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Bates Festival Newsletters

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Newsletter Vol. 4 Spring 2006

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

2006 FESTIVAL PREVIEW

Laura Faure, Festival Director

As the winter winds blow through Maine we are at work with artists around the country and abroad to craft another five-week summer season of dance activities. Bringing together leading dance practitioners, composer/musicians, educators, students and audience members, the 2006 Festival (July 8-August 13) offers engagement with a community of contemporary art makers.

The Festival is humming with plans and preparations. We have just completed a major redesign of our website, expanding information on all of our programs. Please visit us online at our new address: www.batesdancefestival.org. BDF artists are developing and refining new works to enliven our stage. Dancers of all ages from around the globe are pouring over our new website and brochure as they prepare to apply to our training programs. Lewiston and Auburn school contacts are recruiting low-income youth for scholarships to our Youth Arts Program that will move this summer to a new home at the First Universalist Church in Auburn. Bates College professor of dance, Carol Dilley and I are busy hatching our next collaborative project to strengthen the connection between the academic dance program and the summer Festival.  Meanwhile our new development associate, Alicia Nichols and I are casting out nets for the support that sustains our vibrant center for contemporary dance. As you peruse this issue the arc of activity connecting one Festival season to another, and the Festival to the larger world of contemporary performance will become visible. We welcome your ongoing interest. Please join us this summer and keep in touch.

-Laura Faure, Festival Director

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THE BUSINESS OF DANCE:

A Student Perspective

by Emily Braun

“How will I ever be able to produce my own work? What will make me stand out as an artist?  Is it really all about who you know?”

These are just a few of the thousands of questions running

Kim Konikow (back row third from left) with her Business of Dance class.

through my head everyday. As a dancer/choreographer who was preparing to enter the “real world” of dance, I felt extremely unprepared. With no “Dance Management for Dummies” book under my arm, I felt as if I was jumping out of a plane without my parachute.

Luckily, I found just what I was looking for during my summer at the Bates Dance Festival. I enrolled in Kim Konikow’s Business of Dance class and found that I was not alone in feeling ill equipped. Eighteen dancers in all stages of life came together with the hopes of getting a push in the right direction. However, by the end we didn’t need that push, because we all felt confident to go forward on our own.

Step by step, we covered all of the basics of the business of dance. Kim led us from creating a resume that someone will want to read, to assembling press kits, to discovering the real costs and how-tos of producing our own work.  Each class covered a specific topic that allowed us to focus on additional areas such as: marketing, finance, advocacy, graduate and post-graduate school, and working abroad.  Most importantly, Kim stressed how essential it was to make friends with an accountant or graphic designer.  By the time the course was complete it was clear that it is, in fact, all about relationships!

While this information poured into our heads we were fortunate enough to hear many real-life stories that made each topic easier to grasp.  Many of the artists taking part in the festival told us how they started and how they progressed to where they are today.  David Dorfman, Sean Curran, Bebe Miller, and Jane Comfort were just a few of those who participated. Even the director of the festival, Laura Faure, shared her story with us. Many stories were of triumphs, with some failures, of course, but each story allowed our class to gain a greater understanding of the world of dance.

Kim’s involvement in the class was definitely above and beyond her duties. I approached her dozens of times with specific questions and concerns in areas where I needed guidance. Each time she was more than willing to sit with me outside of class and answer my questions.

I would recommend this class to anyone who is involved in dance, it gave me a deeper understanding of the context in which we dancers create and that is invaluable. It is just one of the many features that this fantastic festival has to offer.

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FUNDER PROFILE:
Surdna Foundation

“The Bates Dance Festival’s combination of offerings beautifully serves the talented teenagers we support. Bates’ mix of workshops for both experienced and new dance students, plus the opportunity for teens to work with interesting choreographers and see great work from different cultures is compelling.  We also love Bates’ determination to seek out and support students from all backgrounds and financial circumstances.” Ellen Rudolph - Program Director for the Arts, Surdna Foundation

The Bates Dance Festival receives support from a variety of sources – individuals, corporations, and foundations.    We are pleased to recognize the generous support of the Surdna Foundation.

Located in New York, the Surdna Foundation was established in 1917 by John Emory Andrus to pursue a range of philanthropic purposes. Today the foundation makes grants in the areas of environment, community revitalization, effective citizenry, the arts and the nonprofit sector, with annual grant making of approximately $30 million. In 2002 the Bates Dance Festival received a three year $225,000 grant from Surdna to support pre-professional dance training for teens (including scholarship support), access to performances for underserved youth, the Teaching Fellows Program, and commissioning fees for professional dance artists.

