The State of NYC Dance

Dance/NYC held the “State of NYC Dance” Symposium on Sunday, February 26th at Gibney Dance Center.  Our PR Director, April Cook, and our Marketing Director, Emily Bass, were two of the nearly two hundred industry attendees.  Several BDC students also volunteered at the event by checking-in guests and speakers, monitoring the panel discussions, and directing attendees to the various breakout sessions.

The jam-packed day investigated the current state of dance in New York City and provided panel discussions and networking opportunities for artists, advocates, funders, policymakers, managers, scholars, and audiences.  One of the six beautiful studios at the Gibney Dance Center housed Dance/NYC’s SmART Bars, 30-minute individual consultations with arts consultants regarding topics of business administration, technology, advertising, and fundraising.  The symposium also included movement classes with Andrea Miller, Sarah Donneley, Patrick Corbin, and Doug Elkins.

Dance NYC’s recent Symposium on the state of NYC dance was incredibly enlightening. It is so important for us to continue our efforts in the growth of our community and I am thankful to Dance NYC for providing the platform for related discussions and the building of relationships. Thank you to all who were involved!” – Emily Bass (BDC Marketing/Events Coordinator)”I greatly appreciated Dance NYC’s efforts and Gibney Dance Studio’s hospitality in bringing the dance community together to discuss current topics in our field. The “Meet the Press” panel was one of the highlights of the day for me. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to hear from dance critics and their views on what their roles and responsibilities are to the choreographer, the dancer and the audience member.” – April Cook (BDC Public Relations)

Visit Dance/NYC’s website to learn more about this year’s symposium and sign-up to volunteer or attend next year’s incredible event!

Read All About It!

You’re sitting in the holding room for three hours at an Equity call waiting to (hopefully) get the chance to audition. Here’s a list of some great dance-related books to help you pass the time:

The Artist’s Way (Julia Cameron) is a self-help book to help artists cultivate self-confidence and harness their creative talents. The chapters correlate to a 12-week course which provide resources and techniques that foster artistic inspiration.

All His Jazz: The Life and Death of Bob Fosse (Martin Gottfried) is a thorough biography of Tony, Emmy, and Oscar-winning choreographer, Bob Fosse. Gottfried artfully accounts Fosse’s life experiences which later served to inspire his innovative style.

The Dancer’s Way: The New York City Ballet Guide to Mind, Body and Nutrition (Linda H. Hamilton) describes the wellness program at NYCB that was created to support the physically healthy, emotionally balanced, and mentally prepared dancer in achieving his or her goals and aspirations.

Time Steps: My Musical Comedy Life (Donna McKechnie) is the autobiography of Donna McKechnie who inspired and performed the role of “Cassie” in “A Chorus Line.” Her book recounts the roller-coaster career filled with unbelievable successes and disappointments that shaped her as an artist.

Steps in Time (Fred Astaire) is an autobiography of the legendary Fred Astaire (with a great little forward by his dancing partner, Ginger Rogers).  The memoir is honest and full of personal anecdotes (and nearly 50 amazing black and white photographs!).

Dance with Demons: The Life of Jerome Robbins (Greg Lawrence) tells the tale of the “nightmare genius” (Tony Walton).  While Robbins is remembered for his legendary works including West Side Story, Gypsy, and Fiddler on the Roof, his life was plagued with religious, political, and personal conflict.

Ballet and Modern Dance: A Concise History (Jack Anderson) describes the role of dance in history from the time of the Ancient Greeks and French royal courts all the way to contemporary modern and jazz styles.

Diet for Dancers: A Complete Guide to Nutrition and Weight Control (Robin D. Chmelar) was the first published nutritional guide based on research and outlining topics specific to dancers.

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation (Jeff Chang) provides an extensive overview of the evolution of Hip Hop and its influence as a social and cultural movement.

That’s the Joint: The Hip Hop Studies Reader (Mark Anthony Neal) discusses the gender, racial, social, and political impact of Hip Hop in the United States.

Books on my reading list:
I Was a Dancer (Jacques d’Amboise)
Dance Anatomy and Kinesiology (Karen Clippinger)
TAP! The Greatest Tap Stars and Their Stories 1900-1955 (Rusty Frank)
On the Line: The Creation of A Chorus Line (Robert Viagas)
Alvin Ailey: A Life in Dance (Jennifer Dunning)
Gene Kelly: A Life of Dance and Dreams (Alvin Yudkoff)
Buzz: The Life of Busby Berkeley (Jeffrey Spivak)

Feel free to comment with your reading suggestions!

The Flash Mob Phenomenon

Today, flash mobs seem (ironically) common, especially in New York City. One of the first flash mobs recorded actually occurred here in NYC back in 2003 when over 100 people organized a secret gathering at Macy’s using social media. The participants met on the 9th floor at a specific time, began dancing spontaneously, and then went on to their individual shopping as if nothing had happened. The term “flash mob” was added to the dictionary shortly after in 2004, defining it as an organization demonstration that is “unusual” or “pointless.” That definition definitely seems to have expanded because contemporary flash mobs are often anything but “pointless.”

Since 2003, flash mobs have been organized for specific purposes of entertainment, artistic expression, political advocacy, commercial advertisement, social protest, and satire.  Some recorded flash mobs have even turned violent, literally taking on the mob mentality of a riot.  For the most part, however, flash mobs are known for their peaceful and creative approach by incorporating artistic elements such as song and dance.

Check out these “famous” flash mobs:

Flash mobs aren’t just exciting because of their element of surprise.  There is something thrilling about the synergy of the whole event: the planning and organization, the communal participation, and the final social performance.  And what’s more, flash mobs seem to unite people, especially through dance.  You can search flash mobs on YouTube and find hundreds of events from all over the world.  Flash mobs are proof that dance really is the universal language.

But what is it like to be part of a flash mob?  Well, here’s what some BDC students had to say:

“Watching flash mobs is great, but to be a dancer in one is truly such a great experience.  The crowd reaction is so unique and special.  It’s such a great way to share my passion for dance with un-expecting crowds.  What a way to put a smile on someone’s face!” – Latoyia Everett

“Being part of a flash mob is one of the greatest experiences because you get an opportunity to come together as one and be part of something that is bigger than anything you could do one your own.” – Olivia Conlin

“Being in a flash mob is an amazing thing to see what dancers love to do and how people everywhere love to dance.” – Jessica de la Cruz

“Dancing in a flash mob is like a tornado of energy!  It’s an incredible experience!” – Matt Tremblay

Flash Mobs starring BDC students & faculty choreographers: