AMERICAN DANCE CRITIC WANTED – Unique Travel Opportunity

“21st-Century Ballet” Forum in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia

The organizers of the “21st-Century Ballet Forum,” in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, seek an American dance critic to participate in the events surrounding the October 5 premiere of a new production of “Swan Lake.” They are offering to pay airfare, hotel and per diem.

From October 5-9, 2014, the Third International Forum “21st-Century Ballet” will take place in the Krasnoyarsk State Theatre of Opera and Ballet dedicated to the ballets of P. Tchaikovsky. The forum will be packed with events: a photo exhibition and round table dedicated to the development of ballet art, a screening of documentary films about Tchaikovsky’s ballet “Swan Lake,” and a workshop with prominent figures from the world of ballet including People’s Artists of the USSR and Russia V. Gordeev, M. Leonova, M. Lavrovsky, N. Gracheva and others.

Additionally within the framework of these spectacular events, the Krasnoyarsk International Ballet Competition “Grand Prix of Siberia” will take place alongside the All-Russian Competition of Theatrical Folk Dance, October 6-9, under the chairmanship of People’s Artist of the USSR Yuri Grigorovich.

For further information, please contact: Alexander Zhurbin,; (+7-985-2207276)

Paul Taylor’s new vision for American modern dance

On Tuesday, Paul Taylor kicked off his company’s three-week 60th anniversary season, presenting a wide spectrum from decades of work, among them several masterpieces. The octogenarian keeps churning them out, with no apparent interest in slowing down. But on Thursday, he acknowledged mortality and gave thought to legacy, unveiling a bold new vision for the future of his company – and for modern dance.

This time next year, we’ll be introduced to Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance. The entity hasn’t been entirely fleshed out yet and few specifics have been provided. But based on a press conference on Thursday and a public announcement at the company’s gala at Lincoln Center that night, the new organization will have a three-fold mission:

–       The continued presentation, and creation, of works by Taylor, performed by his company (currently on fine display on the Koch stage).

–       The commissioning of new works by emerging (American?) choreographers, to be set on, and performed by, Taylor’s company.

–       The presentation of American modern dance classics by Taylor’s contemporaries.

The prospect is exciting, if vague at the moment, and raises a number of questions yet to be answered. Among them, who’s curating the new work and what’s the artistic vision? What kind of dance will “American Modern Dance” champion?

In presenting classics from other choreographers – a worthy effort to preserve historic and foundational pieces of art – are these works to be reconstructed on the Taylor dancers? Performed by guest companies already specializing in some of that work (i.e., the Graham and Limon companies), or perhaps some other alternative?

In addition to these lofty intentions, another grand, and welcome, development: a commitment to live music “when intended by the choreographer,” according to the announcement. Indeed, live music is a noticeable no-show at the Koch right now. If you attend the New York City Ballet regularly, you get used to a lively presence in the orchestra pit and a full-bodied sound in the theater. An empty pit creates a buffer to the audience; it absorbs energy. Filling it back up will make many of Taylor’s best works feel whole again.

Legacy is a tricky beast in dance – both because of the slippery nature of handing down dances in general and because of the single-choreographer company model that defined (and to a large degree, still does) the structure of modern dance presentation. We’ve seen the problems of ownership that arise (à la Graham), the dispersal of a valued repertory (Cunningham) as well as a successful re-birth (Ailey).

Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance proposes a new idea that has the potential to be an important and sustainable home for Taylor’s works, other classics, and serve as a springboard for the next generation of visionaries. We eagerly await details.

Your Extreme Weather Reading List: Ballet’s Invisible Women + Israel’s Dance of Deportation

In New York, the snow outside my window is thick like feathers and falling aggressively like bricks. In Atlanta, my brother is stranded in his apartment with a bag of pretzels and only the ingredients for a Bloody Mary (he’s not complaining). Extreme weather gives permission for extreme reading. This weekend, consider adding the following two articles to your reading list: One is an articulate exploration of the long-time problem of gender inequity in dance, the other a snapshot of a celebrated dance community caught in a political bind.