Director Laura Faure notes, “Generous, ongoing support from the Surdna Foundation has enabled us to open our doors to many gifted young students, high school dance educators, and important creative artists from around the country by providing meaningful scholarship, fellowship and commissioning support.” 

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TELL IT! 

Participant Feedback

Last summer Shani Nwando Ikerioha Collins spent three weeks immersed in classes and rehearsals as part of our Emerging Choreographers Program.  For her project Shani reworked her piece, Liberations Stories and chose e1even dancers from the Festival to participate.  The group rehearsed tirelessly and gave a powerful performance on our Different Voices concert, August 12.  Shani also performed her exceptional solo But Some Of Us Are Brave that was created during a Festival sponsored 2004 residency at the Center for Dance Development in Portland, ME. 
Shani says, “ . . . having space, time and committed dancers helped me to learn more about my work and process. I appreciated all the critical feedback, great random conversations, and oneness. “

A renewed and increased grant from the Surdna Foundation funded five Dance Education Fellows from U.S. performing arts high schools to participate in our 2005 training program.  Here’s what they had to say:

 “The strongest thing I felt at Bates and came home with was a sense of community. The faculty and students became a family that provided room to grow in an encouraging environment.  The festival afforded me so many opportunities to enhance my technique, work with professionals and expand my contacts through an extremely warm and open community of artists.”

– Nancy Petro, Cypress Lake High School, Fort Myers, FL

“The Festival allowed me to re-assess the value I place on dance not only as an art but also as a science, language, history and experimental platform for a voice and vision.  I left the Festival with a wonderful sense of drive, passion, compassion and inspiration that will carry me through this school year.”

– Glenna Blessing, Carver Center for Arts and Technology, Towson, MD

“It is easy as a dance educator in a public school to find oneself shuffling along from committee meetings to parent conferences feeling isolated and misunderstood. At Bates I was able to connect with other teachers about issues such as fundraising, class placements, class size, costuming, producing concerts and guest artists. Bates made it easy to connect with other teachers to share our joys, pains and tricks of the trade. ”

– Allison Waddell, Enloe High School, Raleigh, NC

Master teacher and returning faculty member Steve Koester offered these comments in his follow up letter: The Festival . . .”provides me with the opportunity to question my own teaching and artistry, consider new ways to approach what I do, and helps solidify and reinforce beliefs in my own methods and aesthetics.  I am impressed at how much the Festival has grown since my last visit.  It has become an ever-important nexus of dance.  It provides fertile ground for development and growth in the art form, and is helping to shape its future. ”

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CREATIVE COLLABORATION

BDF and the Bates College Dance Program recently collaborated a two-part choreography project funded by a grant from the National College Choreography Initiative (NCCI), a program of Dance/USA.  The project brought choreographer, Seán Curran to the Festival to share his dance making skills in a class for 20 dancers that he taught with dance scholar Suzanne Carbonneau. Curran and Carbonneau described their approach as  “ransacking the postmodern toolbox of compositional strategies”. Student evaluations were full of praise for the complimentary skills this creative team brought to the class.  One student commented, “This class helped me find a true voice, gave me new material, and helped me break though my choreographic blocks.”  

Curran returned in the fall for a two-week residency with the Bates College Modern Dance Company. He developed material in collaboration with the students by introducing choreographic structures and allowing the students to create movement material. The resulting work, Allegro and Allegro, a musically complex piece for ten dance students set to Mozart, was performed as part of the fall concert series and was accompanied by a live trio of piano, violin and cello.”  Bates dancer Liz Murphy remarked, “Sean ‘s passion for dance has led him to understand it as creative process in which people must feel comfortable being themselves in order to perform their best. “ Bates College Professor of Dance Carol Dilley noted, ”Curran is one of the best guest artists to visit our program. His eclectic style broadened the horizons of the students, many of whom had never con templated mixing step-dancing with release techique and putting it to Mozart’s music.”

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AFRICAN CONSORTIUM ARTISTS COLLABORATE

As an active member of the African Consortium (AC), the Festival hosted creative residencies this summer by choreographers Faustin Linyekula of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gregory Maqoma and Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe both of South Africa, and Kota Yamazaki of Japan.  The artists spent concentrated time in the studio on a daily basis. Gregory collaborated with Faustin and Vincent to developing material for the completion of his Beautiful Trilogy.

African Consortium partners and artists from left to right: Jordana Phokompe, Faustin Linyekula, Cathy Zimmerman, Baraka Sele, Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe, Gregory Maqoma, Kota Yamazaki and Mina Nishimura

Vincent and Kota explored a new collaboration supported by The New Jersey Performing Arts Center and shared some of their material in our weekly informal showing.  Gregory, Vincent and Kota performed vibrant and distinctive new pieces on the Different Voices concert, August 11. All the artists offered workshops and participated in classes.  During our weekly Artist Roundtables Faustin shared stories of the devastating Congolese war and its’ impact on his work -- giving us a frightful glimpse of a world far different from our own. 

