed in Salt Lake because it is a fertile place for me to make things hap- 
pen creatively. Many don't find Salt Lake to be the heartbeat of creativity. The 
professional dance scene consists primarily of a ballet company and two small 
contemporary dance companies that provide only 12 jobs for dancers. The 
local audiences like ballet; they don't understand and can't critique modern 
work. That said, the environment here works for me. A top college for dance 
is here, which means that there are resources: dancers, studios and some fund- 
ing. You can easily get free or super cheap space — $25 for four hours in a huge 
studio with mirrors. Renting a theater to produce your work is also very afford- 
able. The dancers are good and eager to work. Artists are supportive of each 
other. Everyone is so happy to be involved in making work that the competi- 
tive thing doesn't come up. You can feel unpressured and free to experiment. 
It's great ground for the beginning phases of your career, though it is hard to 
propel your career from here. In a sense, you need to be recognized by another 
city to gain local attention. 

The biggest danger is to get pulled into other parts of life, and lose focus. 
One way I stay connected is keeping in touch with my professors from the 
university. Sometimes I invite them to take a look at early stages of my work. 
Sometimes I recruit them to teach modern technique classes for local dancers 
outside the university. I talk to them frequently, and they help me with studio 
space. This year, the Dean of Fine Arts gave me advice and some personal con- 
nections for my visit to Singapore and China. 

When I graduated I thought that there was a prescribed answer to what to 
do next. I thought that I wanted to dance for someone else, but my ideas and 
energy lend themselves much better to being a boss, making decisions, and 
creating work. It was good to realize that I was interested in different ideas and 
media. You don't have to be in a dance company. That's not the only answer. 

New York or NotT 

continued from previous page 

of community and a creative niche 
for their work. New York offers so 
much diversity that regardless of 
how specialized your interests might 
be (say, a fusion of Butoh dance with 
hip-hop performed in site-specific 
outdoor garden spaces), you will 
find kindred spirits. Nonetheless, 
even the diehard New York artist 
fantasizes on a regular basis about 
moving to another location — maybe 
Europe (where their work would be 
better understood and funded); a 
tropical island (where they would 
have an easier life); or a city on the 
West Coast (where they fantasize 
they'll get all of the above!). 

Because people have to work so 
hard to stay in New York, many have a 
love-hate relationship with it, thinking 
it's the best city in the world and com- 
plaining robustly about it. Having your 
own personal long-term goals is a great 
way to sort through the positive and 
negative aspects of day-to-day living in 
a high-stress environment such as New 
York. Perhaps having a goal of training, 
viewing, and auditioning during a two- 
year period will give you the freedom 
to explore without the pressure to 
"make it." Or you may decide that you 
want to spend a few years dancing or 
choreographing in the professional 
world with an overarching goal of re- 
turning to school for your MFA, EdD or 
PhD. One thing is certain, you need to 
give yourself some time to settle in, find 
housing, secure a job, select a training 
method, and establish a routine. If you 
decide to embrace New York, hold on 
for an exciting, challenging ride as step 
one of your post-college career. 







Traveling Abroad: Otto Ramstad 

Otto Ramstad attended Evergreen State College in Washington and then transferred 
to Goddard College in Vermont, a progressive school where students develop their own 
degree program. He graduated in 2004 with a degree in dance improvisation. He is 
also a 2002 graduate of The School for Body-Mind Centering (BMC). Otto currently 
lives in the United Kingdom in Totnes, near Dartington College. For more information, 

It took eight years to complete my undergraduate degree because I was ex- 
ploring different movement forms. I became a certified practitioner of BMC 
and I also developed The Bodycartography Project with my partner, Olive Bie- 
ringa. After graduating, I left Minnesota, where I own a home, to join Olive, 
who is now enrolled in the MA program at Dartington College in England. I 
first assisted with BMC teaching in Germany, and then traveled, taking classes 
with various artists, including Lisa Nelson, Steve Paxton, and Deborah Hay. 
In a way, I was on a quest to be able to study with people from the States who 
don't often teach there. At the festivals in Europe, I am able to take classes and 

q q view performances of many of these incredible artists, who are all accessible in 

OO a concentrated setting. 

There are a number of differences I see between working in Europe and the 
States. In Europe, there is more value and interest in improvisation as a process 
and a presentation. This means that Steve and Lisa are in demand and are always 
teaching and performing, and their workshops quickly sell out. Workshops are 
more expensive here, but society places a high value on education and students 
can apply for government funds to attend them. For example, I was awarded a 
partial scholarship to go to the big summer festival in Vienna, the ImPulsTanz 
Festival. Notification about the award happens in late April, and it is expected 
that by July you will be able to raise the remaining funds. In the European sys- 
tem, this is fairly easy as one can apply for government grants and receive the 
funds in this short time period. This is quite different from the States. 

Though in Europe for a short time, I feel I'm developing momentum. Next 
week Olive and I are going to Russia for a month, where we will teach and per- 
form as part of an improvisation festival. On the way there, I am stopping off in 
Copenhagen to audition a piece for performances that will take place next fall. If 
I am accepted, I will work there beginning in November. My back-up plan for the 
fall is to go to Southern Germany for the teacher-training course in BMC. 

In general, in the LIK and Europe you are expected to follow the rules: to 
apply for jobs only when you have studied the particular work in school or con- 
sider yourself highly experienced in the area. In the U.S., we are encouraged to 
be more brash and entrepreneurial. I've found that people respond to that con- 
fidence here. Because I've always been outside the establishment, I am comfort- 
able with being a renegade. This may feed into a cliche of the loud and aggres- 
sive American, but actually, I just talk to people because I'm interested in them. 
During the conversation they often become interested in me as well. 

I miss the U.S. because I was more relaxed there. Ultimately, it would be great 
to be able to travel between Europe and the U.S. Alternating would allow me to 
take advantage of fluctuating performing opportunities and festivals, as well as 
the exchange rate (right now the money you make in Europe can carry you a lot 
further in the States). 

Next Steps 

Seeking the Softer Landing 

Some see the word "soft" as mean- 
ing easy or weak. We see it as a 
productive strategy to segue to a 
new location and identity in a man- 
ner that increases your likelihood of 
success. One dilemma artists face is 
whether to use their connections to get 
closer to their goals. 

Should I call Choreographer X, 
with whom 1 worked in college, and 
express interest in working with her 
professionally? Or should I just show 
up to her audition and hope that she 
remembers me? If John, the guy who 
graduated a year ahead of me, sees me 
there, will he label me a suck-up? Aha! 
Here's the crux of the dilemma: an un- 
derlying belief that there is more valid- 
ity in being the anonymous newcomer 
who blows everyone away with talent 
and drive (think Hollywood show- 
stopper), rather than the savvy strate- 
gist who puts him/herself in position 
to be a contender. Is this "showstop- 
per" a myth? Consider the following 
story from Diane. 

When I was at the Merce Cunning- 
ham Studio, a dancer came to take 
her first class at the studio. After class, 
Merce inquired about her. Shortly 
thereafter, she was asked to join the 
company. Of course, all of the schol- 
arship students and apprentices who 
had been slaving away in the studio 
for months hoping that Merce might 
see them execute a perfect combina- 
tion were not pleased to hear this. 
How come an unknown, a stranger 
to class, without paying her dues, re- 

ceived the prize we all had worked 
for so diligently? Because I worked 
there, I was able to learn more about 
this Cinderella's tale. Quickly, the 
fairy dust disappeared. Having stud- 
ied Cunningham technique for years 
with a former company member, this 
dancer was sent to the studio because 
her teacher knew she was ready to be 
seen, and made a call ahead of time. 
The dancer had been preparing, like 
the other students, for many years to 
get to this point. Here, indeed, is the 
underside of the myth: Much of "mak- 
ing it on your own" is about having a 
foundation of support to guide you to 
the right place at the right time. 

In working with dancers and cho- 
reographers, we are struck by how 
often they will put themselves in a 
jail of sorts, refusing to use the re- 
sources they have because they don't 
feel it's right or fair. It is true that we 
don't always build our jails; a rough 
childhood, unfair disadvantages, or 
traumatic experiences can do this 
for us. But we can get in the habit of 
maintaining these limitations. Notice 
whether you tend to hug closely your 
challenges while refusing to use your 
advantages. Sometimes our biggest 
obstacle is not that we don't know 
anyone who will help, but rather that 
we are shy asking for it. As we all have 
challenges— the late start in dancing 
or the stress fractures — we also have 
connections to people who can help 
us move forward. 







A Web of Connectivity 

In an earlier exercise, you created a list of all the places 
you might want to go. In this exercise, you will create a 
web reflecting the people you know and the connec- 
tions they might provide for your research into these 
locales. (This same exercise of connectivity can assist in 
other ways, for example in helping you to access career 
opportunities and experiences, finding a new apart- 
ment, or landing a certain type of job.) The illustration 
at the right will guide you in completing this exercise. 
Write "me" at the center of a piece of paper. At the 
outer edge, put the names of locations you want to 
research/access. Directly around "me" place the names 
of people to whom you feel connected in your dance 
and personal world. Around the edge, near your des- 
tination, list any people you know who are connected 
to that place. Now begin to brainstorm your way from 
this circle to your inner circle. As an illustration, I asked 
Diane to name a place just to test whether I could cre- 
ate my own web. She named Nebraska. At first, I didn't 
think I had any connections there. Then I remembered 
an arts administrator who used to work in New York 
who moved to Lincoln several years ago. I could track 
her down. I also recalled that I have a choreographer 
friend, Tere, who teaches and tours in the Midwest and 
most likely has performed in Nebraska at some point. 
Then it occurred to me that Diane had toured quite a 
bit, and indeed, when I asked, she confessed that she 
had performed in Nebraska. Within a minute I had 
three leads that were all worthy of pursuit. 

The people in your inner circle are easy to contact 
because they are your friends, co-workers, relatives, 
employers, or others who are strongly affiliated with 
you. Let's say I decide to pursue my Nebraska quest via 
my friend Tere. It turns out that he hasn't been to Ne- 
braska. He offers, however, to e-mail his friend the the- 
ater manager in Illinois to see if she has connections to 
Nebraska. Turns out she used to date a guy who is the 
resident lighting designer at a venue in Omaha. As you 
can see, each step is feasible. Picture how tribal com- 
munication worked. One village would signal informa- 
tion to another through drumming. This sound would 
only carry so far on its own; making it carry across great 
distances relied on the next village repeating the signal, 
so that it was as clear as the original. This is how con- 
nection was achieved over vast distances. Your web 
of connection functions in the same way, with primary 
connections all the way from you to your destination. 


Check out the illustration for different pathways from 
"me" to desired destinations. Then call several people 
in your own web to begin the process of finding the 
connections you need to make your landing as soft as 
possible. It may be just a few phone calls, e-mails, or 
introductory meetings from your inner circle to your 
chosen aim. By creating a web, you ultimately create 
personal connections that can bring about a softer 
landing and a starting point from which you can thrive. 

New York 




friends in 


Paulo's wife 

worked for 





Paulo's wife 

is a ballet 

dancer in 



Deborah goes 

to "The Place" 

in London 

junior year 

Elena is in 




Mr. G's cousin 
works in a 
museum in 

Met Deborah, 

Elena, and 

Marco from 

Florida State 


Marco is from 
Miami, has 
work there 






Julia G's 

parents from 







ister, lives in 
Santa Fe 

Santa Fe 


oxanne, owner 
of restaurant 

where I 


Margaret is 
part of an Arts 

with Suzanne 





movement in 

Santa Fe 



Louisa, best friend, works 

at Gyrotonic studio where 

Paulo teaches special 


Scott, technician, 
works with me at 
Summer Festival 




lives in 

ScoM used to work for 

Pickle Family Circus in 

San Francisco 

Suzanne is 
originally from 
and danced in 
San Francisco 

Wife knows 
many dancers, 

companies in 
Italy & Europe 

Scott's friends at Pickle Family 

Circus know the staff of Oberlin 

Dance Collective (ODC) 



ODC has a 

school in S.F. 

and intern 





Scouting Out the 

Now that you've narrowed your choic- 
es on where to live, and think you 
may have decided on a city or com- 
munity, you might want to visit before 
you take the leap. This will allow you 
to discover where your kindred artis- 
tic spirits, guides, collaborators, and 
future pals might be. Detective work 
can be involved; there are few signs to 
direct you, and often you don't quite 
know what exactly you seek. Trusting 
that things will come together in an 
organic way is an act of faith, so re- 
main open to the possibilities. Here 
are some methods to researching your 
potential new community. 


In any city, there are neighborhoods, 
usually with inexpensive rent, where 
artists live. One typical progression is 
that artists move into a neighborhood, 
small businesses and restaurants fol- 
low, galleries and performance spaces 
introduce more people to the area, 
and soon this district is a happening 
cultural destination. Just as an area 
begins to thrive, rent increases squeeze 
out the artists. They then move on to 
pioneer the next "undiscovered" re- 
gion. Because of this, a tip you received 
a few years ago on where to live may 
be outdated, so the best way to find 
these areas is through word-of-mouth, 
postings at local arts centers, listings in 
newspapers, websites such as Craig's 
List ( or GoTour 
( This can also help 
you find where new rehearsal or per- 
formance spaces are popping up. 


To prepare for a visit to a new city, 
identify a place where you can easily 
interact with local people. The place 
is ideally somewhere you'll feel com- 
fortable, such as a dance studio or arts 

center. (In New York, this might be 
Movement Research or The Field; in 
Seattle, it might be Velocity; in Chica- 
go, it might be Links Hall.) Call ahead 
and plan to visit on your first day. 
While there, talk with the staff and 
the people who use the center. Also 
pick up flyers, ask about nearby cafes, 
and see if they have suggestions about 
performances to attend. This should 
give you enough information to pe- 
ruse while you have lunch and process 
your first interactions. Your goal is to 
get the lay of the land, to get a taste of 
what it would feel like to live there. 

Information Sources 

On your expeditions, pick up all the 
alternative newspapers you can find 
on the street or in coffee houses, like 
LA Weekly, New York Press, The Advo- 
cate, Time Out, The Onion, or City Pa- 
per. These papers contain listings and 
ads that provide clues to what things 
happen in the city, and where. Look at 
large and small venues, from touring 
Broadway shows to open mic nights. 
Notice what receives attention. There 
may be a large number of poetry slams 
(outgrowths from the university writ- 
ing program), a host of African drum- 
ming and Kathakali movement classes 
(indicating a diverse cultural commu- 
nity), or centers for tai chi and yoga 
(thriving health-conscious and/or al- 
ternative healing groups). See what 
piques your interest and choose a few 
of these activities to explore. You may 
also wish to identify some events out 
of your comfort zone, just to widen 
possibilities. Because you have chosen 
freely and perhaps impulsively, you 
can also feel free to just observe (if it 
is a class), go full out in your partici- 
pation, or even leave if you decide the 
offering is not quite right. While you 
might not attend a particular kind of 
class in your hometown because you're 
uncomfortable about being observed 
by peers while trying out an unfamiliar 

movement vocabulary, you may not 
feel the same way in another town. The 
beauty of being in a new place is that 
you have an open pass to explore and 
develop fresh areas of interest. 

Moving Day 

Fast forward: You've made the deci- 
sion of where to move. Your favorite 
photos have come off the walls, your 
boxes are packed. Don't be surprised 
if you experience a familiar feeling, 
the same anxiousness or even fear you 
have when waiting in the wings to go 
onstage. We have all had moments 
like this; some describe it as standing 
in the hallway of life: The college door 
has closed, but a new one has not 
yet fully opened. We hope your step 
through the new door — be it to a new 
city or your hometown — has the same 
gusto as a leap onstage. And just like a 
performance, it does not last forever. 
If one place doesn't work out, you can 
go back to your list and select another. 
So while you'll want to give your new 
home a fighting chance of success, 
you're not permanently bound by the 
move you make today. 

Simple Activities 
to Connect to Your 
New Locale 

After signing a lease, unpacking your 
boxes, and settling in, there are many 
places you can explore to look for kin- 
dred spirits. 

When I (Diane) left Bella's com- 
pany, I moved to San Francisco know- 
ing only one person. I wasn't sure if I 
wanted to continue dancing, so I spent 
a little while taking the bus around the 
city and exploring. I passed a yoga stu- 
dio, took a class, and ended up con- 
necting with the participants. One of 
them helped me find a job, another 
took me on a bike trip to Sausalito, 

and a third told me about a trapeze 
class on the other side of town. The 
owner of the studio suggested that I 
rent his space for dancing. I did, and 
this led to a solo work that I eventu- 
ally performed in New York and Lon- 
don. Being open to what each mo- 
ment brings actually brought me back 
to dance in a way I would never have 
expected. I discovered a supportive 
community where I would have least 
imagined it. 

Here are some suggestions about 
where to go in your new town: 

Dance studios. Dance classes are per- 
haps the easiest way to meet others 
and become part of the dance com- 
munity. Staff members are eager to 
help new students navigate their ser- 
vices; often the studio manager is the 
first person who will learn your name 
and welcome you on your return vis- 
it. In the dressing room and during 
class, rapport develops between stu- 
dents, and you can find out the most 
current information during pre-class 
warm-up or post-class stretching. You 
can introduce yourself to the teacher 
either before or after the class. By tak- 
ing one class, you can connect with a 
whole group of individuals involved 
in the arts. Taking a different kind of 
class would give you access to another 
group. In addition to the professional 
training centers in larger urban areas 
where a variety of classes are offered 
to professional dancers, dance studios 
can be surprisingly varied in mission 
and clientele. A dance studio might be 
a training ground for a professional 
company, a research institute for a par- 
ticular form of movement, a cultural 
institution to advance a specific cul- 
tural heritage, or a center of recreation 
for adults and children. In order to 
find the right venue for your training, 
check out the mix of classes, the costs 
associated with them, and the general 
"vibe" of the place. Observing before 

you commit is a good way to learn 
whether the studio is right for you. 

Performances. Going to performances 
provides another view of the arts eco- 
system. You'll sense the presenter's 
taste, the artist's work, and the audi- 
ence's interests. Attending different 
types of performances will show you 
the locale's diversity of artists and au- 
diences. For instance, the season ticket 
holders to the ballet reflect cultural ex- 
pectations that differ from the ones at 
the site-specific contact jam in the lo- 
cal cannery. There may be some cross- 
over within these crowds, but what is 
notable is that there is enough interest 
in the community to support both a 
full season of ballet and regular con- 
tact jams! By attending performances, 
you will also learn how venues, both 
rental and presenting houses, support 
the community, and might support 
your career. Does the venue present 
the type of work you like? Might it 
even present your choreography, or 
book companies with which you'd 
like to perform? Any of these attributes 
(or others, such as having a cafe in the 
lobby) can make this venue a player in 
the structure of your community. 

Arts Service Organizations (ASOs). 

ASOs were developed in response to 
the growing independent arts culture 
during the 1970s- 1980s. These non- 
profit organizations were usually start- 
ed by artists or arts lovers who discov- 
ered that they had a knack for helping 
their colleagues with the organizational 
or business aspects of their arts careers. 
Programs and services of each ASO 
reflect a particular specialty and con- 
stituency. Those that are well run and 
responsive are excellent resources with 
committed staff. Depending upon your 
needs, you may find one or more of 
these organizations significant to your 
career. To find the ASOs in your area, 
contact your state, city, or community 

arts council, your local department of 
cultural affairs, Danu./USA, New York 
Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Source, 
the National Association of Artists Or- 
ganizations, or do a search for "artist 
services" on the web. (It may be that 
there are no ASOs in your locale; in this 
case you may have no choice other than 
to advocate for, or even have a hand in, 
establishing one!) 

If you find a nearby ASO, look at its 
mission, as well as its services and pro- 
grams. Call and ask if there's an open 
house, brochure, or list of artists they 
serve. Try to ascertain if your needs and 
their services are a good match. For ex- 
ample, if you are primarily a musical 
theater artist and this ASO's mission is 
to support alternative forms, its "how to 
get ahead" seminar may not meet your 
need for a good headshot and promo- 
reel. Similarly, if you are an emerging 
artist, a program that focuses on groups 
with a $100,000+ operating budgets 
may not address your immediate need 
for low-tech showcase opportunities. 

Culturally-specific groups. Groups 
that are affiliated by ethnicity, sexual 
orientation, or common experienc- 
es provide a means for artists to ex- 
press their identity and participate 
in activities that promote their cul- 
tural background. Outside the col- 
lege system, these groups are often 
housed in nonprofit or community- 
based organizations. A group may 
have its own building where their 
activities take place, or may borrow 
space from a local community cen- 
ter, church, or school. Often, these 
organizations rely heavily on volun- 
teers and members to organize their 
events. They are extremely apprecia- 
tive and welcoming to newcomers. 
If you feel an affiliation with one 
of these groups, this is an excellent 
place to make an artistic contribu- 
tion, as new art demonstrates a 
continuation of identity. There are 








often teaching opportunities (to 
preserve traditions or develop new 
ones) as well as events and festivals 
that include public performances 
and exhibits. 

Organizations that Focus on Other 
Arts Disciplines. Organizations that 
specialize in visual art, music, film, 
mixed-media, theater, and writing will 
have members who are potential addi- 
tions to your larger artistic community. 
One way to combat artistic isolation is 
to reach deeper into the artist commu- 
nity by attending events or programs 
sponsored by these organizations. Be- 
sides being potential audience mem- 
bers and collaborators, these artists 
are equally engaged in the creative 
process, as well as the process of sus- 
taining a life in the arts. Resource and 
information sharing across disciplines 
often yields the most inventive solu- 
tions to common challenges. Venues 
for interaction include exhibits, panel 
discussions, book sales, readings, sem- 
inars, and performances. Don't forget 
to join their mailing lists! 

Non-Arts Groups/ Neighborhood and 
Recreational Centers /Religious Or- 
ganizations. Groups that are not 
directly related to the arts provide a 
means to feed aspects of yourself un- 
related to the arts. This can range from 
business and professional organiza- 
tions like the Rotary Club, Kiwanis 
International, the Lion's Club, and 
Junior League; religious affiliates such 
as churches, Jewish Community Cen- 
ters, and YW/YMCAs; or environmen- 
tal advocates such as trail preservation 
groups and garden clubs. The key is to 
find an organization that has interests 
reflective of your own. Many are do- 
ing charitable work to assist a national 
or international cause, like the fight 
against hunger, while other organiza- 
tions focus more closely to home, per- 
haps raising awareness for local recy- 

cling. These may also be good places 
to teach, and to barter for free or low- 
cost rehearsal space. 

