When FSU moved to distance learning, the School of Dance’s ARTS in NYC faculty and staff identified an urgent need to provide resources to students so that they could understand the depth of this pandemic’s impact of the field of dance and continue the necessary community building with professionals as the field moved to remote practices.
Through a new ARTISTIMULUS Dance Speaker Series, they hoped to answer:
“How are dance artists, collectives, curators, and administrators navigating the current shift in dance landscape? How are digital channels, remote partnerships, and app-able campaigns remapping collaborative networks while crowdsourcing an inspired collective ethos in response to the impact of COVID-19? What energies, synergies, and mutual aid efforts are indeed webbing wider or deeper in these strained circumstances? And what models of mutuality, of flexibility, resiliency, improvisation, and adaptability might we celebrate from these emergent dance strategies?”
Associate Professor Hannah Schwadron alongside the ARTS in NYC Program staff, Rebecca Fitton and ARTS in NYC teaching faculty Michelle Fletcher, activated relationships with key stakeholders in the NYC dance community, inviting them to share their experiences navigating the field-wide shift.
Four sessions were planned for April:
Organizing mutual-aid and prioritizing self-care
J. Bouey, Dance Artist
Ethics in cancellation, gig economy realness, getting what you need and sad Madonna songs
Miguel Gutierrez, choreographer, composer, performer, singer, writer, educator, advocate, and past FSU MANCC Resident Artist
Michelle Fletcher (MFA Dance 2008), FSU ARTS in NYC teaching faculty, choreographer, director and artist manager
Balancing freelance careers
Donna Uchizono, FSU Associate Professor, Bessie Award-winner, Artistic Director of Donna Uchizono Company
Angie Pittman, Dancer, dance maker, educator
Molly Lieber, Dancer and educator
Activism and Commercial Dance
Sunny Hitt, Assistant Choreographer for Virgin Voyages, the Off Broadway production of Soft Power and Co-Organizer of Social Disdance
Unexpected results came quickly:
In the first week, several attendees stayed on the Zoom call for an additional hour to talk candidly – about the impact of virus on their lives and also smile, laugh, catch up and in several cases, meet for the first time. As we moved forward, we opted to structure this crucial community hang time as a regular part of the series, programming a second hour of event as an opportunity for growing the ARTS in NYC network through genuine exchange and expressions of care for one another.
– Hannah Schwadron, Associate Professor & FSU ARTS in NYC Director
Speakers were regularly asked “What advice would you give to recent grads entering the field during this time?” After additional positive feedback from students, three more sessions were planned in May to further the conversations on careers, equitable pay, sustainable working conditions and equity & justice in the field.
COVID Hack for School-to-Work Transitions
Patch Schwadron, Career Counselor Supervisor, The Career Center of The Actor’s Fund
Fair pay and safe, equitable, and sustainable working conditions
David Gonsier, Alex Rodabaugh, Megan Wright and Antuan Byers, Volunteers on Dance Artists’ National Collective Steering Committee
Candace Thompson-Zachery; Dancer; Founder, Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE; Manager of Justice, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives at Dance/NYC
ARTISTIMULUS reached nearly 60 individuals in April and May, including current students, rising ARTS in NYC participants and alumni, FSU faculty and staff, faculty from the broader dance field, and peers in both Tallahassee and NYC’s art communities.
By including a wide range of networks attached to ARTS in NYC, the conversations support necessary community building. Identifying and fostering these new relationships will be a key component for students’ development in the field as novel systems of operation develop post-COVID and transferable skills are increasingly necessary to build sustainable arts careers.
Visit FSU’s ARTS in NYC program for more information.