The Newest Old-School Fundraising Scheme: A Telethon Livestream
How does a choreographer pressed for time raise a whole lot of money quickly—really quickly?
the feath3r theory's Amy Gernux. Photo by Aitor Mendilibar, courtesy Kelly
It all started in 2017, when—after bemoaning how time-consuming Kickstarter campaigns can be—a company member jokingly suggested an old-school telethon. "We'd spend one whole day asking for money, and be done!" Kelly says. "It's so on brand because our work is all about re-appropriating popular culture."
Last year's inaugural fundraiser took place at Kelly's apartment, where they managed to pull in $7,440 in 24 hours (the goal was $5,000, which they reached in the first 12 hours). This year will be the first-ever live event hosted at the Kickstarter Headquarters and will be streamed on Kickstarter Live, Facebook and Insta Stories. The goal? Raise $10,000.
Although it will have many of the same features as the first telethon—Kelly and company will make live fundraising calls and conduct interviews with friends and fans ("Why do you like our work? What should we do in the next five years?")—this one will have more of a gala/show/party feel, with doors opening to the public from 6 pm to midnight, with plenty of booze, dancing and cake to boot, in honor of Kelly's birthday.
"The only weekend I had free was my birthday weekend!" he laughs. "So we are doing it on my birthday."
Raja Feather Kelly. Photo by Kate Shot Me, courtesy Kelly
What will happen between, say, 12 am and 8 am, when the venue is almost empty? "I'll call people on the West coast. I'll listen to music and DJ and talk to people. Say my thank yous," Kelly says. "I'll do my Marina Abramovic-esque napping. Then I'll wake up and continue calling people."
The Kickstarter goes live June 4 at noon.
It's a cycle familiar to many: First, a striking image of a lithe, impossibly fit dancer executing a gravity-defying développé catches your eye on Instagram. You pause your scrolling to marvel, over and over again, at her textbook physique.
Inevitably, you take a moment to consider your own body, in comparison. Doubt and negative self-talk first creep, and then flood, in. "I'll never look like that," the voice inside your head whispers. You continue scrolling, but the image has done its dirty work—a gnawing sensation has taken hold, continually reminding you that your own body is inferior, less-than, unworthy.
It's no stretch to say that social media has a huge effect on body image. For dancers—most of whom already have a laser-focus on their appearance—the images they see on Instagram can seem to exacerbate ever-present issues. "Social media is just another trigger," says Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist who works with the dancers of Atlanta Ballet. "And dancers don't need another trigger." In the age of Photoshop and filters, how can dancers keep body dysmorphia at bay?
If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.
Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.
Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.
So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?
When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.