Settlement Houses/Social Service 
Centers. Settlement Houses were es- 
tablished starting in the late 1800s as 
a part of social reform efforts in low- 
income neighborhoods to improve the 
life circumstances of residents through 
educational, health, and social service 
activities. Today, these organizations 
have developed into community centers 
that provide subsidized social services. 
For example, University Settlement 
in New York provides adult literacy 
classes, mental health counseling, day 
care, case management for the formerly 
homeless, recreational and educational 
activities for school children, a summer 
day camp, a senior center, an arts pro- 
gram, and a credit union. As an artist, 
you may have need of these services 
(affordable day-care, access to a credit 
union), or you may be able to provide 
some of your own. If you are interested 
in dance therapy, for example, a Settle- 
ment House might be a good source 
for starting a group or assisting with an 
already-established group. You might 
also offer a stretch class or teach cre- 
ative movement to children. 

Local Schools. Having just come from 
school, you may not wish to dive back 
in; however, from pre-school to gradu- 
ate programs, schools have much to 
offer in the way of resources, includ- 
ing space, equipment, funding, and 
people. The local department of edu- 
cation provides a listing of the public 
schools in your area; ask the staff there 
about the school arts programs. Do 
they have an arts magnet school? Are 
music and visual art programs offered 
during the school day or only as ex- 
tracurricular activities? Who organizes 
after-school programs? Creating an 
inroad with a particular school may 
require a lot of sleuthing and a bit of 

skill to match your proposal with their 
need, but many artists are able to de- 
velop ongoing and mutually beneficial 
relationships. For instance, the school 
may provide a home for a dance 
company's rehearsals in exchange for 
dance classes and open performances 
for the students, teachers, and parents. 
Universities typically want to create 
partnerships with local businesses, 
interest groups, and neighborhoods 
so they can be seen as a resource for 
the local residents as well as their stu- 
dents. For example, a university might 
house a weekly dance for the commu- 
nity, organized by the local ballroom 
school and using the university jazz 
band for accompaniment. 

Techniques for 
Getting Acquainted 

Whether you are outgoing or shy, get- 
ting acquainted with people in a new 
community can be intimidating. It is 
difficult arriving at an event and not 
recognizing a single face in the crowd. 
While you can use this "cloak of in- 
visibility" to your advantage by ob- 
serving and listening, you may, at the 
end of the night, feel wilted. Every- 
one faces these challenges and copes 
with them differently. Below are sug- 
gestions for ways to gather informa- 
tion, meet people with like interests, 
develop connections through activi- 
ties, and gain a greater understanding 
of the kinds of people who live and 
work in your area. Remember, getting 
to know others, and allowing them 
to know you, takes time, energy, and, 
most importantly repeated encoun- 
ters. Stick with it. Don't be discour- 
aged if one event proves dreadful. 
Another one will be inspiring, and 
yet another one productive. It is also 
important, while you are venturing 
into new relationships, to reach out 
to your established ones for support. 

Telling your best friend about a faux 
pas at a gallery opening will help you 
keep your sense of humor as well as 
give you a dose of perspective. 

Town Meetings. You can attend town 
meetings, which are often publicized 
in the local paper. The topic may be 
school lunches or the water tower 
or the new performing arts center. 
However, the topic is not necessar- 
ily what is most relevant. Here you 
will see a cross-section of the kind of 
people who care about the place they 
live, and you'll hear their ideas and 
opinions about the issues of highest 
concern. This kind of forum for free 
speech is a good way to understand 
the varied perspectives of the people 
with whom you work and reside. 

Bulletin Boards. Health food stores, 
libraries, recreation centers, social 
service centers, police stations, and 
schools tend to host bulletin boards. 
A bulletin board tells a lot about a 
community. You can see what neigh- 
borhoods have an abundance of list- 
ings for house shares and roommates, 
indicating an area friendly to "singles" 
and recent college graduates. You can 
find odd jobs like pet walking and 
house cleaning. You may also discover 
interesting "counter-cultural" activi- 
ties or alternative classes or public 
events. And you can list your own ser- 
vices (custom tailoring or handmade 
scarves) or needs (seeking sublet) and 
see what comes of that. 

Registrations and Mailing Lists. Sign 
on to as many as you can! When you 
first arrive in a new area it is great to 
receive mail that tells you more about 
what events are taking place. You can 
peruse this easy source of information 
in the comfort of your home. After a 
while you will begin to understand 
the organizations simply from their 
photos, logos, and marketing text. Of 

course the next step is to check out 
what they are publicizing! 

Interning, Volunteering, and Work- 
Study. In view of their ambitious mis- 
sions, most nonprofits utilize interns 
and volunteers in their events and 
programs. Internships are commonly 
seen as unpaid training positions, 
though some carry a stipend. It is gen- 
erally understood that you are receiv- 
ing practical skills and professional 
experience in exchange for time and 
labor. Typically you will have a su- 
pervisor and make a specific commit- 
ment of time (e.g., 10- 1 5 hours a week 
for 10 weeks). The projects you will be 
working on will depend upon the or- 
ganization's needs, your interests, and 
the time frame in which you are avail- 
able. An internship is a good way to 
build a resume and develop references 
for further employment. Volunteers 
are often asked to help with single 
events, such as stuffing envelopes for 
a fundraising campaign, serving as an 
usher for a reading, or making phone 
calls to alert members to a particular 
activity. Volunteers are generally not 
seen as trainees; rather they are there 
because they believe in the mission 
of the organization and want to help. 
Work-study positions are also offered 
at some organizations as a means for 
artists to pay for. classes, workshops, 
and admission to events. If you find 
that you can't afford an organization's 
offerings, trading on your time and 
energy is a means to gain access. 

Whether interning, volunteering, or 
engaging in work-study, you will get to 
know the faces and inner workings of 
an organization, as well as meet others 
who are similarly passionate about the 
cause. You will also learn more about 
the field in general and make relation- 
ships that can serve your goals; for 
example, artists can often barter their 
time in exchange for being able to at- 
tend conferences, such as those hosted 

by DAN(.i/USA,the National Perfor- 
mance Network, or the Association 
of Performing Arts Presenters, finally, 
getting involved may lead to part-time 
or full-time employment. 

Free Seminars and Targeted Meet- 
ings. Many organizations hold free 
seminars covering single topics of in- 
terest for their constituents. This can 
range from bird watching (Audubon 
Society) to basic business planning 
(American Management Associa- 
tion) to copyright and licensing laws 
for artists (Volunteer Lawyers for the 
Arts). These workshops can serve 
three purposes: 1) to provide you 
with information on the topic, 2) to 
introduce you to the host organiza- 
tion, and 3) to give you access to oth- 
ers with similar interests. In addition 
to attending an event to learn, you 
may find that organizations some- 
times want to gather information 
from you. For example, the (erome 
Foundation (, a 
private organization that funds artists 
in New York and Minneapolis, held 
open meetings with artists to better 
understand how their application and 
distribution process met or differed 
from artists' needs. This was a unique 
opportunity, one that many artists at- 
tended. Having an arena in which to 
voice your opinion is often a refresh- 
ing and empowering switch from the 
hunting and gathering phase of mak- 
ing connections. 

Grassroots/ Political Groups. The 

term "grassroots" is generally used 
to describe groups that form in an 
effort to find solutions to common 
problems. Groups of this sort are 
powered by participants' enthusiasm 
and passion rather than by funding or 
outside recognition. For example, the 
Dancer's Forum in New York wrote 
The Dancer's Compact, guidelines for 
negotiating terms of partnership be- 






tween dancers and choreographers. 
Another grass-roots effort could be a 
chapter of your college alumni group 
hosted through a chat room and/or 
in members' homes where members 
share stories and refreshments and 
provide support for each other. Out 
of this group, common concerns may 
arise, as well as creative solutions and 
the resources to take these from ideas 
to action. Individuals can also be- 
come affiliated through their political 
beliefs, whether through online com- 
munities such as www.electionprotec- or in local groups such as 
neighborhood watches. These groups 
provide a way to develop meaning- 
ful connections with others and feel 
that you can impact your world. The 
beauty of grass-roots efforts is that 
they're relevant and easy to form. 
Start your own! 

Building Relationships & 
Valuing Your Currency in 
the Community 

A key to a successful experience in your 
new locale has to do with relation- 
ships. By relationships, we don't mean 
just romantic relationships, but all the 
ways, large and small, that we inter- 
act with others. A relationship is built 
when you take the same dance class 
each day, go to the same grocer to buy 
food, or visit an arts organization and 
ask to meet with the person in charge 
of services. Each of these interactions 
can be thought of as bricks; you secure 
enough bricks and soon you have a 
foundation on your hands, a founda- 
tion for building a life in the commu- 
nity, a foundation for actually affecting 
the community you have joined. 

At the start of a professional career, 
one of the most difficult issues to navi- 
gate is one's newcomer status. Often, 
we vacillate between feeling empow- 
ered by our past accomplishments and 

doubting whether we've accomplished 
anything worth mentioning at all. This 
is normal, and will be part of the navi- 
gation process throughout your career. 
It is important to remember that, as 
an artist, you are an integral part of 
the community. Artists are ultimately 
the consumers of most of the services 
in an arts community: the grants, the 
rehearsal and performance spaces, 
the press (both in reading publica- 
tions and in giving them something to 
write about), the classes, the advertise- 
ments, etc. 

Let me (Steve) tell you about my 
experience being on the other side of 
the table. After working at The Field 
for several years, I was asked to join 
the staff of The Kitchen, a sought-after 
performance venue, as the dance cura- 
tor. There, I was struck by how much 
attention I received. Most artists didn't 
approach me as a peer who had a par- 
ticular role in a shared community. 
Instead, the interdependence of all 
the roles was denied when artists put 
themselves in the role of supplicants, 
and put me in the role of having way 
too much power. I was relieved when 
an artist and I could plainly talk about 
her/his work and my perception about 
whether it fit the season I was curat- 
ing. With these artists, I wasn't wor- 
ried that I was delivering a blow to 
their egos that would take months to 
recover from — they didn't give me that 
power. Rather, we could talk about the 
work's strengths or weaknesses from 
my perspective as a curator. Both of 
us left the interaction with a feeling 
of respect and resolve. Sometimes that 
artist would end up with a gig, some- 
times not, and sometimes not until 
later. Building the relationship was 
what really mattered. 

Other strengths you have include 
occupying the role of "key informant" 
about your generation. Remember, 
you know a great deal about trends, 
interests, and culture. You also have 

another resource: energy. When I was 
starting, I churned out dances month 
after month and found places to per- 
form them — my apartment, shared 
shows, friends' spaces, even a produced 
showcase. I put together a full evening 
of new work every six months. I didn't 
think to stop from eight o'clock in the 
morning until midnight. I had ambi- 
tion, drive, a particular discomfort 
with who I was, and uncertainty about 
who I would become, all pushing me 
onward. There was an edge of excite- 
ment that came from the sense that 
I was part of an era, a movement, a 
group that would leave its mark, per- 
haps by my dancing or choreography, 
but certainly by simply adding to the 
critical mass of new voices saying what 
we had to say Recognizing this as you 
go, rather than in hindsight, can be 
another asset. 


As in any new endeavor, it can be 
extremely valuable to have a men- 
tor. A mentor is a person who serves 
as a trusted counselor or teacher. In 
particular, this term is often used to 
define the relationship between an es- 
tablished member of a profession and 
a relative newcomer. A mentor may 
be the person you call for informa- 
tion not available on a website (like 
the inside scoop on a choreographer's 
temperament), someone who meets 
you to talk at length about career plan- 
ning, or someone who goes with you 
to performances. Much of the know- 
ledge shared is not found in books, 
but comes from personal guidance 
and wisdom gained through on-the- 
job experience. Mentors are rarely 
paid for their services, though certain 
mentoring programs do provide sti- 
pends. Rather, most mentorships are 
informal and built upon a personal 
connection between the mentor and 
the protege. 

To find a mentor, first think about 
the kinds of things you might wish to 
discuss with or learn from someone in 
your profession. Do you seek advice 
on how to audition, prepare a resu- 
me, get headshots, or follow up with 
a prospective agent or employer? Do 
you want to talk about making dances, 
working with collaborating artists, or 
reaching presenters? Are you interest- 
ed in discussing issues of identity as 
presented in dance, or the forces that 
influence why female choreographers 
get less grant support? As you can see, 
where your interests lie will determine, 
in part, your choice of mentor. 

You probably have already sought 
advice from a number of people. For 
example, in school, you were assigned 
a faculty advisor. You might have 
gravitated to your favorite philosophy 
teacher whose office was always open 
and welcoming. Perhaps you felt par- 
ticularly connected to the owner of 
the studio where you began training, 
the director of the summer musical in 
which you participated, or a student 
who graduated a year or two ahead of 
you. Any and all of these people can 
be part of the support system you de- 
sign for yourself as you integrate into 
post-college life. Take time to nurture 
established relationships and initiate 
new ones. Some ways to do this are 
taking your mentor to lunch, inviting 
him/her to join you for performances, 
and sending e-mail updates on your 
activities (monthly or quarterly). Take 
time to formally state your gratitude; 
thank-you notes and cards provide 
important recognition and validation 
for this kind of relationship. Being 
sensitive to your mentor's boundar- 
ies is also important. Asking for large 
amounts of time, advice, and compan- 
ionship, or for special privileges, is in- 
appropriate. An administrator friend 
told me about an artist she was men- 
toring who had the expectation that 
she would contact leading presenters 

on his behalf; not having his expecta- 
tion fulfilled created tension. 

In terms of how to structure a men- 
torship, one model is the relationship 
with your college faculty advisor. You 
met with some regularity at key mo- 
ments in your academic life, with a 
specific agenda usually set according 
to your immediate needs. At the end 
of the meeting, you and your coun- 
selor had agreed upon certain things 
and you were prepared to take the next 
steps independently. As with your fac- 
ulty advisor, you and your mentor will 
want to arrange a meeting routine and 
focus that works for you both, and 
you'll want to follow up with your 
mentor and do what you say you will 
between get-togethers. 

From a mentor, you can gain 
knowledge, inspiration, courage, and 
insight. Just as it can be life-changing 
to be mentored, it's powerful to offer 
someone the opportunity to men- 
tor. In fact, one often hears how the 
mentor gets more out of this relation- 
ship — a chance to revisit his or her 
own youth and relative inexperience; 
to pass on hard-won knowledge and 
skills in a way that feels meaningful; 
to contribute to someone's growth 
and change; to remain in touch with 
what is new and fresh as embodied by 
the younger artist; and to feel he or she 
has built a bit qf a legacy by mentor- 
ing. These are all gifts that younger art- 
ists bring to potential mentors. 




Work Life 

The "Day Job" 





Many artists struggle to sup- 
port themselves as they 
pursue a life in the arts. Part 
of this struggle comes from having a 
dual focus: While most college gradu- 
ates look to find work in the field in 
which they majored (a finance major 
looks to work at an investment bank, 
a journalism major looks to find work 
as a writer), artists often have to find 
work unrelated to their career goals. 
This section deals with how to sup- 
port yourself if you are unable to find 
enough work in dance to sustain you 
(or if you don't have enough personal 
wealth not to worry about the day 
job). Although it might seem unfair 
that you cannot make a living solely 
through dance, you will find that your 
experiences have equipped you ex- 
tremely well for a number of potential 
paths to making money — plus many 
life-changing, engaging experiences 
await you as you find the best way to 
earn a living. The first step is to ex- 
plore your priorities and the trade-offs 
that naturally flow from them; this ex- 
ploration can be on your own, or with 
friends, peers, family, mentors, and/or 
career professionals. For more infor- 
mation about the freelance jobs artists 
find, see page 100. 


The first task is to look at your priori- 
ties in terms of your material life. Lots 
of artists find that they cannot "have it 
all" — a great apartment to themselves, 
a well-functioning car, no student 

loans, as many classes as they want, 
oodles of time in the studio, available 
and willing bodies to work with, week- 
ly massage and chiropractic appoint- 
ments, and plenty of cash left over for 
a rich social life, including dinners out 
and admission to shows. Instead, they 
have to be strategic about where they 
put their resources. 

What's important to you on this 
front? Do you require your own liv- 
ing space or you'll go nuts, or do you 
find it fun to live with others? Are you 
a daytime or a nighttime person? Do 
you require two hours in a studio four 
times per week to move forward on 
your path? Do you need to eat organic 
to feel like you're maintaining good 
health? Do you find going to class on 
a daily basis and belonging to a gym 
to be particular necessities? Do you 
need to see performances three nights 
a week to feel inspired and knowledge- 
able about the trends in your field? Is 
having reliable transportation key for 
you because you cannot stomach the 
idea of breaking down on the side 
of the road on your way home from 
rehearsal? Do you need the funds to 
take someone special out to dinner 
once a week and enjoy a couple glass- 
es of wine? Everyone has different pri- 
orities. For example, some artists who 
share apartments find that dividing up 
cleaning chores is so onerous that they 
prefer to share the cost of hiring some- 
one to clean every other week rather 
than continually test an otherwise 
peaceful and supportive cohabitation. 
Regardless of what you decide, it's im- 

portant to decide. There is a sense of 
empowerment and agency in making 
a choice. And, one often finds as time 
passes that these priorities change. At 
an earlier time in your career, working 
very hard may be the thing that gives 
your life great meaning. Later, you 
may feel the need to devote yourself to 
a committed relationship, spend more 
time with family, or build a nest egg. 

To Invest or Not? 

Another investment issue relates to 
how hard you want to work at a giv- 
en time. Some artists find jobs that 
are quite intense for specific periods 
of time and then relent or disappear 
at other times of the year. While the 
"on" time can be grueling, it gives way 
to stretches of time that provide utter 
freedom to explore one's creative and 
performing life. Teaching — private or 
public, college or K-l 2 — often follows 
this model because of built-in breaks 
and summervacations. Other seasonal 
work includes holiday-themed shows 
in December, or vacation destinations 
in the summer. Freelance projects can 
also be cyclical, especially those that 
are scheduled around a specific, pre- 
determined deadline, such as fund- 
ing drives, gallery openings, or event 

9:00-5:00 or Not? 

Some artists opt for a day job — working 
"nine to five," 40 hours a week. There 
are a number of advantages to this, the 
greatest being a stable income and ben- 
efits like health insurance. Many artists 
find (depending on the job) that their 
bosses allow them the flexibility to take 
time off during performance seasons. 
They also find they can get away during 
the middle of the day for an audition 
(if they make the time up later). We rec- 
ommend discussing this during your 
interview so there aren't any surprises 

for either you or your employer. Taking 
"sick" time to cover auditions can be 
fine if that is the agreed-upon protocol, 
but not so great if you are caught out 
and about when you are supposed to 
be home languishing in bed. It's a very 
good idea to avoid putting yourself in 
positions where you feel you have to 
lie. Another advantage of a nine-to-five 
job can be the people you meet; you 
may be surprised to learn that among 
the ranks of your coworkers are of- 
ten potential contributors to your art 
projects, new audience members, and 
sometimes even other artists. 

Nine-to-five disadvantages can in- 
clude feeling sapped by the end of the 
day, so much so that it's hard to find 
the energy and motivation to devote 
to your career as an artist. You may 
also become frustrated because you 
can't make it to classes or workshops, 
or mesh your rehearsal schedule with 
other artists who work flexible hours. 

In the Arts or Not? 

A third important question that art- 
ists often wrestle with is choosing be- 
tween a job in the arts or some other 
field. Some find it a no-brainer: They 
care about the arts and learning about 
professional management or produc- 
tion work would only enrich their total 
experience of being an artist. Many art- 
ists go on to be excellent arts adminis- 
trators in part because they understand 
what an artist does, how artists work 
and what artists need. They also find 
themselves in an environment where 
others really "get" what they do — and 
it's often easier to secure the flexibility 
to make auditions, take class, attend re- 
hearsals, and mount their own perfor- 
mances. Artists also learn about arts ad- 
ministration elements that are relevant 
to their own endeavors, such as public- 
ity, audience development, Boards of 
Directors, etc. 

One challenge is that artists who 

Employment for Artists: 
The Urban Institute 

According to the Urban Institute's 
Investing in Creativity: A Study of 
the Support Structure for U.S. Artists, 
many artists describe their work life 
as having multiple dimensions. 
[The Urban Institute, 2003. www.] Most artists in the 
U.S. do not make their living solely 
through their art making; rather, they 
make some money from their art, 
some from art-related endeavors 
such as teaching or arts administra- 
tion, and some from another job, 
usually non-arts related. Artists find 
that this variety of employment al- 
lows them the kind of flexibility and 
independent lifestyle they need in 
order to pursue their art. The chal- 
lenging aspects of having a career 
patched together from multiple jobs 
include unpredictable scheduling, 
lack of full-time employment ben- 
efits such as health insurance, the 
need for self-promotion and strategic 
planning, and lack of financial secu- 
rity. However, many artists find cre- 
ative ways to address these issues, 
and state that the benefits of having 
time for their art making is well worth 
the additional effort. Additionally, 
the artists polled identified other 
benefits from working in multiple 
markets, including access to potential 
audiences, individual contributors, 
and Board members; matching grants 
if working in a corporate setting; 
resources such as materials and 
services donated by co-workers; and 
potential space for exhibiting work. 
Many artists also find that their non- 
arts jobs give them experiences that 
influence and become content for 
their artwork. For example, a 
choreographer who worked for an 
inner city youth center developed a 
work addressing her own youth in 
rural America. 








-«— * 





work in arts organizations are put in 
the position of helping others do what 
they themselves want to do. Some- 
times this can create jealousy and 
anger when these other artists seem- 
ingly accomplish more — raise more 
funds, have their shows produced, get 
reviews, receive attention and "buzz." 
So, if you choose this route, you'll 
need to find your own way to deal 
with this emotional tension, in order 
to stay content with your work. 

Work Opportunities 

For most artists, having fluidity with- 
in the job market is a fact of life. In 
order to be competitive, artists must 
acquire skill sets relevant to the cur- 
rent job market throughout their ca- 
reers. As you explore the marketplace 
for employment, keep in mind where 
your current talents lie (write well, de- 
tail oriented, good with calculations) 
and also note what abilities you may 
need for the future. You may discover 
that by adding a few more skills, you 
can obtain a job that would give you 
greater satisfaction. There are many 
affordable training programs for art- 
ists. Artist-focused organizations, local 
arts agencies, and community centers 
often provide skill-building classes 
and workshops. Classes can range 
from learning about fundraising for 
your artwork, to training to become a 
teaching artist for the public schools, 
to acquiring computer-related skills, 
such as html coding to build websites. 
Another source for inspiration on 
how artists use their skills in creative 
ways is the Community Arts Network,, a national 
resource for artists working in uncon- 
ventional settings. 

Few dancers are able to maintain 
a full-time gig dancing for their entire 
professional careers. There may be pe- 
riods in your professional life when 
this is so; however, even the most tal- 

ented among us are subject to the eco- 
nomic swings of the arts field, as well 
as the ever-present factors of increased 
age and changing physical capabilities. 
Though the need for long-term plan- 
ning might seem far away from your 
current life, keeping an eye on the fu- 
ture can provide the peace of mind that 
will help you enjoy your current gifts. 

