Monday, October 5, 2009

Thoughts on a singular arts service organization

Blake Beckham passed along this link from Partners in Performance. To bring the same discussion local, the question of consolidation has arisen in the Atlanta arts community before, and of course we are talking again about whether there needs to be a separate dance-specific organization. I say yes. That doesn't mean the organizations that provide wider discipline services aren't doing a great job, it just means that dance groups have specific needs (e.g. space for rehearsals with particular floor etc. requirements) that aren't being addressed. I agree with Lisa Mount's comment on the article, "Artists and cultural workers in the various disciplines have disparate vocabularies, values, and ways of working – symphony orchestras and ensemble theaters, just to name two, create their work and reach their publics in very different ways, and they hold radically different ideas about what the other disciplines actually contribute to society." How many of us have collaborated with musicians only to realize that the way dancers talk about music and the way musicians do is VERY different!? The process of creating dance is unique to the discipline (or really to each artist, but generally more similar among dancers than across disciplines) and the unique needs of dancers will be best met by an organization for dancers. And as I said, there's a wide disparity of viewpoints just among the dancers without even bringing them together with artists in other disciplines!

I also believe there should be a dance-specific group because the larger organizations are useful--the MAACC marketing meetings are a great source of information and inspiration for marketing for me, but having the people who are working specifically on dance get together too would be even better! There are groups of people who meet to discuss theatre, why can't there be meetings for the dancers? We can define what we need so that things don't overlap with what MAACC, ACPA etc. are offering. But the combination that happened after the Atlanta Dance Initiative folded into the Theatre Coalition to become the Coalition for Performing Arts is that the culture of theatre was still largely dominant in the organization. As Keif, who served on the ACPA member services committee has said, their Unified Auditions don't serve the dance community and though there are some voices from the dance community involved in the board etc. it's still mostly a theatre crowd. That's not to say the promotional tools online, ticketing services and health insurance benefits to name a few, aren't a great service to dancers. And we don't want yet another organization that's going to be a drain on resources for membership dues. But I think we can work out some way that makes sense for dance to have a larger presence AS DANCE in Atlanta and still be involved with these existing entities.
This is one of our largest issues in creating DanceATL--so what do you all think?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Claire,

    ACPA would love to hear your ideas on how to provide more services for the dance community. ACPA has the structure in place to serve: staff, a Board, a non-profit status, etc.

    Let's meet and talk about how we can serve dance organizations more.

    Jessyca Holland
    Executive Administrator
    Atlanta Coalition of Performing Arts
    404-588-9890 x 106