In the Huffington Post a few weeks ago, Emily Coates, the director of the dance curriculum at Yale University, weighs in on the lack of female leadership in the dance world, particularly on the ballet end of the spectrum. She writes:

I learned something surprising while preparing my lecture notes for a unit on the Ballet Russe: the last name of the great Russian dancer-choreographer “Nijinsky.” passes spell check. The last name of his sister Bronislava “Nijinska” — an important choreographer in her own right — does not. That glaring red underline, spell check’s mark of non-recognition, is a metaphor for how the women in ballet history tend to be viewed.

Coates has a 20-year dance career under her belt with some of the world’s most acclaimed companies, she knows firsthand the complicated relationship between female dancer and male mentor and the lack of opportunity or even encouragement for female dancers to transition into leadership roles. I suspect we all sense this imbalance, but it takes a reminder and call to action like this to give the issue continued visibility.


Meanwhile, on the Mediterranean coast… This article from the prominent Israeli newspaper Haaretz (to which I also contribute) is a compelling look at another difficult issue. The Israeli dance scene has been globally celebrated in the past decade and the Israeli government has proudly supported and showcased its companies, heralding them as ambassadors of Israeli culture.

Many of the dancers in these companies are not Israelis – they’re foreigners from the United States, Germany, Taiwan, etc. who flock to that special something Israeli contemporary dance has going on right now. But in a state with super strict visa and residency requirements, they’re not always welcome to stay.

Rachel Osborne, an Australian, has been dancing with the Batsheva Dance Company for over a decade. Having watched the company for years (I lived in Tel Aviv for three), it’s hard to think of anyone else who embodies Batsheva’s intensity, intelligence and fierce sensuality more than she. Last year, without reason, the Israeli government refused to renew her visa, essentially kicking her out. Shir Hacham writes:

[Osborne] feels that she contributed to the cultural scene in Israel and when she travels the world as a dancer and teacher, she doesn’t identify as an Australian but rather as a product of Batsheva and of Naharin − and therefore as an Israeli.

Dancers have long danced without borders. This situation raises questions about who represents a “national company” that becomes a cultural export and how those individuals are valued and protected by a foreign government. At least in this case, it appears not so much.


Philly’s thoughtful dance-writing model (p.s. We should copy it)

I went to Philadelphia for the first time in October. Summer was refusing to abdicate to Fall, so we drank cold beers under a surprisingly strong sun and looked up at the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. When I returned last week, I slid along sidewalks and puffed into my gloves. I honestly can’t decide which version of the city I prefer. Either way, I was still charmed, even more so when I was introduced to its dynamic dance community.

This visit came about at the invitation of thINKingDANCE, a unique two-year-old collective of writers committed to covering the wide spectrum of dance in their town. It was launched by Lisa Kraus and Anna Drozdowski, who got a grant to build a sleek professional website (because we cannot underestimate the value of aesthetics in presenting our writing) and pay writers a modest fee for contributing.

ThINKingDANCE is a clever grassroots response to the downsizing of arts journalism in recent years. It’s citizen journalism for the dance community, by the dance community, but with an eye to engaging folks beyond that community.

It’s not a blog. It has structure, editors and deadlines. It may not have the reach, or offer the rates, of the Philadelphia Inquirer (however much those rates have tumbled), but it’s a bold statement of action when so many are giving in to easy whining.

More than mere coverage, thINKingDANCE is a communal conversation. And better still, it has a stated mission to cultivate and encourage more dance writers, which means more dance writing.

On Saturday, in thefidget space, a cozy yet expansive loft about ten minutes outside the city center, I chatted with ten thINKingDANCE contributors about a range of dance writing issues: How do we consider new templates for dance writing? (i.e., Can we borrow from the listicle craze to attract readers but find a way to imbue it with thoughtful analysis?) How do we navigate perceived or actual conflicts of interest as both writers and creators? How do we consider our audience of readers?

None of these questions are unique to Philly. But thINKingDANCE is. After our daylong workshop, I observed the local writers gather around a spreadsheet to hash out writing assignments for the next two months. It was a long list and there were a lot of columns: author, editor, performance date, due date, etc.