Teaching movement 

Many dance artists find that teaching 
can be lucrative as well as rewarding. 
In the ever-expanding fields of fitness 
and health, the kinaesthetic know- 
ledge gained from years of training is 
a rare commodity and can be used to 
great advantage. You may be very aware 
of some of the skills you've picked up 
through your dance education; other 
skills may be latent. These include the 
ability to see specific differences be- 
tween the demonstration of a move- 
ment and its replication; knowledge 
of anatomy and neuro-muscular pat- 
terns; experience with qualitative as- 
pects of movement (time, space, flow); 
strong verbal skills to communicate 
movement ideas and give corrections 
in a supportive manner; sensitivity to 
personal space and the ability to use 
touch appropriately; and your own, 
highly-educated body for demonstra- 
tion of exercises. These are just a few 
of the many skills you have already. 

Some teaching will require ad- 
ditional certification and training; 
for others, your college degree will 
be enough. Teaching movement can 
range from creative improvisation for 
children to strength training for se- 
niors to desk stretching for executives 
to Graham technique for professional 
dancers. You may also want to consider 
whether you can seek out teaching po- 
sitions that guarantee set amounts for 
your fee per class, or whether you are 
comfortable with receiving a percent- 
age of students' tuition, which means 
that your income would fluctuate de- 

pending on attendance. You may need 
to consider the trade off between mak- 
ing more money and needing to spend 
time and energy to market yourself as a 
teacher. Due to the growth of the field, 
the possibilities for employment are 
numerous, as the following list dem- 

Pilates. Many dancers find this to 
be an excellent source of income. Af- 
ter the initial investment in certifica- 
tion, trainers make a high per-hour fee 
from clients. Pilates has gained popu- 
larity and is now available in many 
commercial gyms as well as private 
centers nationally. Trainers can also 
teach group mat classes without the 

Gyrotonics. This alternative to Pi- 
lates uses machines that work in a 
circular form to increase range of mo- 
tion and strength. Again, after the ini- 
tial certification, trainers can expect to 
earn a high per-hour fee. There is also 
a system that can be taught without 
the machines. 

Nia. This new form of exercise 
training combines the principles of 
modern dance, yoga and tai chi. Nia is 
turning up in gyms across the country 
as an alternative to traditional aero- 
bic classes. For more information, see 

Yoga. An excellent complement to 
dance training, yoga can also prove 
to be an excellent part-time job. Yoga 
is taught in many places, from gyms 
to community centers, and in many 
configurations, from one-on-one to 
groups to videos. Certification in the 
various forms of yoga is often avail- 
able through a center in your area. 
Once you have found a practice that 
suits you, ask your teacher about train- 
ing programs. Some yoga centers have 
a work-study option for teachers in 

Personal J One-on-One Training. 
Working with clients individually is of- 
ten very rewarding. This can be done in 

a private gym setting, in a shared gym 
space, or in clients' homes. Personal 
training requires certification and, if 
you work independently insurance. 
Most gyms and personal training busi- 
nesses accept IDEA Health and Fitness 
Association ( certifi- 
cation or the National Association for 
Fitness Certification (see www.body- and will cover you under 
their insurance policy. If working for 
a gym or private business, you will 
be provided clients and will receive a 
percentage of the fee. If working for 
yourself, you keep the entire fee, part of 
which is used to cover overhead. 

Group Fitness Classes. Classes can 
range from low-impact aerobics to step 
class to strength training. In the past 
few years, alternative modes to tradi- 
tional exercise are the trend, including 
"boot camp," "boxer's workout, " "bal- 
lerina body" and the like. Perhaps you 
will want to pitch your own alterna- 
tive exercise form to a facility. Offer to 
teach a free sample class. Depending 
on the facility, this may require IDEA 
or another kind of certification. 

Creative Movement for Children. 
Many community centers offer chil- 
dren's dance classes in many forms: 
ballet, modern, flamenco, African, 
Israeli, etc. As a professional, your ex- 
pertise and enthusiasm is a great foun- 
dation for this kind of learning. You 
provide an excellent example of tech- 
nique as well as an inspiring model 
for young people aspiring toward their 
own identities. 

Adult Dance. Community centers 
also offer recreational dance for adults. 
This can include a weekly swing dance 
or a monthly tango lesson with a 
milonga (dance party), as well as daily 
lessons in ballet, folkdance, creative 
improvisation, and the like. 

Professional-Level Classes. Even 
though you're in training, you can be- 
gin to teach. Send your resume to the 
studios in your area. Then follow up 

with a call and offer to teach a sample 
class. Ask to be placed on their substi- 
tute teacher list. Check in regularly and 
keep them updated on your activities. 

College/ Conservatory/ University 
Teaching. A full-time position often 
requires an MFA, PhD or EdD. Adjunct 
positions often do not require a termi- 
nal degree, but do request professional 
level performance experience. Register 
on the Chronicle of Higher Education 
website ( 
to receive notices via e-mail of job 
openings; send a resume and letter of 
introduction to your local schools and 
begin to develop a relationship with 
the faculty by inviting them to your 
shows, attending their productions, 
etc. (For more information about find- 
ing work in institutions of higher edu- 
cation, see the articles by Tricia Henry 
Young and Julia Ward.) 

Stretch for Stress Relief There is a 
small niche in corporate environments 
for this kind of work. You teach simple 
ways to relieve stress and recover from 
repetitive work syndromes. Check 
with human resources departments 
to see what kind of wellness programs 
are offered. Some companies have 
their own wellness centers; others of- 
fer monthly classes. Finding out what 
programs are in place will help you 
determine what you can offer. 

Bodywork (<physio balls, Tliai mas- 
sage, etc.). Some bodywork requires 
active participation; therefore, it feels 
more like personal training than tra- 
ditional spa-type services. Whether 
you work with physio balls or just 
your hands, these techniques require 
initial training; however, because of 
their alternative nature, training is of- 
ten fairly inexpensive and can be ac- 
complished in a relatively short time- 
frame. Also, because these techniques 
are specialized and out of the normal 
range of offerings, you will have a 
unique marketable service to offer the 

Movement for Athletes. Many 
gymnasts and ice skaters require 
dance instructors to teach movement 
and choreograph routines. To find out 
if your local gymnastics or ice skating 
programs need help with dance train- 
ing, contact skating rinks, gymnastics 
studios, or schools where gymnastics 
are a part of after-school activities. 








Healthcare for Artists/ 

"Approximately 51 percent of artists pay 
for their own health insurance compared 
with 8 percent of U.S. workers." 
Health Insurance Fact from The Urban 
Institute. 2003. investing in Creativity: A 
Study of the Support Structure for U.S. 

While most young dancers won't have 
to worry about the serious diseases that 
come with advancing age and sedentary 
lifestyles, unexpected illness can hit at 
anytime. Of more concern for most danc- 
ers are injuries that can occur onstage or 
off, including torn tissues, back trouble, 
and broken bones. The best way to pre- 
pare for these circumstances is to know 
the options for insurance coverage and 
medical treatment. 

Insurance: Some artists are able to 
remain on their parents' health insurance 
plans for a period of time. Others enroll 
in grad school and find coverage there. 
Lower-cost insurance is being offered 
more and more through freelancers' 
unions (e.g.,, arts 
organizations (such as Fractured Atlas,, and state/local 
governments. Artists with low income are 
eligible for government plans and some- 
times even Medicaid. Working 20 hours 
per week often earns health insurance 
from your employer. When an employee 
leaves a job, s/he is eligible for coverage 
under COBRA, a law that allows them to 
buy insurance at the company rate for 
up to 18 months, unless new insurance is 
found before that. 

Medical Care: Those without insur- 
ance can pursue a number of options. 
While many public hospitals, especially 
in urban areas, have earned less-than- 
stellar reputations, the reality is that 
the quality of care ranges widely. For 
example, New York City's public hospital 

system now provides treatment — in- 
cluding primary care, gynecology, neu- 
rology, podiatry, and dental care — in 
up-to-date facilities for city residents at 
sliding scale rates beginning as cheaply 
as $15 per visit. Community-based clinics 
offer treatment at affordable rates, or for 
free. A consortium of artist service orga- 
nizations and unions — including Dance/ 
NYC, DTW, and NYFA— and Brooklyn's 
Woodhull Medical Center have devel- 
oped an artist-specific healthcare initia- 
tive based at Woodhull as a pilot project. 
The program, called ArtistAccess, offers 
affordable healthcare for all NYC-based 
artists and arts workers based purely on 
income. For more information about the 
HHC Artist Access program, visit http:// 
pdf. Sexual minorities or people of color 
can often find medical facilities/clinics 
that cater to their community. Some facili- 
ties may provide services specifically for 
dancers who sustain injuries (such as 
the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries 
in New York, 
Finally, although it will take leg-work and 
persistence, you can find doctors who 
provide services for free or at reduced 
rates as a means to "give back" to the 
community. Finding a doctor who has a 
connection to the arts, or to dance in par- 
ticular, and explaining your situation may 
reap affordable services. 

Mental Health: A number of signifi- 
cant stressors go along with launching 
one's professional career, including 
questions to be explored, decisions to be 
made, jobs to land, living arrangements 
to secure, and art to be created. Tackling 
these issues can be overwhelming, at 
times disheartening, and occasionally 
destabilizing, so it may be helpful to 
find support for your mental well-being 
as you go through this transition and 
wrestle with your own growth and de- 
velopment. Dancers are as susceptible 
to bumps in the road as anyone else, 
whether these bumps take the form of 

depression, anxiety, moodiness, eat- 
ing disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, 
cigarette addiction, difficulty forming 
relationships, handling rejection, lack of 
motivation, and the like. There are also 
unexpected events, like being the victim 
of a crime, or dealing with past traumas. 
Finding help to deal with these experi- 
ences can be vital. Sometimes talking 
with trusted friends, family, religious 
counselors, or mentors does the trick. But 
sometimes you do better to seek profes- 
sional counseling. Many of the medical 
resources mentioned above provide 
mental health services as well. Addition- 
ally, many mental health professionals — 
psychiatrists, psychologists, and social 
workers — work on a sliding scale basis, 
especially if they are earlier in their own 
career trajectories and looking to build 
their practices. If you cannot afford a 
full fee, make sure to ask about reduced 
rates. Good sources for referrals include 
word of mouth, college counseling cen- 
ters that refer to community providers, 
and local mental health agencies. Each 
mental health profession association 
(such as the state psychological associa- 
tion) also can provide referrals. When 
you find yourself acting/reacting in un- 
characteristic ways, or if you are unable 
or ashamed to share difficult thoughts 
and feelings with trusted others, this 
may be the exact time to seek some help. 
Even a few visits to a professional may 
assist you in getting perspective on your 
struggles and provide some concrete 
steps to transition to a better, more stable 
place. For more information about re- 
sources, see 

Working As a 

We all know the cliche of the "starving 
artist" who works as a waiter or bar- 
tender. While this type of work can offer 
financial rewards, flexibility, and cama- 
raderie, one need not stop there. Many 
artists approach their work life with as 
much creativity as their art life, becom- 
ing experts at ferreting out work that 
supports their needs while allowing time 
for class, studio, and stage. Take a look 
at these case examples to stimulate your 
thinking about how to find work that best 
fits your needs and goals. Salaries are 
estimates, based on wages currently being 
paid, but may vary according to the city 
and market. 

Bookkeeper Karen Bernard 

Karen Bernard has worked as a freelance part-time bookkeeper for more than 
a decade. Bookkeeping provides a pay rate ranging from $25-$45/hour and 
often a fair bit of flexibility. This flexibility in her own work life helps Karen 
secure time to make work, mount productions, and tour. Karen credits finding 
this work to her mother, who made her take typing in high school. This skill 
had a great impact on her future work life as it ushered her first into the corpo- 
rate world, and then into an accounting niche. Now Karen works for a variety 
of clients, including a pediatrician, an architect, and a real estate businessman. 
In general, bookkeepers help their employers keep up with tax payments, or- 
ganize expense categories for accountant visits, pay bills, and reconcile bank 
statements. Key skills for Karen, along with typing, have included accounting 
programs such as Quicken and Quickbooks, a strong orientation to detail, and 
a relaxed, discreet interpersonal manner. Karen feels her interpersonal skills 
are important because disclosing information about money is such a personal 
thing for many people. She works to keep an even keel, especially when her 
employers are having financial difficulties. Karen found a number of her jobs 
through advertisements in the daily newspaper, and also through word of 
mouth. Bookkeeping has helped Karen to juggle her family life, including three 
children, and her work as a solo dance artist. For more information about 
Karen's work, visit\nda. 

Framer/Restorer Emma Cotter 

Emma Cotter has been involved with art framing and restoration for more 
than 15 years. She began this work at the age of 14 as a means to earn ex- 
tra money. When she moved to New York, her goal was to make a living as a 
dancer, but she found that this wasn't feasible. She noticed a great number of 
ads for framers in the local paper and landed her first job in New York framing 
at a popular art store that is frequented by visual artists. While the job itself was 
grueling — she sometimes worked 60 hours a week for less than $10 per hour — 
Emma was gratified to work with passionate, edgy coworkers and to meet a 
great number of artists who would invite her to their openings. Working at this 
art store also led to freelance jobs, including hanging shows and collaborating 
on installations and conceptual work with artists who had come to trust her 
eye through her framing work for them. In retrospect, working in this framing 
"sweatshop" was a great place to start, although the labor and stress turned out 
to be too much after a couple of years. Emma then got involved in art restora- 
tion, and currently works for a firm in an apprentice-master model. Her boss 
is very supportive of the arts, hiring illustrators, painters, and photographers 
and providing a great deal of flexibility for Emma to pursue her dancing career. 
At this shop, Emma restores paper documents ranging from historical letters, 
such as one written by Abraham Lincoln, to artworks, such as a sketchbook 
that belonged to Degas. Emma says that her work becomes routine in the sense 
that she forgets what she's handling until she sees the document featured in an 
auction house catalogue at a sale price in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. 
Ballpark pay for this kind of work can be $15-$20 per hour. I or more informa- 
tion about Emma's work, visit www.rettocamme.coni 



Personal Chef: Alice Klugherz 




lthough Alice Klugherz has engaged in many types of freelance work, one 
through line has been a love of food and good cooking, a talent she credits 
to her mother. Alice began working as a personal chef on a professional basis 
when she was 22, for a client who sent her to restaurants, introduced her to the 
latest developments in food preparation, and encouraged her to try new things 
in the kitchen. Over the years, Alice has found that different clients want dif- 
ferent things from her. Some want their personal chef to do everything, from 
shopping for food to preparing it on site, to serving and cleaning up afterwards. 
Others prefer the "elf" kind of chef, in which Alice communicates via e-mail 
and notes, buys and prepares the food, and leaves it in the fridge for her clients. 
Alice has also developed a niche market: working with clients who are facing 
illness and need food preparation that attends to special nutritional and diges- 
tive needs. The challenge of being a personal chef, and catering work in general, 
is that projects can be all-consuming, similar to the total engagement involved 
in producing a show; Alice found times in her life where she got quite distant 
from her dance work because she was working for demanding clients. Impor- 
tant qualities to have in this field include finding and maintaining boundaries 
that work for both the chef and client, excellent organizational skills, the flex- 
ibility required for special occasions, an eye for employing efficiencies (such as 
buying certain foods already prepared) and, of course, a feel for good cooking! 
For personal chefs who devote themselves to this career path, the pay can be 
in the six figures. As a part-time gig, average pay is in the $25/hour range. For 
more information about Alice's work, contact her at 

Specialized Healthcare Teacher Fiona Marcotty-Dolenga 

Fiona Marcotty-Dolenga helped to pay her way as a choreographer and danc- 
er by training medical students on how to conduct respectful and effective 
gynecological exams. Typically, two women work as partners, one demonstrat- 
ing and the other acting as the "patient" for a group of students, allowing each 
to take a turn learning about anatomy and exam procedures, helping them 
interact more sensitively in this vulnerable situation. This job pays well, $200- 
$300 per evening training session. Men also can find work in this field, helping 
medical students learn how to perform exams on male anatomy. Dancers are 
often involved in this work, perhaps because it provides flexibility and makes 
use of a dancer's awareness of anatomy and musculature. Medical students con- 
sistently give these classes the highest ratings out of their curriculum. To learn 
more about Fiona's choreography, you can contact her at fionanewyork@aol. 
com. To find out more about this job, contact your local teaching hospital or 
medical school. 


Graphic Designer Fernando Maneca 

Fernando Maneca got involved in graphic design via a friend who paid him 
by giving him access to graphic design computer programs. Because he had 
experience editing music on a Mac, picking up graphics was an easy transition. 
At first, Fernando designed postcards for his own performances, but as he be- 
came more skilled, he began to design for others. All told, Fernando freelanced 
from his home for nine years, and also worked part-time for companies, before 
taking a full-time art director position. In the past 11 years, Fernando has creat- 
ed hundreds of postcards, newsletters, and other print materials. He found that 
working for artists was labor-intensive and paid less (perhaps $100 for 10-20 
hours of work) in comparison to the corporate world. For commercial ventures, 
a direct marketing piece is worth somewhere between $1,000 for the local gro- 
cery store, to $10,000 or more for a national campaign. 

There are a number of advantages to freelancing as a graphic artist. If you have 
a good laptop, you can work at home, on the road, or wherever there's an in- 
ternet connection. You can also search for work via websites such as 
com, which gives you access to jobs that originate all over the country. There 
is a lot of flexibility in freelancing, allowing you to accept projects that revolve 
around your art making/production schedule. (When working a steady job at a 
company, you need to be frugal with your vacation dates, saving them for perfor- 
mances and residencies.) Freelance graphic work can also lead to other projects, 
such as website design, which can pay $2,000-$ 10,000 per site (depending on 
the size of the site and level of interactivity). The downside to freelancing is that 
when the economy slows down and individuals and small companies spend less 
on advertising, freelancers feel the hit first and hardest. Fernando also noted the 
lack of control over work flow; he has had periods with no jobs, and times when 
he was offered work while he had shows in creation or performance. Finally, 
when you work for yourself, you must be especially good at managing money, 
setting aside funds to cover slow times and taxes owed at the end of the year. 

Fernando suggests the following if you are interested in pursuing graphic 
design and art direction. Learn software (for print: Quark, Photoshop, and Il- 
lustrator; for web: Dreamweaver, Flash and HTML). Learn more about design 
by studying the work of professionals in design magazines and books, ads, bill- 
boards and the web. Secure an internship. Build a portfolio. Your friends need 
postcards and flyers; you can design them to gain experience and develop a port- 
folio. Last, design is design — the tools may change, but the same basic principles 
apply, whether you're designing for stage, print, or web. So remember your dance 
composition teacher's lessons; they will come in handy. To learn more about 
Fernando's work, visit 


Production Manager Keith Michael 





eith Michael is production coordinator for the Dance Division at The Juil- 
liard School. Keith traces his work with organizing performances to grade 
school, when his own marionette company traveled to hundreds of schools. 
After graduating from college, he danced and choreographed for companies 
that often needed someone to manage productions, and Keith found he had 
a knack for it. Depending on the company or size of the organization, a great 
range of needs can fall under the rubric of production management. These jobs 
can range from working in the theater on the technical or stage management 
side, to going on the road with a touring company, to more office-oriented 
work, such as planning seasons and managing personnel. From Keith's perspec- 
tive, dancers come to production management with a lot of skills, including 
having an organized life, working collaboratively with others, and problem- 
solving in order to secure people and resources. Also important is the ability 
and desire to jump into a project, to find out what you don't know, and to 
take stock of what works and doesn't work. Finally, it's important to constantly 
network, to develop a community of people on whom you can rely for help 
and advice. To embark on this career path, Keith suggests volunteering on a 
show that you're interested in supporting. Try to find a group you believe in 
because, especially starting out, you won't get paid well. In addition, it's more 
the rule than the exception that everyone's going to want as much time and en- 
ergy and expertise from you as they can get — it's easier to go the extra mile for 
something you support. With smaller companies, it's especially challenging to 
be clear about what you will and won't do. If you wish to pursue your own art, 
it is possible to work in production management yet still create uninterrupted 
blocks of time for your own projects by working in a seasonal capacity, turning 
down gigs if you work freelance, or working in schools that have down times. 
Pay ranges from $10-$ 15 per hour for an inexperienced person or up to $30 
or more per hour if you are experienced and/or willing to go on the road. For 
more information about Keith's production management or artwork, contact 
him at 

Massage Therapist: Christine Suarez 

Christine Suarez has been a massage therapist for seven years. She was intro- 
duced to this profession while babysitting, when she observed the parents 
in two families doing massage and bodywork out of their homes. Christine had 
several jobs after college that were unfulfilling and financially unrewarding; she 
found herself unhappy. This motivated her to find work that would leave her 
feeling positive and that would support her financially. After finishing massage 
school (which takes one to two years), Christine has worked in a number of 
locations: spas, doctors' and chiropractors' offices, her own home, and other 
people's homes. Currently she maintains 15-20 clients a week, although the 
work hours are longer due to returning phone calls, travel time, and getting set 
up. Still, she finds that she is able to make money fairly efficiently. Spa work 
usually pays around $30/hour plus tips. For private clients, the range is $50 
to $100 per hour, depending on the geographic locale. Christine identifies a 
number of upsides to working as a massage therapist. She has a great deal of 
flexibility in her schedule because she books people when she's available. She 

has developed a clientele that she enjoys working with and feels that she per- 
forms a great service for them. She has seen women through their pregnancies 
and helped people recover from injuries. She also learns about her own body 
through those she works on, and finds discovering more about the body fas- 
cinating. Finally her work is physical, which she loves. In terms of downsides, 
as with most freelance work, the income is unpredictable; if even one client 
fades away, it can affect her income. She has addressed this, in part, by having 
a once-weekly job at a spa, helping to ensure some steady income. She also 
has to either pay for health insurance out of pocket or go without it. There are 
no paid vacations and if she's sick or injured, she loses money. Christine has 
also noticed that the longer she works as a massage therapist, the more she has 
to take care of herself. If she doesn't take enough time off and get bodywork 
herself, she becomes less giving during her sessions with clients. In this work, 
setting boundaries is very important. People will ask for massages at all hours. 
At this point, she no longer takes late night calls, but instead trusts that calls 
for work will come tomorrow. To learn more about Christine's art, visit www. 

