Dance Data Project® (DDP) today introduces Round 1 of Global Conversations – The Creative Process, an ongoing online series of bite-size interviews that feature some of the most notable choreographers, artistic and executive directors, dance critics, and senior academics working in ballet today.
By Sally Jenkins
Lord knows, you need patience right now. Patience with the dime-store elastic biting into your ears from the homemade bandanna mask. Patience with the detergent tang of cleansers in your membranes. What you need to handle all of that is not just patience, but Evert’s particular, stalking brand of it and what it teaches: Patience isn’t complacent. It’s commanding.
Read the full article in the Washington Post.
By Lauren Wolfe
A lament about a lack of productivity runs through social media these days. Coronavirus lockdowns have created a kind of ennui and exhaustion, resulting in people slowing down in general. But in one field—academia—the drop-off for women in particular is measurable. As men have increased their research while home these past couple months, women have lowered their submissions to academic journals, indicating that women are less able to do their research while in stuck in the house.
The speculation began in April. “Negligible number of submissions to the journal from women in the last month,” Elizabeth Hannon, deputy editor of The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, tweeted on April 18. “Never seen anything like it.”
Women on the thread heartily agreed, offering explanations for what’s going on. “My experience exactly,” replied Columbia University volcanologist Einat Lev. “I just received an email from a male colleague of my same rank and family status (young kids). Except, he has a full-time stay at home wife. His email read ‘this is a strange time but at least now, away from teaching, I can focus on writing.’ Sigh & Scream.”
It’s a stereotypically gendered reality. While stuck at home, mothers in the UK are providing at least 50 percent more childcare overall and spending 10-30 percent more time than fathers home-schooling their children, The Guardian reported in early May—leaving little time for academic research. At the same time, submissions from men to the Comparative Political Studies journal were up almost 50 percent in April, according to its co-editor David Samuels.
Read the full article on Women’s Media Center.
By Kim Brooks
8 May 2020
In our country, staying home to raise children is one of the most devastating financial decisions a woman can make. And without any sort of child care system in place, it’s often not a choice at all. All but the wealthiest mothers face what I’ve come to think of as the Cinderella paradox. Of course Cinderella can go the ball, just as soon as she’s finished her chores.
This goes a long way to explain the feminization of poverty. Jenny Brown, the author of “Birth Strike: The Hidden Fight Over Women’s Work,” writes, “Parents, particularly mothers, become poorer because they are not properly compensated for the contribution they’re making to the continuation of society by bearing and raising children.”
What exactly is the value of this contribution? The birthrate in the United States has fallen to a record low of 1.73. People who complain that other people’s children shouldn’t be their concern will still have to deal with the economic catastrophe of an aging population and a shortage of young, healthy workers. If raising these future citizens isn’t socially necessary labor, I’m not sure what is.
And yet our entire economic system hinges on the willingness of women to do this work for free. Caretakers who work outside the home are poorly paid, but those who care for their own kin, in their own homes, aren’t paid at all. They receive a wage of zero dollars and zero cents, no health insurance, no sick leave, no paid time off, no 401(k).
For a long time, I tried not to think about it. One of the ways I was able to not think about it was because I could pay other women to lighten my load. For the time being, those days are over.
Maybe that’s for the best.
Read the full article in the New York Times.
By Lauren Warnecke
6 May 2020
Each month, I preview upcoming dance events for See Chicago Dance, highlighting the productions that excite me the most. My job is to entice dance audiences to circle a date in their calendars, to make room for dance and to experience something they might otherwise not have tried.
Large venues closed in mid-March as the COVID-19 health crisis found its way to Chicago. By the end of that month, nearly everything was shut down. Many Chicagoans have more room than ever in their calendars. I write trips to the grocery store in my planner so I can feel as though I accomplished something that day. And artists necessarily pivoted, reacting to the crisis by venturing into digital forums to continue to make work.
This column is not a critic’s pick of online dance concerts, because I don’t intend to watch any.
Over the past several weeks, I talked to many dance leaders. While it’s clear that dance is struggling, it is the nature of dancers to make it work and present an air of optimism. I felt this acutely in private conversations and in an online convening gathering leaders from Chicago Dancemakers Forum, Links Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, High Concept Labs, the Harris Theater, Pivot Arts, and others to report on the state of their organizations. I heard nothing but certitude, even as they spoke about postponed productions, cuts in staff, vanishing grant money and cancelled galas.
Legacy organizations like the Joffrey Ballet, Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Ensemble Espanol, each with more than 40 years of history, have weathered many storms. None quite like this. They may survive by remembering what it was like at the beginning, trimming the fat and whittling down to the core of their missions.