It’s a serious, and seriously impressive, operation. The Philly dance community is lucky to have it. And other communities would be smart to emulate it.

Dance with Interruptions: A Debate

There’s an important – and thrilling – conversation taking place in the New York dance community right now and if you’re not aware of it, you should be.

It all started two weeks ago, on January 11, with a review of the American Realness Festival in the New York Times by Alastair Macaulay, the Times’ chief dance critic (and former board member of the DCA). In conclusion, he wrote: “American Realness too often hunts down examples that are unoriginal and clique-ish. Rather than enlarging the world of New York performance, it shrinks it.” Needless to say, this irked some of the artists involved and their supporters, who lashed out on social media.

About a week later, on January 17, Claudia La Rocco, a former dance critic at the Times, contributed an essay to ArtForum called “APAP Smear,” addressing the glut of festivals that accompany the annual Association for Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference. She didn’t like much of what she saw.

Her essay was unrelated to, and didn’t reference, Macaulay’s review but it similarly seemed to suggest that, when it comes to the artists and festivals that bill themselves as transgressive, perhaps the emperor has no clothes.

Andy Horowitz over at Culturebot picked up on La Rocco’s jeremiad and sympathized. In a passionate essay published January 19 called “Considering Alastair, Questioning Realness,” he admitted to often disagreeing with Macaulay but came to the critic’s defense, writing: “…in this observation of the clique-ishness and self-satisfaction of ‘downtown’ dance/performance, particularly as embodied by American Realness, [Macaulay] is not incorrect.”

But Horowitz then spun the conversation into new directions, questioning certain values and assumptions about that festival and the problematic and exploitative system of arts presenting in which it operates. He cited one particular incident of an artist, Ann Liv Young, interrupting the performance of another artist, Rebecca Patek. He wasn’t there but he had words to say about it.

Siobhan Burke, another dance critic at the Times, was there. She recounted her experience in a thoughtful reflection called “Acting,” which was posted on the website of The Performance Club, a collective of arts writers founded by La Rocco. Burke clarifies details of the Young/Patek incident, raises questions and grapples with her own reaction.

But you’ll miss the real depth of the conversation if you just stick to the primary texts. Read the comments. More questions and issues emerge. Things get complicated; there are a lot of angles to consider. And, to their credit, the authors willingly engage.

Rarely does such a raw, robust conversation catch fire in the dance community. Whether or not you care to weigh in, you should at least take note.

Choreographing War

Movie poster for Lone Survivor.
Movie poster for Lone Survivor.

The latest war film to address America’s ongoing overseas engagement is Peter Berg’s “Lone Survivor,” the story of a doomed Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan. In something of a surprise, it topped the box office last week, becoming one of the few post-9/11 military films to find a broad commercial audience. Many attempts in the past few years, though critically acclaimed (like “Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Messenger,” etc.) have struggled to attract indifferent viewers. But at least they’re trying.

Meanwhile, it seems not much war has popped up thematically in dance in the past decade. (Note: Since the initial publishing of this post, Bill T. Jones’  “Blind Date” (2005), Ronald K. Brown’s “Come Ye” (2003), and Garth Fagan’s “Life: Dark/Light” have been brought to my attention.) Please continue to share, in the comments section, examples of others works or artists that you’ve encountered that have engaged with the subject.

But on Thursday night at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center, war and dance was the topic at hand. Not a survey of the field but a look at the repertory of Paul Taylor, the veteran modern dance choreographer whose company celebrates its 60th anniversary this spring. Writer and scholar Suzanne Carbonneau, author of the forthcoming Taylor biography, discussed Taylor’s approach to war in four works spanning a quarter century.

