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Full text of "Moving around : partnership at work in dance on tour"

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS 

by Dance/USA 

Robert Yesselman, editor 



Partnerships at Work in Dance On Tour 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 



http://archive.org/details/movingaroundpartOObroo 



IVIOVIISTG AROUND 

PARTNERSHIPS AT WORK: 
IN DANCE ON TOUR 



Published for the 

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS 

by Dance/USA 



Editor 

Robert Yesselman 

Contributing Editors 

Bonnie Brooks 
Ed Dickey 
Sali Ann Kriegsman 
David Low 
Lenwood Sloan 
Andrea Snyder 

Contributing Writers 

David Gere 
Elizabeth Zimmer 

Sally Brayley Bliss 
Bonnie Brooks 
Arthur Mitchell 

Cover Design 

Hasten Design Studio, Inc. 

F*roduction Coordinator 

Kellie Harris 



© 1993 by Dance/USA. All rights reserved. 
Printed on recycled paper. 



Published for the National Endowment for the 
Arts by Dance/USA, the national service organi- 
zation for nonprofit, professional dance. 

The National Endowment for the Arts is an inde- 
pendent agency of the Federal government created 
by Congress to encourage and support American 
art and artists. The Arts Endowment supports 
arts activities of merit, promotes the overall finan- 
cial stability of American arts organizations and 
makes the arts available to wider, more informed 
audiences. It fulfills its mission by awarding 
grants and through its leadership and advocacy 
activities. 

For more information about this publication or 
Dance On Tour, contact the Presenting and Com- 
missioning Program of the National Endowment 
for the Arts, Nancy Hanks Center, Room 726, 1100 
Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 
20506, telephone: 202/682-5444; FAX: 202/682- 
5612; voice/TTD: 202/682-5496. 

Cover: Illustration from a photograph by Bruce 
Laurance of Ballet Hispanico of New York. 

Top Photo: Lynn Aaron and leffrey Neeck of Feld 
Ballets/NY in Shadozv's Breath, choreography by 
Eliot Feld. Photo copyright 1989 by Lois 
Greenfield. 

Bottom Photo: Topeka Center for the Arts, Topeka, 
KS. Photo: Gary Becker. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Introduction : 

Dancing and Touring 

by Sally Braylei/ Bliss and Arthur Mitchell 7 

Dance On Tour 9 

Profiles z 

At the center of this — the love oe beauty. 

Feld Ballets/NY in Wisconsin 13 

IS THERE ANY WAY WE CAN GET THEM TO STAY LONGER? 

Eugene Ballet Company in New Mexico 15 

People walked out with tears in their eyes. 

David Rousseve/Reality in Chicago, Illinois 18 

We were zealots. We were est a hurry because 

we were so terrified of losing people. 

A Tribute to Tap in Boulder, Colorado 20 

The project was a catalyst for collaborations . 

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Mark Dendy and Dendy Dance in North Carolina 22 

Every kid needs someone to look: up to. 

Urban Bush Women in Austin, Texas 24 

We've come to take seriously our responsibility 
to give something back to artists. 

Trisha Brown Company in Burlington, Vermont 26 



Just luce there are 200,000 "Nutcrackers" 

nsr the world, there should be 200,000 "Rainbows." 

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company in North Carolina 29 

We over-scheduled the lady. She could not 

have given more of herself. 

Lewitzky Dance Company in Arizona 31 

They don't know the names of the companies, 
butt now they ask for modern dance. 

Garth Fagan Dance in Kansas 34 

There's a discipline that carries over to 
other things. 

Ballet Hispanico of New York in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 36 

I REALLY THINK, IN MY HEART OF HEARTS, THAT 
PARTICIPATION IS WHERE PEOPLE LEARN MOST. 

Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange in Farmington, Maine 38 

Afterword 

by Bonnie Brooks 40 

The INTuivibers: Distribution of I>ance 

On Tour Projects 

The impact of Dance On Tour activities nationwide 42 

Contact List: State and Regional 

Arts Organizations 44 

acknowledgeivients 46 



MOVING 




DANCING AND TOURING 



by Sally Brayley Bliss and Arthur Mitchell, 
Members, National Council on the Arts 

Performing and touring are the lifeblood of dance. For the public to expe- 
rience the range and vitality of the art form, live dance performance is es- 
sential. We can't turn on the radio or television to a dance station or borrow 
a shelf of dance classics from most local libraries. Even the best dance films 
and television programs are no substitute for the live experience. Dance On 
Tour is a living lending library of dance. 

The universality of dance and the brilliance of our dance artists and forms 
have given American dance unmatched prominence. No other country sur- 
passes us in the excellence, vitality and range of our dance — we produce nothing 
better. Dance is among this country's most successful exports; indeed, the work 
of our dance artists is often better known abroad than at home. This is ironic, 
since dance in this country has been an extraordinarily fertile art: the devel- 
opment of the art form, the creation of new works, and the variety of forms, 
styles and traditions that make up the American dance landscape have no 
parallel. Touring dance is a moving canvas, a record and history of our time 
enlivened by the engagement of artists with audiences and communities. 

While touring in the United States has been the economic lifeblood of most 
dance companies, it is fraught with risk. Some things have improved in the 
decades since pioneer dancers — Anna Pavlova, Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, 
Ted Shawn and Katherine Dunham — crisscrossed this land on America's rail- 
roads to bring an appreciation for dance to millions. In those days dancers 
encountered ignorance and prejudice and were exhausted from grueling tour 
schedules and uncertain pay days. By and large, theaters were filthy and floors 
unsuitable for dancing, leading to frequent and serious injuries that had no 
time to heal. The most pleasurable stops were those hosted by enlightened 
and excited presenters. If there was time, the dancers taught, lectured and 
educated. 

Though conditions have improved dramatically in many ways, dance tour- 
ing today has similarities to that of touring in the days of the pioneers. Al- 
though many companies must tour to exist, they cannot generate sufficient 
income to support the essential rehearsal and creative periods necessary to 
mount a tour. Due to rising costs, many companies now lose money tour- 
ing. And today, they are expected to do much more than perform and move 
on to the next stop. 

The touring marketplace itself is shrinking as the effects of the difficult 
economic climate take their toll on presenters' abilities to sell the tickets and 
raise the additional funds necessary to support dance presentation. Selling 



tickets has become more difficult as competition for diminishing leisure time 
activities increases. And the erosion of arts education in our schools has not 
prepared the upcoming generation to appreciate the glories of live dance per- 
formance. All these factors leave presenters as much at financial risk as art- 
ists. 

The dozen profiles that follow illustrate the exciting varieties and possibilities 
for artists and communities that have been helped through the Arts 
Endowment's Dance On Tour program. Some artists crave unfettered. time 
in a theater to create and rehearse work to be presented later, as in the Trisha 
Brown Company profile. The Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange and Urban Bush 
Women profiles illustrate interplay with the community and with non-tradi- 
tional settings involving populations at risk — children, the incarcerated, 
caregivers, the aged and infirm — engaged in dance processes that are life- 
affirming and often healing. Local artists, often experiencing a sense of iso- 
lation in their communities, are given opportunities to study and perform with 
fellow artists from other communities, sharing ideas and exploring new av- 
enues for artistic growth as in the Mark Dendy profile. We see through all 
these stories that there is no end of possibilities for artists, presenters and 
communities to engage with each other in ways that nourish and stimulate 
creativity. 

All this takes wise planning, responsive management, an entrepreneurial spirit 
and the resources equal to the real costs involved. That is why subsidy is 
imperative. 

The National Endowment for the Arts recognized long ago that federal subsidy 
was needed to bring the best dance of all kinds to people living in all parts 
of the country. The profiles in this book attest to the creativity and energy 
and innovation that have made our dance artists and companies the envy of 
the world. Through Dance On Tour, the art and artists are "moving around," 
engaging Americans in all walks of life and in many different ways. 

The twelve projects you read about here only hint at the almost limitless 
possibilities when creative artists and equally creative presenters have the 
resources available to engage, to enlighten and to inspire communities. 



DANCE ON TOUR 



Almost from its inception, the Arts Endowment has supported dance tour- 
ing by direct support to dance artists/companies and by nurturing the part- 
nerships between dance artists/companies, presenters, communities and state 
and, later, regional funding agencies. For over a dozen years, the Dance Tour- 
ing Program (DTP) and its predecessor programs fueled unprecedented growth 
in the number of touring dance companies and the breadth of public access 
to dance nationwide. By 1981, however, the Arts Endowment's budget growth 
had slowed greatly; funding for DTP could no longer keep pace with demand 
and rising costs. By 1987, attempts at finding new ways to support the vital 
partnerships necessary to bring dance to communities throughout the nation 
had resulted in a patchwork of various state and regional programs that left 
the partners confused and discouraged. 

In 1987, Dance/USA convened a special Task Force in Houston that helped 
identify components of a more consistent national approach to support for 
dance touring. Between October 1987 and March 1990, choreographers, dancers 
and representatives from dance companies, arts presenters, arts service or- 
ganizations, the state arts agencies, the regional arts agencies and the Arts 
Endowment conducted more than thirty planning meetings across the coun- 
try. As a result of these consultations, Dance On Tour was developed to co- 
ordinate more effectively public support for dance presenting and touring. 

The purpose of Dance On Tour is to strengthen dance and dance audiences 
in America by bringing exemplary dance to audiences around the country in 
ways that are responsive to dance companies, presenters and communities. 

Dance On Tour is a cooperative effort of the Endowment's Presenting and 
Commissioning, Dance, and State and Regional Programs. It is administered 
by the Presenting and Commissioning Program. The category has two com- 
ponents: 

• a state component to assist projects designed by state 
arts agencies (see Contacts, page 44) to strengthen 
the presentation of outstanding out-of-state dance art- 
ists/companies, and 

• a regional component, facilitated by the six regional 
arts organizations (see Contacts, page 45), to assist 
the regional arts organizations' support for engage- 
ments by exemplary dance artists/companies. 

The state component of Dance On Tour is available to all state arts agen- 
cies (applying directly to the Arts Endowment) on a competitive basis for 
projects that address specific issues in the presentation of quality out-of-state 
dance artists/companies. This component is intended to foster long-term 



development of dance presenting in a given state. It is hoped that future dance 
activity can be nurtured through collaborative planning of tours by the state 
arts agencies, presenters, dance artists and local communities. The program 
encourages dance companies to design such projects. These projects are 
expected to complement, not duplicate, support through the regional com- 
ponent. 

The regional component assists the six mainland regional arts organizations 
to support in-region touring of exemplary dance artists/companies. Presenters 
apply to their regional arts organizations for fee support for primarily multi- 
day engagements by exemplary out-of-state touring dance companies. All six 
regions have a common deadline, use the same guidelines and application forms 
and assemble panels using a mix of in-region and out-of-region presenters 
and dance artists. Presenters and dance artists/companies are encouraged 
to work together to develop effective systems for fee support. 

Dance On Tour's dance, presenting and funding partners envisioned a pro- 
gram that would help outstanding dance artists/companies tour regularly and 
reliably across the United States. This two part structure of state and regional 
support brings a national framework and consistency to funding for dance 
touring. With Dance On Tour: 

• dance companies can reach audiences in a wide range 
of communities, performing current repertory, teach- 
ing and cultivating fresh expressions and experiences 
of dance; 

• the work of a broad spectrum of outstanding dance 
artists exemplifying the country's rich diversity of 
cultural and aesthetic traditions can be seen across 
the country; 

• extended dance engagements can be planned, provid- 
ing more meaningful community involvement, less 
exhausting travel schedules and better performance 
environments for artists; and 

• presenters of various sizes and cultural perspectives 
in all parts of the country can enhance their capac- 
ity to present dance effectively. 

It is hoped that Dance On Tour can leverage new funds from both the public 
and private sectors, building a strong, diversified economic infrastructure for 
dance touring. 