Company Administrator: Michou Szabo 



Michou Szabo first worked for Meredith Monk as an administrative assis- 
tant when he graduated from college in 1991. He then went for his MFA 
in dance and upon graduating returned to the company, where he currently 
functions as general manager. Michou finds that his experiences in undergradu- 
ate and graduate school were very relevant to his work life. Writing, meeting 
deadlines, and maintaining a structured daily focus were all instilled in him via 
his education. Other skills he learned include understanding production needs, 
basic marketing, planning a season, and familiarity with computer programs, 
including Word, Excel, and Outlook. Working with a nonprofit arts organiza- 
tion, he is able to secure a flexible schedule with regard to rehearsing, taking 
class, and touring. As long as he puts in his weekly hours at his administrative 
job, he gets a lot of leeway to plan his schedule. Steady income and health 
insurance are other benefits. Michou has also learned a lot of administrative 
skills that he puts to use with his own company, including how to juggle both 
art making and administrative duties. In general, mid-level arts administrators 
at dance and theater companies can make somewhere between $15-$25/hour. 
Michou says that although he works in a nonprofit, it is not laid back, con- 
trary to what someone from the outside might think. The work gets especially 
intense when the company is mounting its home season. It's also important 
to decide what kind of job will fit your needs. For example, Michou opted for 
the role of general manager, not company manager, because the latter is on 
the road too often, which would preclude a dance career. Sometimes, Michou 
feels that he's pursuing a dual life. Ideally, he'd like to take class, rehearse four 
or five hours, visit the gym, and go home. While there are days like that, he has 
to put in enough hours to squeeze it all in, getting up at 5:00 a.m. and going 
through to the evening. The mshing can take its toll, leaving him feeling con- 
stantly just a bit behind. To learn more about Michou's work, contact him at 





Identifying Skill Sets 
and Priorities 

Chances are quite good that as a dancer you have 
already developed a range of skills that make you a 
strong candidate for a variety of jobs. For example, 
learning how to dance has taught you discipline and 
given you an orientation toward detail and hard 
work. Rehearsing has taught you how to collaborate 
with others, communicate, and be sensitive to your 
environment. Working on productions has taught you 
organizational skills. Watching others create and per- 
form has taught you how to learn through observation 
and provide feedback. These are just a few general 
skills you may have acquired. Our bet is that there 
are a host of other abilities that you've developed 
related to the personal interests and experiences 
you've gained through your first decades of life, such 
as website and html programming, familiarity with 
various computer software programs, event planning, 
research, writing/editing, proofreading, figure model- 
ing, data entry, typing, receptionist skills, teaching, 
making travel arrangements, paying bills, ordering 
supplies, etc. 

Assess your history 

List the jobs and experiences you've had. For exam- 
ple, you may have led campus tours, served as chief 
organizer for your dorm parties, been a resident as- 
sistant, officiated your campus club's meetings, done 
the majority of the house cleaning in your shared liv- 
ing space, worked at the library, made presentations 
for classes, been a research assistant, painted houses 
in the summer or undertaken other useful activities. 

Recognize your skills 

From your list of jobs above, extract the various skills 
that are involved in each. For example, conducting 
campus tours involves being articulate, personable, 
and outgoing; requires the ability to organize and 
to deal with group dynamics; sharpens your skills 
in responding to requests for information; involves 
storytelling and sales; and requires follow through 
with supervisors. Working as a research assistant 
involves skills in data entry, organization, attention to 
detail, independent work, deduction and induction, 

working with collaborators and supervisors, digesting 
information and rendering it in a consumable form, 
presenting information orally and on paper, and us- 
ing a computer. 

Identify your priorities 

Take a moment to think about how you value certain 
activities, including making money, securing free 
time, interacting with peers, maintaining indepen- 
dence, leading a project, providing service to those 
less fortunate, contributing to a cause, having health 
insurance and related benefits, and paying off school 
loans, among others. Then, put the list of priorities 
you develop in order of importance to you. For exam- 
ple, you may list contributing to a cause as first, having 
health insurance as second, interacting with peers as 
third, and making money as fourth. 


Match the above with your job/career potential 

Now, take your list of skills and your identified priori- 
ties and use these to determine what potential jobs 
would fit the bill for you. For example, the research 
assistant with the four priorities outlined above might 
search for full-time work in an established nonprofit 
assisting in market research and audience develop- 
ment within the arts community. For the individual 
who led campus tours and who has making money 
and paying off school loans as her top two priorities, 
then a full-time job organizing and eventually running 
focus groups for an advertising firm might be attrac- 
tive. For a dancer who would like to secure as much 
free time as possible, be independent with regard to 
his schedule, and lead his own projects, then cleaning 
houses and apartments may be a very good fit. 

The Business 
of Art 

Most individuals working in 
the arts come to see two 
sides to their endeavors: the 
side that relates to the creative process 
(researching ideas for dances, creating 
material in the studio, rehearsing with 
others, performing) and the business 
side (promoting your work as a dancer 
and/or choreographer, writing grants, 
securing gigs, affiliating yourself with 
a nonprofit organization). Ideally, ar- 
tistic opportunities flow naturally in 
response to your career development, 
and your career development is or- 
ganically based in the art you'd like to 
make. In the following pages, we will 
explore the business side of an arts 
career and how to secure resources so 
that eventually you may make enough 
money on your art to quit your day 
job — a dream of many artists! 

The Business of Personal 

To understand a prevalent dynamic 
in the business side of an arts career, 
let's visit a gourmet market in Manhat- 
tan. People cram themselves into the 
store as if they are giving merchandise 
away (which they certainly are not, 
unless you consider paying six bucks 
for baby escarole a bargain). People 
line up five deep at the cheese coun- 
ter waiting for their turn to be served. 
Going for a grant, or a gig, or a tour, 
is quite similar to this cheese counter. 
The grantmaker is the individual be- 

hind the counter and she's seeing how 
serious you are — how much you want 
that Roquefort in the most basic terms: 
i.e., how long you'll stick around for it. 
The fact that it's five deep on your side 
serves her purposes quite well. Those 
who get to the front of the line have 
demonstrated their seriousness before 
she even has to utter the words, "May I 
help you?" Of course, whether you get 
a grant is dependent on the quality of 
your work and other factors, but perse- 
verance is a first step to being seriously 

The same dynamic operates for 
all types of "VI Ps" — critics, booking 
agents, curators, producers, etc. Let's 
imagine a presenting space where 
you'd like to have your work seen. Pre- 
senters typically have a group of art- 
ists they're producing this year, a very 
short list of individuals they've identi- 
fied for production next year, a set of 
artists from which they'll pick for the 
year after, a group that they've been 
cultivating (and vice versa) for the fal- 
lowing year, and, finally, about year 
five, they're pretty open— this is where 
you come in. This isn't to say thai 
there aren't exceptions to the patterns 
outlined here. Certainly artists drop 
out of rosters and someone is brought 
in, jumping the line if you will. When 
1 (Steve) was a curator at The Kitchen, 
one of my first produced artists end- 
ed up backing out because his work 
wasn't ready. I was able to bring some- 
one into the season completely unex- 
pectedly. Now, thai was a nice call to 










make! It was also the only time that 
occurred. The rule was that 1 had way 
too many proposals — 200 formal ones 
in a two-year period — and only a doz- 
en or so spaces to give away. All this 
is to say that, similar to your commit- 
ment to training your body and mind 
to be a dancer, resource gathering is a 
process that most often requires com- 
mitment and consistency. 

Savvy artists recognize that there 
are things they can control and things 
they cannot. An ideal is to have a good 
mix of the two. Things you cannot con- 
trol (or can't control much) include 
whether people will like your work, 
when and if you'll be awarded a grant 
or get a gig to perform in Minneapo- 
lis, or whether a reviewer will come to 
your show. Some of the things you can 
control include getting into the studio 
(or your living room if that's all the 
space you can afford at the moment), 
spending time with other artists talk- 
ing about working processes, research- 
ing a subject you're interested in mak- 
ing a piece about, going to see shows, 
putting yourself in environments 
that inspire you, keeping a journal of 
thoughts for new works, keeping your 
body tuned and your mind enlivened, 
going to auditions, and — yes — put- 
ting out the best proposals you can 
to funders and producers. Make sure 
that your day, week, month, and year 
are infused with things that you can 
control so that when it comes time to 
reflect, you can look back and have a 
feeling of accomplishment, regard- 
less of whether a producer dialed your 
number, the mail carrier brought an 
acceptance letter, or you got a call back 
for an audition. 

When gathering resources for a 
project, it's best to think of a collage or 
mosaic. Any one piece does not make 
up the entire picture; rather, many 
smaller pieces are needed to form the 
total. This means that you don't apply 
for just one grant, but a range of them. 

And you don't only pursue grants, but 
instead cultivate a variety of sources, 
including donations from individuals, 
support from local businesses, donat- 
ed goods, food or space for fundraising 
events, program advertising, or other 
services through bartering, etc. By us- 
ing (or at least considering) all these 
avenues, you will increase your chanc- 
es of securing enough support to make 
your project a reality. Another way of 
thinking about supporting a project is 
envisioning a stool with many, even 
dozens, of legs. Each leg represents a 
different source of support — a grant, 
an individual contribution, a donated 
service, etc. If one support drops away, 
it will not have a huge impact. Now 
imagine if your stool has fewer legs. 
It's much less stable. If you rely solely 
on one source of support, such as a 
single grantmaker, your stool becomes 
incredibly precarious — more like a 
plate balanced on a stick. As you try to 
put your mosaic of support together, 
you will also be starting relationships, 
so that even if you don't receive a grant 
or donation, you will have positively 
impressed a hinder (or a local busi- 
ness owner or an individual donor) 
who, when approached again, will 
more likely be receptive in the fu- 
ture when you approach them again. 
You've moved up a row at the cheese 
counter — congratulations ! 

Now we tackle some basic principles 
of fundraising, nonprofit/fiscal spon- 
sorship, and self production. Key to all 
these elements of the business side of 
art making are three general principles: 
building relationships, targeting your 
efforts, and making your case. 


All successful fundraisers (large and 
small, from those raising six figures 
for festivals at Yerba Buena in San 
Francisco to an individual artist put- 
ting out her very first solicitation let- 

ter to friends and family), as well as 
successful booking agents, marketing 
professionals, publicists, and the like, 
know one key to success is the rela- 
tionship. As in all relationships, the 
crucial issues are quality, quantity, and 
rhythm of contact. It's often the case 
that artists wish for arm's-length sup- 
port, so that if they get a grant or do- 
nation, it's really about their work, not 
their schmoozing abilities. That might 
sometimes happen for our mythical 
showstopper. For the rest of us, when a 
presenter at an arts center has 50 pro- 
posals on her desk, and these propos- 
als are of relatively equal artistic merit, 
the curator will weigh (consciously or 
not, we're all human) the quality of 
the interactions with the artist. This is 
because she is placing a bet on you to 
deliver a product, and her decision is 
based, in part, on how much she trusts 
you to deliver. 

Similarly, when you have a chance 
to meet with a hinder, touring agent, 
artist you're trying to collaborate with, 
or choreographer you hope will hire 
you, your chances for success increase 
tremendously. Personal contact is a 
conduit for the passion that will make 
you or your project that much more 
compelling and real to the other per- 
son. Finally, if you establish a good re- 
lationship, regardless of the outcome, 
you will have an open line of com- 
munication with this person, who will 
feel comfortable being frank with you 
about the reasons for their decision. 
This will allow you to tailor your next 
effort better, increasing future chances 
of support. It's good to keep the long 
view in these interactions, and under- 
stand that a rejection now may not 
preclude support in the future. 


Targeting refers to focusing your ef- 
forts. To explain it, I'll begin by tell- 
ing you what it is not. When I (Steve) 
was a curator at The Kitchen, I re- 
ceived a proposal from a tap dancer. 
The Kitchen is an avant-garde theater 
space and the proposal was for tra- 
ditional soft-shoe to jazz music. The 
letter was enthusiastic and passionate, 
but completely off base. I kept that let- 
ter of inquiry pinned to the wall over 
my desk as an example of the impor- 
tance of targeting. This artist had em- 
ployed the "spray and pray" method 
of gig-getting (you can also spray and 
pray with auditioning, grants, touring, 
marketing, etc.). The problem with 
spraying (sending out inquiries indis- 
criminately) and praying (hoping that 
one/some of them will stick) is that 
you can ruin potential relationships. 
Producers, flinders, critics, and oth- 
ers in positions of responsibility are 
busy folks with many artists vying for 
their attention. Your misdirected letter 
wastes their time because they have to 
read and respond to it. These VIP types 
get good at detecting when a proposal 
isn't really written for them, but part 
of a spray-and-pray effort. They also 
talk to each other. One faux pas can 
become an unintentional calling card. 
You can see how targeting is in- 
timately connected to relationship- 
building. If you think of targeting as 
dating, then you can imagine the more 
personal and specific your approach, 
the better. If the object of your affec- 
tion feels like s/he is one in a batch 
of 87 people you are approaching for 
a date, s/he is much less likely to be 
favorably disposed to your bid. On the 
other hand, if you approach him/her 
in a targeted, specific, personal way, 
your stock goes up enormously. Also 
involved in targeting (as well as rela- 
tionship-building) is the timing and 
nature of the contact. Asking your 

crush to go away with you for a week- 
end to Rio for your first date might be 
romantic, but might also make them 
run for the hills. The parallel to the 
weekend in Rio is asking for a grant 
from a major funder like the Ford 
Foundation to support your first per- 
formance; 999 times out of 1,000, this 
is a blunder. Asking for the size grant 
that usually goes to organizations 
with million dollar budgets is another 
blunder. (This is the equivalent of ex- 
pecting a diamond ring on the second 
date!) In terms of timing, a consistent 
approach makes most sense, most of 
the time. With our dating metaphor, 
following up a terrific first night out 
with six weeks of no communication 
is often more harmful to the relation- 
ship than not having had a terrific first 
date at all. 

Knowing as much as you can about 
the priorities and goals of the space or 
the funder, and reflecting that know- 
ledge in your approach, will give you 
the best chance and ultimately create a 
win-win situation. Understanding and 
demonstrating how your work/project 
makes sense given their history of sup- 
port, priorities, and goals is really ef- 
fective targeting. Finally, asking for an 
appropriate kind of support is also the 
mark of good relationship-building — 
perhaps at your level of development 
all you can hope for is that they come 
see your next show rather than give 
you a grant or a gig off the bat. When 
you don't take the time to strategically 
focus — when your fundraising or tour- 
ing efforts are marked with "Oh, what 
the heck..." as you send off an enve- 
lope or make the call — then you are 
not only greatly reducing your chances 
of reaching your goal for this contact, 
you might be preventing yourself from 
future serious consideration. Remem- 
ber the guy that sent me the soft-shoe 
proposal? He would have a harder 
time getting through to me in the fu- 
ture even if his work became right for 

The Kitchen because I kept his first ill- 
considered attempt tacked on the wall 
in front of me. 

Like all the guidelines we offer in 
this chapter, these can be broken on 
occasion to wondrous effect. But it's 
important to learn how to properly 
take off and land before endeavoring 
hair-raising leaps and bounds. The 
bold gesture with relationship-build- 
ing and targeting might be just what 
is called for, but most success in this 
field is obtained through solid, dili- 
gent, consistent efforts, and when you 
decide to stray and take a risk, it's best 
to know the rules before doing so. 

Making a Strong Case 
for Support 

Whether you're going out to secure 
funds or bookings, you will need to 
build a case as to why the funder or 
presenter should support you. Your 
case should create a sense of urgency 
and answer these questions: Why this? 
Why now? A great project can commu- 
nicate its worthiness to VIPs (funders, 
producers, curators, etc.) even more 
effectively if you can convey a com- 
pelling, timely reason to do it. For 
instance, if you have an idea for a site- 
specific dance festival in a community 
garden, then linking the timing of the 
performances with a city council vote 
on the fate of community gardens will 
make your proposal that much more 
compelling to the funder who is inter- 
ested in both art and ecology (target- 
ing!). Helping a producer to under- 
stand how your next work inexorably 
flows from your prior work, and how 
his space is the perfect venue for the 
new work, is much more persuasive 
than another proposal that simply con- 
veys, in a generic way, that the space is 
great. Or imagine there is a movement 
teacher who only allows students into 
her class via audition. It will be more 








The Fundraising Letter: 
It's Easier than You Think 

Elements of a successful fundraising 
letter are varied, but most have the 

1. They are all personalized. Each has 
the name ("Dear Mary" rather than 
"Dear Friend.") and address of the 
individual printed at the top. 

2. All letters should have a note writ- 
ten on them by hand, even if it's a 
simple: "Thanks so much for taking 
a moment to read about what I'm up 
to." or "I hope you're able to help 
again this year — I really appreciated 
your support for our last show." 

3. The letter should ask for some- 
thing — most often money. This 
means that you might specify how 
much you'd like the donor to give (if 
this is the friend of your father who 
actually has deep pockets, perhaps 
you could say something like: "I am 
approaching five individuals for a 
contribution of $1,000 each to kick 
off our fundraising efforts for this 
show. This will serve as a catalyst 
for our second drive, which is to ask 
contributors to match this $5,000 
with smaller contributions.") You 
could also give your readers an idea 
of how large the entire budget is by 
saying: "The show will cost $15,000, 
including performers' fees, space 
rental, and publicity. We are trying to 
raise half this amount from individu- 
als like you and the rest through our 
box office receipts and two grants." 
Sometimes people make specific 
requests tied to dollar amounts, such 
as, "For each $25 donation, we are 
able to have another two-hour re- 
hearsal in preparation for the show, 
for a $50 donation, we can purchase 
the material for one costume; for 
$100, we can have the costume 
made, for $250, you will support the 
cost of one dancer's fee, for $500, 
you will be underwriting the cost of 


successful if you write her a letter ex- 
plaining why it is important for you 
to study with her as soon as possible 
due to an injury you believe her tech- 
nique will help heal faster. Having a 
well thought-out case is particularly 
convincing when you are asking for 
a net rather than a fish (give a man a 
fish, he eats for a day, give a man a net, 
he eats for a lifetime). Developing and 
casting a need as one that, if funded 
now, will enable you to become more 
self-sufficient, stable, and successful is 
compelling. For example, imagine you 
are going to choreograph and self-pro- 
duce your first full-evening show. You 
can write a solicitation letter to friends 
and family that focuses on this criti- 
cal artistic venture that will help you 
to land reviews, secure future support, 
and even embark on paid touring. This 
is a more persuasive case than simply 
asking them to help fund your show. 

Funding Sources 

Individual Fundraising 

For most of us in the earlier part of 
our career trajectories, the most likely 
source of funds will be individuals. 
There's no shame in this! In fact, in- 
dividuals are the largest contributor of 
funds for the arts — they give more than 
foundations, corporations, and the 
government combined. Next time you 
go to the theater, look at the program 
to see how many individuals support 
the presenting organization. You may 
be surprised. As an artist, you have the 
right — even the mandate — to get indi- 
viduals involved in your project. Why? 
They will be giving to someone who is 
close to their hearts (friends and fam- 
ily believe in you and want to support 
you), they will be giving to something 
that is very tangible and immediate, 
they will be getting a tax deduction 
just as they would if they were giving 

to any other nonprofit endeavor (if 
you use a fiscal sponsor — more on this 
later), and they will be learning about, 
and becoming involved in, the chal- 
lenges and successes of your goals as a 
performing artist. 

While most individual fundrais- 
ing letters are related to putting on a 
show, they don't always have to be. 
We've seen very successful letters from 
artists asking for funds to buy office 
equipment so they can be more effi- 
cient administrators, pay for extended 
research and rehearsal periods, de- 
velop new art-related skills, or under- 
write a promising collaboration with a 
composer and set designer. One great 
thing about individual solicitations is 
that you can ask for things that grant- 
makers may not consider. Thus, these 
appeals can be a creative way to tap 
into support. 

Many people balk at the idea of 
asking friends and family for contri- 
butions. Our perspective is this: Rather 
than not sending the request letter at 
all, make it comfortable to send the 
request letter. For example, use a fund- 
raising letter to inform peers from col- 
lege what you're doing by writing in 
the margin: "Dear Ming, 1 just wanted 
to let you know what I was up to. I 
imagine your pockets are about as 
deep as mine these days (!), but I'm 
so excited to be taking my first profes- 
sional step with this piece that I want- 
ed to share the news with you. Let me 
know what's up with you when you 
have a chance." By adding this text to 
the letter, you've let your friend off the 
hook and at the same time let her de- 
cide if she has 10 bucks to contribute 
to your event. At the least, you've kept 
in touch. Another example, for long- 
distance friends unable to attend the 
event, is to ask for the donation of the 
price of a ticket. "I know you would 
come to the show if you didn't live so 
far away. Would you consider donat- 
ing the price of a ticket?" For a busi- 

ness associate of your father's, it might 
be good to use humor as a means to 
introduce your request for funds: "I 
know the last time you watched me 
perform was when I was the jalapeho 
pepper in my fourth grade school play; 
things have changed quite a bit since 
then!" It can definitely take time and 
thought, but we're confident you can 
figure out what to write in the margin 
of any letter so that it makes it com- 
fortable to send. 

There's another reason to embark 
on this process. While many of your 
peers may have graduated with art 
making as their goal, in five, 10, 15 
years, members of this group, perhaps 
most of them, will have moved on to 
other professions. Statistically speak- 
ing, chances are quite good that these 
professions will be more lucrative 
than art making. The small contribu- 
tions your colleagues make could grow 
over time. It's a good idea to begin the 
process of cultivating them now when 
they are artistic fellows so that you 
are already on their radar when they 
have the wherewithal to be more sub- 
stantial supporters. And, if and when 
you make it big, these friends will 
take pride in your accomplishments, 
knowing that they supported you 
along the way. They will enjoy being 
able to say, "I remember him when he 
did his first solo in a loft that could 
only fit 20 people — I always knew he'd 
go places." 


Most of the guiding principles for let- 
ters to individuals are applicable to 
your grantwriting as well. You will need 
to: 1 ) research potential hinders so you 
can effectively target, 2) articulate your 
case, and 3) if you are lucky, meet with 
someone in person so that you can ex- 
press the strengths of your project in a 
personal, direct way. Below is an over- 
view of the various types of grants and 

grant-making bodies. For an excellent 
resource on grantwriting itself, check 
out The Foundation Center's Guide to 
Proposal Writing. We also recommend 
attending a workshop on grantwriting 
as a means to further your skills in this 
area. Arts service organizations and 
local arts councils are good resources 
for this. When researching a class or 
workshop, it's smart to rely on word 
of mouth of your peers. What classes 
have they taken and what was their 
response? Was the workshop geared 
to the right level for their professional 
activities/goals? Would the materials 
and examples used in class come in 
handy for future reference? Was the 
teacher knowledgeable and approach- 
able? Was there time for individual 
questions? How affordable was the 
offering, and were their opportunities 
for work-study or reduced rates? 

There are three main types of grant- 
making bodies: foundations, corpora- 
tions, and government. 

Foundations are the most diverse 
in that they can be created to support/ 
serve any number of communities, 
goals, groups, etc. Each foundation, 
whether it is a small family founda- 
tion or something as large as The Pew 
Charitable Trusts, has a mission and 
designated funds. A percentage of 
these funds must be disbursed each 
year in order \o maintain foundation 
status. Many foundations have written 
guidelines and application forms; oth- 
ers do not. One can learn a great deal 
about foundations and their giving 
through various sources (see Research 
Sidebar, on page 115). 