Company B
Paul Taylor Dance Company in Company B
Photo by Paul B. Goode

In “Company B” (1991), Carbonneau showed how Taylor subtly undermines the romanticization of World War II. In “Banquet of Vulture” (2008), she pointed to the usually apolitical Taylor’s rage against the war in Iraq. In a nod to Kurt Jooss’ 1932 “The Green Table,” perhaps the most famous of anti-war dances, Taylor borrowed the rigid bearing and heavy steps of the character of Death to create his own character explicitly modeled on George W. Bush.  In “Sunset” (1983), war remains hovering offstage; its only literal reference is the uniforms worn by the men. But in that work, Taylor zooms in on the way war disrupts youth and robs soldiers and their sweethearts of carefree innocence.

Dance isn’t always great at commenting on politics – some issues are just too complicated to capture in a nuanced way without words. But when it comes to illustrating how war affects our social relationships and communal psyche, dance may have something valuable to say.

From the evidence on Thursday, Paul Taylor is clearly committed to exploring these themes. Who among contemporary choreographers will join him?

Save the date! DCA Conference 2014 to be held in Philadelphia

The 2014 Dance Critics Association conference will be held June 12-15,  2014 in Philadelphia.

We will be partnering with and hosted by the Pennsylvania Ballet during their 50th anniversary season.

The conference will discuss the history of ballet in Philadelphia and many other topics.

If you would like to suggest topics for panels or help organize the conference, please contact the DCA Administrator, Karyn Collins at

Reflections on the Dance Critics Assoc. / World Dance Alliance 2013 Conference

On August 29, 2013, the World Dance Alliance – Americas (WDA-A) opened its annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. A few days later, on August 1, the Dance Critics Association joined the party, kicking off its own annual gathering, in association with the WDAA. The pas de deux of the two organizations that weekend offered a wealth of casual conversations and curated events, informative panels and inspired performances.

Below are several reflections on the experience: impressions of the joint programming, reviews of the numerous performances, and insights on what dance lovers are talking about this year.

Victoria Farr Brown weighs in at Whim W’Him:

“Just as dance itself is far less strictly divided into classical and modern and popular, and influences from hip hop to aerial dance seep in, so dance-making and writing become ever more intertwined. Blogs of all sorts, education programs that are part of marketing efforts, free-lance reviewing, and specialized websites all enter the mix. Distinctions blur. Roles blend and merge.”

Read the full article here.

Lynn Matluck Brooks weighs in at Thinking Dance:

“With a full schedule of panels, presentations, workshops, classes, and concerts, bringing together dance folks from around the globe, across specialties, and in two organizations (WDA and DCA), this gathering was rich, colorful, generous, and surprisingly relaxed and accommodating.”

Read the full article here.

Becca Weber weighs in at Thinking Dance:

“The conference offered theory next to practice, rather than just the ideological backing behind our work. In doing so, it allowed me to represent my fullest dance “self”—all of the ways in which I engage with the field. I left feeling refreshed, full of inspiration and information.”

Read the full article here.

Sandi Kurtz reviews the WDA-A showcase:

The World Dance Alliance showcase performances during the 2013 conference were just as varied as the participating artists, educators, practitioners, presenters, and other ‘dance people’ involved were. The programs ranged from stage-savvy professionals to young students, with work outside the western canon in between — it’s hard to talk about them all in the same context. But as audience members we saw them all grouped together, whatever their background or expertise, representing the wild variety of the art form.

Choreography in a college setting is a tricky business – it’s as much about creating an appropriate challenge for nascent performers as it is an opportunity to follow an artistic vision. Sometimes those elements combine to make a significant artwork and sometimes they just stay in equilibrium. In the Wednesday night program Marlene Skog and Jin-Wen Yu have both managed to challenge their student dancers without overwhelming them. Skog’s “EXIT/NO EXIT” is an academic exploration of dualism, with its two performers locked in a series of mirror-balanced phrases as they orbit a pair of chairs like a desert island, but their interconnected relationship felt a bit predictable. Unfortunately, the second half of the work was not performed – the weaknesses in the piece may just come from an incomplete view. In “Passage,” Yu matched a sweet-natured contemporary ritual with a score from the Bulgarian State Female Choir – the familiar music reinforced the “girls dancing together” motifs. As her young cast carried stones around the space, balancing them on their foreheads and gathering them into their skirts, they grappled with simple locomotor patterns. The work was most affective when they were dealing directly with their props, using them as percussion instruments or making cairns as they piled them up.

