Episode 2. #DANCECHANGE
Video by 161 Content Studio - Dance Equity blog written by Dance Outreach Consultant Jon Reid.
I have been to countless dance community discussions over the years. Addy is frequently invited as a panelist to these events and when she speaks about movement, she always leaves an audience inspired to elevate or with an idea unpacked. While dancers speak with their motion by profession, artists who can pin point issues publicly offers so much to the community as a whole especially when information is scarce for dancers who are negotiating, managing and producing so much of their own work. Addy has the ability to share unique insight wrapped in disarming humour. After all, without a sense of humour in the dance industry, how could we keep on in this precarious environment.
In addition to community advocacy and engagement, she gives back her experience through a unique education inititative. Addy co-founded an artist education program with Caroline Torti and Bree Wasylenko entitled Booked. Booked is an intensive workshop educating the next generation on how to get results in an audition, in a gig, or negotiating a contract by understanding the process. For many artists going between both commercial and not-for-profit work, a strong understanding of how to get ‘booked’ is a vital understanding to sustaining a dance career.
To give you a quick reference of her work as a professional artist, Addy has choreographed multiple seasons for the Nicelodeons’ show Make It Pop, performing, judging, collaborating with countless music artists, and managing auditions in TV/film – and she some how still finds time to advocate and collaboratively produce Booked.
As we began to set up for our interview, Addy debated what issue to discuss for the Dance Equity segment. She was determined to keep her coffee in hand as well as find something meaningful to speak on for the campaign. The issue that came out was the recognition dancers constantly have to fight for respect for the levels of work that our profession requires. When our time is spent on educating producers why we need rehearsal time to make choreography, again and again, you have to wonder when will our movement get the respect it deserves in the creative process.
To create respectful working conditions, we must first acknowledge, recognize and understand the nature of a professional dance career. Many have misconceptions of a dance career from the flashy spotlight and instagram pics working with music artists, but the reality is, from international stage to searching for auditions with your laptop on your couch, every day is different with no guarantees. You finish one giant show, but the next day you are back to square one. But our work does need some guarantees, and even more so as we start to take steps from emerging, to mid career and being able to sustain with no fixed income besides what we create forward. We don’t just fight for our own careers, we fight for our dancers as choreographers, rehearsal hours for our cast, our working conditions for our crew and of course respect for our creative processes needs.
The trajectory of a dancer, in the multi-layer role(s) that we take on in relation to the responsibilities we take on off stage isn’t an easy balance. With the only job ‘promotion’ we receive is the ability to individually negotiate our perceived, and unperceived worth. It is true that this dance world is always in flux. A dance artist should be respected for the fluidity within this precarious ecology. Even though it is not an sea to stay afloat, one of the things that gives a balance to so many dancers is the shared experience and knowledge from catalysts like Addy.
We are listening, sharing and changing in response to the conversations we are having with dance artists. If you are inspired to share your story or thoughts please send us a quick message HERE.
Thank you for giving your insight and time Addy. It is very appreciated. Enjoy your move to L.A. and come back very soon.
You can seen more of Dance Equity ‘DANCE VOICES’ Series on our campaign page. Please keep the conversation going by tweeting @CanActEquity with #dancechange #DanceEquity #movementforchange #dancevoices