Monday, July 02, 2012

Dance/USA in San Francisco

Howdy, all!
This is Claire H. and I do Communications for CORE. Most of the time this blog is for the dancers to talk about their process and what they're creating in the studio. I usually don't post because I'm staying in the office while they go on tour to far off places, not nearly as exciting to talk about! But this last week, Managing Director Elizabeth and I went to San Francisco for the Dance/USA Conference, so I thought talking about it might help fill in the summer gap while we're off season. (And yes, that's the Bay Bridge, not the Golden Gate...that's the side of town we made it to!)

Elizabeth and I joined several hundred colleagues from the professional dance realm talking about everything from leadership through meaning, to online marketing nitty gritty (at least the sessions I went to).

I had a chance to meet up with some other Houston and Atlanta dance people, among all the national attendees, of course:
  • our Field Facilitator and Dynamic X-Change teacher, Lydia Hance (photo left, who also has her own company, Frame Dance,
  • Dance Source Houston's Stephanie and Mollie, 
  • and Marlana from Houston Met
  • And from Atlanta, Full Radius Dance Artistic Director, Douglas Scott 
  • and Atlanta Ballet's social media coordinator, Brian, and Artistic Director, John McFall.  


We were welcomed into the beautiful spaces of the San Francisco community at Yerba Buena Arts Center and ODC/Dance. And once more proving that the dance world is super small, I ran into Lauryn, who lived in Atlanta a few years back, who now works as Studio Administrator for ODC (photo right). There were showcase performances by a huge variety of local San Francisco performers. All were well done, but the most interesting aspect and unique to SF is those companies nourished through the long history of the SF Ethnic Dance Festival, which was happening concurrently with the conference. We got to see performers doing gamelan, Tahitian dance, Cambodian, and more, in addition to a range of contemporary dance and ballet pieces.  

And because I'm the one who looks at marketing for dance, I was impressed to see this ad for a local company in a BART station. I've been in the meetings with arts admin folks locally who talk about doing advertising on a larger scale like the back of buses, etc., but I've never seen a big poster for dance (maybe I just wasn't looking at the right time and place...)  It was interesting to compare cities, and you can see the ways that public funding influences dance in each city. According to a recent Americans for the Arts study, Atlanta is number one per capita for the number of arts related businesses and second in number of employees of arts orgs. But on the other hand, the funding per capita in Atlanta is around $3 and SF's is around $12. At first impression, the number, quality and size of the facilities in SF is what shows that funding disparity the most. Only so many of the dance companies in Atlanta have homes. Houston has better support through local funding than Atlanta, but not up to SF levels, and of course, everywhere the support from government is constantly in danger of being slashed to either a bare minimum or nothing at all.




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