Courtney Harge, associate director of inbound marketing for Fractured Atlas. Photo by De'Lon Grant, Courtesy Harge.

Whether You Need Funding, Promotion or Space, These 4 Steps Will Help You Advocate for Your Art

You already believe in your work as a dancer. But how can you make others see that it's worth supporting? Courtney Harge, associate director of inbound marketing for Fractured Atlas, outlines the essentials of advocating for your work.


Be specific with your needs

According to Harge, understanding what resources you need to enhance your work or platform can be the hardest part. Is it funding, promotion, rehearsal space or a partnership? "Be really clear," she says.

Recognize your skills

Discussions around advocacy often come down to money, and when dancers think they don't have enough, they feel like they're entering the conversation at a deficit. Remember that your work, whether it be as a performer, choreographer or administrator, is filling a need. "At the very least, assume an equitable presence at the table," Harge says.

Be honest about your goals

"It is much harder to sell someone else's idea of what your art should be than it is to sell your genuine idea," Harge says. "If you have to repeat the same argument all day, every day, it better be an argument you believe."

When you get a no

There's always a risk that you'll get rejected. But it's okay to continue the conversation by politely asking why. "If they know that you respect them enough to accept their no," says Harge, "they are more likely to continue the conversation later to find a yes."

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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

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December 2020