10 



Dance On Tour is a collaboration made dynamic by the artists it supports, 
the communities in which they perform and the presenting organizations that 
invest in its success. In the last two years, the state component of Dance On 
Tour assisted 25 development projects in 18 states involving 20 different dance 
artists/companies. In the regional component, fee support for the 1992-93 
season was awarded to 230 presenters across the country making possible over 
400 engagements. The dozen examples of Dance On Tour's success described 
here have one major element in common: all speak to the positive impact of 
close partnership among dance artists, presenters and funders. All have 
advanced the goal of engaging communities across America with the nation's 
finest dance artists. 



11 



MOVING 




"AT THE CENTER OF THIS 

IE LOVE OF BEAUTY." 



// 



WHO 

Feld Ballets/NY 

Wisconsin 
Arts Board 

Various Presenters 



WHAT 

3 '/2-week Statewide 
Residency 

WHEN 

September, 1991 

WHERE 

Various Sites, 
Wisconsin 

DOT Funds 

$30,000 

(state component) 

$44,000 

(regional component) 



Everybody has this sort of meaning- 
ful conversation about outreach and 
multiculturism, which are buzzwords 
that we hold very deeply. But to my 
mind there is only one thing at the 
center of this — the love of beauty." No 
one can accuse Wisconsin's Philip 
Procter of sponsoring the state's Dance 
On Tour (DOT) project with choreog- 
rapher Eliot Feld for the wrong reasons. 
To hear the presenter tell it, this was 
a burning case of art for art's sake. 

"Yes, there was just this manic love 
for his work that was the energy that 
got the project going," continues 
Philip Procter, executive director of 
Milwaukee's Pabst Theater, which 
served as fiscal agent for the Feld 
Ballets/NY three-and-a-half-week resi- 
dency. "I think in any project there's 
a crazy point where somebody just 
says, T want to do this,' and that's it. 
The planning, plotting and fundraising 
can be figured out once that first dy- 
namic energy, that first idea, is in 
place." 

Procter's commitment to Feld's work 
dates back to the late 1970s when he 
caught his first full evening of the 
New York choreographer's ballets at 
Royce Hall in Los Angeles. "The 
minute I saw the first dance, I knew 
exactly what this was about," says 
Procter. "I felt the same the first time 
I saw Judith Jamison step onstage with 
the Ailey company. What can you say? 
I just knew this was a company I 
would never forget." 

Some 15 years later, Procter dreamed 
of bringing the Feld company to the 
Pabst, but the 20-member company was 



too expensive. So he began searching 
for other presenters to help foot the 
bill. Hearing of his dilemma, Gretchen 
Thomson, then community arts devel- 
opment coordinator of the Wisconsin 
Arts Board, suggested Dance On Tour 
as a possible source of funding. To- 
gether with Procter and Feld Ballets' 
booking manager Eugene Lowery, 
Thomson proposed a statewide col- 
laborative venture in which some ten 
presenting organizations in eight cit- 
ies would share costs — with contribu- 
tions ranging from $4,500 for a perfor- 
mance and one outreach activity in the 
small town of Oshkosh, to $20,000 for 
two performances and three outreach 
activities in a large hall in Madison. 
Ultimately, the remainder was covered 
through a $30,000 grant from DOT, a 
$44,000 regional DOT grant from Arts 
Midwest, a matching grant from the 
Wisconsin Arts Board, and sizeable con- 
tributions from a number of corporations 
including $55,000 from Wisconsin Bell, the 
designated "statewide sponsor." 

"It was certainly a bigger price tag 
than we had ever met before," says 
Thomson, who believes the project 
would have folded without the Dance 
On Tour seed money. "There were 
probably not more than one or two 
presenters in the state who could af- 
ford this company as a single event. 
Even with block-booking, I don't think 
we could have come up with aggre- 
gate funds to have done this." 

The resultant residency featured an 
assortment of outreach activities, from 
workshops with professional dancers 
in Milwaukee to lecture-demonstra- 



13 



Feld Ballets/NY 

Wisconsin 
Arts Board 

Various Presenters 



tions for the children of Eau Claire. 
Feld is well-known for his school pro- 
grams in New York City, and the 
Milwaukee Ballet School took advan- 
tage of his presence to discuss the 
possibility of replicating that program 
in Wisconsin. 

But, like Procter, audiences seemed 
most energized by the troupe's 
evening performances where Feld's 
distinctive vision of contemporary 
American ballet was on display. In 
particular, the world premiere of 
Endsong, considered by many critics to 
be Feld's finest work to date, consti- 
tuted its own kind of outreach, sug- 
gests Procter. "I would love to bring 
people to the art, and not always feel 
that we have to bring it and drop it 
in their laps," he says. "I want to see 
them energized to put in the effort to 
go and see it. It is one of my biggest 
problems with school programs, put- 
ting them passively on the bus or 
bringing the artists to school, where 
they're captive. I'd like them to seek 
art out." 

For that reason, Procter hopes that 
the presenting program will expand to 
allow more performances in far-flung 
locales around Wisconsin, so that more 
citizens of the state can experience 
professional dance firsthand. Thomson 
reports that 13 communities are par- 
ticipating in Wisconsin's 1992-93 




Lynn Aaron of Feld Ballets/NY in Endsong. Choreog- 
raphy: Eliot Feld; Photo: Lois Greenfield. 

Dance On Tour with the David Par- 
sons Dance Company, and another 16 
have expressed interest in the follow- 
ing year's DOT tour by Ballet 
Hispanico of New York. 

"Hopefully presenters in other cit- 
ies will see the possibility of doing 
something more than one dance com- 
pany a year," says Procter. "Maybe 
they'll do two, three or four compa- 
nies, so that their audiences can see 
dance on a regular basis and fall in 
love with it." Just like Procter did 
with Feld. 

— David Gere 



. .?-'' 



14 






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"IS THERE ANY WAY WE CAN 

:X THEM TO STAY LONGER?" 



WHO 

Eugene Ballet 
Company 

New Mexico 
Arts Division 

Various Presenters 

WHAT 

Performance/ 
Outreach Residency 

WHEN 

March-April, 1992 

WHERE 

Various sites, 
New Mexico 

DOT Funds 

$25,000 



New Mexico is a big state with a 
small population; finding ways to 
develop successful dance residencies 
which draw substantial audiences 
takes ingenuity. Fortunately, New 
Mexico had Ian Rosenkranz and Beth 
Bradley as project consultants for the 
21-day statewide Dance On Tour 
(DOT) residency with a total cost of 
$66,228. It was equally fortunate in 
drawing artistic director Toni Pimble, 
executive director Riley Grannan and 
their Eugene Ballet Company from 
Oregon for the 1992 residency. The 
company spent time in four primary 
sites — Farmington, Taos, Raton and 
Silver City — as well as visiting satel- 
lite locations such as Albuquerque, 
Santa Fe and a Navajo community to 
provide special services. 

The residency was designed to pro- 
vide professional development and 
technical assistance for small and less 
experienced presenters in order to 
develop a wider network of present- 
ers committed to presenting dance. In 
this way, the art form can continue to 
tour New Mexico. Rosenkranz and 
Bradley led a team of more than 25 
people in participating communities 
with whom they communicated regu- 
larly; these people in turn had respon- 
sibilities in the local communities, 
working with schools, senior centers 
and other groups, said Rosenkranz. 
"When we first visited [each poten- 
tial site], we targeted everyone who 
might remotely have some interest in 
dance. First Beth and I asked ques- 
tions: 'Do you have a group of differ- 
ently-abled adults? Den mothers? 



Cheerleaders? Drill team?' These 
people were called to meetings; they 
had no idea why. We'd show them 
videos, explain what services a dance 
company could provide in their com- 
munity." 

On the second visit, the residency 
design team planned specific activities. 
They brought along Grannan, a gifted 
dance teacher in his own right. Brad- 
ley, herself a former dancer, brought 
to the planning process her under- 
standing of what the company could 
conceivably accomplish in a single 
day. 

The residency design team struc- 
tured the dancers' time, dividing the 
company into small platoons so more 
territory could be covered simulta- 
neously. A community volunteer trav- 
eled with each small group. When they 
weren't teaching or performing, they 
were on the road; Easter Day was 
spent covering the 216 miles from Taos 
to Farmington; the following Sunday 
they drove 378 miles from Farmington 
to Silver City. 

The visiting performers gave gener- 
ously of their time and energy, and left 
feeling that they, too, had been edu- 
cated. 

New Mexico is a place people are 
curious about and eager to visit. "That 
factor means a company can enjoy 
their time here even though we work 
them to the bone," laughs Rosenkranz. 

The Eugene Ballet performed Chil- 
dren of the Raven, a signature piece in 
their repertory. The dance is based on 
legends of people native to the Pacific 
Northwest coast. Among the residency 



15 



Eugene Ballet 
Company 

New Mexico 
Arts Division 

Various Presenters 



sites were several Native American 
communities. The Eugene contingent 
included a Native American storyteller 
who shared his knowledge, most of it 
completely unfamiliar to the New 
Mexicans, at workshops in schools and 
communities. But when they contacted 
the Navajo Teen Life Center, their li- 
aison said she really wanted to explore 
classical and contemporary works. 
"The kids out there," says Rosenkranz, 
"have no exposure to classical and 
contemporary forms." 

The New Mexico project allowed 
Eugene Ballet members to interact 
with people from other cultures. Ev- 
eryone in a given town knew they 
were there. "We had over 110 activi- 
ties going on, serving over 16,000 per- 
sons; in rural New Mexico, that's a 
lot," observes Rosenkranz, who's 
based in Ojo de la Bacca, outside of 
Santa Fe. "The largest community has 
22,000 people." 

In addition to the four full company 
performances, the company offered 
lecture-demonstrations in schools, 
stretch classes for athletes and for 
senior citizens, consultations with high 
school drill teams, movement-for-ac- 
tors classes to choral societies and a 
talk about career options in dance, 
other than performing, at the Navajo 
high school. "We scheduled open fo- 
rums with the dancers to talk about 
careers in the arts," says Rosenkranz. 
"The kids have no exposure to that, 
don't realize that for every performer, 
there are 20 people behind the scenes." 

Among other things, they offered 
partnering classes to the Buen Viaje 



Dancers, an ensemble of eight learn- 
ing-disabled adults, some with 
Down's syndrome, some with cerebral 
palsy, "and one," commented Grannan, 
"who's merely blind. They're able to 
do disarmingly simple work. You 
have to get down to dance's very 
fundamental thing, use it as a means 
of communicating simple messages. 
Their concerns have to do with basic 
feelings: how people treat one an- 
other." The director of Buen Viaje 
spent hours with Grannan, teaching 
him how to work with these very spe- 
cial performers. 

The greatest satisfaction for 
Rosenkranz came from the trans- 
formed attitudes of the presenters 
with whom he worked. At early meet- 
ings, the standard question from pre- 
senters and community members alike 
was "What are we going to do with 
a dance company for five days?" Once 
the residency was in progress, how- 
ever, the cry changed to "Is there any 
way we can get them to stay longer?" 
"That's how we judge our success," 
notes Rosenkranz, who is revving up 
to tour Dayton Contemporary Dance 
Company, an African-American com- 
pany, in the next DOT cycle. "It 
means the presenter doesn't have to 
re-invent the wheel. In all four com- 
munities, we're using Dance On Tour 
as a model, showing presenters that 
there's a hunger for arts activities. 
Everyone is convinced that extended 
residencies are the way to go. Present- 
ers can now bring in artists from any 
medium and plug them into our net- 
work. In Raton, a small coal mining 



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16 



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Eugene Ballet 
Company 

New Mexico 
Arts Division 

Various Presenters 



community, they do a series with sev- 
eral different artists each year. The 
DOT project was their first attempt at 
a multi-day residency with a large 
dance company. In the coming year, 
the presenter intends to bring every 
artist in their series into the commu- 
nity for an extended residency. In 
Farmington, they've started a children's 
series, so that over the course of the 
year, every student will have some 
form of exposure to the performing 
arts — a direct result of the DOT 
project. It's been an organic process; 
we're pushing it and it's pulling us. 
We were able to bring DOT into the 
day school at the Taos Pueblo, and 
bring the kids down to the city audi- 
torium. It sounds like a simple pro- 
cess, but it's not." 

