More than any other art form, dance as a live performance is at once most thrilling and fleeting. It exists in the moment, not to be bottled but rather contained in only one’s memory. While you can video the art form and watch on repeat (which has its own thrills, for sure), live performances cannot be printed to be framed and hung for staring, nor recorded with the same mesmerizing sensation. The only chance that audiences have to relive the visceral experience is to often attend live dance performances. Hence, my latest mantra: frequency, frequency, frequency.
Opportunities for audiences to experience live dance (as well as dance-theater and theater itself) is vastly lower than opportunities to experience live music and visual art. Why is that? The theories are plenty, but there is one thing I know for sure: the more opportunities that dance companies have to show their work, the more frequently audiences can ‘get to know’ not only the particular style of a choreographer but also dance as an art form. Though it is typically expensive for choreographers to find adequate rehearsal and performance space, dancers with the availability to work (for often nominal amounts) and secure resources to support their work, there has to be a way to make dance more readily accessible. There has to be a way to give choreographers more access to developing their craft.
I’m not sure what the right answer is, but there’s only one proverbial way to seek the answer: create those opportunities. Proxemic Media’s first project, Third Friday Durham Dance Series, is an attempt to give regional (N.C.) dance companies an opportunity to show their work beyond a self-produced evening length work. With one to three years often going in between when choreographers self-produce a show, there is a lot of time lost for audiences to keep the momentum of experiencing said choreographer’s work. There’s not a track of theirs that audiences can play on repeat in their car. But, what would happen if once a month there was an opportunity to get a smaller-scale work (10-20 minutes in length) out there? Does it help audiences get to know their work? Are they (choreographers) able to hone their craft more steadily? Let’s find out!