Corporate funding is divided into 
two types: community-based grants 
and advertising. Community-based 
grants are often smaller in value and 
disbursed locally. These funds are 
about corporate citizenship — a bank, 
utility, or business that is making an 
effort to be a good neighbor — and 
usually support projects such as free 

The Fundraising letter 
continued from preuious page 

having the show's postcard printed." 

Other artists choose to have the 

more traditional range of suggested 

levels of donation on a response 

card. If you need something other 

than money, such as a donation of 

equipment or furniture, it's helpful to 

be similarly specific. 

H. Good letters often do some educat- 
ing about the artistic or production 
process, discuss the work's themes 
or subject matter, or describe the 
piece itself. This educative aspect is a 
way to draw people in, to have them 
become involved with your chal- 
lenges and interests, and to make 
your project stand out in their minds. 
One note of caution: avoid esoteric 
or insular language. People appreci- 
ate reading about things in plain, 
straightforward language. Re-read 
your text or, better yet, have some- 
one else read it over to see if you 
have included terms that may not 
communicate to others. (One friend 
who used to be a funder refers to an 
applicant artist who described her 
work as "satiric media mixes." No 
one at the funding organization un- 
derstood what this meant; needless 
to say, the application didn't go as far 
as it might have.) 

5. A strong letter will highlight some- 
thing particularly important about 
the project: 

► This is the first time my work will 
be presented in Santa Fe. 

► This is the first time I will be 
showing my work outside my 

► This is the first time my work will 
be presented by a theater. 

► This is my first collaborative 
effort, and will feature original 
music by Susan Smith (former 
member of the Bandoliers) and 
an original set by renowned 
fashion designer Joe Jones. 

















The Fundraising letter 
continued from previous page 

► This work is the culmination of 
several years of research on the 
indigenous dances of Malaysia, 
dances that are dying out as the 
older generations pass on. 

► I'm pleased to say that the proj- 
ect has already received a grant 
from the Harkness Foundation for 

► By providing support to develop a 
website, you will be enabling me 
to create a marketing tool that will 
serve to get me more work in the 
future, helping my dance career 
thrive on earnings from paid work. 

Because you are thinking of fund- 
raising as being closely connected to 
relationship-building, it is often impor- 
tant to be in contact with your donors 
between solicitations. In addition to 
thanking them for a contribution, this 
can include some mix of: 

► Sending them a follow-up letter 
about the project they supported 

► Publishing a bi-annual newsletter 
that talks about what you're up to 
between projects, and what's next 
for your work 

► Inviting them to an open rehearsal 

► Sharing with your donors your per- 
spective on other good work being 
made that they might want to check 
out (when they're not coming to 
your shows, of course!) 

Most solicitation letters are one to 
two pages long, although sometimes 
they are longer. We remember a well- 
known choreographer's solicitation 
of multiple pages outlining numerous 
ways to support his work. Although nor- 
mally the length might turn off some do- 
nors, he knew his audience. His fund- 
raising letters are often mini-artworks 
in and of themselves, incorporating 
humor and irony. His novel, engaging, 
and very personal way of reaching out 
to others works for him. Similarly, you 
can challenge yourself to find a way that 
works for you and your audience. 

performances and educational offer- 
ings. Advertising funds are used for 
the corporation or business to gain a 
higher profile through an arts activ- 
ity. For example, a few years back, I 
(Steve) submitted a proposal to ob- 
tain two free tickets from a major air- 
line to be used as a raffle prize for The 
Field. The woman who was in charge 
of this activity for the airline told me 
that she received about 20 requests for 
free tickets each day. In order to make 
a compelling request for this support, 
we needed to justify the cost of the full 
fare tickets in the amount of advertis- 
ing we would do for the airline. This 
entailed assigning dollar amounts to 
the benefit ad we'd place in the lo- 
cal paper mentioning the airline, the 
banner we'd have with their name on 
it outside performances, the ad we'd 
place in our program for the event, etc. 
Typical corporate sponsorships are for 
much larger amounts linked to events 
that have the ability to draw thousands 
of patrons, such as festivals, a season 
at the large theater in town, or a na- 
tional tour. An excellent resource to 
learn more about this type of funding 
is Corporate and Foundation Fund Rais- 
ing: A Complete Guide from the Inside, 
by Certified Fundraising Executive Eu- 
gene Scanlan. 

Government funding comes in 
various sizes, related to the level of 
government involved. At the federal 
level is the National Endowment for 
the Arts, though this agency's funding 
to individual artists and small com- 
panies is limited. All states have arts 
councils, and often counties, cities, 
townships, and boroughs have funds 
to support the arts as well. Although 
it is not always true, people who ad- 
minister government grant programs 
are often among the most accessible 
because they are public employees 
and the funds are derived from tax 
dollars. In addition, most of the funds 
are disbursed via a mechanism that 

involves a peer panel — a group of 
individuals who are involved in the 
arts themselves or at least part of the 
general citizenry. For these reasons, 
government funding can feel more 
transparent and accessible, and get- 
ting a meeting is often part of the ap- 
plication process. In lieu of a meeting, 
some government funding requires an 
"audit" or site visit, meaning that the 
funder will send out an individual to 
conduct a review, which then is used 
as part of the panel process. Check 
with your government funding bod- 
ies to see if and when these audits are 
required (some require audits even be- 
fore you are able to submit an appli- 
cation). State and local arts agencies 
vary widely in their structure and the 
funding they offer individual artists. 
So begin by visiting the website of the 
state agency in which you're located. 
The NEA's website (http://arts. endow, 
gov/) has links to all of the state and 
regional arts agencies. 

Types of 

There are several types of grants as 
well. Most funding can be thought 
of as either general operating support 
(GOS or Gen-Op) or project support. 
GOS refers to funds that the organiza- 
tion/company is allowed to use to fur- 
ther their efforts as they see fit. Project 
support refers to funds that are given 
for a specific endeavor; all the funds 
must be used for that project. Many 
funders prefer to give project support 
because it's more targeted and control- 
lable. Back in the '90s, when public 
concerns around artistic license flared, 
some grantmakers became particular- 
ly skittish about their GOS funds be- 
ing implicated in controversial work. 
By limiting the use of their funds to 
particular projects, funders could bet- 

ter defend their choices to their Boards 
of Directors, trustees, and the public. 
Thus the popularity of project sup- 
port. Fellowships are a GOS grant for 
individual artists, meaning that artists 
are free to use the funds to support 
whatever aspect of their art lives they 
choose. Commissions are fees paid by 
performing arts spaces or festivals for 
an artist to develop a new work, which 
is usually shown at the space/ festival. 
As mentioned earlier, corporate spon- 
sorship is a "grant" that is given in ex- 
change for having a corporation, busi- 
ness, or product associated with an 
artist or project, with the goal of direct 
advertising or securing public good 
will for the corporation. Seed money 
refers to a grant used to help fund the 
start of a new program or project. A 
scholarship, such as a Fulbright, is re- 
lated to research and can support an 
artist's travel and living expenses while 

Your Own 
Versus Fiscal 

Opinions vary about whether an art- 
ist should set up her own nonprofit 
or use another nonprofit as a sponsor 
(also known as a fiscal conduit, pass- 
through, or umbrella). Fiscal sponsor- 
ship occurs when an organization acts 
on your behalf, lending you its non- 
profit status in order to help you access 
resources that are designated for orga- 
nizations with nonprofit status. Being 
sponsored can allow you to obtain: 
1 . Grants that can only be made to 
nonprofits due to tax code laws (even 
grants from funders that say they 
don't fund individuals), including 

government, foundation, and corpo- 
rate funding; 

2. Individual donations that are only 
tax-deductible for the donor when 
given through a nonprofit; 

3. Donations of goods for art projects 
(a computer, furniture, set materials) 
that are tax-deductible to the donor 
(services are not tax deductible); 

4. Discounts on theater or rehearsal 
studio rentals when space is offered at 
nonprofit versus commercial rates; 

5. Access to certain collections or re- 
positories of goods, such as the Cos- 
tume Collection and Materials for the 
Arts (both exist in New York City as 
well as other locales); and 

6. Reduced rates on certain services 
(such as lawyers who offer pro bono 
advice to nonprofits). 

All or most of these benefits to 
nonprofits can be accessed by indi- 
viduals if they sign on as a sponsored 
project of a nonprofit. The advantag- 
es to using a sponsor are substantial. 
1 ) You can test whether you want to 
operate as a nonprofit. 2) You can 
avoid the expenses involved with 
starting your own, which runs about 
$2,000 even with volunteered legal 
services. 3) You can begin fundrais- 
ing right away without having to wait 
for your application to be ruled on by 
your state and the IRS. 4) You don't 
have to worry 'about federal and state 
paperwork involved in maintaining 
your nonprofit. 5) You don't have 
to take on the added expenses and 
responsibilities involved in having 
ancillary work done, such as audited 
financial statements. Finally, you can 
take time to see what you would real- 
ly like to accomplish with a nonprofit 
before you apply for your own, help- 
ing to target your application to the 
IRS. (If, for example, you believe you 
want to operate a performance space, 
but over time find out that you're 
much more interested in educational 
endeavors, you may have to re-sub- 

Funding Research 

Adapted from Prospect Re- 
search: Taking the Time to 
Increase your Success Rate by 
Suzanne Callahan, CFRE 

Below are the basic steps in the process 
of finding and researching potential 
funding prospects. Following them will 
help you to know if your organization 
or project fits with a funder's priorities. 
The closer your project connects with 
a funder's goals, the more competitive 
your proposal will be. 

► The "short list" of prospects can be 
found in performance programs. 
Look at who is funding your peers or 
artists who are a few rungs ahead of 
you on the ladder. These funders are 
most likely to be receptive to your 
efforts and your work. However, be 
aware that these funders are most 
likely cultivated by many artists such 
as yourself. Because of this, it's a 
good idea to cast your net a bit wider. 

► Identifying the specific attributes of 
your project will help to identify po- 
tential donors. Does your project in- 
volve a particular ethnicity that might 
interest a group or consulate in fund- 
ing it? Is there a specific part of town 
where the work will be performed 
that might attract community Board 
or neighborhood support? Will other 
collaborators from different arts 
disciplines be involved — providing 
a means to attract funding for music, 
visual art, or design? 

► Get to know the Foundation Center 
and its resources for conducting 
research on funders. The Founda- 
tion Center has locations in New 
York, San Francisco, Washington DC, 
Atlanta, and Cleveland. Attend their 
free weekly introductory sessions, 
which orient you to their wealth of 
resources, and use their research ca- 
pabilities to learn about funders and 

grants that have been given. At the 










Fundraising Research 
continued from previous page 

top of your list should be FC Search, a 
searchable database of grant makers. 
If you live outside these five cities, 
you can subscribe to their services. 
And, most libraries have some of 
their information. 

► You can learn about funders in other 
ways. If available, request their an- 
nual report and printed guidelines 
over the phone or in writing. Take 

a look at the list of past grantees. 
Search for press releases about new 
initiatives or changes in funding pri- 
orities. Check to see if the foundation 
has a website. Many foundations do 
not have an annual report and do not 
distribute grant lists; if this is the case, 
review the IRS 990 forms (which list 
their grants) via 
or on microfiche at the Foundation 
Center. Keep a copy for future refer- 

► Other organizations have websites 
that feature funding information, 
such as NYFA Source ( 
and Dance/NYC ( 
in addition to the arts service organi- 
zations and state arts agencies. 

► Review the bios of the foundation's 
trustees, Board members and staff, if 
available. Try to determine if anyone 
in your circle of supporters is con- 
nected in some way to staff or Board. 

mit/amend your application with the 
IRS, which can be a headache and in- 
vite an audit.) In sum, when you use a 
nonprofit sponsor, you get to try out 
nonprofit life, including your ability 
to raise funds under someone else's 
wing while you figure out if this way 
of operating makes sense for you. 

The advantages to having your own 
nonprofit are that you don't have to 
pay the fees involved in being spon- 
sored by another nonprofit. These 
fees, while usually less than the cost 
of starting your own nonprofit, are of- 
ten tied to your ability to raise funds. 
Charges can range from about four to 
ten percent of the funds raised, plus an 
additional startup/membership fee of 
$100-$200. Another advantage is that 
some funders (ranging from very few 
to many, depending on the region) 
require you to have your own non- 
profit to apply to them. Last, having 
your own nonprofit ensures access to 
reduced (bulk) postage rates and sales 
tax exemption on purchases (Some 
sponsors offer these as well, but by no 
means all.) 

While in the past the assumption 
was that each person should get his/ 
her own nonprofit, this has shifted 
over the past 20 or so years, with many 
artists opting to use sponsors as a flex- 
ible means to pursue their goals. One 
benchmark as to whether it might 
be time to get your own nonprofit is 
when the fees you pay to your spon- 
sor would be enough to hire someone 
to help establish and run your own 
nonprofit — something in the $3,000- 
$4,000 range/year. However, one fi- 
nal caveat: Having a nonprofit does 
involve a number of responsibilities 
that will cost you time and money, in- 
cluding establishing and maintaining 
a Board of Directors and filing reports 
with the IRS. So make this decision 
carefully, and seek the guidance of a 
mentor, ASO, and/or other artists. 

Your Work 

At some point, many dancers become 
interested in making and showing 
their own work. There are several ways 
to do this. One way is by taking part in 
a showcase offered by an existing the- 
ater or service organization, or join- 
ing with several artists to rent a venue. 
Showcases provide a means for an 
artist to perform work for the public 
as part of a shared evening with other 
artists. There are typically two kinds of 
showcases: curated and non-curated. 
Curated shows require an audition 
of sorts, either live or via videotape. 
Participation in non-curated shows is 
usually determined on a first-come, 
first-served basis or by lottery. Both 
may require written applications and 
some have a small application/pro- 
cessing fee. There is usually more pres- 
tige and competition (and sometimes 
even a small stipend for you) involved 
in curated events; the non-curated 
showcase provides more accessibility. 
Many well-known choreographers got 
their start showing work in either or 
both forms of showcases. 

If you enjoy making work and per- 
forming it for others, you might come 
to a point when you want to present 
an evening of your own work. Unless 
a producer has come to one of your 
showcase performances and decided 
to give you time and space in her 
theater, you may find yourself in the 
position of choosing to self-produce. 
This means that you will need to find 
a space, publicize the event, address 
the technical aspects of putting up the 
work, and handle audience and other 
front-of-house issues — all in addition 
to making the work itself. In order 
to self-produce most effectively, it's a 
good idea to create a timeline for your 
production, starting with opening 
night and working backwards. It's also 

good to come up with a budget that 
includes costs and income sources. 
Arts service organizations, theaters, or 
peers are good sources of information 
to help you clarify your plan and its 

While putting an entire show to- 
gether on your own can seem like a 
daunting task, there are a number of 
advantages to self-producing work, 
even in comparison to being produced 
by an established theater. Those who 
self-produce find that they have much 
greater control over the event. If they 
want to have their show start at 10:00 
p.m., they can work that out. If they 
want the flyers to look a certain way, 
or have text that might be controver- 
sial, they can do this without getting 
approval. There is also less pressure to 
show work that will please the curator 
or "fit" the aesthetic of the producing 
space. Without the additional pressure 
of the curator or presenting house's 
expectations, artists sometimes can 
rein in costs and work within their 
own values. It can also be a great way 
to start building your own audience. 
In sum, artists like to self-produce be- 
cause they have utter control over the 
event, allowing them to shape it in a 
way that best fits the work they want 
to produce. It is for this reason that 
even very successful or seasoned art- 
ists will opt to return to self-produc- 
ing. The down side to self-producing 
is that you have to pay for most of the 
costs out of pocket (though box of- 
fice receipts may offset some of your 

If self-producing is a means to 
landing a future produced gig, your 
work will be cut out for you because of 
all that you'll be managing. Often it's a 
good idea to call in some favors or put 
aside some money to buy help from 
others during your season. Specifically, 
you will want to invite local producers 
(or even producers from other locales 
where you have connections), using 

all you know about targeting, relation- 
ship-building, and making your case. 
You will also invite critics, funders 
(including auditors from government 
funding bodies), touring agents, if ap- 
propriate, potential individual con- 
tributors, and others. All these invita- 
tions will ideally be personalized and 
accompany a press release or other 
publicity for the event (such as a flyer 
or postcard). You may find that it takes 
several attempts before you get these 
VI Ps to your shows (remember the 
cheese counter). However, they will 
eventually make it to your work, and 
your efforts at developing resources 
will have begun to pay off. Remember, 
even if VI Ps don't come, you will be 
building an audience for your work, 
an important endeavor in itself. 

The Project Description 

A project description provides an op- 
portunity to go into depth about your 
work, and can address a particular 
piece, an evening of work, a program, 
or any new or continuing endeavor. 
You can write a project description as 
part of a grant application, to generate 
text for a fund raising letter, to prepare 
yourself to talk with a potential donor 
or funder, or simply as a way to flesh 
out your own understanding of what it 
is you'd like to do. 

This one-page (or, at most, two-page) 
narrative should outline the project, 
its goals, significant collaborators, your 
personal interest in the project plan of 
action, and anything else that will give the 
reader a well-rounded and compelling 
view of what you're doing. Begin by put- 
ting your unpolished ideas and phrases 
on the page without worrying about how 
they read or flow. Only when you feel 
you've written something about fea vari- 
ous aspects of the project should you en- 
gage in editing your work. Make sure the 
information is arranged from the most im- 
portant to the least important, and close 
with thoughts about why the project is of 
interest or importance in a broader way 
to the public, the community, and/or the 
world. Ensure that the opening sentence 
of a paragraph is supported by the sen- 
tences that follow, and, similarly, that the 
text in each paragraph is organized under 
a specific topic or thought. 

To help generate material, think 
about your project as a multi-faceted 
crystal that you are holding up to the 
light and examining from various 
angles. Ultimately, you won't use all the 
material you've generated, but you will 
have a plethora of ideas and phrases 
from which to build your final narra- 
tive. The questions on page xx can be 
modified according to what type of 
project you are writing about. 

continued on pa$e 119 










Project Budget 

Budgets are a numerical, objective form in 
which to put your ideas. They also outline 
how you value, in numerical terms, vari- 
ous aspects of your project. Budgets have 
two parts: expenses, or what the costs will 
be; and income, or how these costs will be 
covered. Start with expenses by projecting 
what you will need and researching or fig- 
uring out how much each of those needs 
will cost. For the income side of the bud- 
get, count all possible sources, noting any 
sources already secured, or "in-hand." 
Your budgeted income should realistically 
include a variety of sources of support, in- 
cluding individuals, benefits, ticket sales, 
grants, in-kind (free) donations, as well as 
the requested amount from the funder. 
Your final budget should always balance, 
meaning that income equals expenses. 
Make sure that your overall budget is not 
too large or too small for your level of 
experience, scope of the project, and your 
history of carrying out similar projects. 

Two things to note with regard to your 
budgets: First, they are projections. This 
means that if you raise the amount of 
money you hope to raise, then you will 
spend it on the expenses that you will 
incur to put the project together. You can't 
make pie-in-the-sky budgets because 
a funder will have a sense of what your 
fundraising ability is given your track 
record, but you should also not be afraid 
to project a legitimate budget for a profes- 
sional endeavor. You must pay yourself (as 
artist and/or administrator) a decent fee in 
the budget. If you do not raise all the funds 
projected, then you won't get paid, but 
remember, it is a projection, so you must 
expect to be paid! 

(Note: Not all budgets will include all 
categories; this budget example is geared 
toward putting together a show.) 



Artists' Fees I 

Designers' Fees (lighting, graphics, costumes, etc.) 

Technician/Production Fees 

Other Fees for Services 


Production and Pre-Production 

Space Rental 

Equipment Rental 

Costume Rental/Construction 

Set/Scenery Construction 



Publicity and Advertising 




Other Publicity Expenses 

Additional Expenses 

Documentation (video, photo, etc.) 



Airfare and ground transportation 

Per Diem 



8% fee charged by The Fiscal Sponsor 




Admissions/Box Office 

Contracted Services (teaching, commissions) 


Sale of Promotional Items 

Contributed Income 


Corporate Contributions 

Foundation Grants 

Individual Contributions 

In-Kind Donations (Note: you must have expense items that match your in-kind con- 
tribution - e.g., if you have $500 worth of rehearsal space donated, then you must 
show at least $500 worth of rehearsal space expense.) 

Space Grant 

Graphic Design 

Properties (set pieces, etc.) 




Funding "To Do" List 

Your funding "to do" list will vary, depend- 
ing on the project and where you are in 
your development. For most artists do- 
ing their first few pieces or full-evening 
show, writing a fundraising letter and 
inviting funders to the show comprises 
their "to do" list. To accomplish this, you 
will want to 1) research and contact po- 
tential fiscal sponsors for your project, 

2) develop an individual donor list, 

3) draft a fundraising letter, 4) get feed- 
back from others on the letter before 
sending it out, 5) consult performance 
programs, the Foundation Center (if 
you have access) or websites of funders 
to develop a list of VIPs that you will 
invite to your show, and 6) invite audi- 
tors from government funding bodies 

if they require audits before accepting 

The Project Description: Questions continued from page 117 

► Where did the initial inspiration for 
the project/piece originate? 

► What is the personal impetus for the 

► What is the central image? 

► Talk about the piece from a conceptual 
point of view. 

► Talk about the piece from a thematic 
point of view. 

► Talk about the piece from an emo- 
tional perspective. 

► Talk about the piece from a movement 

► Is there text? Is there music? Are there 
visual elements, such as set, slides, 
lighting? How does each discipline in 
the work impact/enhance the others? 

► Are there any notable collaborators? 

► What kind of performers are you envi- 
sioning in the work? What are the par- 
ticular talents/qualities that you look 
for? Is the work a solo? Group? 

► In what kind of space do you envi- 
sion the work happening? 

► How is the space to be used? 

► Where does this piece fit into the 
overall flow of your development, 
both artistically and career-wise? 

► Where does it fit in the contempo- 
rary dance/art scene? 

► What terms or thrusts in other arts 
traditions could you employ that 
would clarify where this work is 
coming from/what it's about (e.g., 
impressionism, Cubism, staccato, 

► What kind of audience are you 
pursuing? General? Artists only? Is 
the ideal audience five a night in 
an apartment or 1,500 in an opera 

► What kind of impact/benefit do 
you want the work to have, and 
on whom (the audience, those in- 
volved, etc.) or what (the art form, 
the scene)? 

► What is the process of development 
for the piece? Is it cooked up in se- 
cret, or is it shown in progress? Is it 
developed on the spot (e.g., impro- 
visation) or has it been two years in 
the making? 

► Will the piece be performed many 
times or will it happen on one, 
spectacular evening? Will it go into 
repertory? Be modified for school 
audiences? Is it already booked 
somewhere else? 

► What is the longer-range trajectory 
into which this piece figures? 





