Today I wanted to talk about what makes a dance company run, or also cease running. This weekend we are looking forward to viewing Jessica Lang Dance Company’s last performance in Pittsburgh. This company has had a wonderful run of 7 years. It is incredibly shocking the company is closing its doors, as “the company has performed their repertoire of 25 unique works for audiences nationally and internationally in over 75 cities, 35 states, and 7 different countries.”
My question is: why?
These days it is incredibly tough to run a small dance company. I see it everyday in my own Artistic Director, as she has to do many things on her own to keep the company running (finances, grant writing, marketing, payroll, the list goes on). There is never a day where the company and the “business” don’t come to mind, especially when that is your full time job (that doesn’t pay yet) and there is no staff to take care of the day to day duties. It takes away from the creative/choreographic time... it also takes funding!!! Applying for grants and making sure there is enough money to take part in a choreographic process.
This is only my educated guess as to why they could be closing their doors, but it is still a conversation we should continue to have because these small companies can make an impact in the dance community, both where they live and on international scales. Dance and movement can express certain topics that are hard to speak about and smaller companies can also make those projects very accessible to the general public! Dance is an exchange between performer and audience and connects the two in interactive ways. (I could go on as to why dance is important, but I’ll stop there for now)
Ms. Lang has previously choreographed on other companies and will continue to do so after the company dissolves. In my opinion, she craves the process and being in the studio creating without having to think about running a company on her own. I believe we will continue to see great work from Ms. Lang in the forms of other prestigious companies like we have in the past and take this opportunity to see her company perform one last time, before they dissolve!
What’s new in the new year?! We are in rehearsals for Her Holiness, The Winter Dog. A new opera presented by the New Hazlett Theater and Kamratōn, scheduled to premier May 30/31!
In our rehearsals, we combat many things movement based, but for me, the most difficult is fully embodying a certain character or creature....
Our first couple of rehearsals focused on qualities that dogs and cats have - and also the differences. Yes, we are going to be cats and my fellow dancer/just awesome person all around, Jamie, is the Winter Dog.
We spent a majority of time differentiating movement qualities of both animals and creating a combination of movements that match each one. Not going to lie, being a cat is HARD.
Many hours spent crawling... but not just crawling, we were finding the perfect wrist flick, shoulder roll, and back arch. IT TOOK TIME. I, for one, still have a ways to go.
Workshopping different movements helps to bounce ideas off of one another creatively. We had many silly moments in rehearsal experimenting different ways of traveling, pouncing, and sitting. We tried to jump like a cat from all fours and land on all fours and run like a dog where their feet and arms are outstretched at the same time and come together to push off the floor at the same time (near impossible).
For me, the hardest part is believing I am a cat. We will be aiming to perfect these movements in rehearsals until May, so keep in touch and I will update along the way....
PS. Peek below for a preview!
Quote of the Rehearsal: “what’s an otter man?” -Brady Sanders
offerings from shana & company members
Something to read while laying in bed, on the subway or tube, or during your morning constitutional.