News flash — Dance makers need money! Oh, the big companies are on all the corporate donor and government grant lists, but the smaller groups have serious funding issues. Which is a problem, as these iconoclastic artists often are the ones who push the art form into new and exciting territory.
Artists with Audiences Responding to Dance (A.W.A.R.D.)
To answer this need and to provide an opportunity for dance makers to connect with audiences in a more personal way, choreographer Neta Pulvermacher, fundraising guru Scott Kasen, and producer Marisa König Beatty created the A.W.A.R.D. Show!
True to its New York roots, The Joyce Theater Foundation administers the competition. For the competition’s 2010–2011 series, five cities — New York City (Joyce SoHo), Chicago (The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago), Los Angeles (REDCAT theater), San Francisco (ODC Theater), Seattle (On the Boards), and Philadelphia (Dance Affiliates at The Arts Bank at the University of the Arts) — are each presenting the works of 12 choreographers.
The events in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles have concluded. Seattle’s program is scheduled for January 27–31; the 12 companies in Philadelphia will perform May 18–21.
The contest works something like this: There are four nights of performances — four works on each of three nights, plus a finals night; each participating group is limited to a work of 15 minutes in length. When the audience arrives, members are given score cards. The audience is only told the name of each piece — no other information. After the groups perform, the audience votes; however, for their votes to count, they have to fill out the comments section on the score. Before the votes are tallied, the audience is encouraged to participate in a moderated discussion.
On the final night, winners from each of the previous nights perform before a panel of judges, who along with the audience, select the winner for that city. The winner in each location is awarded $10,000 to put toward the development of a new work; runners-up each get $1,000.
As a follow-up, the six first-place winners and the runners-up will report on their progress in creating their new dances. As these works are scheduled for performance, The Joyce Theater and individual company websites will publish dates and times. This way, the original voting audiences can have the chance to see the completed dance work they helped fund.
Still to Come
If you live in either Philadelphia (www.danceaffiliates.org) or Seattle (www.ontheboards.org), you still have time to be active participants in this exciting venture. Help select the final two winners. Engage in the dialogue and be a part of the creative process.
Results So Far:
$10,000 Winner: Jacqueline Stewart
$1,000 Runners-up: Michel Rodriguez-Hedwig Dances; Joanna Rosenthal (Same Planet Different World)
New York City:
$10,000 Winner: Helen Simoneau
$1,000 Runners-up: Yin Yue; Satoshi Haga (binbinFactory)
$10,000 Winner: Barak Marshall (BODYTRAFFIC)
$1,000 Runners-up: Holly Johnston (Ledges and Bones Dance Project); Victoria Marks
$10,000 Winner: Katie Faulkner (little seismic dance company)
$1,000 Runners-up: Pearl Marill; Dominic Van Duong
Former dancer, Geri Jeter, has been editing and writing for over fifteen years, writing on dance, food, music, NASCAR, technical theater, and Italian-American culture. For the past five years, she was the dance critic for the Las Vegas Weekly; in 2007 Nevada Ballet Theatre presented her with the Above and Beyond award. Now living in San Francisco, Geri is excited about covering the entire scope of West Coast dance. You can read more of her dance writing at her blog Dance Blitz (www.dance-blitz.com) and follow her Las Vegas and San Francisco restaurant reviews at DishKebab (www.dishkebab.com).