Managing Your Life 
as an Artist 










Managing life as an artist takes 
creativity, discipline, skill, 
and self-nurturing. Finding 
your managerial style happens over 
time, as you face challenges and ad- 
dress dilemmas. Take e-mail as an ex- 
ample. Later in my career, I (Diane) 
joined the staff of The Field, and after 
a year, became its executive director. I 
quickly discovered that answering e- 
mail and voice mail inquiries could 
take up an entire day. I also discerned 
that I needed chunks of time to write 
grants, prepare for presentations, or 
take care of financial matters. Every- 
thing seemed equally urgent — artists 
calling, deadlines to meet, deposits 
to make! 

To make my life easier, I set up a 
timeframe for e-mail and voice mail. I 
answered them first thing in the morn- 
ing, and allowed myself two hours 
maximum. At the end of the day, just 
before leaving, I checked again to see 
if anything was urgent. This worked 
for a while. But when I found myself 
dreading the morning routine of an- 
swering e-mails, I flipped my structure. 
E-mails became my break from the 
more concentrated work of grant writ- 
ing and presentation planning. This 
change-up let me see these tasks from 
different perspectives and approach 
them with different energy. Below are 
some management tools that can help 
you discover a style and rhythm that 
works for you. 


Time can be a slippery commodity to 
control. Starting out (and at certain 
points after that), you may find that 
you have too much of it on your hands. 
This makes many of us uncomfort- 
able, and often means that we need to 
structure our day to feel and be more 
productive. At other times, you may 
feel that there is never enough time. Is 
it possible to feel more in control of 
the flow of time? You have built your 
own schedule with various jobs, re- 
hearsals, seminars, and social events. 
When compared to college, the big 
difference is that you build this sched- 
ule by choice, not by class require- 
ments. Some artists take class in the 
morning and some do administration 
at that hour. Do you do your best work 
in the wee hours of the morning? Or 
do you fall asleep after dinner and 
jump out of bed when the sun rises? 
Either is fine, but you should know 
what your rhythm is. It is important 
to study the schedule you've built and 
decide: "Is this really how I want to 
spend my time?" "If I thought about 
time as money, would I spend it the 
way I currently do?" "What benefits do 
I get from these activities?" Complet- 
ing the Time Pie exercise will help you 
to determine the best way to structure 
your time. 


The Time Pie 

This exercise will allow you to better 
understand how you use your own 
time. The first pie chart you draw is a 
representation of your actual week. 
Draw a large circle on a piece of paper, 
representing the entire amount of time 
in a week - 168 hours. Begin with the 
easy stuff — sleep, travel/commute, 
eating, personal maintenance, work for 
money. Then add in classes, rehears- 
als, administrative work, etc. Quickly, 
your time pie will be filled, leaving you 
little room for anything new. If you 
want to add any new activities, where 
will the time come from? Of course, the 
biggest instinct is to borrow from that 
big chunk: sleep. Is this a wise choice? 
Could there be another strategy? On a 
second piece of paper draw another 
circle. This one represents an ideal 
week for you. How would your ideal 
week unfold? What would you indulge 
in, what would you get out of the way 
right away? Now, make a third pie. In 
this one, try to marry your ideal week 
and your current life. Go ahead and 
adjust your schedule to include the 
things you feel are lacking in your ac- 
tual week. Prioritize your activities. To 
really make a change, you will need to 
think creatively. For example, is there 
a way to combine socializing with ei- 
ther performance research or training? 
Could you start to take yoga with your 
best friend? Make a commitment to 
adjust your habits and try a new mode 
for a month. See if it works better with 
your rhythm. You can continue to make 
small adjustments and commitments 
over time until you get closer to a week 
that feels satisfying. 

Over the course of a year, you may 
want to take a look at your time chart on 
several occasions. Your time priorities will 
shift as your goals clarify and opportuni- 
ties arrive. A strict regiment of "8 hours 
sleep" and "2 hours gym/body mainte- 
nance" on a daily basis can prove dull and 
unrewarding. Variety from routine is both 
healthy and necessary. Overtraining can 
be as taxing as undertraining, and keep- 
ing a tight routine can be as draining as a 
chaotic one. To achieve balance, find and 
listen to your inner clock. 

As we're growing up, we have breaks 
set up for us by our parents, teachers, and 
coaches. From naptime to recess to spring 
break, these respites provide necessary 
space in our schedule to rest and recover, 
and allow us to return rejuvenated to the 
tasks at hand. As an adult, this kind of 
rejuvenation is equally required but more 

difficult to establish. You have become the 
authority figure who determines when 
and how your breaks occur, whether they 
are one-hour walks or two-week traveling 
excursions. Look again at your time pie. 
Did you include space for recovery? Did 
you borrow from sleep or social activities 
to ensure time for more work, rehearsal, or 
training? Keep an eye on this. Take a break, 
or two, or three, during each day, a short 
holiday each week, and an extended vaca- 
tion each year. You deserve it and your suc- 
cess depends up on it. 











Yourself for 
Your Work 

Another important managerial skill 
to develop is how to evaluate and 
reward yourself. At the beginning of 
your post-graduation journey you 
identified some initial goals. Through- 
out your career, it will be necessary to 
evaluate them and determine if your 
actions are still leading you toward 
them. If not, then questions such as, 
"Is this really the right goal for me?" 
and "What actions do I need to em- 
brace to get me there?" become ne- 
cessities. Because your desires are by 
nature different from those of other 
artists, only you can determine if you 
are doing the right thing. It is easy to 
become envious if you see your peers' 
accomplishments as blocking your 
own. For many reasons, announcing 
and celebrating your own accomplish- 
ments is key to maintaining a sense of 

Whether your goal is big or small, 
each step along the way should be rec- 
ognized for its merit and function. For 
instance, the goal of presenting work 
on a shared evening includes the inter- 
im goals of making an initial proposal 
to the venue, rehearsing with dancers, 
meeting with collaborators, marketing 
and promoting the event, and plan- 
ning the after-party. These tasks should 
be celebrated and noted. Celebrations 
can range from a friend's high-five to 
buying some flowers to writing a big 
"congratulations" note on your fridge. 
Think about how you would recog- 
nize the contribution of a mentor or a 
volunteer or a funder who helped you 
take a step or two toward your goals. 
How would you apply this apprecia- 
tion and recognition to yourself? 

The Creative Capital Foundation 
( advises art- 
ists to develop a reward system as a 
technique to avoid burnout. Artists 
often wait until they are exhausted, 
broke, and at their wits' end before they 
will give in and give themselves a treat. 
This kind of "reward" is a celebration 
of martyrdom. At a time like this, the 
treat that is supposed to cheer us up 
may only get us further into debt, take 
us away from the work we need to do, 
and generally be counter-productive. 
By acknowledging all the things you 
do regularly, you can have an ongoing 
sense of joy in the small steps that take 
you on your life's journey. 

Sample Simple Rewards. Simple 
rewards can include baths, junk nov- 
els, movies, music, magazines, flowers, 
out of the ordinary activities (minia- 
ture golf, ice skating, a picnic), favorite 
foods, massage/spa/hot tub, time alone 
in a church or historical place, doing 
something thoughtful for someone 
else completely out of the blue, turn- 
ing off the phone and e-mail for a day, 
exploring an unknown neighborhood, 
going to the animal shelter and walking 
a dog, other volunteer work that helps 
others less fortunate... in fart anything 
that would help you feel valued. 

Start a Collection. As a way to 
have a physical representation of your 
significant achievements, start collect- 
ing something. For example, to com- 
memorate the completion of each pro- 
duction, you might buy a hand-blown 
glass vase. As your vase collection 
begins to accumulate, every time you 
look at your display you will imme- 
diately see a mini-shrine to your own 
accomplishments. This is a great boost 
to the ego, especially if you are down 
in the dumps or experiencing tempo- 
rary artist's block. Over the years you 
will be able to point to your collection 
like pop artists do to their wall of gold 
records and say to yourself, "Look at 
what I've done!" 

Developing a 
Support System 

One relatively unknown rule of man- 
agement is "you can't do it on your 
own." As artists we generally think 
we are independent entrepreneurial 
souls and, in one sense, we are. We are 
also part of a larger community. For 
longevity in the arts, a key strategy is 
to band together, pool resources, and 
develop interrelated support systems. 
Two grassroots approaches to building 
a supportive infrastructure are Buddy 
Systems and Group Management. 

Buddy Systems. This kind of sys- 
tem often develops organically. You 
start up a friendship with another 
artist and frequently call each other 
to check in on auditions, advise one 
another on proposals, and use one 
another for resources, such as phone 
numbers, e-mail addresses, teacher 
recommendations, etc. This kind of 
informal buddy system works well as 
a way to easily feel the kind of encour- 
agement a friend provides. In a more 
formal structure, you might want to 
develop this kind of relationship with 
a colleague or peer whose skills you 
think complement your own, and who 
would be a good business partner. To 
establish a buddy system, consider 
working with someone you meet at a 
seminar or community meeting. You 
could exchange contact information 
and then meet, e-mail or call each oth- 
er regularly. You can pool information 
on upcoming events, attend events to- 
gether, or when one person can't go, 
share the information afterwards and 
follow-up on material learned. Some 
further suggestions are: 
► Make check-in calls to confirm 
deadlines and remind each other 
about specific goals. "Just calling to 
check in that you're working on the 
XYZ Foundation proposal" or "I'm 
reminding you that you wanted 

to call Mr. Smith about coming to 
your show. Don't back down." 

► Give feedback on written materials, 
including flyers, press kits, etc. 

► Provide encouragement and moral 

► Share information about rehearsal 
space, auditions, costs for equip- 
ment rental, etc. 

► Pool needs and resources to get 
bulk rates on office supplies and 

Group Management and Barter- 
ing. Group management is a more 
formal way to enhance your manage- 
ment structure, providing many of the 
same advantages as a buddy system 
while adding more formal monitor- 
ing of administrative tasks. Weekly or 
biweekly meetings provide a structure 
where four to eight artists discuss cur- 
rent challenges. Out of this, artists 
find camaraderie, brainstorm to find 
new solutions, and provide a deadline 
structure for one another. Participants 
also find that they can make up for one 
another's weaknesses. For example, 
Fred is stymied by the prospect of call- 
ing presenters about his work; how- 
ever, he is excellent with accounting. 
Carla can't fathom projecting a year's 
budget, but her extroverted personal- 
ity allows an easy rapport with oth- 
ers. Fred and Carla barter two hours 
of time to take on each other's tasks. 
Fred gets representation to potential 
presenters. Carla gets a balanced bud- 
get. Everyone meets their goals and is 
pleased. A regular group meeting es- 
tablishes a trust that builds with time. 
A group like this could become even 
more formalized as an arts manage- 
ment collective, depending on the 
participants' desires and the group's 
changing dynamic. 

Dealing with 

Last, it is important to remember that 
change is part of the process of em- 
barking on and developing your artis- 
tic career. For instance, think back to 
your last day of high school, and how 
much you've changed since then; you 
remained open to trying new things, 
and one day you probably discovered 
that your priorities have shifted. This 
process of shifting continues through 
life. Perhaps you will want to start a 
family, or you will want a job with 
more security and benefits, or you will 
long for life in a rural setting. This is 
normal. Everyone, from doctors to en- 
gineers to chefs to artists, can expect 
to have more than one major shift 
during the course of their careers. In 
fact, on average, a career shift every 10 
years is typical these days. This means 
you can expect quite a few in your life- 
time! Career Transition for Dancers 
( is an ex- 
cellent resource for those feeling this 
kind of pull. Having a sense that these 
changes are part of the natural course 
of things can also help. Planning for 
change can be part of your strategy as 
you chart your course. 

Though I (Diane) was sure from 
an early ageMhat the driving force 
of my life was dance, within my 20- 
year career so far, I have shifted job 
descriptions and perspectives several 
times. When I was first studying and 
performing, 1 was a personal trainer 
and fitness instructor, which comple- 
mented and informed my dancing. 1 
learned about anatomy, nutrition, al- 
ternative health and wellness, and I 
used my enthusiasm for moving to en- 
courage my clients to become health- 
ier beings. After landing the job with 
Bella's company, 1 danced full-time for 
five years with benefits and a regular 
52-week paycheck. Shangri-La! until 

I felt I had learned all I could there. 
Upon leaving, I returned to my former 
career as a trainer for a short while and 
began looking for teaching opportuni- 
ties. I didn't feel like performing any- 
more, but enjoyed sharing what I had 
learned about dancing. I was offered a 
teaching position at a college in Lon- 
don. For the next five years, 1 worked 
in higher education, both in London 
and in the U.S. And then I grew rest- 
less again; I wanted to be back in the 
professional world. I fell into The 
Field where I could learn about arts 
administration and use the skills I had 
gained from my experiences as an art- 
ist and educator. My path continues 
to unfold; recently I stopped directing 
The Field and came back to choreo- 
graphing and performing full-time. 
1 explore and understand my life's 
goals in the context of my history, my 
strengths, and dreams. 

Keeping Your 
Eye on the Big 

As you envision your larger life un- 
folding, one element to keep track of 
is what role art making plays in the 
overall picture. For me (Steve), art has 
sometimes occupied center stage, at 
other times the wings, and still other 
times, the ticket buyer's line. Some- 
times I undervalued what I had in 
terms of artistic involvement, thinking 
that a different balance between the 
elements of my life would catapult my 
artistry and career, lor example alter 
running The field for nine years and 
working at The Kitchen, 1 arranged 
things in my life so that 1 could take 
extended time off and devote mysell 
fully to art making. At thai time, this 
involved working on a hook about my 
family. I hail da) aftei day completely 






free to be creative — a dream come true 
for most artists. I would sleep until I 
woke each morning, eat a bagel, tidy 
up my apartment, watch some televi- 
sion, get psyched to write. Then I'd go 
for a workout at the gym, promising 
myself to go full throttle in the after- 
noon. By that time, I felt a little more 
television was in order. Then I'd sit in 
front of the computer for 15 minutes 
or so, trying to get focused. Sometimes 
this worked, most often not. Finally, 
evening would arrive and I'd have to 
do something fun to take my mind 
off another grueling day as an artist. 
Day after day unfolded like this and I 
got next to nothing done on my book. 
What a disaster! That year and a half 
was an enormous lesson to me: more 
than anything, I needed structure to 
be productive. 

For me, structure meant having 
two hours first thing in the morn- 
ing devoted to writing. The question 
then became, what to do with the 
rest of my time? I ended up work- 
ing part-time at The Field and study- 
ing to become a psychologist. For 
six years, I went through graduate 
school, internship and postdoctoral 
training. During that time, I pushed 
my artistic impulses aside, hoping 
they could withstand the extended 
time and focus elsewhere. Upon 
being licensed as a psychologist, 
I moved back to New York and re- 
turned part-time to The Field while 
setting up a part-time practice as a 
therapist. Many of my clients are 
artists, and I feel particularly well 
suited to work with them. What 
about art? In a way, working on this 
chapter has been a means to get 
back into writing. Now it's time to 
pick up that book about my family 
and work on the next draft. I'm even 
taking a workshop to develop some 
of my text into a performance piece. 
Who knows, I may be performing in 
a theater near you sometime soon! 

Before we leave you, we'd like to 
offer one additional thought. Natu- 
rally, artists at the beginning of their 
careers focus on others who have 
"made it" — those artists whose resu- 
mes and opportunities we'd like to 
have someday. This has the benefit of 
giving us a model to shoot for as we 
take our first steps. On the other hand, 
it is always the case that the model we 
emulate — say wanting to have Trisha 
Brown's artistry and career — is quite 
different an experience when living 
it rather than observing it from the 
outside. Artists see the opportunities 
Trisha has: the studio at her disposal, 
the company of amazing dancers, the 
commissions and the tours. Artists 
are often less cognizant of the inside: 
the constant search for new and larger 
funders, the need to develop wider and 
more diverse audiences, losing a lease 
and scrambling for new space, person- 
nel conflicts and challenges, staff and 
company turnover, and heaps more 
pressure and scrutiny all around. Plus, 
the conditions that enabled Trisha to 
have her particular path no longer ex- 
ist in the same form. 

For these reasons, we want to en- 
courage you to be courageous about 
creating and following your own path. 
As you delve deeper into what makes 
the most sense for your art given your 
own experiences and environment, 
you may in fact create a model for 
other artists who follow you. 


Further Life Goals 

Place these four words on a piece of 


In relation to the big picture of life, we 
all have ideas about who we want to 
be, where we want to go, what we want 
to have, and the things we want to do. 
In this exercise, take a few moments to 
write down your life list of these things. 
By the end of you life, who do you want 
to be: a famous dancer, teacher or cho- 
reographer, a wife or husband, a parent, 
an important person in the community? 
Where do you want to£o: Tibet, Hawaii, 
Switzerland, the moon? What do you 
want to have: a car, a studio space, a 
dog, a child? What do you want to do: 
read all of Shakespeare, climb Mount 
Everest, meet a president, foster the 
next generation of dancers? 

After writing your list, take a look at it. 
Is it big, bold, and imaginative enough for 
your life? Is it really a good list for you? 
Then take a look at what you are doing 
to get there. If this is what you ultimately 
want, what are you doing right now that 
will ensure your life's goals are met? 
The difference between seeing this list 
as a "wish list" and making it a "plan" is 
merely discipline; and, as a dancer, this is 
one commodity of which you have great 
wealth and understanding. 

Here is the great news: It's your vision 
and belongs to you alone. You're allowed 
to make it up. You're allowed to change it 
along the way. Most of all, you're allowed 
to realize your visions. That's a freedom, a 
luxury, and it's fun! 

Developed by Ronnie Brooks, Di- 
rector, James P. Shannon Leadership 
Institute, visit wu)i0.wilder.or$/trainin$/ 

Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. 

Getting Close 
to Real 


As classes drew to a close in my senior year at 
Hampshire College, I remember vividly when 
Bebe Miller, a guest artist in the Five College 
Dance Department, sat down with some graduating 
seniors for a "reality conversation." She talked plain- 
ly about how much dancers actually get paid (even 
when gainfully employed in a dance company), and 
discussed the different, and equally valid, choices we 
could make as we headed out into the "real" world. 
She spoke of one of the dancers in her company who 
balanced working for two choreographers and wait- 
ing tables. Another taught yoga and practiced mas- 
sage to support the creation of dance projects over a 
year or even longer. And, of course, we discussed the 
merits of moving to New York City. 

Suddenly we realized a stark prospect — that even 
if we "made it" by getting into a touring company, 
it didn't necessarily mean a secure lifestyle. Even 
though I knew 1 didn't want to go the traditional 
company route, it felt like a rude awakening to real- 
ize there was no straightforward career progression 
ahead of any of us sitting in that circle. Suddenly, 
the Utopian learning environment that we knew, 
and that had treated us as equals in the classroom, 
evaporated as we turned our sights to the future. 

While we were incredibly fortunate to hear the 
plain truth about the economics and realities of the 
U.S. dance scene, and even more fortunate to spend 
an entire semester studying with Bebe, I know I 
would have benefited from this kind of conversation 
earlier in my college career. While I had suspected 

that pursuing a dance career wasn't getting any easi- 
er, it wasn't until then that I heard the hard numbers 
and considered how it might work for me. Much 
later, I, too, would balance a lot of hats in order to 
support myself and would even come to enjoy it. 

While I wasn't totally prepared for what lay ahead, 
attending Hampshire College did bless me with a 
self-directed education. (Every student there designs 
his or her own program of study.) Negotiating self- 
study with faculty advisors taught me invaluable life 
skills that I would later use. 1 learned the value of 
seeking out mentors, writing realistic proposals, and 
executing projects to completion, for our required 
thesis projects, some of us opted to produce chore- 
ography in concerts by ourselves or with one other 
student. With guidance from the dance department, 
we by and large self-produced our shows by writing 
and distributing press releases, creating invitations, 
and designing posters, while creating the new work 
in the studio and staying within our budgets. 

So, as I made the transition from college, I did 
have some skills and a sense of the landscape ahead 
of me. It helped to start networking informally by at- 
tending summertime dance festivals and keeping in 
touch with friends who already graduated. But, I still 
didn't quite know which direction to go. Crazy as it 
might sound, I hadn't really thought too far ahead. 

In many ways, I made a default choice. Not hav- 
ing any savings with which to move to the "Big 
Apple," I moved to Washington, Di., not t.ii from 
where I grew up. Sharing living expenses with my 








older sister, who relocated at the same time, made 
things much more doable. I chose a smaller city to 
initially set roots, and discovered a much more in- 
sular dance community than I expected. I longed 
for the stimulation of the classes and community 
at college. Instead of finding challenging technique 
classes and having others to spur my creative pro- 
cess, I became much more self-reliant. 

Still, within a year, I did meet other dancers 
and began choreographing. Less than a year later, I 
shared an evening-length show. Getting space, find- 
ing dancers, and securing a venue took up a lot of 
energy, so that investing in the choreography took 
a lot longer than ever before. Nor was I totally pre- 
pared for the money factor — coming up with the 
funds to pay for studio space, take dance class, bud- 
get for a show, and still pay rent, without accruing 
credit card debt, appeared as a delicate balancing 
act. It was then that I changed my whole manner of 
critique of other performances. I suddenly admired 
a quintet just because of the choreographer's skill at 
scheduling five people to show up at rehearsals at 
the same time. I started to understand a more sea- 
soned artist's advice to me, when he said that being 
an artist "is 80 percent business and 20 percent mak- 
ing art." I needed to learn to use my creativity for all 
of the legwork necessary to get my choreography on 
stage and not just in the studio. 

Although I acquired some experience with self- 
producing in college, I hadn't explored internships 
or formal work experience before leaving school. 

I quickly discovered that temping didn't intersect 
with my interests or my values. Waiting tables until 
3:00 a.m. and then waking up for rehearsal at 10:30 
a.m. started to lose its charm. I stumbled into arts 
administration as a way to use my writing skills and 
to continue to produce performances. 

Through my day jobs, I started to understand 
how the business of dance and performance oper- 
ated and began to meet others in the field. A small 
performance series baptized me by fire; I gained ex- 
perience in just about every part of producing and 
presenting performance — from public relations to 
program layout, box office settlement to budgeting, 
and from special event planning to scheduling art- 
ists' rehearsals. Then, working with an individual 
artist with a small dance company, I learned about 
funding for the arts by researching foundations and 
writing grant proposals. Working for an interna- 
tional organization a year or two later exposed me 
to how curators make choices in what they present. 
And I learned how to access information in different 
communities, both in the U.S. and internationally. 
Eventually, I started to form real relationships with 
artists, presenters, and others in the field, which be- 
fore had seemed elusive and intimidating. 

