I received a publication today from Dance USA that was a compilation of dialogues at Jacobs's Pillow. While the material is primarily geared to presenting organizations, there is some very valuable information for the artists. Whether a creator or an interpretor of dance, knowing the audiences' and presenters' interests can be helpful.
And what does a presenting organization mean to a dancer? If you are a member of a small company, it can be the impetus for creating a new work or performing opportunity. For a larger company that already has an existing season, it can mean another week of work or another performance. Usually it involves traveling or touring.
Here are a couple of budget charts from the publication "Presenting Dance" by Mindy Levine.
Small company figures:
And of course larger company figures:
My husband- a retired dancer- has a great phrase about the economics of dance. He speaks about dance performance as being an experience "produced and consumed at the same moment." It is a wonderfully poetic image, but one that presents difficulty in raising funds to support the creation of dance.
And what does this mean to a dancer? To me, it is inspiration that every performance needs to be better because it truly only exists once. Additionally, knowing the economics (to some degree) creates that opportunity for me to be an ambassador of my art and for the company in which I dance. To speak knowledgeably to donors and audience members about the need for support keeps my job vital.
We are the face of dance.
Another interesting set of figures- although not hot off the press!
As of September 2006, there are 76 dance companies in America with operating budgets of $1 million or more.
- 58 of these are ballet companies.
- 18 of these are modern/contemporary companies.
- 35 of these are currently members of Dance/USA.