Thursday, February 23, 2012

We're skipping this one

Ok, everyone, I'm admitting an organizational fail on my part. Trying to do a meeting each month is probably more than I can put together successfully with all this not being my main focus. So there will be no meeting this weekend, the 26th, and consequently no February meeting at all. Sorry. I figured we'd try the every month but I don't know if I can keep it up. BUT the good news is I DO have March 22 at noon set aside for our next meeting, hosted graciously by the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center again. And I also have a plan and am discussing the April 1 meeting with folks already. Then after April we also run into the summer months, which are notoriously empty of dance because almost everyone takes off. So perhaps we can fit in one in May and skip June and July? Really I'm open to feedback here. If there's someone who really has a burning topic etc., or just really can't go a few months without a DanceATL meeting, please let me know!

At one conference presentation I attended on collaboration, they discussed the lifetime of a collaboration in the arts in their experience of funding them and their conclusion was that after two years or so, the people who started with a project tend to get burnt out. I'm happy to say that I don't think that my energy for the project is lessening, and I think we've had a lot of success over the last couple years, but I do feel that I'm running out of ideas for topics without rehashing those we've already covered. I'm happy to reprise a topic, if there is one someone missed before. And of course, from a different angle and with different speakers it can become a totally new discussion. So, again, I appreciate your input.

Oh, and speaking of topics, the one for March 22 will be social media and how we use it to promote ourselves and the entire Atlanta dance community. I'll send out details when I have panelists confirmed etc.

Yay dance!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Once again, here's someone tackling artists' depths of abstraction and the audience's craving for "meaning" in what they've seen. Or really, a storyline is mostly what "non-dancers" crave, isn't it? Narrative. So here are thoughts from another dance blogger out there: Success and Housewives.
Along those lines, one of the You've Cott Mail missives (for those of you who aren't arts marketers, Thomas Cott is the Alvin Ailey Amer. Dance Theater marketing guru) this week included some articles on elitism and art, which is sort of along the same lines, really, thoughts about how much you should cater to your audience when you chose/create your programming. From Artsjournal Funny, Catching and Not too Challenging. It's a constant challenge in "contemporary dance," or making any type of art, really. Artists sometimes being sort of like twins who have their own language, how much do you need the rest of the world to understand? Or how much of it really does come across to at least some of the audience even if they don't know the exact language? I guess the question is what percentage of your audience do you want to understand, clearly, what's going on in the performance?
A story that comes to mind is a piece I saw years ago where they had a table downstage where they were eating a meal. Or well, they had abstracted it because they weren't actually eating food onstage. Nor did they have fake food. But they did have forks and plates on the table. This struck me as a very strange place to stop the abstraction. Eating, we all do it and it's pretty recognizable. Really just move your hand to your open mouth and I would guess a lot of people watching will get "eat" from it in a charades sort of symbolic way. So how much more of the extra stuff do you need to represent the act of eating? Other concepts, ones that are more abstract already, are certainly harder to communicate. But for the people who like dance, I think there's a general feeling that movement does have the capacity to communicate some abstract things better than words do. And people who don't "get it" just don't communicate that way. The interesting question is whether the capacity to "understand" movement is somehow innate or something learned very early on, or if it's possible to actually teach people to see what they at first are blind to. Any anecdotes of "converts" out there?