Rosenkranz continues, "You find the 
dance company on the front page of 
the small town newspaper, a ballerina 
demonstrating stretch to a football 
player. It shows these folks that art- 
ists are people. And then there are the 







Mark Lia of Eugene Ballet in Children of the Raven. 
Choreography: Toni Pimble; Photo: Clitf Coles 

professional skills the presenters are 
getting, writing WESTAF [Western 
State Arts Federation] and state arts 
council grants. Now they want to 
write Meet the Composer Grants and 
commission new pieces. We think 
that's light years of progress." 



— Elizabeth Zimmer 



17 



"PEOPLE WALKED OUT WITH 

TEARS IN THEIR EYES." 



WHO 

David Rousseve/Reality 

Arts Midwest 

Dance Center of 
Columbia College 
Chicago 

WHEAT 

Performance/ 
Outreach Residency 

WHEN 

September, 1992 

WHERE 

Various sites, 
Chicago, Illinois 

DOT Funds 

$10,960 



Audiences in Chicago, says Woodie 
White, "are among the most diverse in 
the country — African-Americans, Asian 
Americans and Latinos. David Rousseve 
was able to spend a significant amount 
of time reaching out to these and other 
communities. He relates to people in an 
honest manner. His work addresses im- 
portant themes in our society, in aston- 
ishing ways." 

White is the executive director at the 
Dance Center of Columbia College Chi- 
cago; David Rousseve is the choreogra- 
pher/writer and central performer of Ur- 
ban Scenes/Creole Dreams, a dance-theater 
project he had been developing for sev- 
eral years and completed during his four- 
week Dance On Tour (DOT) residency in 
Chicago. The work explores the many 
ways people intimidate and oppress one 
another — racially, economically and in 
terms of gender and sexual orientation. 
In the course of the piece, several of the 
male dancers bare their bodies as well as 
their souls. The project premiered at two 
well-attended performances at the recently 
renovated Blackstone Theater. 

An openly gay African-American artist, 
native to Houston with Creole roots, 
Rousseve thrived in Chicago. Collaborat- 
ing with White, Shirley Mordine (artistic 
director at the Dance Center), and Susan 
Lipman (executive director of Performing 
Arts Chicago), Rousseve was able, he 
said, to reach out to a vast and various 
group of people. "They really listened to 
what we were telling them about the piece 
and how it should be marketed — that its 
issues are political as well as spiritual." 

Sue Latham, Rousseve's producer in 
New York, did the planning in tight com- 



munication with Chicago. Julie Simpson, 
a Chicago manager, was put in charge of 
day-to-day operations. Woodie White 
made extraordinary efforts to build un- 
derstanding of the potentially controver- 
sial piece and to build audiences. He ar- 
ranged outreach events at the Harold 
Washington Library in Chicago's inner 
city, at a gay community center and at 
various churches. Master classes were 
held in the community. One of Rousseve's 
dancers, Aziza, taught a combination of 
hip-hop and modern dance technique 
three days a week for four weeks, to high- 
school-age kids from public housing who 
wanted to be there. "Aziza lives in 
Harlem," says Rousseve, "and African- 
American pride is a big part of her per- 
sonal agenda." 

He continues, "The bottom line, artis- 
tically speaking? The Chicago residency 
had a profound effect on the piece. You 
can't focus in your home town the way 
you can in another city. When you're out- 
of-town you have the dancers' undivided 
attention for four weeks; you can rehearse 
eight hours a day instead of two. They 
don't have to teach or go to work as 
waitresses. I'm convinced that the piece, 
[co-commissioned by the Walker Art Cen- 
ter in Minneapolis] which was performed 
in the Next Wave Festival at the Brook- 
lyn Academy of Music in mid-November 
would not have been such a success 
without Chicago. To get it up on stage 
and see what it looked like made a pro- 
found difference." 

"What at first appeared as overwhelm- 
ing," says Rousseve, "became, by the end, 
a great system. It was the first time that 
community outreach became really ful- 



18 



David Rousseve/Reality 

Arts Midwest 

Dance Center of 
Columbia College 
Chicago 



filling for us. Audiences knew what to 
expect when they came. It even was more 
valuable for me than for the audience. We 
decided to reach out to church-going 
African-American people and have 
'informances/ and to ask them what they 
saw." 

It was the first time, says Rousseve, 
that "any producer out-of-town has had 
the time, money and resources to make 
us the centerpiece of a lot of different 
things. We recruited six dancers locally; 
Woodie took a lot of time finding them. 
They had the ability to invest a lot of 
time and energy in the piece. And my 
dancers were completely giving; we 
kept saying 'Can we do more? You're 
taking us to an African-American cul- 
tural center in the middle of the 
projects? Great!!' The outreach was a 
pleasure rather than a chore." 

For the final performances, about 
1,000 people a night filled the Black- 
stone Theater: gay, straight, young, old, 
black, white, the most diverse audience 
Rousseve had ever seen for experimen- 
tal work. The presenters arranged a se- 
ries discount for purchasers of tickets 
to another attraction, a performance by 
Sweet Honey in the Rock, one of whose 
members composed original gospel 
music for Rousseve's piece. The result 
was a crossover audience, "an incred- 
ible crowd of people." 

Chicago is a major center for gospel 
music; Susan Lipman recruited the 
Faith Tabernacle Choir to perform in 
Rousseve's work and in the process 
attracted hundreds of church-going 
African- Americans who had never be- 




Aziza of David Rousseve/Reality in a lecture- 
demonstration. Photo: Bob Kusel 



fore visited the theater. She speaks of 
the euphoria that the partners felt in this 
collaboration. "David was willing to 
meet with key people in the media. He 
wants something we want: to create 
artistic work that has social content, that 
is not abstract. Chicago remains one of 
the most segregated cities in the United 
States. He was able to bring together 
white audiences and black audiences, 
and make both of them stretch. You're 
talking about church as source; it's very 
difficult to go to that audience and 
introduce them to nudity. It was ex- 
tremely subtle. Nothing was forced on 
anyone. We were all in agreement; we 
all supported what was going on. 
People walked out of that theater with 
tears in their eyes." 

— Elizabeth Zimmer 



-**— , 



^HMk 



..*** 



' ■^£8a& *t£Vj^*i*Sr*fl?!!!!&F-* 



19 



6 *WE ^WERE ZEALOTS. WE WERE EST A HURRY 

BECAUSE WE WERE SO TERRIFIED OF LOSING PEOPLE." 



WHO 

Colorado Dance Festival 

Western States Arts 
Federation 

WHAT 

"A Tribute to Tap" (The 
Great Tap Reunion) 

WHEN 

July. 1992 

WHERE 

Various sites, Boulder, 
Colorado 

DOT Funds 

$22,926 



Only a handful of art forms can genu- 
inely be labeled American. Musical the- 
ater is one. Modern dance is another. 
Jazz is a third. 

And then there's tap dancing, a meld- 
ing of African rhythms and Irish step 
dancing that has, over the course of the 
last 50 years, gone from being the most 
popular dance form in the land to becom- 
ing practically an endangered species. 

Like the bald eagle, however, tap has 
been experiencing a resurgence, partly on 
account of the African-American artists 
who have maintained their artistic tradi- 
tions at an extremely high level, and partly 
due to the efforts of presenters like 
Colorado's Marda Kirn, who has worked 
tirelessly to keep the art form from dis- 
appearing — with the assistance of fund- 
ing from Dance On Tour (DOT). 

"Tap dancing has never been as popu- 
lar as it is today," said famed tapper 
Charles "Honi" Coles at the "Fascinating 
Rhythms" conference that ran concur- 
rently with the 1992 Colorado Dance 
Festival. "It seems to finally have been 
placed on a higher level, with respect. It's 
a good feeling." 

Kirn, artistic director of the Boulder- 
based festival, was introduced to tap in 
1982 when she presented the Los Ange- 
les-based Jazz Tap Ensemble, the first tap 
company on the national dance scene. "I 
loved what they were doing with rhythm. 
It really opened my ears to what was 
possible," says Kirn, a self-confessed ballet 
"bunhead" who, nonetheless, was open 
to forms beyond ballet. So when Sali Ann 
Kriegsman — a dance critic and presenter 
who later became director of the National 
Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Dance 
Program — shared with Kirn her fears that 



tap was "in danger of being lost for lack 
of understanding," Kirn jumped into the 
fray, volunteering to present a Colorado 
tap festival. "We were zealots," says Kirn 
with a laugh. "We were in a hurry be- 
cause we were so terrified of losing 
people." 

For good reason. That first year, 1986, 
the event featured two master artists who 
are no longer with us: Steve Condos, an 
electrifying improviser who died sud- 
denly (with his tap shoes on) in 1990, and 
Coles, the granddaddy of modern tap 
who passed on in late 1992. "There was 
tremendous suspicion among the older 
generation, because they had been ripped- 
off so often by the movie industry and 
producers," explains Kirn, who says she 
was able to win the artists' trust largely 
because of Kriegsman's hard-won con- 
tacts. "And there was professional jeal- 
ousy, because the scraps were so few, and 
the jobs so rare. So that first festival in 
1986 was really historic." 

Historic for two reasons: not only were 
some of the greatest tap dancers of the 
1930s, '40s and '50s present in the flesh, 
including legends Jimmy Slyde and Eddie 
Brown in addition to Condos and Coles, 
but strong evidence was emerging to 
indicate that tap was adapting and would 
survive into the next century. Gregory 
Hines, the rising star of the young gen- 
eration, was showcased in that first fes- 
tival, and two weeks of intensive studio 
training provided a bridge to the future 
for young adherents of the form. 

"The thing about dancing is that it's 
really body to body, mind to mind," says 
Kirn, stressing the need for young dancers 
to learn in the studio directly from the 
masters. "Right from the start, I was 



20 



Colorado Dance 
Festival 

Western States 
Arts Federation 



- *■' 



adamant about including a training com- 
ponent." 

That need was addressed most directly 
in the 1992 festival, the fifth since 1986, 
which featured a two-week "tap conser- 
vatory" designed and curated by Lynn 
Dalley of Los Angeles' Jazz Tap Ensemble 
and Brenda Bufalino of New York's 
American Tap Dance Orchestra. Some 
170 dancers from ten countries partici- 
pated in classes taught by veteran artists 
like Cholly Atkins and Eddie Brown, with 
supplementary sessions featuring second 
and third generation dancers like 
Bufalino, Sam Weber and physical come- 
dian Bill Irwin. The training climaxed in 
"The Rising Stars of Tap," a joyous stu- 
dent concert featuring modern interpre- 
tations of styles ranging from softshoe to 
the Charleston, topped off by an impres- 
sive solo performance by young prodigy 
Baakari Wilder. A Dance On Tour grant 
in the amount of $22,926 was provided 
through the Western States Arts Federa- 
tion toward the total budget of $191,280. 

"There are some whiz kids coming up 
now," says Kirn, clearly buoyed by signs 
of tap's rebirth as seen in the faces and 
feet of these young students. "Some have 
flying feet, and some, like Baakari, are 
dancing with wisdom, too." 

Other highlights of the 1992 festival 
included talks and film showings on the 
history of tap, with a notably inspired 
lecture by scholar Sally Sommer; nightly 
performances featuring greats like Slyde, 
accompanied by his whisper-shoed pro- 
tege Sarah Petronio; and ample opportu- 
nity for informal learning in university 
hallways and theater foyers. 



■^' '-+***,. 




Jimmy Slyde and Sarah Petronio. Photo: Peter 
Petronio 

History and practice coincided most 
fittingly in a trio of "heritage" lectures by 
Coles, who also helped curate the three 
evening concerts and served, with former 
partner Atkins, as master of ceremonies 
at the final presentation — where he re- 
ceived a spontaneous standing ovation 
without even dancing a step. Coles died 
four months later at the age of 81, leav- 
ing festival-goers grateful to have heard 
his firsthand reminiscences about tap's 
glory days and to have witnessed him 
soaking up the audience's applause and 
adulation. 

