Why Companies Are Increasingly Opting For Shared, Collaborative Programs
In what seems to be a growing trend, regional companies are coming together to share stages and expand their audiences. These team-ups often go beyond split bills, with companies swapping choreographers and performing at least one joint work. While the logistics of co-presentations can be complicated—with more dancers to schedule, budgets to balance and creative visions to blend—the benefits can range from bigger box-office returns to lasting relationships for the artists.
In 2017, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Dance Theatre of Harlem came together for a shared program at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh. "We got great feedback from the audience and I knew it was a good thing," says Terrence Orr, artistic director of PBT. The joint production was such a success, they're at it again this spring.
At the Cowles Center in Minneapolis, an initiative called MERGE, begun in 2016, has been partnering up local dance companies to help their dedicated audiences grow beyond their comfort zones. "We present 12 dance companies a year, so we are able to look for opportunities where we might cross-pollinate, say finding tap dancers who work well with breakers," says Andrew Dolan, manager of advancement for the Cowles Center.
"Sure, the financials are complicated and require foundations and sponsors," says Orr, "but there are a thousand reasons to do it and they are all good." For the artists, these team-ups are an opportunity to experience new perspectives and creative processes in the studio. For Pittsburgh audiences, the DTH and PBT shared program was a chance to see more dancers of color onstage with their home company.
"We want to meet a dance patron where they are at and then introduce them to even more," says Dolan.
Collaborations to Keep an Eye Out for This Month
"Made in Chicago" 312 Series
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in Robyn Mineko Williams' Cloudline
Todd Rosenberg, Courtesy Auditorium Theatre
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Malpaso Dance Company share the stage in this series at the Auditorium Theatre. In addition to a collaborative work, Hubbard Street will perform a piece from Malpaso artistic director Osnel Delgado, and Malpaso will dance a premiere by Hubbard regular Robyn Mineko Williams. March 2–3.
BRKFST Dance Company
Bill Cameron, Courtesy Cowles Center
BRKFST Dance Company, a troupe that works on the edges of break dancing, martial arts and contemporary dance, will take part in a collaborative evening at the Cowles Center in Minneapolis with tap company Kaleena Miller Dance. March 8–10.
Tour de Force
Allen Birnbach, Courtesy Colorado Ballet
Colorado Ballet teams up with fellow Denver-based companies Cleo Parker Robinson Dance and Wonderbound in new works by Robinson and Wonderbound's Garrett Ammon created especially for this program. March 8–10, Ellie Caulkins Opera House.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre + Dance Theatre of Harlem
Duane Rieder, Courtesy PBT
This mixed rep features signature works from both companies and a collaborative staging of Stanton Welch's Orange. March 15–24, August Wilson Center.
- Hubbard Street/Malpaso Dance | 2018-19 Season | Auditorium ... ›
- Hubbard Street Announces 2018-19 Season Programming ›
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago / Malpaso Dance Company | ›
- Sharing the stage: PBT teams with Dance Theatre of Harlem ... ›
- Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre + Dance Theatre of Harlem ›
- Tour de Force — Wonderbound ›
- Tour de Force ›
- Calendar & Tickets | The Cowles Center ›
- BRKFST Dance Company & Kaleena Miller Dance | The Cowles ... ›
- "Made in Chicago" Dance Series | See Chicago Dance ›
- The Auditorium Theatre's 'Made in Chicago' series highlights some ... ›
More than once, when I'm sporting my faded, well-loved ballet hoodie, some slight variation of this conversation ensues:
"Is your daughter the dancer?"
"Actually," I say, "I am."
"Wow!" they enthuse. "Who do you dance with? Or have you retired...?"
"I don't dance with a company. I'm not a professional. I just take classes."
Insert mic drop/record scratch/quizzical looks.
You nominated your favorite dance moments so far in 2019, and we narrowed them down to this list. Now it's time to cast your vote to help decide who will be deemed our Readers' Choice picks for the year!
Voting is open until September 17th. Only one vote per person will be counted.
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Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
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