Monday, June 18, 2007

Dance/USA, the best ever...

Chicago, Illinois

Friday started with two presentations summarizing the changes in audience behaviors. Subscriptions are down. More single tickets being sold later -- often in the last 24 hours. It is daunting to do marketing in this environment, and few have the $$ resources to "be there every step of the way."

News flash: People 25 and under no longer use email. It is very yesterday. Now, they exchange messages among their networks by way of instant messages on their MySpace pages and other postings. No longer good enough to have a great website; companies now need a MySpace and YouTube presence. Yikes!

The remnants of live journalists from San Francisco, Boston, and cyberspace reported on how best to interact. Newspaper writers are split: some want email press releases only, while others want the hardy copy follow-up. Apparently, the internal mechanics of newspaper work require both. If one wants coverage: previews or reviews, there have to be current photos available, in a color option, that pertain to the work being performed. Photos need a striking central image, high resolution, good contrast, and cannot be generic.

M presented the half-hour all-conference gathering on Career Transitions for Dancers with ease, authority, articulation, and moderation. I sat in the front row to encourage him. Proud of him.

We bused to the Columbia College Dance Center for another reception and showcase performances by Muntu, Lucky Plush Productions, Hedwig Dances, Human Rhythm Project/BAM, Mordine & Co., Dance Colective (sp), Giordano Jazz, River North, and Luna Negra. Ninety minutes without intermission.

Saturday evening, what started as a group of four, increased to eight, 12, and eventually around 20. We went to Rumba restaurant for dinner. When live Latin dancing got started, lessons were given in salsa and cha-cha. Four of us left the group near midnight. No one was in the lobby at 6:30 Sunday morning when I caught the airport express.

Following the February 2006 Dance/USA meeting in D.C., I got a bit mouthy -- as they invited us to do -- about the poor schedule dynamics and other shortcomings. In the hallway after the final blessing on Saturday, Dance/USA's executive director looked at me and said "Well?"

"It was the best ever!"

"That's what I want to hear!"

Friday, June 15, 2007

Dance/USA, so far

Chicago, Illinois

The published business agenda of the Dance/USA Councils gets gaveled to order this morning, but two days of other real business already has happened.

A fair number of people came to Chicago on Wednesday in order to catch the six dance companies on Wednesday night at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Muntu, Oregon Ballet, Lubovitch, Limon, Complexions, and Hubbard Street). There was a pre-performance reception at the museum. A Joffrey director hosted a post-performance reception at his home downtown.

The Dance/USA board met all day Thursday, while non-board members wandered into town. The opening night reception happened from 5:30-7:30 on stage at the 1,500 seat Harris Theater next to Millennium Park.

The energy here is very high with a swirl of generational mix. It is striking how so many of us, so suddenly, look definitely older. There is a whole group of newer, younger people. Such a swirl of unfinished conversations...

Tonight's reception is at the Dance Center of Columbia College. Followed by a 90-minute showcase performance.