"It's sort of like spreading the gospel," 
says Kirn of the ongoing Colorado tap 
project. "We have this amazing Ameri- 
can treasure: it's here, it's alive and it's 
fragile, but it's extraordinary." 



-David Gere 



,, -•»■- 






"--^■fc* 



■^£^S.^SSs^*j<^-«^!^^-' r 



21 



£6' 



THE PROJECT WA.S A CATALYST 

FOR. COLLABORATIONS." 



WHO 

Cleo Parker Robinson 
Dance Ensemble 

Mark Dendy and 
Dendy Dance 

North Carolina Arts 
Council 

WHAT 

Performance/Outreach 
Residency (Robinson) 

Performance/Outreach/ 
Creative Residency 
(Dendy) 

WHEN 

February, 1992 
(Robinson) 

April, 1992 
(Dendy) 

WHERE 

Various sites, North 
Carolina 

DOT Funds 

$25,000 



The focus of the North Carolina Arts 
Council's 1991-92 Dance On Tour (DOT) 
Project was twofold: to create organiza- 
tional partnerships between presenters 
and community groups, and provide tech- 
nical assistance and support to less estab- 
lished dance presenters (using the artis- 
tic and team-building skills of Cleo Parker 
Robinson and her Denver-based Dance 
Ensemble); and to provide an artistic 
resource for North Carolina's dance com- 
panies (in the person of North Carolina 
native Mark Dendy, who now lives in 
New York where he directs Dendy 
Dance). In both cases, an important ob- 
jective was audience development. 

"When I came to the North Carolina 
Arts Council [as touring and presenting 
director] in 1989," says Pamela Martin 
Green, "the cultural diversity work was 
just getting going. I decided to try and 
do something with a black dance com- 
pany that would address communities of 
color. A lot of the mainstream present- 
ers were complaining about not being able 
to get black folks in to see their perfor- 
mances. My idea was to get the two 
together to satisfy each other's needs — 
to partner the presenters with local com- 
munity organizations of color. 

"We did the Robinson project in six 
locations — Asheville, Winston-Salem, 
Greensboro, Charlette, Chapel Hill and 
Pembroke — in four weeks. I think it was 
incredible for the communities, and very, 
very hard for the Cleo Parker Robinson 
Dance Ensemble. I don't know of another 
company that would have been willing 
to do what they did." 

What they did was appear in six com- 
munities, performing repertory including 



Spiritual Suite, a contemporary work to 
gospel music. For this piece, they incor- 
porated local dancers in each place. 
"We'd audition in each city, rehearse and 
do a costumed performance — all in four 
days," laughed Robinson. In a couple of 
locales, they recruited and rehearsed live 
gospel choirs as well. The company also 
offered master classes and lecture dem- 
onstrations at each site. 

"We spent a lot of our money on plan- 
ning. We brought Cleo in from Denver 
three times before the residency actually 
took place," says Green. "I required all 
the partners to attend. It gave a sense of 
unity to the tour. Everybody got to know 
each other. The state arts council created 
a promotional package to go along with 
the tour: a poster, a public service an- 
nouncement. We commissioned feature 
stories from a writer and sent all the 
partners as much as they wanted of that 
material. We also provided technical 
support. If places didn't have enough 
expertise, we hired freelance lighting and 
sound people to go in. " 

Overall, Green estimates, the Spiritual 
Suite project reached 10,000 to 12,000 
people, 53% of them minority, in the six 
communities involved. 

The Robinson project had its start at the 
American Dance Festival, where the 
North Carolina presenters were meeting. 
Robinson began brainstorming with them 
about what each community could offer. 
"They were able to find out more about 
each other, and to network in ways they 
hadn't before," she said. "The project was 
a catalyst for collaborations. If they were 
tentative about the makeup of their own 
community, they could get support from 



22 



Cleo Parker Robinson 
Dance Ensemble 

Mark Dendy and 
Dendy Dance 

North Carolina Arts 
Council 



•-.-*•' 



the experiences of other regional present- 
ers who had worked successfully with 
local community groups." 

Mark Dendy is a native of Weaverville, 
NC, who has emerged in New York as 
a choreographer and company director. 
His work flirts with outrageousness, of- 
ten includes nudity and engages contem- 
porary social issues such as the AIDS 
crisis. A graduate of the North Carolina 
School of the Arts, he speaks enthusias- 
tically of his training and of the oppor- 
tunities the DOT project offered: "It was 
very rewarding to go back and work in 
the place that spawned me." His con- 
nections to the companies with whom he 
collaborated on the project go back a de- 
cade or more; he held his first meeting 
with a potential presenter a year before 
the project officially began. "Quite a few 
of them were put off by my aesthetic," 
he muses. "The people who chose me 
knew me personally and knew my 
work." 

Dendy worked with companies in Ra- 
leigh, Asheville and New Bern. On circa 
1990, a Raleigh-based dance ensemble, he 
set a new work, Lore, which had its pre- 
miere as part of a split bill shared with 
his own company at the North Carolina 
State University and in Charlotte at Spirit 
Square. Dendy himself performed with 
circa 1990 in Lore, which was developed 
from his own family's music and ritu- 
als — funerals, storytelling and dance. "My 
Aunt Jesse was the focal point of the 
piece," he observed. 

In Asheville, Dendy set a piece called 
Overheard on Wall Street Dance. He set 
Beat, perhaps his signature work, on 
Atlantic Dance Theatre in New Bern. "It's 




Mark Dendy in Back Back. Photo ©Lois Greenfield 

their favorite piece now, popular in all 
their outreach work." 

He gave master classes to different age 
groups at local high schools, talked to 
them about modern dance and challenged 
them physically. Between his DOT en- 
gagements and other commitments, 
Dendy spent almost 27 weeks in North 
Carolina during the residency year, en- 
abling a lot of planning at very little cost 
to the program. 

Green observes that the $25,000 contri- 
bution of DOT to the $56,345 total project 
cost of the residency helped generate 
more than four times that amount for the 
companies. "The ripple effect of those 
funds is hard to describe. We really made 
that money go far, hired a lot of artists. 
It went back into the communities." Both 
Dendy and Robinson were the best kind 
of catalyst. 

— Elizabeth Zimmer 



v *-* 1 



t-Zdum 



z ^>*£&&-m*££!37* «y»*-¥»?5!W':-' 



23 



"EVERY KID NEEDS SOMEONE 
to look: up to." 



WHO 

Urban Bush Women 

Mid-America 
Arts Alliance 

Center for Women 
& Their Work 

WHAT 

Performance/ 
Outreach Residency 

WHEN 

May, 1992 

WHERE 

Various sites, 
Austin, Texas 

DOT Funds 

$3,160 



When Ric Garcia, the theater director 
at Austin's Johnston High School, 
turned on the follow spot in the school's 
theater, he thought he was preparing for 
a typical schooltime performance. But 
within minutes, he knew that New 
York's Urban Bush Women were any- 
thing but typical. 

"They took participants from the au- 
dience and asked them to demonstrate 
the dances they grew up with," recalls 
Garcia, who brought up the houselights 
when he saw the group's eight members 
interacting avidly with the students in 
the audience. "Some showed games like 
hopscotch or patty-cake while others 
did rap numbers," says Garcia. "And 
after that, the company explained how 
they had developed similar material into 
their own performance." 

Sixty minutes later, at the climax of 
an event that grew to feel like a "revival 
meeting," says Garcia, the capacity au- 
dience of 360 white, black and Hispanic 
students jumped to their feet and 
cheered. 

The idea that art can be created from 
personal experience — that it need not be 
intellectually distant or inapproach- 
able — is a central tenet of Urban Bush 
Women's philosophy, a philosophy the 
company has been able to pass on all 
over the country through programs 
funded in part by Dance On Tour. In 
performance pieces that blend stories, 
games, songs and memories, artistic 
director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar ada- 
mantly affirms her own African-Ameri- 
can heritage, even as she and her pre- 
dominantly female company serve as 
role models for African-American kids. 



"They are very interested in being role 
models, in showing kids that being an 
artist or dancer is something admirable 
and something to aspire to," says Chris 
Cowden, the executive director of the 
Center for Women & Their Work, the 
group's Austin presenter. "That's very 
central to what they do, so that makes 
their appearance in schools a very good 
fit." 

And a good fit for Women & Their 
Work, too, an organization whose mis- 
sion is to encourage "art as a profes- 
sion" — especially for women. 

Cowden, who first presented Urban 
Bush Women in 1989, brought the 
group back as the centerpiece of "Be- 
yond Borders," a series designed to 
showcase a wide range of culturally 
defined aesthetics. Accordingly, 
Cowden and her racially diverse board 
made special efforts to reach out to the 
African-American community in Aus- 
tin, which makes up approximately 12% 
of the city's half-million population. 

"You have to market differently to 
different communities," explains 
Cowden, who says she has learned a lot 
about attracting black audiences 
through years of building cross-cultural 
alliances. "It's important to go through 
churches, through social groups, sorori- 
ties and fraternities — which have a dif- 
ferent meaning in the black community 
than they do in the white community." 
Black-oriented media can play an im- 
portant role too, she says. Zollar, for in- 
stance, was interviewed on the local Af- 
rican-American radio station, and ad- 
vertisements were placed in the black 
newspaper and other media that di- 



24 



Urban Bush 
Women 

Mid-America 
Arts Alliance 

Center for Women 
& Their Work 



rectly served the African-American 
population. The connections paid off. 

"The phone started ringing on Mon- 
day and we got 500 calls that week," 
says Cowden, whose small office staff 
was unprepared for the onslaught. With 
ticket revenue from two sold-out per- 
formances, a grant of $3,160 from 
Dance On Tour through the Mid- 
America Arts Alliance and additional 
funds from the National Performance 
Network, the National Endowment for 
the Arts and the City of Austin, Women 
& Their Work was able to break even 
on its budget of $15,238. 

"To call it a financial success would 
be kind of misleading," says Cowden 
with a chuckle, explaining that substan- 
tial in-kind donations and administra- 
tive costs are not included in this fig- 
ure. "But we always look at the impact 
on Austin as the measure of success." 

For that, one must look again at 
Johnston High School which includes 
a sizeable African-American popula- 
tion. Except for the 400 students who 
attend the magnet Liberal Arts Acad- 
emy housed there, the majority of the 
school's 1,700 pupils come from single- 
parent homes in two of the poorest 
areas in Austin. More than half of the 
students at Urban Bush Women's lec- 
ture-demonstration were black, clearly 
hungry for the rare opportunity to wit- 
ness their heritage being explored and 
validated. 

"We're seven strong women and one 
man, we wear our hair natural, we talk 




Urban Bush Women in Heat. Choreography: Jawole 
Willa Jo Zollar; Photo: Johan Elbers 



about the things we believe in — I do 
think it has a powerful effect," says 
Zollar. 

Garcia, a Mexican-American, knows 
from personal experience what it's like 
to go through school without teachers 
of one's own ethnicity. "Even here, 
where we're dealing with 75% minor- 
ity students, the teachers are mostly 
anglo," he explains, "so exposure to 
African- American culture is not near at 
hand — unless you travel to New York, 
Chicago or Los Angeles. These kids are 
robbed of that. So when this troupe 
comes to town, they are definitely play- 
ing role models." Every kid needs 
someone to look up to. 

— David Gere 



- *■» 



: "'*''--*..* -- 



"-3fl*teji 



:, -^^ 



'-^*-' ' ^JS^S-^iSS^'^n-^S^^'- 



25 



if 



'V^E'VE COME TO TAKE SERIOUSLY OUR 

RESPONSIBILITY TO GIVE SOMETHING BACK TO ARTISTS." 



