Luna Dance Insitute’s CHOREOFUND Lets Everybody Be a Donor—and a Critic

CHOREOFUND 2 runner-up LV Dance Collective

If you’ve always wanted to fund dance but don’t necessarily have the extra dough lying around to make that happen, take note of the Berkeley, California–based Luna Dance Institute’s CHOREOFUND. As we've already reported, LDI invites 30 “microfunders” to pay a ticket price of $40 each. In exchange for their ticket, the audience gets to watch and listen to six choreographers’ eight-minute project proposal pitches (via dance, video, speech or other media). At the end of the night, the audience votes on who had the best pitch and performed the best excerpt of their work, and the winner takes home the entire $1,200 cash in ticket sales and receives 12 hours of rehearsal time in the LDI studio. A runner-up receives six hours of rehearsal time. CHOREOFUND requires its winner to pay it forward, too. He or she must agree to participate as an audience member in the next CHOREOFUND round.

LDI held its second CHOREOFUND last Thursday, June 5. The six choreographers or companies who participated were Shabnam Dance Company, LV Dance Collective, Erica Pinigis, Jessica Barber, Claudine Naganuma and Daria Kaufman. Jessica Barber walked away with the pot, and LV Dance Collective was the runner-up. The next CHOREOFUND will be held later this year—keep your eyes peeled!


Photo courtesy LV Dance Collective

Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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Claire McAdams, courtesy Houston Ballet

Former Houston Ballet dancer Chun Wai Chan has always been destined for New York City Ballet.

While competing at Prix de Lausanne in 2010, he was offered summer program scholarships at both the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet. However, because two of the competition's winners that year were Houston Ballet's Aaron Sharratt and Liao Xiang, dancers Chan idolized, he turned down SAB. He joined Houston Ballet II in 2010, the main company's corps de ballet in 2012, and was promoted to principal in 2017. Oozing confidence and technical prowess, Chan was a Houston favorite, and even landed himself a spot on Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch."

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