People ask this a lot. I find it both awesome and difficult.
Let me explain. I think it’s awesome when friends, family, acquaintances and even passersby display interest in what I’m doing with dance. I find inquiry in the form of this question difficult because my answer is often ‘6 months from now,’ or ‘9 months from now.’ I sometimes feel sheepish when I am unable to invite people to anything happening sooner than that: to many folks, that seems like an awful long time between projects or ‘gigs.’ People are accustom to hearing musicians talk about what’s on tap for them that weekend. Local and regional theater folk often rehearse for a period of a couple weeks and their shows often run for at least two weekends, if not a couple months.
Some insight for folks who do not consider themselves part of a dance community: the performance structure for concert dance, given details of the creative, financial and production processes, often has us rehearsing for a solid six to nine months for a weekend with two to four shows total. Regarding creative process, independent choreographers often work with dancers one to two times a week for a couple hours at at time, and even when working efficiently, it can take months of such sessions to develop entirely new works/ a show (a 60 minute work/ collection of works can be considered an ‘evening-length’ dance show, though performances often run 90 minutes to two hours and can include existent or works from the ‘repertoire’ of the company or choreographer).
As for the financials, this work usually begins well over a year out, actually. Granters and foundations generally only reward funds at least nine months out from a project, and there are even organizations that fund on rotations of several years at a time, only opening the application process every few. Artists need to have a sense of what they are working with monetarily far enough ahead to plan for number of dancers, props and costumes, venue rental, etc. This goes not only for grants, but for individual contributions and other streams of income as well.
As far as production goes, most venues rent a good year to two years ahead, and this is just one of the pieces of the technical aspects of the puzzle that contributes to such long timelines for the creation of dance shows. There are bright independent artists from all walks of aesthetic who are subverting these structures so they can show work with more frequency and less financial risk, but much of the time, the above applies. So next time you wonder why I’m telling you about ‘my next show, which is in February’ when it’s June, you’ll have a better sense of why! So, here’s a bit about my upcoming shows!
I am excited to be in my first year dancing with this awesome Twin Cities-based Afro-Brazilian dance company. We produce Marciano Silva Dos Santo’s exciting and unique choreographic fusion of several rhythm-heavy dance styles (so you know it’s up my alley)! Hope you can make the show!
Performing in MY new work in:habit
Who: Erinn Liebhard + Dancers
When: April 23rd, April 30th & May 7th @ 7:30pm
Where: The Icehouse (Minneapolis MN)
After the successful creation of my MFA thesis production in a bar/ social-setting in January 2015, I’ve been itching to create a new evening-length work in such a space. I found a great one in Icehouse, a Minneapolis venue programming lots of live music, and increasingly, dance! The show explores the up and down sides of habit with a correlation to reputation in jazz-infused electronic dance music. Come check it out!
Thanks for asking and groove on,