WHO 

Trisha Brown 
Company 

New England 
Foundation for 
the Arts 

Flynn Theatre 



WHAT 

Creative Residency 

WHEN 

Residency 

August-September, 

1992 

Performance 
February, 1993 

WHERE 

Burlington, Vermont 

DOT Funds 

$6,000 



Over the last several years, New 
York-based choreographer Trisha 
Brown has been conceiving new 
dances which, because of their increas- 
ing scale and complexity, require de- 
velopment in a proscenium theater. 
Making them in a cramped studio and 
seeing them performed on stage for 
the first time only days before a pre- 
miere had become unacceptable. Work 
looks different from the 15th row of 
an auditorium, she knows, than it 
does when you're right on top of it. 
But theaters are expensive to open and 
run. As well, Brown and her dancers 
were eager to open a school through 
which they could disseminate her 
technical innovations. They had re- 
ceived an Arts Endowment Challenge 
grant to explore some options. "We 
figured there had to be presenters 
with facilities but without the money 
for residencies of at least four weeks," 
commented Brown's executive direc- 
tor, Susan Fait-Meyers. 

The well-equipped, 1,453-seat Flynn 
Theatre in downtown Burlington had 
been unused during July and August 
every year; during the short northern 
Vermont summer, people spend as 
much time outdoors as possible. The 
Flynn's director of programming, 
Philip Bither, wanted to keep the 
building in use without extending the 
performance season or his budget. 
He had met Fait-Meyers in the early 
developmental days of the Dance On 
Tour program at a presenters' confer- 
ence in Maryland. Bither and Brown's 
manager developed a residency plan 
which met all of their needs. Sup- 



ported by the New England Founda- 
tion for the Arts (NEFA), they found 
a way for Brown's ensemble to have that 
rarest commodity: weeks of relaxed resi- 
dency in a bucolic spot, the best possible 
environment for the development of new 
dance. The only question remaining was 
how to involve the Vermont community. 
They decided to concentrate outreach ac- 
tivities on one long weekend, so that the 
Vermonters wouldn't have to forgo the 
outdoor summer activities they craved, 
and the Brown company could focus 
uninterrupted time on their own work. 
A different company member 
taught a master class each Tuesday 
night during the three-week residency; 
between 20 and 30 people attended 
each session. Early in the residency 
Brown presented a lecture-demonstra- 
tion in which she explored, in public, 
the movement problems she was in- 
vestigating with her dancers. During 
the open weekend, called "Evolution 
of an Artist," Brown hosted more than 
200 people. She talked about her work; 
offered a company demonstration of 
her major themes from the past two 
decades and of the piece she was 
developing at the Flynn; opened her 
rehearsal to the public; screened a 
series of videotapes of earlier works 
in a downstairs space; and held a 
"meet the artist" discussion. Interested 
visitors could view both process and 
product, as well as spend social time 
meeting and talking with Brown and 
her dancers. 

All activities other than master 
classes were free; full concerts featur- 
ing the work developed during the 



26 



Trisha Brown 
Company 

New England 
Foundation for 
the Arts 

Flynn Theatre 



- *' 



residency were scheduled for late Feb- 
ruary, 1993. The "open-weekend" at- 
tracted local participants as well as 
visitors from as far away as Montreal, 
Brooklyn, Ohio and Boston. About 400 
community people participated in the resi- 
dency in one way or another. An ideal 
balance was struck between the company's 
need to cloister itself and create new work, 
and the community's desire for opportu- 
nities to study and to observe. 

"Often a residency is about catering 
to the audience's needs," noted Fait- 
Meyers. "Here, the center was taking 
care of the artist's and the company's 
needs; the audience responded 
strongly to that. Partly, it was because 
Burlington is an aware, progressive, 
inquisitive community." 

"We struck the right balance between 
allowing enough time for the Trisha 
Brown Company to be on its own, and 
for it to give something back," said 
Bither. "One of the final events was an 
informal discussion on dance/music 
collaborations. We invited all the lo- 
cal composers, many of whom collabo- 
rate with area dancers. It turned into 
a wonderful talk, discussions about 
artists' approach to music, the various 
ways to go about working and the 
power relationships between choreog- 
raphers and composers. It really gave 
the local people a window into Trisha's 
thinking: how music functions for her. 
The discussion opened the event up 
beyond the dance community." 

Bither and his staff found housing 
for Trisha and the dancers in private 
homes, rented bicycles, commandeered 
vans. The bulk of the Flynn's contri- 



'*'^-*. 




Brown Company members in Set and Reset. Chore- 
ography: Trisha Brown; Photo: Mark Hanauer 

bution to the residency was in-kind 
services: the use of the theater, its 
staff and equipment and the work of 
rounding up donated housing and 
other services. The kind cooperation 
of IATSE, the stagehands' union at the 
Flynn, allowed work to continue in 
the theater throughout the project. 
Bither, said Brown company manager 
Cathy Einhorn, "was so sensitive to 
the way we wanted to work. It was 
a balancing act between what he 
needed and allowing the company to 
have as much latitude as possible." 

"We were able to do a terrific two- 
day photo shoot on the Flynn stage," 
observed Fait-Meyers. "If we hadn't 
done it there we'd have had to rent 
a theater." 

One of the outcomes of the resi- 
dency was to create a climate in which 
the company and the theater felt com 



..- ■**s 



.>#?' 

W 



, *»*' 






3&P&J, 



27 



.•_ ffi5fc^iSf .-- 




Pgipy#%!fM"JL m -*'*S&^gj»JBgiWMff^ 



Trisha Brown 
Company 

New England 
Foundation for 
the Arts 

Flynn Theatre 



fortable in brainstorming possible joint 
projects for the future. "On the last 
day we were there," continued Fait- 
Meyers, "we had a fabulous hour fan- 
tasizing. The stage is a little narrow; 
they're talking about enlarging it. 
There's a space behind the theater, an 
old factory building that they'd like 
to bring under the umbrella of a capi- 
tal campaign. We discussed a time 
share, various models of dealing with 
real estate, co-op agreements, partner- 
ships. It's really empowering and 
helpful to have this conversation with 
potential partners, so that ideas reso- 
nate in terms of what their needs re- 



ally are, rather than evolving some- 
thing in a vacuum and taking it out 
into the presenting world where it 
doesn't fit." 

"We proved at the Flynn that such 
residencies can be made to work," 
commented Rebecca Blunk of NEFA. 
"It's a model program that I hope gets 
replicated. There are a lot of spaces 
that could be made available with 
minimal staffing and utilities. Col- 
leges and universities have beautiful 
spaces, but there needs to be a coop- 
erative staff, and a program that al- 
lows for these exchanges." 

— Elizabeth Zimmer 



28 



"JUST LIKE THERE ARE 200,000 'NUTCRACKERS' 

THE WORLD, THERE SHOULD BE 200,000 'RAINBOWS.' " 



WHO 



Dayton Contemporary 
Dance Company 

Southern Arts 
Federation 

American Dance 
Festival (ADF) 

WHAT 

Residency as part of 
ADF's "Black 
Traditions in American 
Modern Dance" 

WHEN 

June, 1992 

WHERE 

Durham, 
North Carolina 

DOT Funds 

$6,820 



On the cusp of its 25th anniversary, 
Dayton Contemporary Dance Company 
is on an uphill climb toward national 
recognition. And to the surprise of 
many in the New York-centered dance 
world, this feisty company right out of 
the industrial Midwest is actually get- 
ting it. The reason for the troupe's suc- 
cess? Far-reaching touring opportuni- 
ties facilitated, in part, by Dance On 
Tour (DOT). 

"We started touring in 1972 when we 
were part of the National Association 
of Regional Ballet Companies," says 
Jeraldyne Blunden, founder and artis- 
tic director of Dayton's African-Ameri- 
can-oriented dance troupe. "But basi- 
cally we were just touring to people that 
I knew. If someone requested a perfor- 
mance, we went, but we didn't go out 
looking for it." 

Those were the old days. Through 
Dance On Tour and a novel touring 
program sponsored by the American 
Dance Festival (ADF), the company's 
visibility has increased exponentially, 
says Blunden. In 1991-92, Dayton Con- 
temporary visited 12 venues, including 
an extensive network of theaters in 
California. "We had never traveled west 
of Illinois before," says Blunden. And 
for 1992-93, 18 venues are already lined 
up. New DOT projects include a two- 
week residency in North Carolina, where 
the American Dance Festival is based, and 
three weeks in New Mexico, which has 
never hosted an African- American mod- 
ern dance residency before. 

"Over a three-year period, we will 
have worked with 40 presenters," says 
Art Waber, ADF operations manager 



who also books Dayton's tours. "All of 
our sites have applied to their regional 
consortium groups to bring in DOT 
money. If we didn't have the DOT 
support, we wouldn't be able to tour 
the company." 

The company's unusually close asso- 
ciation with ADF, which has facilitated 
its recent meteoric growth in reputa- 
tion, dates back to 1987 and the estab- 
lishment of a three-year initiative to 
heighten awareness of the African- 
American contribution to modern 
dance. Under the auspices of that 
project, "Black Traditions in American 
Modern Dance," Dayton Contemporary 
joined four other predominantly black 
companies in presenting reconstruc- 
tions of classic works by such seminal 
choreographers as Donald McKayle, 
Pearl Primus and Talley Beatty. Day- 
ton was handpicked by the choreogra- 
phers to perform eight of the fourteen 
reconstructed works, including 
McKayle's Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder, 
a highly acclaimed work choreo- 
graphed in 1959. 

During those three years, all premiere 
performances took place at the Dance 
Festival, with subsequent mini-tours to 
as many as ten traditionally black col- 
leges around North Carolina so that 
students and members of the commu- 
nity could learn more about their dance 
heritage. To bolster that cause, ADF 
packed the program with lecture-dem- 
onstrations, panels with dance histori- 
ans and discussions with the choreog- 
raphers. "We offered a wonderful au- 
dience-building, context-building pack- 
age," says Waber. "If you went through 



29 



Dayton 

Contemporary 
Dance Company 

Southern Arts 
Federation 

American Dance 
Festival 



the whole process, you learned a lot 
about African- American modern dance." 

Meanwhile, Dayton Contemporary 
learned a lot about successful touring, 
which led to the company being cho- 
sen by ADF to spearhead an extended 
project pairing the company's perfor- 
mances with scholarly humanities sym- 
posia funded by the National Endow- 
ment for the Humanities. The Lila 
Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund was the 
major contributor to the overall effort. 
"We felt that the company was on the 
verge of making a national move," says 
Waber, who now oversees the intersec- 
tion of the Dance Festival, the humani- 
ties symposia and Dayton's perfor- 
mances. "It's been a tremendous chal- 
lenge for them administratively, to go 
from being a regional company to a 
national company, but it's time for 
them to move up," says Waber. 

Blunden seems faintly surprised that 
so much attention is swaying toward 
an African-American company that 
came up from such "meager beginnings." 

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater 
and Dance Theatre of Harlem have tra- 
ditionally garnered the lion's share of 
attention, says Blunden with character- 
istic candor. "It was very hard to get 
anything equal to that from funding 
sources or presenters, because — and 
they still feel this way — Ailey's a sure 
thing. But they need to give these other 
companies a try." 

And why not? Owing to the Black 
Traditions project at the ADF, Dayton 
now boasts a repertory of great works 
by African-American choreographers 
that rivals that of any of the big New 




Dayton Contemporary Dance Company in The Stack- 
Up. Choreography: Talley Beatty; Photo: J. Anderson 

York-based companies. The company not 
only shares its repertory with audiences 
in performance, but also with other danc- 
ers in the studio. "Not only have we re- 
done and recorded these works," says 
Blunden, "but we also have people in our 
company who can go out and set them 
on other groups." 

Perhaps most important, though, is the 
opportunity Dayton's performances pro- 
vide to set the record straight about the 
contributions African-American artists 
have made to the art form we call mod- 
ern dance. "Dayton Contemporary rep- 
resents a page of our history that's been 
missing far too long," says Waber. 

Blunden agrees. "Just like there are 
200,000 Nutcrackers in the world," she 
says, "there should be 200,000 Rainbows. 
I think these works are that important." 

