You might have heard the saying: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” In fact, if you’ve worked in the arts, not only have you most likely heard this, but you might also consider what I feel is the implied third part of this phrase, “Those who can’t do either, administrate.” This article is ultimately about arts administrators; read on for more.
I’d never experienced face-to-face
advocacy firsthand to gain true insight into its meaning — and outcomes.
In imagining what my first governmental advocacy meetings might be
like, I wondered: How could I be the most effective voice in
representing a diverse field of artists? Do I need to be an expert on
the issues? Ultimately, what sort of impact can I make? Read on for more from Michelle Lynch Reynolds.
As a judge in any competition, you are expected to be “objective.” But there is no such thing as pure objectivity, since we all come with our own set of past experiences. I am aware of my personal
biases and try to move beyond them, but part of the value of my — or
anyone’s — feedback is in the passionate personal response. If we know a person from our past, we see more in their
performance than if we never laid eyes on them. This is why the
American College Dance Festival Association requires that its
adjudicators be kept away from the participants — “sequestered.” Read about dancer/critic Wendy Perron's experience.
The announcement in January by the Trey McIntyre Project that its performances June 25-29, 2014, at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival would be the company’s last sent both shockwaves and shrugs through the dance community. The shockwaves were because despite the company only being a full-time entity since 2008 (it had begun in 2005 as a summer pickup company); it seemed to be a model of success in a dance world that is constantly searching for new blood.
Despite the daunting landscape for independent and freelance dance professionals, we’re seeing encouraging trends in how some dance companies regard the family lives of their employees.
George Balanchine didn't hide his disapproval of dancers having children. Doubtless, such overt pressure from a director would not fly anymore, but many issues that more indirectly discourage parenthood have not changed. Dancers still deal with issues like taking parental leave, juggling child care, physical recovery from childbirth, and health care.
Too many of the mainstream narratives about race in the United States are stuck in mid-twentieth-century paradigms of black vs. white. The classic archetypes of the oppressor and the oppressed make for good movies, but the racial groups that feature in conversations about race today are insanely reductive visions of reality. Read on for more on this provocative topic.
Art and arts organizations are not capable of solving racism on their
own. It’s not that the arts have nothing to say about race or that
diverse cultural expressions aren’t important, but in the absence of a
clear and shared understanding of the underlying factors that perpetuate racism,
I fear that arts-centric interventions can all too often end up being
little more than a band-aid – a way to reassure ourselves that we’re
doing something important and valuable when in reality we’re really
having very little impact at all. I believe that the sooner we as a
field start framing our efforts not around “what can we do as artists
and arts administrators to promote diversity?” but rather “how does
racial injustice manifest today, what are its root causes, and how can
we as human beings most effectively be part of the solution?” the
sooner we’ll actually have something to be proud of.
Many dance organizations have long been unable to afford health insurance for dancers, even though they are the tools through which we fulfill the missions of our companies. The Affordable Care Act and its subsidies to small businesses provide an opportunity for dance companies to invest resources in their employees’ health care, many for the very first time. Great! But, wait … what options are available? What can we afford? Is my organization required by law to provide insurance? What if my company can’t afford insurance?? What are the deadlines???
Important revised dates to put on your calendar regarding the Affordable Care Act.