Then there are those who will view the crisis opportunistically. With dance universally leveled, here is a chance for smaller venues and independent artists to get ahead, since they will be able to open sooner. Here is a once in a century window of hibernation in which to reimagine the arts, and to fix that which has always ailed it: Could the pandemic serve as a springboard to abandon scarcity models once and for all? Can a diverse coalition rise to ensure a more equitable, sustainable future for the arts?
Read the article here.
By Wendy Perron
5 May 2020
Co-creator of Contact Improvisation, improviser extraordinaire, and founder and co-editor of Contact Quarterly, Nancy Stark Smith passed away on May 1. A force as a dancer and an educator, she created a network of love for improvisation on a global scale. She died in her home in Florence, MA, of ovarian cancer. Messages from all over the world registered shock, sadness and poetic memories on social media.
She cracked open gender codes in dance with one casual comment. After watching Steve Paxton’s Magnesium (1972), a dance of hurling and falling for men, she told Paxton, “If you ever work like this with women, I’d love to know about it.”
She was a buoyant yet grounded improviser. Whether springing up out of the floor or boomeranging off another person, she made the pleasure of touch visible. She had a wondrous way of talking/writing about the sensations of momentum that drew people in.
On Facebook, her friend and early CI dancer, Christie Svane, wrote, “Our beloved Nancy Stark Smith left her wild and gentle dancing, unique, glorious, fearless body on Earth and made for home. Her collaborator and companion, Mike Vargas, pianist, composer and sound artist, was by her side at home in Florence, Mass. with her beloved flower garden beginning to bloom.
Read the full article here.
By Madeline Schrock
16 April 2020
Looking for a change from all that social-media scrolling while you’re social distancing? Check out the Shut In Dance Film Fest, a newly launched opportunity for dancers are home. Helmed by Nicole Berger, Andrew Pearson and Cain DeVore, the all-remote festival is doubling as free training grounds for artists who want to boost their dance-for-camera skills.
Here’s how it works: Select one of four prompts—like camouflaging yourself in your apartment or playing with your silhouette and profile—and create a short film using your smartphone. (The Shut In team recommends using FiLMiC Pro, a $14.99 app available for Apple and Android devices.)
Submissions will be evaluated by the creative directors who came up with the prompts: Los Angeles–based dance duo WHYTEBERG, choreographer and freelancer Madison Hicks, spoken word artist City James, and Mark Dendy and Stephen Donovan of dendy/donovan projects. They will choose footage from the submitted videos to each create a final dance film cut together by professional editors.
Read the full article from Dance Magazine here.
By Rachel Caldwell
29 April 2020
Soon after taking the reins of San Francisco–based Smuin Contemporary Ballet in 2007, artistic director Celia Fushille realized that if the company was going to stay afloat, it would need its own building. With rental rates for commercial spaces in the Bay Area skyrocketing over the past decade, continuing to lease grew unsustainable for the 26-year-old nonprofit troupe. “We tried to lease, but couldn’t compete with tech companies,” says Fushille. “In 2009, I said to my board that we needed a permanent home for Smuin. I didn’t see how we were going to survive otherwise.”
Thanks to a $10 million capital campaign and a fortuitous collaboration with a dancer-turned-real-estate broker, that vision has now become a reality with the purchase of a 7,200-square-foot warehouse space in Potrero Hill, San Francisco.
After years of being nomads, Smuin could no longer justify the ballooning rental rates in the area. A typical commercial lease for an industrial or warehouse space in San Francisco runs about $60 to $72 per square foot compared to a national average of $26. Tack on the taxes, insurance and maintenance fees, and renting gets high pretty fast.
Read the full article here.
By Sallie Krawcheck
28 April 2020
Can I fret for a minute?
I’m worried sick about the financial health of women coming out of this pandemic.
Women went into the downturn with fewer financial resources than men. The “gender wealth gap” is just 32 cents to a man’s dollar, much worse — and frankly, much more meaningful — than the more commonly cited 82-cents-to-the-dollar gender pay gap.
It may be early days, but women are losing jobs at a greater rate than men during this pandemic, even though women (particularly women of color) make up a greater percentage of essential workers who are on the front lines.
For those women who are able to work from home, there is some indication that women’s productivity is being hit harder than men’s: In academia, men are submitting 50% more scholarly papers than before quarantine, while women are submitting fewer. Looks like traditional gender roles may be following families into quarantine.
I’m also worried about women entrepreneurs.
Before the pandemic, one could make the argument that women business owners weren’t making enough progress on starting companies and getting them funded, but we were making progress nonetheless. Women-owned businesses have been on the rise for years. Last year saw more $1 billion “unicorn” start-ups led by women than ever before. There was a mini-boom in women entrepreneurs on magazine covers.
Read the full article on Ellevest.
DDP has released Global Fellowships, Competitions, and Initiatives Guide 2020. The Guide is a comprehensive list of international opportunities for choreographers to develop, workshop, and present dance works.
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