Nonetheless, after following a certain path and 
seeing others make different choices, I still won- 
dered whether I was making the right decisions. A 
few years later, a friend and mentor offered a differ- 
ent perspective to my doubts — that a sense of sta- 
bility might not come from one path at all, or by 

putting "all of my eggs in one basket." I realized that 
I should diversify my skills. While I did have some 
teaching experience, it wasn't until I completed a 
yoga teacher training program that I really began 
to gain more confidence to pursue it. I also contin- 
ued to expand my knowledge of website design and 
developed writing skills through daytime arts of- 
fice jobs. Now, I move more easily between several 
different ways of earning income, which offers me 
more flexibility. I now see more resources around 
me through my different relationships, jobs and in- 
terests. While I still feel like I'm following my nose 
and improvising my way through the choices and 
challenges of creating dances and making a living, I 
do so with more confidence. 

While some of these lessons come from life ex- 
perience, many students coming out of dance pro- 
grams could benefit from more guidance before they 
depart from campus. Career coaching could prepare 
many not to pursue any one path, but to more clear- 
ly understand and honor their interests and skills. 
Beyond more pragmatic aspects of career counsel- 
ing, I certainly could have used help in gearing up 
psychologically for the choices I would face when 
balancing dancing with real life. Questions like, "Do 
I feel more comfortable with consistent income or is 
the flexibility of self-employment more important?" 
become paramount. 

Part of this preparation also includes learning 
how to translate the amazing skills that we, as art- 
ists, learn through creating and performing work. 
How often do we think of directing a rehearsal and 
creating new choreography as project management 
or as the base of effective teaching? How many of 
us realize we are experts at giving and receiving con- 
structive feedback? Important traits and skills come 
through the creative process in the studio that many 
of us take for granted and it is these skills that can 
expand to guide us into finding income. It's creativ- 
ity that leads to new models to help artists earn the 
support they deserve. 

It is dangerous to see dance as pure sacrifice, 
which is a myth I find many in the field keep re- 
telling. Young dancers starting their careers need to 
learn how to place their artistic interests first, by de- 
veloping true self-confidence and self-worth. While 
some may have unrealistic expectations, others 
might allow the cultural convention of the "starving 

artist" to defeat them before they even get started. I, 
like many, allowed an unspoken voice that repeated 
how hard it is to be an artist to inhibit my vision 
(and I still fight it often). It was only when I began to 
let this voice go that I could see how far I had come 
and see the opportunities around me. 

This past spring, I co-produced a series of multi- 
disciplinary performance events in DC that featured 
more than 20 artists' work. When my collaborator 
and I followed our own interests and curiosity, we 
generated audiences and significant press, with cov- 
erage in all of the major papers in town. This suc- 
cess also gave way to my first commission, which I 
received this year. 

It's important to get real about art making — the 
sheer variety of skills needed to dance and create 
choreography in today's climate. At the same time, 
it's important to not get so real that dancers are dis- 
suaded from performing and making work, or from 
doing it on their own terms. 










Success in 

10 Minutes or Less 

Reflections on Life and Work 
as a Contemporary Artist 

By Wally Cardona 

How does one judge success? In my school, 
success equaled what company one got into. 
And getting into a company was an assump- 
tion. And a company meant full-time. Part-time 
was never brought up as an option. I had a small 
problem. I had already found the choreographer 
that brought me great satisfaction and it was not 
in the work of Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, or Jose 
Lfmon — it was in the work of Ralph Lemon. I had 
already begun working with Ralph in 1987, my first 
summer in NYC. Upon leaving school in 1989, I 
segued into working with Ralph's company. We had 
residencies, touring. We began rehearsing for free, 
but it was survivable since we had enough touring 
and one got good at saving up per diem. My priority 
was rehearsing. Experimenting. Enough struggle to 
feel valiant about what I was taking on. You know. . . 
being "an artist." 

Things were good. Until they weren't. I was still in 
the company by the time Ralph had "a reputation." 
Auditions. New company members. (They were 
now called "company members.") Qualms about 
pay arose. I listened as people began to talk about 
feeling cheated. If we had a photo shoot outdoors, 
shouldn't the company be responsible for providing 
us with water? You know, like that. . . 

At that moment, I turned into one of those "I re- 
member when" people. Now, this is something that 
seems to happen. A new generation is developed at 
the moment a previous generation turns into the "I 
remember when" generation. 

"I remember when" seems to be an epidemic in 
the field. 

The past was good, but in no way perfect. I try my 
best to not waste energy working to retrieve some- 
thing that was faulty to begin with. 

Anyway. . . back to reflecting. . . 

Ralph's touring became more and more infre- 
quent but, at the same time, my teaching career and 
solo performing career were moving along and I was 
abroad more than half of die year, so it all worked out 
fine. In 1995, it became clear that what I wanted to 
do was focus on making my own work. I left Ralph's 
company A year later, Ralph disbanded the company, 
the burden of trying to keep it going having become 
too much. Ralph felt weighed down. I think he was 
having a hard time feeling like an artist. 

Meanwhile, I was really excited about being in 
the studio alone — the daily trial and error, the mak- 
ing of something from nothing... I didn't under- 
stand that the landscape I had been dancing in, that 
I had graduated into, had changed, and that was part 
of what was happening to Ralph. And that it was go- 
ing to get worse. 

It was 1995. I received my first residency where I 
could bring other dancers. Other dancers?! OK, time 
to find some dancers. . . Later that year, my first work 
was commissioned in NYC. (Thank you, Laurie Up- 
richard and Danspace Project.) 

Also later that year, I met a French choreogra- 
pher — Herve Robbe — while in Korea (of course) 
and we talked about being an artist in France vs. be- 

ing an artist in the U.S. I was fascinated by France. 
He was fascinated by the U.S. 

With the help of Laurie Uprichard and Danspace 
Project and French money it turned into one month 
in France, one in the U.S., then two more weeks in 
France (the entire two weeks working in the theater 
where the work was going to be performed — with 
equipment and crew). 

I have to say this again: the entire two weeks 
working in the theater where the work was going to 
be performed — with equipment and crew. 

And this was not just "in the theater." The the- 
ater was basically a huge complex and I was told to 
look around and choose a place where I wanted to 
perform the work. I was also asked how I wanted the 
audience to be set up, what I wanted them to sit on, 
what color floor did I want, etc. 

I don't want to get started on Europe. That's a 
whole separate conversation. The point is: I realized 
that possibilities — options — existed that I had never 
entertained. I was reminded that it is okay to dream 
about an ideal. Choosing to work with nothing 
because you have nothing is different than simply 
working with nothing because you are operating on 
the assumption that you will have nothing. 

At some point, I think I had stopped letting my- 
self dream. 

Anyway... the work premiered in France, then 
in NYC at Danspace, then back to France for a tour. 
And I thought, hey this is great. I'm choreographing. 
This is what it is to be a choreographer. So, is this 

Now. This project was pivotal and this U.S.- 
French project was basically funded — on both sides — 
by France. 

OK, I will talk about Europe and America for a 

Progress has been made and presenters have be- 
gun to bring over more European work. Unfortunate- 
ly, many of these choices are based on the reality that 
these companies receive subsidies from their coun- 
tries to travel and therefore it is more cost-effective. I 
understand this. Audiences here are now getting used 
to seeing work that is much higher in production val- 
ues, something that is very difficult for an American 
choreographer working in the U.S. to achieve. 

Many dancers in the U.S. have no idea of what is hap- 
pening in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world. It's 

helpful to know what is being made out there. 
My identity is constantly altered. 

Abroad, I'm known as an American choreogra- 

In the U.S., I'm known as a New York choreog- 

In New York, I'm known as a "downtown" cho- 
reographer, an "emerging" choreographer, a "having 
emerged" choreographer, and the list goes on. 

I went to New York City to go to juilliard to study 
dance. Because I wanted to be a dancer. Now I make 
dances. I can't say I really had any training to do this. 
I took some composition classes in school, learned a 
little about making dances by dancing in some other 
people's work, but I just started really learning about 
making dances by actually practicing making dances. 

Now, young dancers are leaving school and want- 
ing to perform, but there is no place to go so they 
choreograph something in order to have something 
to perform. 

I am also a performer. 1 continue to re-define what 
that means. I call myself a performer even though I 
spend most of my time practicing without an audi- 
ence. In order to cultivate my practice, I have begun 
to invite people into my rehearsals. I'm finding that 
even one person makes an audience and I learn 10 
times as much as if I was alone. 

I see that many dancers are out of shape when 
it comes to performing. They're usually in good 
physical shape but they are not in good performance 

I teach dancers. I want dancers to be able to 
v continue dancing and dreaming for as long as they 

In school, no one ever talked about dancing past 
40. The whole age thing just wasn't discussed. It 
should be. 

Training has changed and, luckily, dancers are 
lasting longer physically due to the somatic knowl- 
edge they are gaining. This is a good thing. We must 
go further. Too many people only learn about their 
bodies when they are faced with injury later in their 
performing careers. 

We must undo the notion that dance is only 
athletic. Dance can be athletic, but what makes it 
unique is its inclusion of one's creative .\nd percep- 
tive faculties. In our field, the "question" is just as 
valuable as the "answer" — sometimes more so 








I am an administrator (like most choreographers). 
I accept this as part of the package, but sometimes 
I feel like I'm becoming a better administrator than 
I am a choreographer. And this brings me back to 

// it 

success ... 

The U.S. -French project gave birth to my interest 
in working with a consistent group of people (i.e., 
a company). It was definitely a decision: "I want a 

In 1998, when I decided to "have a company," all 
the talk was "the company model is dead." Every- 
thing pointed in the direction of don 't do it. Unfor- 
tunately, things take time with me. I'm a long-term 
relationship kind of guy. 

Many new issues that I knew nothing about were 
put in front of my face: 

What is a 501 (c)3 exactly? Should I do it? Should 
I not do it? Why can't I pay dancers a fee? What does 
being the head of an organization mean? Dealing 
with my Board.... keeping them engaged, trying to 
figure out how to use them. Working with a part-time 
manager. . . unable to consistently employ someone, 
how do I keep her/him around? What responsibili- 
ties can I hand over to them, knowing that at some 
time, due to lack of funds, these responsibilities will 
come back to me? 

I write grants. I have learned how to write a grant 
by writing a grant. This is also how I've learned how 
to put a budget together. 

Yes, I keep the financial books for my company. 
I am a fundraiser. 

I think it would be really great if every student 
had to sit on a mock panel. No one in school ever 
told me that, at some point, people who don't know 
me and have possibly never seen my work would be 
looking at a videotape, or words I have written on 
paper, and decide whether or not my work should 
be supported. 

It wasn't until I sat on my first panel that I un- 
derstood that the people who are awarded a grant 
are not necessarily the best. It could be their cho- 
reography. Or it could be their ability to write. Or 
what state they are from — or not from. Or how long 
they've been at it — or how long they have not been 
at it. 

It could be the time of day when their applica- 
tion comes in front of the panel. After lunch? Before 
lunch? Perhaps three choreographic oranges in a 
row have passed in front of the panel and suddenly 
an apple comes by and it looks very exotic. Who 
knows? It's not personal. 

• • • 

I consider myself an independent choreographer. 

The reality is, I live in a project-to-project based 
world and I had never heard of "project-to-project" 
when I was in school, and I am still trying to figure 
out what it means and recognize when it might be 
shaping the work I am making. 

But groups of dancers are generally still called 

Joanna Kotze and Kathryn Sanders in "There." Choreographed by Wally Cardona. 

"companies" and dancers still seem to think that be- 
ing in a company means you will be working full- 
time with a single choreographer. 

I was shocked when I first auditioned to find a 
dancer. First, I was shocked that 300 people showed 
up for one position for a few months of minimum 
pay. But then I was shocked that after narrowing the 
field down to a few people, I thought I should explain 
to each person the working situation — what would 
be expected from them, how much work could or 
could not exist, what kind of pay scale was in place, 
how unknown the future is from year to year, etc. 
Dancers would continuously try to stop me and say 
"oh that doesn't matter," as if, were it to matter to 
them, they would not be considered serious artists 
and all they really care about is the money. 

This must change. Dancers must learn to ques- 

Now, for some reason, many choreographers 
withhold information. 

That's a whole separate conversation. 

But as there is no one industry-wide union to 
provide form and structure on a practical level to the 
greatest proportion of dancers in the field, a dancer 
must understand that a job can take on many differ- 
ent forms. 

I do think there is a kind of inherent dysfunction 
here due to the discrepancies between finances and 
expertise. There are a lot of experts in our field who 
receive novice pay. 

But even if this never changes, we each must work 
that much harder to be that much clearer about our 

• • • 

I was taught that, at some point, it would be clear 
(to everyone, I guess) that I "have arrived." Over and 
over again, this monster rears its ugly head and over 
and over again, 1 must slay this monster and give 
up the notion of having arrived. / have arrived. 1 will 
continue arriving. 

The arrivals are like landmarks and landmarks 
can be helpful as guideposts, but that is really all 
they are — they are there to help offer direction. 

1 recently accepted an invitation to make a work 
fpr Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festi- 

Once again, I am receiving the "congratulations, 
you've got it made now" response from many peo- 
ple — From people who should know better. 

This is not the world we live in. In the real world, 
this is ultimately another opportunity to make 
something. It is a wonderful opportunity. 


How will 1 judge my success??? 

It is a good question. 




By Ann Carlson 






I remember those cartoons when Wile E. Coyote 
is dragging himself through the desert and he 
sees on the horizon a bunch of palm trees and 
water, sunlight and sand; a promising break from 
the dry, cracked, parched experience of the desert. 
In the next frame, the coyote reaches the spot and 
the oasis is revealed as a mirage, a figment of the 
imagination, a hallucination. The dry desert contin- 
ues. The coyote was only enticed to keep going by 
the illusion of the oasis. 

• • • 

Before I began writing this I felt compelled to 
clean out our front closet. Cleaning out a closet 
always strikes me as a multi-layered metaphor. Of 
course, being queer, there's the whole closet thing. 
(I spent many years in there.) I laugh to myself at 
even wanting to clean out the closet and brush it 
off as avoidance. So, I'll begin with the avoidance 
and clean out the closet of my university experience, 
then and now. 

Long before I actually do clean out a closet, I 
get this itchy and clogged feeling of "stuff" being in 
there that hasn't been aired out in a while. I get a 
creeping sensation that there are probably things in 
there I don't want and don't even remember. So I 
start by dragging it all out and looking at it. 

In my front closet right now, there are a lot of 
loose mittens, beautifully hand-knit by a bunch of 
elderly ladies in Minnesota. These elderly ladies get 
together and knit up a storm. They talk, laugh and 
connect as they produce beautiful warm hands for 

needy children, which in this instance, I guess, in- 
cludes our kids because we sure have a lot of those 
mittens. But getting a lot of something you didn't 
ask for is tricky — it all seems to end up on the floor. 

There's also a lot of camping equipment in my clos- 
et, and of course there are coats — those many layers of 
cloth that protect us from the elements. There are old 
books and cables and oh, yes, my dad's army uniform 
from World War II. It fits me almost perfectly. 

My dad used to always tell me to get a job in a 
university. That'd be the best thing for me to do with 
my dance degrees. The idea of actually making a liv- 
ing from making dances seemed highly improbable 
(and at times still does). My working life as a cho- 
reographer/performer has taken me into the univer- 
sity environment many times, with residencies, per- 
formances, artist talks, and guest artist engagements. 
The university/college context is very familiar to me 
from early adulthood. I am reluctantly relaxed there, 
like visiting a home I don't live in anymore. 

I am a well-schooled dancer. From the very be- 
ginning, I sucked up dance classes as if I hadn't had 
water in weeks. From childhood to young adulthood 
it was my oasis, every part of it — the structure (I 
loved), the rigidity (I obeyed), the last five minutes 
when we could do whatever we wanted to "act out" a 
story (I reveled in). From the loose kindness of chil- 
dren's creative movement classes to the hierarchy of 
ballet class, to the higher hierarchy of Chechetti bal- 
let class, to "discovering" that some people danced 
barefoot and were doing movements I recognized 

from real life, I drank it all in. Turning out or lifting 
up or curving over took precedence over everything 
else. This was a true oasis. I stood at that water's edge 
for years. Eventually it was much more than an ac- 
tivity, it was an identity, an obsession, a passion, an 
escape, a way to think, or at times a way to avoid 
thinking. I quickly assumed the role of the taskmas- 
ter, myself. Teaching classes in my basement to the 
neighborhood kids, making up dances and teaching 
them to whoever I could grab. I was standing at the 
front of the class now demanding from the students 
what had been demanded of me; compliance, hard 
work, surrender, obedience, sweat. But, of course, I 
was attempting to create the same oasis I had found, 
this deep joy in moving, movement that was itself a 
metaphor for so many things. 

When it came time for college, my mother sug- 
gested I go away as far from the Chicago suburbs as 
possible. She pushed me out of the nest and I fell 
two thousand miles away, at the University of Utah. 
I had great opportunity there: I danced from dawn 
to dark. It was more conservatory setting than large 
university because you could test out of basic liberal 
arts and focus on a major course of study right from 
the start. I remember how excited, focused, and 
committed I felt to be there. 

A constant stream of guest artists came to the 
dance department to teach master classes or to set 
work on students. They stood for another type of oa- 
sis but 1 was not sure how to be part of them. They 
rarely talked to me. They were cool, set apart, spe- 
cial, usually from New York. They held a particular 
allure, a detached expertise. I noticed that my own 
teachers, the faculty, had a curious relationship to 
these "outside artists;" sometimes they introduced 
them like friends but sometimes they were absent 
from these "master classes" entirely. 1 often sensed 
that the guest artists were tired, that the work and 
methods they brought to us had been hard won. 1 
didn't quite understand the nature of their burden, 
what desert these artists might have been dragging 
themselves out of or back to; maybe for them this 
university context was desert-like, with its rigid ideas 
about what to do with a dance degree. Or perhaps 
we were learning a tradition that was already out of 
date. At any rate, there at the University of Utah, 1 
danced and made dances and got advice and a lot 
of experience. 1 cherish so much of it now. But there 

Ann Carlson in "Grass 

was also a dark side. 

Around about my third year of undergraduate 
school they started weighing me in before each class. 
Many of my instructors informed me that I'd never 
get anywhere in the dance world if I had extra weight 
on my body. I was told I'd be banned from class, 
and, indeed, even my diploma would be withheld if 
I didn't lose weight. I was given lecture after lecture, 
and, of course, it drove me further underground. 
Starving all day, binging at night, growing sick and 
round, more confused, more compulsive. 

I was going to be graduating magna cum laude — 
and I was getting a fat letter every week admonishing 
me for the flesh that was growing on my thighs, hips, 
arms, breasts, and face. I was padding myself, leaving 
myself for somewhere better, struggling, escaping, 
and burying myself alive. There was nowhere to turn; 
it was a nightmare. The oasis — this university dance 
department that was a land of experimentation ,m<.\ 
rigorously exuberant physical training— had become 
dangerous and judgmental. I began to need a refuge 
from the oasis I had found myself in, much like try- 
ing to find shade on the beach, looking ba< k I was 
attempting to self-soothe with compulsive eating 
(not to mention raise my serotonin levels), Dying 


school — all of 
it — was a diving 







to provide myself with a much-needed refuge from a 
larger life and culture than just the university. I cer- 
tainly don't blame the institution or the university 

dance department for my 
, , personal trials. Do I think 

WiV tltflC XXI I could have been support- 
ed in a different way? Yes. 
Did my chosen oasis cause 
my struggles? No. Plenty 
of people, mostly women, 
struggle with eating disor- 
ders, and there's a plethora 
of causal information and 
treatment options to be had 
and understood. But the point here is that what the 
higher learning context invited me to do (partially 
by default) was to take refuge in my own experience 
of dancing in whatever body I had. Ultimately, I was 
cornered into making dances that I wanted to do, 
that presumed no perfect form or way of being. 
• • • 

A few years later I entered graduate school at the 
University of Arizona, but in a little different con- 
text — as the first student in a new program. There 
were bright spots to be sure, including a collection 
of faculty that were infinitely encouraging and in- 
spiring: Dr. John Wilson, Wayne Entice, before them, 
Joanne Woodbury, Bill Evans, Shirley Ririe. I met col- 
leagues that were my islands in the sky: Pat Graney, 
Amy Sue Rosen, Gary Regensburg, JoAnna Shaw, 
and Peter Schmitz. The brightest spot, though, was 
making dances. I was happiest then, as now, making 
things, working with people, swimming through a 
process of space and time and energy to build dance 
works for myself and other people to do and other 
people to look at. 

My time in school — all of it — was a diving board. 
I jumped into making work in New York City (where 
I felt immediately at home) with the skills to ask 
questions and the confidence to commit to them. 
I hit the ground running, and, all in all, I had (al- 
beit sometimes inadvertently) been prepared for the 
journey, I had been invited to re-define my oasis, and 
to act on the mantra that you are your own resource. 
Inside the university system I participated in that 
wooly and wild experiment called higher education. 
I ran into people attempting the impossible, articu- 
lating their intuitions, quantifying the subjective, 

daring to experiment with just about everything and 
running full force with the round hole of learning to 
be an artist into the square peg of the institution. 

It's 20 years later. I've developed a choreographic 
practice that sustains me. Sometimes I find myself 
invited to be a guest artist at a university or liberal 
arts college. Facing a group of students, I do my best 
to be reachable. If I'm tired, I say why. I probably tell 
them too much of what my life is like but the ter- 
rain of a dance artist is so personal — I want to have 
impact and to display courage and nudge all of them 
to take it much further than I ever could. 

The opportunity to come back into the university 
system in the context of the NCCI residency is a full 
circle return; and in many ways it's a new kind of 
oasis. I can show up and make dances with minimal 
arranging, e-mailing, grant writing, space renting, or 
fundraising. The studios are bright and clean and I 
didn't mop them. So it's a practical oasis. It's also 
a chance to truly take refuge in a system that gave 
me a lot of opportunity; a system that schooled, 
nourished, betrayed, and inspired me. I can enter it 
again and come into contact with people who are 
attempting some new impossibilities, articulating 
intuitions, inviting students to consider the physical 
in the context of cyberspace, daring to experiment 
in a country and culture that is deathly conservative. 
I can enter the university with appreciation for the 
broad range of experiences it affords, with exhilara- 
tion for what might happen there, and with rage and 
annoyance at its rules, schedules and assumptions. 
This NCCI residency is designed so that I can make 
a contribution through the experience of the work 
itself; to illuminate, find pedagogy and possibility in 
the choreographic process and to hold up the work 
as a lens to the mirage, this temporal moment of 
time, space and energy out on a horizon that disap- 
pears when I get there, dissolving into life itself. 


Bonnie Brooks 

Bonnie Brooks is chair and a tenured 
faculty member of the Dance Center 
of Columbia College Chicago. She 
teaches, oversees the academic depart- 
ment, and co-curates the Dance Cen- 
ter's nationally-recognized presenting 
series. Her previous work in dance in- 
cludes nearly a decade as executive 
director of Dance/USA (1990-1998). 
She was a visiting assistant professor 
in UCLA's World Arts and Cultures De- 
partment (1996-1999). Her most 
recent publication, in June 2005, is 
an article in Dance Now (London) on 
how to watch a Cunningham concert. 

