@BMDCdance, #GladeGala and #EALS2013

I joined Twitter as @dance_DC around the same time I started this blog. I thought it would be a great way to promote my blog posts and build a following. Being active on Twitter has definitely helped drive traffic to danceDC; but more importantly, it has connected me to so many amazingly talented dancers, choreographers and arts administrators in the DC area. Twitter is an amazing way to network and I was reminded of its power this past weekend.

Bowen McCauley Dance at The Kennedy Center

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Photo courtesy of Bowen McCauley Dance

I first discovered Bowen McCauley Dance through Twitter. Although they don’t have the largest following and tweet only a few times a month, I somehow came across them and added them to my DANCE list. I saw them for the first time last Friday night at The Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater with my friend Angella Foster, Artistic Director of alight dance theater. The night started out with Before The Fall, a playful piece featuring students from the Maryland Youth Ballet. I thought there should have been some kind of program note so the audience was aware that the dancers were not company members, but luckily Amy Fitterer of Dance/USA came out after the piece to let us know. It didn’t bother me that the students performed. They were great, but I was upset at some of the audience members who left after the brief pause following the piece. I assume they were parents of the performers. If so, shame on you! If not, I apologize for silently judging you while you went for a bathroom break. But I digress… What I really want to talk about is the electrifying energy of Lucy Bowen McCauley, who performed the role of “Cleopatra” in Fire and Air. She was the most captivating part of the show, grabbing the audience’s attention with her fluid movement and passionate expressions. It takes a special person to make suicide look sultry, but somehow Lucy accomplished that. Angella was also a fan of McCauley’s Le Sacre Du Printemps which closed the show. It was choreographically the most interesting, according to Angella. For more information about Bowen McCauley Dance, please visit their website or read Sarah Halzack’s review in The Washington Post.

Glade Dance Collective’s Gala at The Goethe Institut

I was happy to support Glade Dance Collective at their gala Saturday night. The event featured live reggae music, a short performance from Glade dancers and an interactive “nook” where attendees could answer various questions. The answers, some of which were recorded on video, will be integrated into a future Glade piece. Although I would have eventually discovered Glade through my job at Joy of Motion Dance Center (they rehearse at our space and Artistic Director Sylvana Christopher teaches at JOMDC), I first found out about them through Emma Joan Dozier – an active tweeter and Glade dancer/marketer. Emma and company did a fabulous job promoting the event. They had an excellent turnout and threw a fantastic party. Plus, props for having Philippa Hughes of Pinkline Project introduce the company before your performance!

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Karen Brooks Hopkins of BAM was the opening keynote speaker of EALS 2013.

Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at the Katzen Arts Center

This is the third year I’ve attended the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium, an annual meeting for young professionals who work in the arts. The event is organized by students of American University’s Arts Management Program and features leaders in the industry like JR Russ of Class Acts Arts and Dance Place! I was live tweeting for most of the event on Sunday, so check out the conversation by searching #EALS2013. Below are some of my tweets/key takeaways from the day. I attended the opening keynote featuring Karen Brooks Hopkins of BAM, the Marketing Trends for Today’s Organization panel and the Audience Engagement panel.

  • From the Audience Engagement panel in regards to the importance of having a social media strategy: Point made again in this panel! “Don’t have an intern handle your social media.” – @allihouseworth #EALS2013
  • From the Marketing Trends panel in regards to the importance of community advocates: Research ur audience, find out where they are and find the leader of that group to help sell your service/program. – @jenbuzzell #EALS2013
  • From the Opening Keynote in regards to writing proposals: When writing a proposal, think about what makes the program great. That’s what you have to communicate. – KBH of BAM #EALS2013
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4th Annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University

American University’s Arts Management Program, Emerging Leaders Network and the Emerging Arts Leaders DC sponsored the 4th Annual Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium yesterday at American University’s Katzen Arts Center. Young professionals who work in the arts came from Boston, Chicago and all the way from Dupont Circle (that’s me!) to discuss issues affecting arts organizations. The event concluded with a keynote address from Rachel Goslins, Executive Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Below is a break down of the panel discussions:

Panel 1: Getting the experience … and the job

American University

The 4th Annual EALS took place at the Katzen Arts Center at AU yesterday.

I have been pursuing a career in the arts for some time now. I’m happy to say that I have finally made that transition! Next week, I’ll be joining Joy of Motion Dance Center as their Marketing and PR Manager. Using social media tools and consistently writing about the topic of dance in DC helped me make the right connections in order to land a job. I also volunteered a lot. These tactics were brought up during the first panel session of the day which included Ann Norris of Gallim Dance, Abel Lopez of GALA Hispanic Theatre, Katy Cupples of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management and the Kennedy Center and Anne L’Ecuyer of Washington Writer’s Retreat.