Henry Daniel’s “Here be Dragons-Non Plus Ultra” combines movement, text, acting and animation in a film excerpt from a larger performance work investigating the idea of otherness and exploration. Without seeing the entire project it’s difficult to know if this densely-edited mix of narrative and abstract materials is a sample of the total work, or just one more component. With multiple references and sources, it’s sometimes hard to find an overall arc for the film. “Dragons” incorporates several immigration stories, some starting in the “old world,” and some in the new. We hear from a Chilean artist who has relocated to Catalonia, a Spaniard who now lives in Italy, and a member of an indigenous population from Central America, among others, following both the usurpers and the dispossessed. Movement is just one component of the film project, and the rhythm of the editing has as much kinetic impact as some of the choreography itself. In its complex use of film techniques, “Dragon” is an example of what dance makers can do with university resources.

“Paradox” by Melissa Rolnick and the “Straddling Trio” with Sarah Gamblin, Nina Martin and Andrew Wass were the best examples of professional level performance. “Paradox” is a true old-school modern dance solo, alternating between interior turmoil and external focus. Artists since Isadora Duncan have been examining this emotional landscape –Rolnick has made a nuanced addition to that part of the repertory. Heather Klopchin gave a fully-committed and articulate performance in a work that feels like an homage to an earlier period in dance history, with great attention to details of gesture and timing. “Straddling Trio” also felt like a reference to an earlier time, but it was more attuned to Grand Union and the experiments of the Judson Church community than the early moderns. The performers all have long histories and deep resumes of their own, as well as a genial group dynamic – there was a wealth of experience on stage in their structured improvisation. The work was essentially serious, but laced with some light-hearted moments like penguin-styled waddling and a turn-taking sequence that seemed to take its basic materials from the Hokey Pokey.

Larissa Kern reviews the Saturday, August 3 program:

A black man in denim shorts entered the dark from Upstage Right.  His upper body bent, he articulated through his spine as he walked in circles with turned out feet. He looked half predator, half man as he meandered in silence. When a small clucking noise was heard, his eyes darted as though searching for the source. Soon, he stopped meandering and began to dance– he jumped, he turned, he crawled, he ran. And to every move he brought intensity and passion.  He did not need music to create emotion or power—every one of his moves used his full physical range and communicated to the audience emotions of fear, desperation and loneliness.

In this piece, “Man Alone,” choreographer Chris Walker wanted to portray the often “dangerous realities of urban life.” His choreography and Guy Thorne’s execution brought this vision to life last Saturday night at the Scotia Bank Dance Centre.  In the end Thorne collapsed to the ground, and a down pull of light shone on him as he crawled, panting and tired off the stage.

In his other work of the evening, “South Facing Window,” Walker used dancer Germaul Barnes to dance about the color and metaphors in the Jamaican Flag. He started wearing jeans and a t-shirt that seemed to constrain him, until he stripped to his “underwear” and danced without holding back.  Like Thorne, Barnes showed extreme athleticism with soaring jumps and great expression with flirtatious glances, goofy smiles and emotional reaches.

Claire French’s piece, “Inside In,” also dealt with hardship and survival, but from a different point of view. She used one female dancer, Brenda McLaud, an average size white girl with short brown hair to explore survival as coming from simple discipline. The piece opened with recorded dialogue—people discussing doubt.  Then the lights blacked out, and later the audience could hear a scribbling pencil, playing with writing and thinking, writing and thinking…and dancing. McLaud clearly had a strong foundation as she executed off balance extensions and deep lunges with straight legs. French’s choreography went beyond surviving external hardships and explored how people survive the everyday, internal battles caused by doubt.

The evening’s performance also exhibited subtle humor, live music, role reversal, and recorded comedy. All the dancers demonstrated strength and flexibility, and all the choreographers displayed insight and ingenuity, but these three solos provided the best entertainment, revealed the most insight and most appropriately delivered their message.