— David Gere 



\ 



30 






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"WE OVER-SCHEDULED THE LADY. 

CE COULD NOT HAVE GIVEN IVIORE OF HERSELF." 



WHO 

Lewitzky Dance 
Company 

Arizona 
Commission 
on the Arts 

WHAT 

Month-Long 

Outreach/Creative 

Residency 

WHEN 

July, 1992 

WHERE 

Scottsdaie Center 
for the Arts 

Ballet Arizona 

DOT Funds 

$35,000 



On the first day of the Lewitzky Dance 
Company's month-long 1992 residency 
in Arizona, one of the company's danc- 
ers was rushed to the hospital for sur- 
gery. Bella Lewitzky continued unfazed, 
giving the people of Arizona nearly 
every waking hour of her time, as cho- 
reographer, teacher and advocate for 
the arts. She could not have done it, she 
insists, without the dedicated team of 
Arizonans who put the residency to- 
gether. 

Now in its third year, Arizona Dance 
On Tour (DOT) mobilized people and 
resources to give this residency unprec- 
edented depth and coverage. Kathy 
Hotchner, director of programs for the 
Scottsdaie Center for the Arts, had a 
theater that was unused in the summer; 
she had long wanted to do something 
with Lewitzky to improve the quality 
of local dance in Arizona. Working with 
the Arizona Commission on the Arts 
(ACA), she developed a DOT proposal 
that made it happen. 

The Scottsdaie Center, the ACA and 
Ballet Arizona were partners in this 
wide-ranging collaboration. The Center 
paid the commissioning fee for a new 
work and provided space and staff 
time. The ACA organized the multi- 
faceted event. Donors public and pri- 
vate, artistic and commercial contrib- 
uted. The Safari Resort donated hous- 
ing for the month. Thousands of citi- 
zens were exposed to the varied re- 
sources represented by an experienced 
dance company with a composer (Larry 
Attaway) and a lighting designer 
(Darlene Neel) in residence. 



Ballet Arizona, on whom Lewitzky 
set the new work, offered in-kind ser- 
vices. "They let us haul their dance 
floor around town; they learned the 
new work and will take it into their 
repertoire," observed Mollie Lakin- 
Hayes, touring/community develop- 
ment director at the ACA. "The ballet 
dancers are very different, physically, 
from the Lewitzky company. They got 
the word out, their board was involved, 
everyone worked toward the same 
goal. There was no feeling of compe- 
tition." 

"Michael Uthoff, the new director of 
Ballet Arizona, was interested in hav- 
ing my work available to his company," 
says Lewitzky. "The ballet dancers 
came to take class; some of them had 
never seen modern dance before." Of 
Ballet Arizona's experience with 
Lewitzky, Uthoff said, "I know the 
dancers who had the opportunity to 
work with Bella are totally different 
artists, in a positive way. A couple of 
them had no experience of working in 
a contemporary style, and wanted to 
be pretty ballerinas. After that expe- 
rience, they discovered a totally new 
way of communicating. Their whole 
sense of humanity was different." 

"Bella loves to talk," laughs Claire 
West, the ACA's performing arts di- 
rector. "She just transfixes every- 
body: legislators, boards of directors, 
the general public. Our goals were to 
increase audiences for dance through- 
out the state; we decided to do it by 
focusing on Scottsdaie, to have an ex- 
cellent dance company in residence 



31 



Lewitzky Dance 
Company 

Arizona 
Commission 
on the Arts 



for a month, doing audience develop- 
ment and education activities. We 
opened her company class to public 
viewing every day; she'd spend 15 
minutes at the end addressing ques- 
tions. We involved classroom teach- 
ers, dance teachers, dancers, visual 
artists. Between 20 and 70 people 
turned up each day. Bella went to 
lunch with Arizonans for Cultural 
Development, the Scottsdale Chamber 
of Commerce Board of Directors, the 
ACA's Board of Directors, the Busi- 
ness Volunteers for the Arts and ma- 
jor corporate contributors. She talked 
about her art to them, and they were 
fascinated. A lot of them returned for 
the final concerts." 

"It was a dream residency," com- 
mented Lewitzky a few months later 
between her month in Scottsdale and 
a December swing through rural Ari- 
zona to Lake Havasu City, Yuma, 
Safford, Prescott and Page to prepare 
presenters in these communities for 
another DOT project with her com- 
pany in 1993. "It included the com- 
missioning of a new piece, which is 
the ultimate luxury. Usually when 
you take time to make new work, it's 
unpaid time, expensive time. New 
work is a basic necessity." 

The new work, Episode #3: The Out- 
sider, premiered at the Scottsdale 
Cultural Center, attracting an audi- 
ence of 600 people, "which in Arizona 
in July is amazing," according to 
West. The dance explored the feelings 
of a newcomer to American culture. 
"The lead dancer is trained in Chinese 
classical dance," recalls Lakin-Hayes. 



"She showed how it felt to be over- 
looked, looked through, not really 
accepted. She resolved that her indi- 
viduality was really important." 

Lewitzky and her dancers tour ex- 
tensively every year, so the opportu- 
nity to stay in one place for several 
weeks was a blessing. "Most of our 
touring is hit-and-run; all you see is 
the hotel and the theater. Here we got 
to see the city, to walk around, to rest. 
We worked with the community, in- 
vited people at every opportunity. 
Larry [Attaway] and I made ourselves 
available at lunchtime. We talked 
with anyone the Scottsdale team 
thought was important: funders, cor- 
porate people, artists in the commu- 
nity. We opened the process of our 
work to the public. My dancers taught 
community classes. It was a chock-a- 
block full schedule, by all accounts 
highly successful — one of the things 
you hope will happen." 

It didn't just happen. West and Lakin- 
Hayes at the ACA, and Hotchner at the 
Scottsdale Cultural Council mobilized 
a large number of volunteers to shep- 
herd Lewitzky's company. 

"The Lewitzky Company also did a 
lecture-demonstration at the Her- 
berger Theater Center in downtown 
Phoenix," where reports West, "those 
who attended got a very up-close-and- 
personal experience in a rehearsal 
room. We held master classes for 
children, teens and adults in the West 
Valley, which is heavily Hispanic, 
Native American and Black. Bella 
offered a Craft of Choreography semi- 
nar, free to professional choreogra- 



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32 



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phers from all over the state, which 
drew artists working in Native Ameri- 
can and Flamenco modes as well as 
ballet and modern. The final presen- 
tation of their work drew an audience 
of 200. The classes for professional 
and intermediate dancers had waiting 
lists as long as my arm." 

A Dance Production Weekend, led 
by Darlene Neel and Attaway, at- 
tracted 41 people overall. It drew de- 
signers, composers, people interested 
in getting into arts management as 
well as the staffs of Arizona dance 
companies. "Bella also did a work- 
shop for boards of directors. She was 
interviewed on the radio, on televi- 
sion, in the newspaper. We over- 
scheduled the lady. She could not 
have given more of herself." 

These were the longest days of the 
year, from mid-June to mid-July. "We 
hit 100, 105 degrees during the day," 
observes Lakin-Hayes. "Luckily, Scotts- 




Bella Lewitzky. Photo: John Blackmer 

dale Center is air-conditioned." And 
luckily Bella Lewitzky, a native of the 
California desert, flourishes in the heat. 
Oh, and the dancer who had sur- 
gery is fine. 

— Elizabeth Zimmer 



33 



"THEY DON'T KNOW THE NAJVIES OF THE 

COMPANIES, BUT NOW THEY ASK FOR MODERN DANCE." 



WHO 

Garth Fagan Dance 

Kansas Arts 
Commission 

Various Presenters 

WHAT 

Performance/ 
Outreach Residency 

WHEN 

April, 1992 

WHERE 

Various sites, 
Kansas 



DOT Funds 

$25,000 



In Kansas, where modern dance can 
seem almost as foreign as Oz, Dance On 
Tour coordinator Monique Pittman-Lui 
knew she could get the audience for 
Garth Fagan Dance Company on their 
feet — if only she could get them in the 
hall. 

"Modern dance is not the main 
thing here in Kansas," says Pittman- 
Lui, who was hired by the Topeka 
Performing Arts Center specifically to 
oversee the Fagan company's two- 
week Dance On Tour residency. "Bal- 
let, of course, is popular, and Kansas 
City is big on jazz," she says, noting 
that east Kansas is "very cosmopoli- 
tan." But modern dance? The owners 
of some private dance studios — a 
prime target of the residency's mas- 
ter classes — were so skeptical that 
many refused even to tell their stu- 
dents that Fagan's modern dance com- 
pany was in town. 

In choosing to bring modern dance 
to populations largely unfamiliar with 
this most American of art forms, the 
tour's six east Kansas presenters — 
Emporia Arts Council, Topeka Perform- 
ing Arts Center, University of Kansas 
Concert Series, Kansas State University 
McCain Series, Wichita Park Alliance 
and Johnson Community College — 
knew they were choosing a tough road. 
But, given prior experience of Fagan's 
artistry — the company performed suc- 
cessfully at the Kansas University Con- 
cert Series in Lawrence in 1989 — they 
felt sure they could overcome any in- 
transigence. In large measure, they did. 

"People were touched here by Garth 
Fagan Dance," says Pittman-Lui, 



"whether they talked to the dancers, saw 
the dance, heard the music or received 
the messages that were embedded in the 
choreography. They got standing ovations 
everywhere they went, whether for resi- 
dencies, performances or lecture-demon- 
strations. So we learned a lot about mod- 
ern dance and really furthered the cause 
of modern dance in Kansas." 

Perseverance and good organization 
proved to be key. 

In Topeka, for instance, the local tour 
coordinators found their community 
strikingly resistant to hosting dance 
"outsiders" from Rochester, New York. 
Invitations to master classes were sent 
to dance studios, drill teams and a His- 
panic ballet troupe, but the lack of re- 
sponse seemed to reflect a marked an- 
tipathy to modern dance as an art form. 
"Some ballet teachers complained that 
the Garth Fagan dancers don't wear 
shoes, which would hurt their dancers," 
recalls Pittman-Lui. "I think they were 
afraid of losing their students." 

Ultimately, however, several mem- 
bers of Justicia, the city's ballet 
folklorico, did enroll in the master 
classes and became so enthusiastic 
about Fagan's work that they attended 
every public performance, bringing 
along family members and becoming 
avid fans of the troupe. Also in To- 
peka, the volunteer coordinators over- 
came initial resistance to build support 
for a highly successful lecture-demon- 
stration for 2,800 school children by 
bringing together students from four 
different school districts. The project 
is now seen as a model for how dis- 
tricts can work together. 



34 



Garth Fagan Dance 

Kansas Arts 
Commission 

Various Presenters 



"Our site coordinators here in To- 
peka were almost camping out on 
people's doors to get that response," 
says Pittman-Lui, who attributes the 
residency's many visible successes to 
the commitment of community pre- 
senters who invested in the project 
with a "personal touch." 

Not every residency was equally suc- 
cessful. In Wichita less than 100 people 
attended the residency activities, at a cost 
to the tour of $5,000. Conversely, in 
Lawrence — a university town of 60,000 — 
teachers at Central Junior High School 
took their own initiative to ask the Kan- 
sas Dance Network for a preview lecture 
and were subsequently amazed at the 
mature responses their students exhibited 
to Fagan's work. 

"Generally speaking, you can't tell 
kids in grades 7-9 anything about 
performance or culture or art or any- 
thing," says Pittman-Lui with a laugh. 
"But they were not only orderly, they 
stamped and cheered and pounded on 
chairs at the end of the lecture-dem- 
onstration. The teachers said that had 
never happened before." 

University of Kansas presenter 
Jacqueline Davis believes that the type 
of audience preparation provided at 
the junior high school is exactly 
what's necessary on a larger scale for 
modern dance to gain a stronger foot- 
hold in Kansas. Lacking such prepa- 
ration, audiences tend to find mod- 
ern dance obscure, she says. 

