A great day for dance: The Dance/NYC Mid-Season Symposium

Photo by Christopher Duggan

There are not many things that I will willingly wake up at 7 AM on a Saturday for. But 2 weekends ago, February 26th, I did just that in order to attend Dance/NYC’s Mid-Season Symposium. Despite being forced to become a coffee-drinker for a day, I am thoroughly glad I took part in this splendid dance event.

Actually, the festivities started the night before with a kick-off party at the Rubin Museum hosted by the Dance/NYC Junior Committee. I’ve always enjoyed breaking the ice with colleagues before delving into professional matters; starting with informal mingling tends to make the later structured exchanges more meaningful and fruitful. And the Junior Committee certainly knew how to start things off right. Catching up with acquaintances and meeting new friends in the field, surrounded by the swanky ambiance of the Chelsea hotspot, was a great way to get everyone engaged and excited for the day ahead.

Photo by Christopher Duggan

After successfully waking up early the next day, I ventured to 3LD Art & Technology Center (aka the Liberty Zone spaceship), grabbed my coffee, and readied my notepad. (Yes, that’s right. I play it old school and actually write on paper with a pen.) The day progressed with four main panels, two breakout sessions, one-on-one smART bars, and plenty of networking in-between. And I must say, it was one of the most succinct, well-run, productive, and informative conference-like days that I’ve ever attended (and I’ve seen my share). The four main panels really covered a lot of ground, with discussions on funding, dance and diplomacy, partnerships, and NYC dance spaces – all led and moderated by industry leaders. Altogether, they presented a great snapshot of the issues facing the dance community, especially in NYC. Perhaps the only thing missing was a panel on the state of the art, what is actually being seen onstage, but alas, not everything can be covered in just one day.

At the close of the last session, with mind and notebook full, I felt rejuvenated to continue working for the field of dance. It was wonderful to learn new things about different areas of the field and to network with fellow dance compadres. But the biggest takeaway for me was witnessing the passion of so many individuals for art and dance, encouraging me to continue promoting and improving the dance world in any way that I can.

Memorable quotes from the day:

“Seeing dance makes a bigger impact than listening to a speech.” –Maura Pally of the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

“Dance can break barriers because it is soul-to-soul contact.” –Xiomara Reyes, principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre

“How are we going to work together to develop a public appetite for new work?” –Ben Cameron from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

“These times call for creative thinking, and you are all the people to do that.” –Anne Berry Howe, Senior Counsel/Advisor to Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand

Photo by Christopher Duggan

My sincerest thanks to Lane Harwell, the ever-dapper (seriously, check out the picture) and enthusiastic Director of Dance/NYC, and Lacey Althouse, the sweet yet cunning workhorse behind the scenes, for organizing such a great day. And special thanks as well to the Junior Committee for helping to plan and run the event and for throwing a fabulous kick-off party. I hope that the conversations will continue and that even more individuals from the community will attend in the future.

More things to check out:

  • Dance/NYC webpage with detailed information on the symposium
  • Junior Committee member’s blog post on the event
  • The Junior Committee is launching a survey on young arts professionals
  • ICSCS – a new cultural policy think tank
  • A study done on NYC dance spaces, by Exploring the Metropolis
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2 Comments

  1. I enjoyed reading this post very much, and I plan to share this site with the dancers in my family! (I work with your dad, Meagan, and appreciated his sharing this with me.)

    Reply
  2. Preparing for this year’s event – nice to read your memories!

    Reply

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