Janet Smith reviews the Thursday, August 1 program:

Fresh hybrids of the traditional and contemporary and some deeply political dance stood out at the WDA-A’s August 1st mixed program.

The six-show bill opened with B.C.’s Git Hayetsk First Nations troupe performing a piece on a theatre stage for the first time; the group is more often seen at festivals and other outdoor events. In Ridicule, the company used the traditional mask dancing of its ancestors to address pressing issues of today–namely the way the Canadian and U.S. governments’ rules for “status Indians” go against ancient clan and family lines.

The piece began with a voice-over explicating why these laws are offensive, but the message was much more powerful when the company went beyond speech and into its rhythmic, earth-bound mask-dancing.

The artful symbolism included giant masks that were divided into quadrants–painted faces sectioned out with blocks of bureaucratic status forms. The dancers wore plain, black robes, metaphorically stripped of the intricate regalia that Northwest Coastal people use to identify themselves with their tribes. By the piece’s end, the performers from a multitude of nations had emerged in this pageantry, complete with button blankets, wide-brimmed spruce hats, and clothing emblazoned with the spirit creatures of peoples like the Haida, Tsimshian, Nisga’a’, and Gitxan.

This first foray showed the largely unexplored potential for such a strong traditional form to move into contemporary times. Here’s hoping the group will build on its strengths–its multidisciplinary array of live drumming and visual art, its pulsing choreography, and its passionate politics–to develop the idea further.

Toronto’s Ashima Suri, too, puts a new twist on an old ethnic form–but in the case of her Ashes, the ancient source, classical South Asian dance, is far less recognizable.

The young dancer and social activist has branded what she does Indo-contemporary dance, and she turns to the gesticulating fingers and emphasized facial expressions that barat natyam and other traditional forms use to tell stories.

But where Suri really gets subversive is in using those techniques to defy her culture: she’s interested in challenging the notion that people, especially women, should hide their emotions and put on a happy “Bollywood” face. In this solo, Suri contemplates a canvas portrait of herself and spirals into moments of grief, loneliness, and melancholy. At first she tries to put on a front, waving and smiling, then recoils again and again, slumping into sadness. Her extended, impossibly expressive fingers might convulse in the air, pound at her chest, or pull an invisible partner to her body.

Moving to sobbing strings on a stage set starkly with chairs and a disembodied wall hung with an empty frame, she is a magnetic performer with an ability to pull out deep emotion–emotion that risks bringing judgment within her own community. Like the Git Hayetsk work, it’s a dance hybrid that you’ve never quite seen before–and you can feel the beginnings of something new here. There’s no denying Suri finds intensity through her face and hands in this deeply personal and fearless work, but one yearns for it to push into more full-bodied, fully realized territory.

Erin Scheiwe Rockwell’s lighter but equally heartfelt portrait Key Notes was a solo that really did use the whole body to explore the inner life of a woman. Dressed in a formal pink gown, the Jackson, Missippi, dance instructor sat down at a piano to play, then moved away from the keys to explore the frantic, impassioned energy that runs behind the serene composure expected of a classical pianist. To George Winston’s melodious notes, she might close her eyes and play the percussive notes in the air, or roll to loll her head against the top rim of the piano. The piece was as much an ode to the music–you could see the notes ripple through Rockwell’s core–as it was to a musician. Key Notes could dig deeper, but it was a fluid, playful first etude into the subject.

Much more intense was an excerpt from Chicago-based Seldoms Dance Company’s Monument, a refreshingly nonliteral take on our endless consumption and destruction of the environment. Carrie Hanson’s piece is supposedly inspired by human-made “monuments” like New York’s giant Fresh Kills Landfill trash heap–but that wasn’t immediately obvious from the duet shown. Instead, two entwined bodies thrust themselves into a cycle of abstracted collecting and discarding. In one repeated phrase, the dancers determinedly wiped at the bottom of their feet, as if their soles were covered in the shards and detritus of what humankind has cast to the ground. At others, they seemed to gather ever more from the air into their outstretched t-shirts. The piece found a driving flow all its own, with magnetic, committed performances from Damon Green and Christina Gonzalez-Gillett. Smart, kinetic, and thought-provoking.

