Director’s Note: Resilience and Evolution in Dance

“Artists are not ok right now.” 

“Broadway is closed until 2021.”

“Cirque is filing for bankruptcy.” 

“Feld laid off 90% of its workforce permanently.” 

“Cruise ship performers are out of work.”

 “Theme park performers have no idea when they will be recalled….”

Above are variations on posts I’ve seen circulating on social media this week. These posts go on to describe how performing artists are struggling and how we need support, and it’s true.

Amid the pandemic, artists have found themselves living their worst nightmare.

Not only are we cut off from what we love, but the already tenuous financial situation of performing artists in the United States has also reached the worst-case scenario. Even major companies like Joffrey and New York City Ballet have canceled their entire 2020 seasons (including Nutcracker). Dancers at every echelon are feeling this weight.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

In a moment of quarantine-induced panic (out of which grew the inspiration for Digital Dance Project), I watched some worst-case scenarios play out in my mind for not only my career but the careers of my friends and colleagues. Did I retire at Nutcracker, and nobody told me? Is this the death-knell for an already struggling industry? Do we let nature take its course?

No. We evolve. 

Art possesses intrinsic value and serves as a record of the times in which we live. Artistic storytelling allows us to expand the individual experience out to the general and brings broad experience down to the individual. It provides us with a touchpoint where we can all meet at the crossroads of experience and emotion.

With the summer came some hope that COVID-19 would leave us alone and that we could return to a semblance of normal. Sadly, that has not been the case. With little to no government-funded aid for the arts, we will likely have a long and challenging road ahead of us. 

Digital Dance Project was designed for this long road. 

Our project was built on the belief that we can sustainably move the industry forward to make it better for dancers and more accessible to audiences. 

How do we evolve?

Growing into this concept of virtual theater is new, and a little quirky. There are still some kinks to work out, and while I want to get back into a theater as badly as the next dancer, we have an opportunity to reinvent the world of storytelling through dance. Our resilience as a community lies in our ability to innovate and recreate. As an industry, we must continue to pivot quickly to walk in step with society’s needs and the complexities of our time. 

Get involved.

We are still looking for dance innovators to be part of our affiliated group of dancers and choreographers. We start rehearsals for our first official screening next week! If you want to jump on the bandwagon for our premiere September Screening, there is still time! You can visit our applications page to learn more and apply. 

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