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 ... ›
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- 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 ›
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On August 20, pop goddess Lizzo tweeted, "Someone do a ballet routine to truth hurts pls," referring to the anthem that's been top on everyone's playlists this summer. Lizzo might not know it yet, but ballet dancers are not known for shying away from a challenge. In the past two days, the internet has exploded which responses, with dancers like Houston Ballet's Harper Watters and American Ballet Theatre's Erica Lall tagging the singer in submissions.
Below are a few of our favorites so far, but we're guessing that this is just the beginning. Ballet world, consider yourselves officially challenged! (Use #LizzoBalletChallenge so we know what you're up to.)
If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.
The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
New York City–based choreographer and director Jennifer Weber once worked on a project with a strict social media policy: " 'Hire no one with less than 10K, period'—and that was a few years ago," she says. "Ten thousand is a very small number now, especially on Instagram."
The commercial dance world is in a period of transition, where social media handles and follower counts are increasingly requested by casting directors, but rarely offered by dancers up front. "I can see it starting to show up on resumés, though, alongside a dancer's height and hair color," predicts Weber.