True to their titles, Flight Dreams and Hailey’s Albedo shot for a different plane entirely. Georgia choreographer Bala Sarasvati uses aerial hoops, more often seen in new circus, for a form of contemporary dance that reaches for cosmic and almost spiritual heights.

Two performers, HyeYoung Borden and Emi Murata, whirled and flew across the stage in dizzying combinations. They were set against a swirling video of the skies and starry universe projected on a huge screen behind them—an effect that was by turns hypnotic, gaudy, and distracting.

What makes this dance, more than acrobatics, is that Sarasvati is trying to find higher meaning and push the movement aesthetically instead of simply displaying tricks. The work successfully takes you to a mesmerizing, almost transcendent space–especially in an intimate space, versus a circus-style arena.

You could call it an uplifting end to a program that launched a lot of new ideas.

DCA 2013 Conference To Be Joint Conference with World Dance Alliance

The Dance Critics Association and the World Dance Alliance – Americas are delighted to announce that they will be integrating their conference programming for the 2013 conference in Vancouver, BC. All participants that register for either of the conferences are now able to attend all the co-conferences activities at no extra cost! Registration for the entire joint conference is now one flat rate of $150. For more information about WDA-A programming please see their conference website: Registration can be completed through the WDA-A or the DCA website:

For more information contact DCA Conference chair Mariko Nagashima:

JUNE 24 is the DCA Conference Early Registration Deadline

Dance Critics Association
Annual Conference
August 2-4, 2013 Vancouver, BC
“Re-Defining the Field: Shifts in Critical Perception and Dance Writing”


VANCOUVER – Top dance writers George Jackson, Gigi Berardi, and Sandra Kurtz are among the moderators for the 2013 Dance Critics Association Conference.

This year’s theme is “Re-Defining the Field: Shifts in Critical Perception and Dance Writing,” and the exciting locale is Vancouver, British Columbia!

From August 2-4th, panelists including Princess Grace Award-winning choreographer Zoe Scofield, administrative staff from the Pacific Northwest Ballet and Seattle’s On the Boards will sound off about the latest and most pressing issues in the professional dance and dance-writing worlds.

This year’s DCA conference will be held in tandem with that of World Dance Alliance-America, whose theme is “Involve + Evolve: Dance as a Moving Question.” All panels and performances associated with the DCA and WDAA conferences will take place at the Scotiabank Dance Centre.
Tentative Schedule:

*All scheduling and panelists are subject to changes

Thursday, August 1

4:30 PM Meet and Greet reception. Location TBA.

Friday, August 2


Award winning critic Gigi Berardi of Western Washington University kickstarts the DCA 2013 Conference with a discussion of the critic-audience relationship. Panelists will discuss the ways in which writers navigate this sometimes complicated relationship, and what presenting organizations are doing to engage audiences critically. Panelists include a representative from Seattle’s On the Boards and PNB Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington.


Moderated by seasoned D.C. critic George Jackson, this panel will be a self-reflective discussion about who is writing critically today. Featured panelists include several DCA board members and Sandra Kurtz of the SeattleWeekly.


Sarah Todd, curator of Western Front Gallery in Vancouver, moderates this exciting panel about Vancouver as a microcosm of the larger dance world. This discussion will focus on local dance writing and criticism, as well as the impact of social media and fan-based writing on the Vancouver arts scene. Todd and panelists Alexander Ferguson, Peter Dickinson, and Deborah Meyers will discuss the limited resources for peer-reviewed or editor-reviewed local dance critique.


This brainstorming session allows Conference attendees a chance to weigh in about the status of the DCA. Faculty from the University of Washington, Cornish College of the Arts, and Simon Fraser will provide feedback on how to make the DCA more relevant with a young population of writers, and how to get the organization involved in universities nationwide.