"With modern dance, you go into 
the theater and you have to think," 




A Fagan Company master class at Johnson County 
Community College. Photo: Gary Becker. 



says Davis, who has been presenting 
dance and music in Lawrence for 
nearly 15 years. "When you walk out 
of there, if you don't understand what 
happened, you feel stupid. And that 
is the crux of the problem nationwide: 
if people are feeling stupid, they're 
not going to want to come back." 

After learning about modern dance 
via the educational opportunities pro- 
vided by Kansas Dance On Tour, 
however, audiences seemed eager for 
a repeat encounter, says Pittman-Lui. 
In surveys following the Fagan resi- 
dency, patrons of the Topeka Perfor- 
ming Arts Center expressed a desire 
to see modern dance again. "They 
don't know the names of the compa- 
nies," she adds, "but now they write 
in 'modern dance.' " 



-.-*' 



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-David Gere 



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35 



"THERE'S A DISCIPLINE THAT 

CARRIES OVER TO OTHER THINGS." 



WHO 

Ballet Hispanico 
of New York 

Mid Atlantic Arts 
Foundation 

Pittsburgh Dance 
Council 



WHAT 

Performance/ 
Outreach Residency 

WHEN 

December, 1991 

WHERE 

Various sites, 

Pittsburgh, 

Pennsylvania 

DOT Funds 

$2,295 



At Pittsburgh's Creative and Per- 
forming Arts High School (CAPA), 
"the dancers need as much exposure 
to professionals as they can get," says 
Norma Jean Barnes. So the Decem- 
ber, 1991 residency of Ballet Hispanico 
of New York, though it lasted only 
three days, meant a great deal to the 
CAPA students. The residency also 
touched students of the Frick Middle 
School, whose magnet curriculum is 
specialized in foreign languages, and 
the Advanced Spanish Literature class 
at Carnegie Mellon University. 

Barnes is the residency coordinator 
for the Pittsburgh Dance Council 
(PDC), which sponsored the 
company's visit. She planned the 
events with company representatives, 
and visited classrooms ahead of time 
to show a company video "so they'd 
know beforehand what they'd be see- 
ing" and to instruct children in how 
to behave at a live theater perfor- 
mance. She also invited various uni- 
versity community groups to a Satur- 
day afternoon open rehearsal of the 
company's repertoire, which included 
the premiere of Graciela Daniele's 
new work, El Nuevo Mundo, focusing 
on Columbus's encounter with the 
Americas. A sexy, comic, punk 
rocker's version of the journey across 
the Atlantic, it was shown in Pitts- 
burgh a year before its New York 
premiere in late 1992. 

Barnes was impressed with Tina 
Ramirez, Ballet Hispanico's artistic 
director. "She's a role model and a 
roots person, working in the commu- 
nity, reaching out to Hispanic youth 



through dance. Even if a student 
doesn't want to be a professional 
dancer, there's a discipline that car- 
ries over to other things. Ballet 
Hispanico has a history of working in 
the community, and their lecture-dem- 
onstration was out of sight." 

"I taught them flamenco arms," re- 
members Ramirez. "You use the same 
muscles in different techniques to 
produce movements; the intention 
changes the style. At the post-perfor- 
mance discussion, I found that the 
junior high school kids understood the 
Daniele work better than the adults; 
they saw the humor of the choreog- 
raphy. They got straight to the grain 
of what we were trying to do." 

The residency focused as much on 
the "Hispanico" in the company's 
name as on the "Ballet." Pittsburgh's 
public school population is 55% Afri- 
can-American and 45% "other," in- 
cluding many newly arrived Russian 
immigrants. The percentage of His- 
panics is relatively small, so the op- 
portunity was seized both to expose 
everyone to an authentic manifestation 
of Latin American culture, and to 
reinforce that culture for members of 
the Hispanic community. 

"While contemporary work is still 
our focus," says Carolelinda Dickey, 
executive director of the PDC, "we 
have an ongoing commitment to bring 
in work of three general cultural 
groups: Hispanic, Asian and African- 
American. This can include tradi- 
tional, experimental and cross-disci- 
plinary work. After discussion with 
Tina, who is classically trained, we 



36 



Ballet Hispanico 
of New York 

Mid Atlantic Arts 
Foundation 

Pittsburgh Dance 
Council 



realized that we would be able to 
show not only folk and flamenco, but 
also demonstrate that within the His- 
panic culture there are many genres 
of work. It was important to her to be 
viewed and used as a classical com- 
pany. And we were able to provide 
large chunks of time in the Fulton The- 
ater, so the company could finish 
'tech-ing' the work on stage. Dance On 
Tour makes the difference between my 
doing a one-night stand and doing a 
multi-day residency of this kind." 

The 1,380-seat Fulton Theater was full 
for the Ballet Hispanico performance, 
with nearly 1,200 paid admissions and 
the rest of the seats filled with students. 
"A good third of the audience was 
Spanish-speaking, meaning that the 
residency was well-supported by the 
Hispanic community," says Dickey. 

Partnerships with community organi- 
zations mean a great deal to the chil- 
dren at the Frick, that middle school 
where Ramirez, choreographer Daniele 
and the company members demon- 
strated and talked about their work. 
The school's location is almost a meta- 
phor for the pressures upon it. It sits 
in an area called Oakland, in the middle 
of a triangle formed by Pittsburgh's 
African-American Hill District, the af- 
fluent Squirrel Hill and Shadyside sub- 
urbs and the University of Pittsburgh. 

Community partnerships like this 
one between Frick and the Pittsburgh 




Ballet Hispanico in Cafe America. Choreography: 
George Faison; Photo: Tom Brazil 

Dance Council, which assists in its 
program to develop a dance curriculum 
with an exhaustive visiting artists pro- 
gram, can help assure that students 
from the Hill District who come to 
Frick have a range of experiences not 
unlike those available to its more afflu- 
ent neighbors. The enriched curriculum 
encourages children to stay in school, 
increasing their chances for rewarding 
careers and adult lives. Immersion in 
dance experiences like the Ballet 
Hispanico of New York residency is 
basic to their multi-cultural, multi-dis- 
ciplinary education. 

— Elizabeth Zimmer 



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37 



"PARTICIPATION IS WHERE 

PEOPLE LEARJV MOST." 



WHO 

Liz Lerman/Dance 
Exchange 

Maine Arts 
Commission 

WHAT 

Performance/ 

Outreach/Creative 

Residency 

WHEN 

January, 1991 

WHERE 

University of Maine- 
Farmington 

Various sites, 
Farmington, Maine 

DOT Funds 

$15,000 



Washington, DC-based choreogra- 
pher Liz Lerman turns the whole con- 
cept of dance upside down, which is 
probably why her unconventional, 
boundary-busting work looks so at 
home in the independent-minded state 
of Maine. 

"There are times when I'm quite 
happy to do an informal performance, 
incorporating how young and old, 
straight and gay, or black and white 
in my company dance together," says 
Lerman, whose multi-generational, 
multi-ethnic Dance Exchange has been 
featured in such prestigious venues as 
Washington, DC's Kennedy Center 
and Jacob's Pillow in Lee, Massachu- 
setts. "But I really think, in my heart 
of hearts, that participation is where 
people learn most. When people do it, 
it changes how they see what we do, 
but it also changes what they get to 
experience. 

"It's hard to talk about this without 
sounding really corny," she adds, "but 
all of us in the company feel like 
people really are creative. If given the 
tools — not in a condescending or pa- 
tronizing way — they can make sense 
out of their own lives. If we listen to 
them, it means something to them, 
whether they become artists or not." 

Lerman's uniquely populist perspec- 
tive — she's been called "the ultimate 
democrat of dance" — made her the 
perfect choice for a two-week Dance 
On Tour (DOT) residency sponsored 
by the Maine Arts Commission. 
"Maine is an anomaly in New En- 
gland," explains Alden Wilson, direc- 
tor of the Maine Arts Commission. 



"It's five times bigger than the other 
states, but it's sparsely populated. 
Portland, its largest city, has a popu- 
lation of only 65,000." 

"This is not the Kennebunkport of 
George Bush," adds Margaret Gould 
Wescott, director of the Dance Pro- 
gram at the University of Maine- 
Farmington, one of the DOT present- 
ers. On the contrary, says Wescott, 
Maine is a large state clotted with 
mostly poor rural communities, where 
alcohol, poverty, incest and other 
social problems are prevalent. Not 
surprisingly, dance presenters are few 
and the formal dance concert has lim- 
ited applicability. Local artists are search- 
ing for a way to respond to the sense of 
fractured community, she says, and 
Lerman was brought in as a catalyst. 

In the absence of a statewide dance 
service organization, the Maine Arts 
Commission coordinated the residency 
and served as financial guarantor. 
Each community was responsible for 
contributing a small portion of the 
budget. Wescott, for instance, put in 
$2,000, an amount she collected from 
individuals in Farmington in the form 
of small donations. 

More important than money, how- 
ever, was each presenter's ability to 
identify the people with whom 
Lerman might work. In Farmington, 
for instance, with a population of 
6,000, Wescott identified 22 different 
organizations and school sites, which 
led to an extraordinary range of com- 
munity involvement. For six days, 
Lerman and her dancers huddled with 
groups of older adults, the university 



38 



Liz Lerman/Dance 
Exchange 

Maine Arts 
Commission 



- -A* 



dance company, high school theater 
students, elementary school students, a 
group of ministers, terminally ill hospi- 
tal patients, incest survivors and a 
women's advisory group, culminating in 
a packed performance on campus. 

"One of the neat things they did at 
that performance," says Wescott, 
"was to make a dance incorporating 
impressions of things they experi- 
enced in Farmington, like a bridge 
that was under construction and store 
windows that were closed after 5 
p.m." (Farmington is "dead" at night, 
she explains with a laugh.) What's 
more, many in this predominantly 
white community were witnessing 
their first example of racial diversity. 
"Kids wrote letters afterward saying 
they liked the way the black man 
jumped. Boris, one of Liz's dancers, 
was probably the first black man they 
had ever seen." 

One of Lerman's strongest memo- 
ries of the Portland portion of the 
residency — which happened to coin- 
cide with the Desert Storm bombing 
of Iraq — was a performance featuring 
local women, many of whom had 
relatives in the military, sharing their 
thoughts about the Persian Gulf War. 
"Their willingness to stand up in their 
community and admit to their am- 
biguous feelings was really some- 
thing," says Lerman, who facilitated 
the creation of the piece by asking the 
dancers to recall where they were 
when they heard about Japan's bomb- 
ing of Pearl Harbor. "I took that the- 
matic structure home with me and we 
used it in a piece of our own." 



"-■***. 




i ■ 



Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange company members. 
Photo: Philip Trager 

Betsy Dunphy, an independent cho- 
reographer from South Portland who 
has followed Lerman's work for five 
years and incorporates multi-genera- 
tional dancers in her own choreogra- 
phy, says that Lerman has an unusual 
ability to discover the common thread 
in a community, stitching it into a 
remarkably beautiful crazy quilt. 
"Physically, these people don't look 
like dancers," says Dunphy. "But they 
get up there and deliver a perfor- 
mance that is so personal. It comes 
from the deepest parts of individuals 
and gets distilled by the group into 
a shared group piece. It's not any- 
thing you have to grapple with to un- 
derstand because it's coming from a 
common center. I like that." 

— David Gere 



.. *M^ 



SS&P&i 



"•' ■"flva fa 



39 



^£&£>««5^**& ? tt$!P(&* 



AFTERWORD 



So many images of dance. So many ways in which dancing 
happens, and so many ways in which dance builds community 
and makes bridges. These twelve stories about dance and part- 
nerships featured by the Dance On Tour Program are only a 
tiny fraction of the many collaborations between dance artists, 
presenters, state arts agencies, regional arts organizations and 
hundreds of communities across America working together to 
bring excellence to the citizens of our land. 

