The Hardest Way to Perform: APAP

January 6, 2013

Performing for a huge opera house is one thing, but performing for a few presenters in a small space, without full production values, can be even more nerve-wracking. But that’s what hundreds of dancers will do this coming weekend in NYC for the APAP conference, organized by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters. The people who decide what companies to invite to their venues—the presenters—are an essential part in the dance ecology. They put themselves on the line for their audiences, and they want to get to know what dance is out there that may be good for their audiences, whether they are from the Flynn Center in Burlington, Vermont, the Music Center in Los Angeles, or a college presenter.

As dancers, you have to perform as though your life depends on it—even if you’re dancing in a bare studio, your alotted twenty minutes wedged between two other companies. You may feel like you’re just a cog in the wheel of your booking agent’s roster, but, although your life doesn’t depend on it, your livelihood might. The company you are dancing with needs the work—both the visibility and the earned income. So go ahead and dance your heart out. The presenters will appreciate it. And if they don’t book you or your company this year, they’ll remember you for the future.

For NYC–based dance writers, APAP can be an opportunity to see glimpses of out-of-town companies and artists. Choreographers like Nejla Yatkin from Washington, DC, and Sarah Slipper from Portland, Oregon, will perform. Groups like Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater from Chicago, August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble from Pittsburgh, and Dallas Black Dance Theatre, will all be here. Plus NYC groups like Tiffany Mills, Francesca Harper, Michael Mao, and Andrea Miller’s Gallim will be showing their wares.

Over at Peridance you can see Whim W’him from Seattle, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, New Jersey–based Nai Ni Chen, Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, and lots more.

Also, check out our January “New York Notebook” for the double whammy of Gotham Arts Exchange at the Skirball and Focus Dance at the Joyce, both happening during APAP. These mini festivals are overflowing with artists like Larry Keigwin, Kate Weare, Karole Armitage, Eiko & Koma, plus non-NYC companies like Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Rosie Hererra from Miami.

For more on the APAP showings, click here.