Saturday, August 3


Can you sell a review in 140 characters? If you can’t promote an article in a few short words, it’s time to revamp your style! This panel will discuss how to capitalize on the better parts of our constantly changing media landscape.  Panelists TBA.


Now more than ever before, choreographers invite writers and audiences to see their creation processes. Writers discuss the creative process, and often let behind-the-scenes ideas inform their reviews of the final choreography. This creative process-centric discussion features choreographer and 2011 Princess Grace Choreography Award winner Zoe Scofield  (@zoe|juniper) among others.


This brainstorming session will discuss re-focusing and re-establishing the DCA’s image and presence in the dance community. Speakers TBA.


Having a successful brand is paramount in today’s web-interfaced world, and marketing that brand can make or break an organization. This branding panel highlights organizations that have had successful rebranding initiatives in recent years. Moderated by Sandra Kurtz, (SeattleWeekly), panelists will include Tonya Lockyer, Executive Director of Velocity Dance Center in Seattle, and Ashani Mfuko, a Dancerpreneur, Social Media Strategist, and Online Branding Specialist (@AshaniMfuko).

The DCA conference will be held in conjunction with the WDA-A’s annual conference, which runs fromJuly 29-August 4th. The WDA-A has organized performances in the evenings on Tuesday, July 30 through Saturday, August 3. All performances will be held at the Scotiabank Dance Centre theaters at6:00 PM each evening. For a list of performers see here:

Please Note: The conference takes place in Canada and a valid Passport is required to return to the United States.

For more information contact:

Mariko Nagashima

2013 DCA Conference

– The Fine Print –



Registration rates are:

Members –

$125 full conference pre-registration until June 24; $150 full conference registration after June 24 or on-site; $100 single day pre-registration until June 24; $115 single day registration after June 24 or on-site.

Members of affiliate organizations (DanceNYC, DHS, ADG, DFA, SDHS, CORD, WDA) –

$150 full conference pre-registration until June 24; $170 full conference registration after June 24 or on-site; $110 single day pre-registration until June 24; $130 single day registration after June 24 or on-site.

Non-members –

$175 full conference pre-registration until June 24; $195 full conference registration after June 24 or on-site; $105 single day pre-registration until June24; $125 single day registration after June 24 or on-site.

Registration may be completed by mail with the attached form and paid by check or money order, or by going online at:

Additionally, if you would like to attend the WDA-A sessions as well as the DCA portion of the conference, you may register for both by paying the DCA registration fee plus $100. More information about the WDA-A’s panel topics and workshops is available here:

Conference location:

Conference sessions will be held at the Scotiabank Dance Centre in the heart of downtown Vancouver at, 677 Davie Street, Vancouver BC V6B 2G6, Canada. Established in 1986 as a resource centre for a broad membership of dance professionals and the public in British Columbia, The Dance Centre is now a multifaceted organization offering a range of activities unparalleled in Canadian dance.

Conference Hotel:

The DCA has arranged conference rates at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Vancouver Downtown, just blocks away from The Dance Centre.

The Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites, 1110 Howe St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1R2, is offering a conference discount rate of $169 a night for August 1-4. This rate is in Canadian funds. Currently $1 US is equal to $1.01 Canadian currency. Rooms are standard double rooms. Deadline for reservations under this rate is July 3. When making reservations, use Group Code “DCA” or the “Dance Critics Association Group” on or before July 3, 2013, to receive the discounted rate. Call (212) 246-1300 for reservations. Reservations can be made in several ways:

Local Phone: (604) 623–6866

Hotel Toll Free: 1-800-663-9151 (Canada & US)

IHG Toll Free: 1-800-HOLIDAY (international)

Fax: (604) 684–4736


Other hotels in the immediate vicinity are:

Ramada Inn & Suites Downtown Vancouver 

1221 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1M6

(604) 685-1111


Best Western Plus Chateau Granville 

1100 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2B6

(604) 669-7070

Granville Grand Hotel 

1212 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1M4

(604) 687-8294

For other, lower priced options, try, or Sublets in the area are also available via sites such as, and

For More Information Contact:

Mariko Nagashima

DCA Conference Coordinator