The profiles in Moving Around show us that Dance On Tour 
can work for the benefit of many, and demonstrate the critical 
leadership that the federal government can play in securing rich 
cultural experiences for a great variety of Americans. Yet the 
funding currently available through Dance On Tour is not suf- 
ficient to meet the need or the possibilities that dance compa- 
nies and presenters can offer to American communities. 

In an era when the arts world is characterized by the strength 
of our art forms and the fragility of our institutions, Dance On 
Tour suggests a new way of doing business which is built on 
partnerships and on the investments of talents, time and funds 
by many different players. How do we capitalize upon these 
models? What strategies will increase the visibility and re- 
sources for this program and for the audiences and artists it 
serves? 

We have begun answering those questions by doing what 
people have always done: telling the stories. And imagining 
how many more stories lie ahead, with the support and resources 
needed. The challenge belongs to us all. 

— Bonnie Brooks 



40 



MOVING 




> 


c 
a 



THE NUMBERS: 

DISTRIBUTION OF DANCE ON TOUR PROJECTS 

Regional Component (FY 1991-1993) 




Virgin Islands 

© 

Puerto Rico 



?o 



<C5s 

Hawaii 



*£> 







Key: 

(#J Number of Regional Engagements Supported 
1991-1993 



• 820 dance residencies 

• 1 ,859 performances supported 

• over 170 companies have 
participated 

• 484 presenters participating 



42 



State Component (FY 1 990 - 1 993) 




Puerto Rico 



pO 



Hawaii 



°S> 



Key: 



Grantees of the State Component 
1990-1993 



• 41 companies/artists have participated 
in state projects 

• 1 9 states have conducted DOT projects 

• over 220 communities have been served 



43 



CONTACT LIST: 

STATE AND REGIONAL ARTS ORGANIZATIONS 



STATE ARTS ORGANIZATIONS 



Alabama State Council on the Arts 

One Dexter Avenue 
Montgomery, Alabama 36130 
205/242-4076 FAX: 205/240-3269 

Alaska State Council on the Arts 

411 West 4th Avenue, Suite IE 
Anchorage, Alaska 99501-2343 
907/279-1558 FAX: 907/279-4330 

Arizona Commission on the Arts 

417 West Roosevelt 
Phoenix, Arizona 85003 
602/255-5882 FAX: 602-256-0282 

Arkansas Arts Council 

1500 Tower Building 

323 Center Street 

Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 

501/324-9766 FAX: 501/324-9154 

California Arts Council 

2411 Alhambra Boulevard 
Sacramento, California 95817 
916/227-2550 FAX: 916/227-2628 

Colorado Council on the Arts 

750 Pennsylvania Street 
Denver, Colorado 80203-3699 
303/894-2617 FAX: 303/894-2615 

Connecticut Commission on the Arts 

227 Lawrence Street 
Hartford, Connecticut 06106 
203/566-4770 FAX: 203/566-6462 

Delaware Division of the Arts 
State Office Building 
820 North French Street 
Wilmington, Delaware 19801 
302/577-3540 FAX: 302/577-3862 

District of Columbia Commission on 
the Arts & Humanities 

410 8th Street, NW 
Washington, DC 20004 
202/724-5613 FAX: 202/727-4135 

Division of Cultural Affairs Florida 
Department of State 

The Capitol 



Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250 
904/487-2980 FAX: 904/922-5259 

Georgia Council for the Arts 

530 Means Street, NW, Suite 115 
Atlanta, Georgia 30318 
404/651-7920 FAX: 404/651-7922 

State Foundation on Culture & the Arts 

335 Merchant Street, Room 202 
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813 
808/586-0300 FAX: 808/586-0308 

Idaho Commission on the Arts 

304 West State Street 

c/o Statehouse Mail 

Boise, Idaho 83720 

208/334-2119 FAX: 208/334-2488 

Illinois Arts Council 

State of Illinois Center 
100 West Randolph, Suite 10-500 
Chicago, Illinois 60601 
312/814-6750 FAX: 312/814-1471 

Indiana Arts Commission 

402 West Washington Street, Room 72 
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2741 
317/232-1268 FAX: 317/232-5595 

Iowa Arts Council 
1223 East Court Avenue 
State Capitol Complex 
Des Moines, Iowa 50319 
515/281-4013 FAX: 515/242-6498 

Kansas Arts Commission 

700 Jackson, Suite 1004 
Topeka, Kansas 66603 
913/296-3335 FAX: 913/296-4989 

Kentucky Arts Council 
31 Fountain Place 
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601 
502/564-3757 FAX: 502/564-2839 

Division of the Arts Louisiana Department 
of Culture, Recreation & Tourism 

1051 North 3rd Street, P.O. Box 44247 
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804 
504/342-8180 FAX: 504/342-3207 



Maine Arts Commission 

55 Capitol Street 
State House Station 25 
Augusta, Maine 04333 
207/287-2724 FAX: 207/287-2335 

Maryland State Arts Council 
601 North Howard Street, 1st Floor 
Baltimore, Maryland 21201 
410/333-8232 ' FAX: 410/333-1062 

Massachusetts Cultural Council 

80 Boylston Street 
The Little Building, 10th Floor 
Boston, Massachusetts 02116 
617/727-3668 FAX: 617/727-0044 

Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural 
Affairs 

1200 6th Street, Executive Plaza 
Detroit, Michigan 48226 
313/256-3735 FAX: 313/256-3781 

Minnesota State Arts Board 

432 Summit Avenue 

St. Paul, Minnesota 55102 

612/297-2603 FAX: 612/297-4304 

Mississippi Arts Commission 

239 North Lamar Street, Second Floor 
Jackson, Mississippi 39201 
601/359-6030 FAX: 601/359-6008 

Missouri State Council on the Arts 

Wainwright Office Complex 
111 North Seventh Street, Suite 105 
St. Louis, Missouri 63101 
314/340-6845 FAX: 314/340-7215 

Montana Arts Council 

316 North Park Avenue 

Room 252 

Helena, Montana 59620 

406/444-6430 FAX: 406/444-6548 

Nebraska Arts Council 

The Joslyn Castle Carriage House 
3838 Davenport Street 
Omaha, Nebraska 68131-2329 
402/595-2122 FAX: 402/595-2334 



44 



Nevada State Council on the Arts 

329 Flint Street 

Reno, Nevada 89501 

702/688-1225 FAX: 702/688-1110 

New Hampshire State Council on the Arts 

Phenix Hall 

40 North Main Street 

Concord, New Hampshire 03301 

603/271-2789 FAX: 603/271-2361 

New Jersey State Council on the Arts 

4 North Broad Street 
Trenton, New Jersey 08625 
609/292-6130 FAX: 609/989-1440 

New Mexico Arts Division 

228 East Palace Avenue 
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 
505/827-6490 FAX: 505/827-7308 

New York State Council on the Arts 

915 Broadway 

New York, New York 10010 

212/387-7000 FAX: 212/387-7164 

North Carolina Arts Council 
Department of Cultural Resources 
Raleigh, North Carolina 27611 
919/733-2821 FAX: 919/733-4834 

North Dakota Council on the Arts 
Black Building, Suite 606 
Fargo, North Dakota 58102 
701/239-7150 FAX: 701/239-7153 

Ohio Arts Council 

727 East Main Street 
Columbus, Ohio 43205 
614/466-2613 FAX: 614/466-4494 

State Arts Council of Oklahoma 

Jim Thorpe Building, Room 640 
2101 North Lincoln Boulevard 
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105 
405/521-2931 FAX: 405/521-6418 

Oregon Arts Commission 

550 Airport Road, SE 
Salem, Oregon 97310 
503/378-3625 FAX: 503/373-7789 



Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council 
on the Arts 

Finance Building, Room 216 
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120 
717/787-6883 FAX: 717/783-2538 

Rhode Island State Council on the Arts 

95 Cedar Street, Suite 103 
Providence, Rhode Island 02903 
401/277-3880 FAX: 401/521-1351 

South Carolina Arts Commission 
1800 Gervais Street 
Columbia, South Carolina 29201 
803/734-8696 FAX: 803/734-8526 

South Dakota Arts Council 

230 South Phillips Avenue, Suite 204 
Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57102-0720 
605/339-6646 FAX: 605/332-7965 

Tennessee Arts Commission 

320 Sixth Avenue, North, Suite 100 
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0780 
615/741-1701 FAX: 615/741-8559 

Texas Commission on the Arts 
P.O. Box 13406, Capitol Station 
Austin, Texas 78711 
512/463-5535 FAX: 512/475-2699 

Utah Arts Council 

617 East South Temple Street 
Salt Lake City, Utah 84102 
801/533-5895 FAX: 801/533-6196 

Vermont Council on the Arts 

136 State Street 

Montpelier, Vermont 05633-6001 

802/828-3291 FAX: 802/828-3233 

Virginia Commission for the Arts 

223 Governor Street 
Richmond, Virginia 23219 
804/225-3132 FAX: 804/225-4327 

Virgin Islands Council on the Arts 

41-42 Norre Gade, P.O. Box 103 
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 00802 
809/774-5984 FAX: 809/774-6206 

Washington State Arts Commission 
110 9th & Columbia Street 



Mail Stop GH-11 

Olympia, Washington 98504-2675 

206/753-3860 FAX: 206/586-5351 

Arts & Humanities Section West Virginia 
Division of Culture & History 

Capitol Complex 

Charleston, West Virginia 25305 

304/558-0220 FAX: 304/558-2779 

Wisconsin Arts Board 

101 East Wilson Street, 1st floor 
Madison, Wisconsin 53702 
608/266-0190 FAX: 608/267-0380 

Wyoming Arts Council 

2320 Capitol Avenue 
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002 
307/777-7742 FAX: 307/777-5499 



REGIONAL ARTS ORGANIZATIONS 



Arts Midwest 

Hennepin Center for the Arts 

528 Hennepin Avenue, Suite 310 

Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403 

612/341-0755 FAX: 612/341-0902 

Mid-America Arts Alliance 

912 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 700 
Kansas City, Missouri 64105 
816/421-1388 FAX: 816/421-3918 

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation 

11 East Chase Street, Suite 2-A 
Baltimore, Maryland 21202 
410/539-6659 ' FAX: 410/837-5517 

New England Foundation for the Arts 

678 Massachusetts Avenue 
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139 
617/492-2914 FAX: 617/876-0702 

Southern Arts Federation 

1293 Peachtree Street, NE, Suite 500 
Atlanta, Georgia 30309 
404/874-7244 FAX: 404/873-2148 

Western States Arts Federation 

236 Montezuma Avenue 
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501 
505/988-1166 FAX: 505/982-9307 



45 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 



Sally Brayley Bliss was a dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, Ameri- 
can Ballet Theatre and the Joffrey Ballet. She was director of the Joffrey II 
Dancers from 1969-1985, and is now the trustee of the Antony Tudor Ballet 
Trust. She is a member of the National Council on the Arts. 

Arthur Mitchell is the co-founder and artistic director of Dance Theatre of 
Harlem — a multicultural, neo-classical ballet company — and a pivotal figure 
in education and the performing arts. He was the first African-American pre- 
mier danseur with the New York City Ballet and is the recipient of thirteen 
Honorary Doctorate Degrees. Mr. Mitchell is a member of the National Council 
on the Arts. 

Elizabeth Zimmer is the dance editor of New York's Village Voice. Over the 
past five years, she has observed the work of practically every professional 
dance ensemble in the country. 

David Gere is the dance and music critic for the Alameda Newspaper Group 
based in Oakland, California. He is also co-editor of the "Talking Dance" 
Project, an ongoing series of dance symposia in the Bay Area. 

Bonnie Brooks is the executive director of Dance/USA, the national service 
organization for nonprofit professional dance. 

Robert Yesselman was the executive director of the Paul Taylor Dance Com- 
pany for fifteen years and of the Joffrey Ballet for one year. He is currently 
a consultant in organizational development for dance companies. 



46 



MOVING 











MOVING 









NATIONAL 
ENDOWMENT 



T2 



- 



Dance/USA 



Suite 540 

Washington, DC 20005