Suzanne Callahan 

Suzanne Callahan founded Callahan 
Consulting for the Arts in 1996 to 
help artists, arts organizations, and 
hinders realize their vision through a 
range of services that include strategic 
planning, resource development, pro- 
gram evaluation, and philanthropic 
counsel. Clients include Dance The- 
ater Workshop, Danspace Project, Ur- 
ban Bush Women, the Chicago Com- 
munity Trust, The Pew Charitable 
Trusts, and the Washington Perform- 
ing Arts Society. Her firm has managed 
Dance/USA's National College Chore- 
ography Initiative since its inception. 
She served as senior specialist for the 
Dance Program at the NEA for nine 
years, where she was responsible for 
annual funding programs, and has 
served as panelist or site visitor for 
the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the 
New England Foundation for the Arts, 
the Rockefeller Foundation, The Pew 
Charitable Trusts, the NEA, and the 
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. Most re- 
cently, she was commissioned by the 
Association of Performing Arts Pre- 

senters to write the book Singing Our 
Praises, which guides arts organizations 
in evaluation. A Certified Fund Raising 
Executive (CFRE) as well as a former 
dancer and dance teacher, she holds 
a Master's degree in Dance Education 
from George Washington University, 
and a Bachelor's degree in Social Pol- 
icy from Northwestern University. She 
completed post-graduate study in pro- 
gram evaluation and research methods 
at George Washington University. 

Wally Cardona 

Wally Cardona is artistic director of 
Wally Cardona Quartet (WC4), which 
had its debut in 1998 at the Joyce 
Theater's Altogether Different series. 
A member of the Ralph Lemon Com- 
pany from 1987-95, Cardona has also 
served as guest artist in Herve Robbe's 
V.O.U.S., Jochen Ulrich's Get Up Early, 
and Deborah Hay's The Match. His 
recent commissions include work for 
the BAM/Next Wave Festival, Port- 
land Institute for Contemporary Art/ 
TBA Festival, and Paradigm. Raised 
in California and New Mexico, he 
was a competitive gymnast from ages 
seven through nine and a clarinetist 
from ages 11 through 15. In 1986, he 
moved to New York City to attend The 
luilliard School, where he received a 
BFA in Dance in 1989. He is a member 
of Danspace Project's Artists Advisory 
Board and Pentacle's Help Desk. 

Ann Carlson 

Ann Carlson is an independent choreo- 
grapher, director, and performer who 
makes work as a solo performing art- 
ist, choreographs for dance and theater 
companies, and collaborates on large- 
scale, site-specific works. Her work is 
interdisciplinary, blending movement, 
voice, text, music, and visual elements. 
She often works in a series format— in- 
cluding the Real People, Animals, White, 

and Night Light series — and her per- 
formances have toured to numerous 
cities over multi-year periods. Most 
recently Ann completed Geyser Land 
with video artist Mary Ellen Strom, a 
large-scale site work that took place in 
Montana. She has received numerous 
awards for her artistic work, including 
a Bunting Fellowship at the Radcliffe 
Institute for Advanced Study at Har- 
vard University, a Guggenheim Fellow- 
ship, a New York Foundation for the 
Arts Fellowship, a Doris Duke Award 
for New Work, and a fellowship from 
the Foundation for Contemporary 
Performance. She was the first choreo- 
grapher to receive the Cal Arts/ Al pert 
Award in 1995, and is the recipient of 
a prestigious three-year choreographic 
fellowship from the NEA, from which 
she received seven consecutive years 
of support. She received the National 
Choreographers Award, a New York 
Dance/Performance Award (aka BES- 
SIE), and the Met-Life Young Talent 
Award. She has completed two NCCI 
residencies at Bennington College and 
University of Texas at Austin, and will 
complete two more this coming year, 
at Rutgers University and University of 
California at Riverside. 

Terry Creach 

Terry Creach directs New York City- 
based Creach/Company, and has been 
on the faculty at Bennington College 
since 1987. Recent Creach/Company 
presentations include work with Dance 
Cleveland, Contemporary Dance The- 
ater in Cincinnati, and Fringe Festival 
Tomar, Portugal, ferry has received 
choreography fellowships from the 
NEA, the New York Foundation for 
the Arts, and, most recently, from the 
Foundation for Contemporary Perfor- 
mance \iK Inc. Recent choreographic- 
commissions include Daghdha Dance 
Co. in limerick, Ireland; Mo- Trans 







Dance in Missoula, Montana; The 
Repertory Project in Cleveland, Ohio; 
Dartmouth College; and Florida State 

Jacqueline Davis 

Jacqueline Davis, SUNY Brockport 
professor and past chair of the Depart- 
ment of Dance, has coordinated cam- 
pus and regional dance residencies 
over the past 30 years involving a 
broad range of artists and partners. 
Many of the recent residencies have 
been co-sponsored by the New York 
State DanceForce, a consortium of 
presenters, artists, and other dance 
activists from across the state. By cre- 
ating opportunities for organizers to 
meet regularly and freely exchange 
information, the DanceForce has 
increased the quantity and quality 
of dance activity throughout the state. 

David Dorfman 

David Dorfman, a native Chicagoan, 
is the recipient of a 2005 Guggenheim 
Foundation fellowship and has also 
been honored with four fellowships 
from the National Endowment for 
the Arts; three fellowships from the 
New York Foundation for the Arts; 
an American Choreographer's Award; 
the first Paul Taylor Fellowship from 
The Yard; and a New York Dance and 
Performance Award (BESSIE) for the 
community-based project Familiar 
Movements (The Family Project). His 
choreography has been produced in 
New York City at venues including 
the BAM Next Wave Festival, The Joyce 
Theater, The Kitchen, Dance Theater 
Workshop, The Duke on 42nd Street, 
Danspace Project/St. Mark's Church, 
PS. 122, and Dancing in the Streets. 
His work has been commissioned 
widely in the U.S. and in Europe, most 
recently by Bedlam Dance Company 
(London), d9 Dance Collective (Se- 

attle), and the Prince Music Theater 
in Philadelphia for the musical Green 
Violin, for which he won a 2003 Bar- 
rymore Award for best choreography. 
An avid fan of collaboration and col- 
lective processes, Dorfman tours an 
evening of solos and duets, Live Sax 
Acts, with friend and collaborator Dan 
Froot, and a half-evening duet, Menne 
Awn Frauen, created with longtime 
colleague and friend Stuart Pimsler. 
Dorfman has been guest artist at nu- 
merous institutions across the country 
and abroad, and has toured interna- 
tionally with Kei Takei's Moving Earth 
and Susan Marshall & Co. He holds 
a BS degree in business administra- 
tion from Washington University in 
St. Louis and an MFA degree in dance 
from Connecticut College, where he 
joined the faculty as associate profes- 
sor in Dance in the fall of 2004. 

Steve Gross 

Steve Gross was the executive director 
of The Field, an arts service nonprofit 
based in New York, for nine years 
beginning in 1987; he currently co- 
directs the organization. He was also 
dance curator at The Kitchen from 
1990-1992. Steve has taught fundrais- 
ing and arts administration courses at 
New York University and The Juilliard 
School; in 2001, he was honored with 
the BAXten Award, which recognized 
his administrative contributions to the 
New York performing arts community. 
Steve has worked as a choreographer, 
performance artist, writer, and video 
maker. His performances have been 
presented by various New York ven- 
ues, including Performance Space 122 
and Dance Theater Workshop, at the 
American Dance Festival, and in other 
locales outside New York. His work 
has been supported by numerous 
grants, including two choreographic 
fellowships from the NEA. In a paral- 

lel life, Steve works as a psychologist 
and psychotherapist. 

Bonnie Oda Homsey 

Bonnie Oda Homsey attended The 
Juilliard School, originating works 
by Antony Tudor and Anna Sokolow, 
and restagings directed by Jose Limon 
and Martha Graham. She was a prin- 
cipal dancer with the Martha Graham 
Dance Company and also performed 
with Ethel Winter, Hawaii Opera 
Guild, and Metropolitan Opera Ballet 
Company. For 10 years, she directed 
American Repertory Dance Compa- 
ny's touring to the American Dance 
Festival, Dance Aspen, Kennedy Cen- 
ter, and World Dance Alliance Festival. 
Her reconstruction projects received 
funding from the California Arts 
Council, the National College Chore- 
ography Initiative, Weingart Founda- 
tion, and the LA. County Arts Com- 
mission. Her arts education programs 
reached 40,000 students in California, 
Nevada, and Louisiana. She received 
her BA from University of Hawaii, 
and an MFA from University of Cali- 
fornia, Irvine. Currently a member of 
the Arts Advisory Council and chair 
of dance for The Princess Grace Foun- 
dation, Bonnie has served on numer- 
ous panels including the NEA, Dance 
Heritage Coalition Research Group, 
1984 Summer Olympics Dance Festi- 
val, and NIPAD/UCLA Dance/Media 
project. Honors include an Outstand- 
ing Young Woman of America nomi- 
nation and Lester Horton awards, and 
she was featured on CNN's "All About 
Women," the American Masters docu- 
mentary on The Juilliard School, and 
"A Passion for Dance," a documentary 
by Sylvia Goulden. 

Jane Jerardi 

Jane Jerardi is a choreographer and 
performer based in Washington, DC. 

A three-time recipient of the DC Com- 
mission on the Arts and Humanities 
Young Emerging Artist Award, she has 
presented her work throughout the 
DC area. She co-produced the IN SITE 
series, which included the work of 20 
artists in alternative spaces. Her cur- 
rent project, Efficiency, commissioned 
by the Washington Performing Arts 
Society, will premiere at the Tivoli The- 
ater in DC. She has taught as a guest 
artist at Mary Washington College and 
Earlham College and as a guest lecturer 
at the University of Maryland, College 
Park and at George Mason University's 
Arts Management Program. In addi- 
tion to dancing, choreographing and 
administering arts programs, she has 
done research, writing, and website 
development for a variety of organiza- 
tions, including the British Council, 
the Arts Council of Fairfax County, 
the Society for the Arts in Health- 
care, and Callahan Consulting for 
the Arts. She is a co-facilitator of The 
Field/DCs Fieldwork and teaches yoga 
to adults. 

Ami i LeGendre 

Amii LeGendre is a teacher, performer, 
choreographer, and the artistic direc- 
tor of LeGendre Performance Group, a 
company usually comprised of wom- 
en. She teaches modern dance, com- 
position, and improvisation in Seattle 
at Velocity and Cornish College of the 
Arts. She has conducted residencies 
and workshops in Texas, Ohio, Colo- 
rado, Hong Kong, British Columbia, 
and Ecuador. She also teaches a range 
of performance classes for youth and 
teenagers regionally and nationally. 

Bebe Miller 

Bebe Miller, a native New Yorker, has 
been making dances for more than 
20 years. She formed Bebe Miller 
Company in 1985 and has been a 

full professor in dance at The Ohio 
State University since 2000. In recent 
years, she has been investigating a mix 
of theatrical narrative, performance, 
and movement, most notably in the 
award-winning Verge (2001) and Go- 
ing To The Wall (1998). In 1999, along 
with choreographer Ralph Lemon and 
filmmaker Isaac Julien, she completed 
the award-winning, film, Three. She 
has created original works for Boston 
Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Day- 
ton Contemporary Dance Company, 
and Philadanco, among others. She 
has collaborated with OSU's Depart- 
ment of Dance in producing several 
digital documentation works, includ- 
ing a DVD of Going To The Wall; a 
CD-ROM of Prey that accompanies 
the Labanotation score; and Dance- 
CODES, a software template for 
choreographic documentation. She 
is developing a new work involv- 
ing motion capture technology at 
OSU's Advanced Computing Center 
for the Arts and Design. Her current 
work, Landing/Place, will premiere 
in September 2005. Bebe's work has 
been performed internationally in 
Europe, Asia, and the African conti- 
nent, and nationally in venues rang- 
ing from Brooklyn Academy of Mu- 
sic, the Walker Center for the Arts, 
and the Wexner Center for the Arts 
to numerous colleges and univer- 
sities around the country. She has 
been honored with three BESSIE 
(New York Dance and Performance) 
Awards, a John Simon Guggenheim 
Foundation fellowship, an Ameri- 
can Choreographer's Award, and an 
Artist's Fellowship from the Ohio 
Arts Council. She currently serves 
on the Boards of Danci/USA, Dance 
Theater Workshop, and Danspace 
Project, and is a past member of the 
International Artists Advisory Board 
of the Wexner Center for the Arts 

Tere O'Connor 

Tere O'Connor has been making danc- 
es since 1982, creating more than 30 
works for his company. He has cre- 
ated numerous commissioned works 
for dance companies around the 
world, including de Rotterdamse Dan- 
sgroep, Holland, and Carte Blanche in 
Bergen, Norway. In 1995, he created 
Greta in the Ditch for Mikhail Barysh- 
nikov's White Oak Dance Project. 
Tere has received a Guggenheim Fel- 
lowship and a New York Foundation 
for the Arts Fellowship, as well as two 
BESSIE awards, for Heaven Up North 
( 1 988) and for Sustained Achievement 
(1999). He is also a recipient of re- 
peated grants from the NEA, New York 
State Council on the Arts, the Jerome 
Foundation, Philip Morris Companies 
Inc., The Harkness Foundation, The 
Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Founda- 
tion, Inc., the Joyce Mertz-Gilmore 
Foundation, and Arts International. 
He has created dances for students 
at many prominent universities, and 
teaches regularly at Movement Re- 
search in New York City. He has served 
on the faculty of the American Dance 
Festival, Movement Research's MELT 
Festival and Bates Dance Festival He 
is also a member of the Artists' Adviso- 
ry Board at Danspace Project. Recent 
works include Frozen Mommy, Lawn, 
Winter Belly and Choke. 

Sally Sommer 

Sally Sommer is historian and pro- 
fessor for the American Dance Stud- 
ies MA program at I lorida State Uni- 
versity. She has published hundreds 
of reviews and articles on dance and 
popular culture for the Village Void-, 
\i-w York Times, name Research Jour- 
nal, Dance Magazine, I he Drama Re- 
view, Dance ink, Connoisseur, and Van- 
ity Fair, and has contributed to the 
Oxford International Encyclopedia 










of Dance. She wrote Ballroom (1987), 
and recently contributed to Envisioning 
Dance (2001), and is NY correspon- 
dent for he Monde (Paris). She worked 
on PBS television documentaries on 
tap and social dance and the Peabody 
Award-winning "Everybody Dance 
Now!," and produced a documentary 
on club dancers and dances, "Check 
Your Body at the Door." 

Ivan Sygoda 

After a first career teaching French, 
Ivan Sygoda joined Pentacle in 1976, 
and became director three years later. 
Pentacle has become a nationally 
recognized model for the delivery of 
administrative services such as fiscal 
management and marketplace repre- 
sentation to dance artists and compa- 
nies, and implements special projects 
that address field-wide concerns. Ivan 
conceived Pentacle's "Marketing from 
the Inside Out" workshops for emerg- 
ing dance companies, and has present- 
ed them around the country. These 
efforts grew into Pentacle's current 
Help Desk service project, initiated in 
1999. He directed Pentacle's National 
Choreography Project (1983-1988), 
and conceived and directed its Na- 
tional Dance Repertory Enrichment 
Program (1990-1995). He co-found- 
ed (with David White) the New York 
State DanceForce. He produced "Men 
Dancing" in 1981 and 1982. He was 
a contributing editor to Market the 
Arts'. (1983) and to the Poor Dancer's 
Almanac (1983, 1993), and has writ- 
ten articles for numerous arts publica- 
tions. He taught arts administration at 
New York University in the School of 
Continuing Education and has been 
a panelist for numerous state and re- 
gional arts councils and the NEA. He 
has been a member of the BESSIES 
Committee since 1996. He is a Board 
member of Dance/USA, past president 

and Board member of North American 
Performing Arts Managers and Agents 
(NAPAMA), served three terms on the 
Board of the Association of Perform- 
ing Arts Presenters, is currently on the 
Board of the Western Arts Alliance, 
and is a member of the New York City 
Arts Coalition Steering Committee. In 
June 1996, he received Dance/USA's 
"Ernie" award at the organization's 
biennial roundtable in Los Angeles. In 
January of 2000, he received Arts Pre- 
senters' Fan Taylor Distinguished Ser- 
vice Award "for exemplary service to 
the field of professional presenting." 

Linda J. Tomko 

Linda J. Tomko is associate professor 
of dance at the University of Califor- 
nia, Riverside, where she has at differ- 
ent times served in the posts of gradu- 
ate advisor, acting chair, and chair 
of the department of dance. As well, 
she is a past president of the Society 
of Dance History Scholars, and a for- 
mer reviews editor for Dance Research 
lournal. At UC Riverside she teaches 
dance history, Baroque movement, 
and theories and practice of dance 
reconstruction. Tomko has performed 
as a soloist in Canada, Japan, and the 
United States, and with Les Menus 
Plaisirs, a Baroque dance troupe. For 
a number of years she co-directed 
with Wendy Hilton the annual sum- 
mer workshop, "Baroque Dance and 
Its Music," at Stanford University. She 
is rekindling the workshop in summer 
2005 at Loyola Marymount University 
in Los Angeles. In addition to con- 
ducting research on early 18th-century 
French and English dance, Tomko also 
focuses on women and dance in the 
early 20th-century United States. Her 
book, Dancing Class: Gender, Ethnicity, 
and Social Divides in American Dance, 
1890-1920, was published by Indiana 
University Press in 1999. She is editor 

of the Wendy Hilton Dance & Music 
book series published by Pendragon 

Diane Vivona 

Diane Vivona has worked profession- 
ally in dance as a performer, choreog- 
rapher, educator, and arts administra- 
tor. Her credits include five years as a 
soloist with the Lewitzky Dance Com- 
pany in Los Angeles and seasons with 
Ronald K. Brown, Troika Ranch, and 
the Robert Kovich Company in New 
York. From 1996 to 1999, she lived in 
the U.K. and served as technique coor- 
dinator and technique/choreography 
tutor for Laban Centre London. She 
is the recipient of a 1999 Bonnie Bird 
New British Choreography Award for 
her work in site-specific installations. 
Since returning to the U.S., she has 
had a visiting professorship at Richard 
Stockton State College of New Jersey, 
taught at the Fashion Institute of Tech- 
nology and Manhattanville College, 
and been part of the New Techniques 
Laboratory at the 92 Street Y/Harkness 
Center for Dance. Diane was executive 
director of The Field from 2002-2004. 
She is a consultant for the Creative 
Capital Foundation's Professional De- 
velopment Program, as well as for The 
Field's art-based programs. Currently 
she performs and choreographs in 
New York City. 

Julia Ward 

In May 2005, Julia Ward founded Sim- 
ple Present Tense, a company offering 
writing, curatorial, and arts administra- 
tion-related services to individuals and 
organizations. Previously, she worked 
in both programmatic and educational 
roles with the Association of Performing 
Arts Presenters, Washington Perform- 
ing Arts Society, The John F. Kennedy 
Center for the Performing Arts, and the 
Smithsonian Institution's Folklife Fes- 

tival. She has taught in the anthropol- 
ogy and museum studies departments 
of George Washington University, from 
which she earned her graduate degree, 
and continues to teach in the Master of 
Arts Administration program at George 
Mason University. 

Charmaine Patricia Warren 

Charmaine Patricia Warren is a dancer, 
historian, and journalist. She is a fac- 
ulty member at Howard University, St. 
Peter's College, and The Alvin Ailey 
BFA programs at Fordham Universi- 
ties. She holds a Bachelor's degree in 
dance and English, a Master's degree 
in dance research, reconstruction and 
choreography, and is a PhD candidate 
in history at Howard University. She 
has lectured and taught movement 
nationally and internationally. She 
began teaching Astanga-based yoga 
classes in 1998 and it remains an in- 
tegral part of all her movement class- 
es. She has conducted modern dance 
classes at various universities through- 
out the U.S., including Princeton Uni- 
versity, Duke University, City College 
of New York, and the University of 
California at Berkeley. Internationally, 
she has taught modern dance in Paris, 
London, Stockholm, and Kingston. 
After performing for many years with 
major New York dance companies, 
Charmaine joined the internationally 
known, New York-based, dance/the- 
ater company david rousseve /REALITY, 
with whom she performed for over a 
decade. She currently writes on dance 
for Dance Magazine and The Amster- 
dam News, sits on various dance com- 
mittees, and is a dance consultant. 

Tricia Henry Young 

Tricia Henry Young (PhD, Performance 
Studies, NYU) is a professor of dance 
history and founder and director of 
the American Dance Studies Program 

at Florida State University. She has lec- 
tured on dance and popular culture 
throughout the United States, and in 
Italy, Mexico, and Great Britain. She 
has published in the Journal of Popular 
Culture, Dance Research Journal, Per- 
forming Arts Resources, Dance Research, 
Paradoxa, the Florida Anthropological 
Quarterly, and the Florida Flambeau. 
Her book, Break All Rules: Punk Rock 
and the Making of Style, was published 
in 1989 and nominated for the Ralph 
J. Gleason Music Book Award. She is 
a former member of the Board of Di- 
rectors of the Congress on Research in 
Dance (CORD). 

NCCI Panelists and 
Forum Participants 

Jane Bonbright, Bethesda, MD 
Bonnie Brooks, Chicago, 11. 
Danny Buraczeski, Minneapolis, MN 
David Capps, Boulder, CO 
Suzanne Carbonneau, Fairfax, VA 
WallyCardona, Brooklyn, NY 
Terry Creach, Bennington, VT 
Kitty Daniels, Seattle, WA 
Fred Darsow, Edinburg, TX 
Jackie Davis, Brockport, NY 
Laura Faure, Lewiston, ME 
Susan Glazer, Philadelphia, PA 
Barbara Hay ley, New Orleans, LA 
Michelle Heffner Hayes, Miami, FL 
Denise Jefferson, New York, NY 
Margie Jenkins, San Francisco, CA 
Amii LeGendre, Seattle, WA 
Daniel Lewis, Miami FL 
Victoria Marks, Los Angeles, CA 
Michelle Martin,, Austin, TX 
Carla Maxwell, New York, NY 
Bebe Miller, Columbus, OH 
Jennifer Mizenko, University, MS 
Robert Moses, San Francisco, CA 
Tere O'Connor, New York, NY 
Cynthia Oliver, Urbana, IL 
Wendy Rogers, Riverside, CA 
David Rousseve, Los Angeles, CA 
Peggy Schwartz, A mherst, MA 
Linda Shapiro, Minneapolis, MN 
Douglas Sonntag, Washington, DC 
Laurie Uprichard, New York, NY 
Victoria Uris, Cleveland, OH 
Ann Vachon, New York, NY 
Julia Ward, Washington, DC 
Tricia Young, Tallahassee, 1 1 
JawoleZollar, Brooklyn, NY 
S> Tallahassee, 1 1 



— %