During the final week of the Festival AC members Cathy Zimmerman and Jordana Phokompe of Multi-Arts Projects & Productions along with Baraka Sele of NJPAC gathered at Bates to visit with the artists and discuss next steps for AC sponsored projects.

Founded in 2004 the African Consortium is composed of a committed group of U.S. presenters, producers and managers dedicated to supporting and presenting the multi-disciplinary work of artists living and working throughout the African continent.  To date AC has supported six projects and is currently developing tours with Compagnie Tche Tche (Cote D’Ivoire), Seydou Boro, (Burkina Faso), Selo Pesa, and Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe (South Africa), as well as organizing a trip to the African and Indian Ocean Choreographic Encounter in Paris this April.

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FESTIVAL ARCHIVE GOES PUBLIC

After five years of slow, but steady, effort on the part of many committed individuals we are proud to announce the official opening of the Bates Dance Festival Records and the online publication of its descriptive inventory, known as a finding aid in archival lingo. This important collection documents the administrative, educational, creative, outreach, and public relations aspects of the Bates Dance Festival from its founding in 1983 until the present. It includes audio and video recordings and photographs of performances, events, and classes; correspondence with and press kits of faculty and creative personnel; administrative files; records of the advisory council; documentation on community outreach and special projects; and publications, including concert guides and programs. At 32 linear feet and growing each year, the collection is extensive and can support a broad range of research topics, from learning a choreographer’s phrases to understanding the artistic development of world class performers. The collection is located at the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College and is open to researchers from 9am-noon and 1pm-4pm, Monday-Friday.

We want to thank the following individuals for their encouragement, commitment, knowledge, hard work and perseverance in bringing this material to a wider audience: Kurt Kuss, Adrienne Byrd, Kat Stefko, Chris Beam, Pat Rader, Peter Richards, Shawn Hove, Elisabeth Miller, and Zoia Cisneros. Partial support was provided by the Maine Historical Collections Grant Program.

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ADVISORY COUNCIL NEWS

We are very pleased to welcome new members Jean Wilson, JoAnn Haeberle and Kathy Nolan who joined the BDF Advisory Council in the fall of 2005.  Jean is Vice President for Information Services at LL Bean in Freeport.  She says that one of the highlights of her life was dancing while a student at Bates College, under the inspirational mentorship of Marcy Plavin.  JoAnn is currently enjoying her second career as an interior designer with Maclin Design, Inc. in Portland.   She says dance has been an important part of her life since her college days at Bates.  JoAnn has been involved with several Portland dance and arts organizations and both her daughters are committed to professional studies in the performing arts. Kathy directs the dance program at Thornton Academy in Saco.  A lifelong dance educator, she is passionate about the need for dance in public education. She is committed to fostering dance literacy in communities in southern Maine. We appreciate their commitment and look forward to their contributions.

We bid a fond farewell and offer much gratitude to valued Advisory Council members Barry Dean and Jackie Misenheimer. Their multiple efforts on behalf of the Festival will be appreciated long into the future.

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NEW ARTS INITIATIVE IN MAINE

Maine gets picked! Creative Capital Foundation, an organization that provides contemporary artists nation-wide with multi-faceted support through project grants and advisory services, has announced the selection of Maine and Arizona as partners for its State Research Project. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation provided a $100,000 special project grant for Creative Capital to examine the feasibility of adapting its comprehensive model for individual artist support to the state-level.

Maine has embraced the crucial role that artists play in building dynamic communities and is looking to cultivate artists as one of the state’s many “natural resources.” Several artist-led initiatives within the New England state have focused on developing artist live/work spaces, securing free and low cost healthcare, and easing geographic isolation. The State Research Project will help Maine to assess the programs and informal networks that assist artists with their creative practice and to identify gaps in their infrastructure.

We applaud the Maine Arts Commission for winning support from Creative Capital and look forward to participating in the assessment process.

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MEMBERSHIP

BDF relies on contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals to supply forty percent of our operating budget. Please consider becoming a Member. Go to the "Support BDF" page to download a gift form or send an email to dancefest@bates.edu for more information.

Founded in 1982, the Bates Dance Festival is a summer program of Bates College whose mission is: to bring an artistically and ethnically diverse group of outstanding contemporary dance artists to Maine during the summer months to teach, perform, and create new work; to encourage and inspire established and emerging artists by giving them a creative, supportive place in which to work; and to actively engage people from the community and region in a full range of danceperformances, workshops and discussions. The Festival receives some in-kind support from Bates College and pays an annual fee in exchange for services.

 

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