According to L’Ecuyer, there are three important criteria to consider before applying to arts jobs:

  1. What level of organization do you want to be at – local, state, national?
  2. What size organization do you want to be a part of?
  3. How close to the creative process do you want to be?

Determining the answers to these questions can help narrow your job search and ensure that you are the right fit for the organizations you are applying to. Organizations are vehicles to establish our own personal missions, not the other way around, she added.

Panel 2: Global Connections in Arts Management

British Council Dubai

Sarah Frankland previously worked at the British Council in DC. This is a picture of the one in Dubai, but look how cool it is!

Pennie Ojeda of NEA, Anna Smith of International Arts and Artists, Sarah Frankland formerly of the British Council and Brett Egan of the DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center discussed issues relevant to the globalized arts community in this panel session. Each panelist had an interesting story to tell about how their life journeys led them to the positions they hold today. Ojeda was a Peace Corps volunteer and later full-time employee.  Smith worked abroad in Amsterdam and Paris. Frankland moved from her native UK and fell in love with the United States. Egan worked with artists in China during the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

According to Egan, the state of the economy is going to make us think more about the impact and outcomes of international engagement. Organizations that value cultural exchange will need more than their mission statement to justify their activities. In order to make your case, Frankland suggests building an evaluation component before the process starts. Establish objectives and determine how you’re going to measure success. First and foremost, however, you need to know your audience, said Ojeda. The more people doing international exchanges – the better, but it has to make sense for the community.

Panel 3: What Makes a Good Arts Leader?

This was by far my favorite panel of the day. Moderator Michael Wilkerson, Assistant Professor of Arts Management at AU, brought the jokes and effectively managed the discussion among Ian David Moss of Fractured Atlas and Createquity.com, Jamie Bennett of NEA, Stephanie Evans Hanson of Americans for the Arts and Michael Bobbitt of Adventure Theatre and the League of Washington Theatres. According to Wilkerson, there are two types of leaders – those who build upon what has come before them and year zero leaders who believe the history of the organization starts the day that they do. Beware of year zero leaders, he cautioned. He also made an interesting point about the hiring process. First rate leaders hire first rate people. They want employees who are smarter and more efficient than they are. Second rate leaders hire third rate people. Why hire someone who knows more than you do? Below are additional thoughts on leadership from the panelists:

  • Stephanie Evans Hanson – It is crucial to be flexible in your career. It is also important to understand how decisions are made and how you can impact those decisions in your organization. It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission.
  • Ian David Moss – In the arts, there is a tendency for people to wait until they are told to do something important. Not waiting has served me well. In meetings or conference calls, say what needs to be said. Leading the conversation is an exertion of power. Self education and understanding yourself are also a key way to demonstrate leadership.
  • Michael Bobbitt – Get away from your desk! It’s hard for people to say no to you when you meet with them in person. People do business with people they know so get out there and engage with your community. Art has to marry the commerce. To be successful, make it more than just about the play, exhibit, dance performance. For example, Adventure Theatre worked with Project Linus’ Blanket – an organization that donates blankets to children in need as part of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.
  • Jamie Bennett – Leadership isn’t about where you are in the organizational chart. Every leader is leading from the middle and anyone can make change from anywhere. To be a leader, you need to have vision and you need to understand the mechanics of change. It’s not enough to have an idea, but you also need to be able to translate your vision into action. Learn the language of the organization in order to make the sale.

Keynote Address: Rachel Goslins

Rachel GoslinsIn addition to cleverly working Kevin Spacey movie titles such as The Usual Suspects, American Beauty and Pay It Forward into her speech, Rachel Goslins provided valuable advice to emerging arts leaders.

There are three types of people: arts lovers, arts antagonists and arts agnostics. Engage the lovers, don’t worry about the antagonists and focus instead on the agnostics. This audience is crucial to the future of the arts.

Don’t lose sight of your mission. When it comes to metrics, know what you’re measuring and why. Use these numbers to demonstrate that you are achieving your mission.

Arts education is critical to the future of schools and the future of non-profit arts. Students with access to arts education have been proven to do better academically and are also more likely to attend art related events.

Follow your passion. Take risks and remember it’s a gift to work in an industry that you truly care about.

danceDC Weekend Event Guide 4/2-4/3

Emerging Arts Leaders SymposiumThis weekend, I’m looking forward to networking and learning at the Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium at American University. The event features three panel discussions: Getting the Experience and the Job, Global Connections in Arts Management and What Makes a Good Arts Leader?, followed by a keynote address from Rachel Goslins, Executive Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. I’ll be sure to put together a post with key takeaways for those of you who can’t make it. Shout out to Charm City – lots going on in the Baltimore dance community this weekend including BDCP, The Collective and Peabody Dance.

Saturday, April 2nd

Sunday, April 3rd

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