To Share With Students

The CUNY Dance Initiative Is Calling All Artists in October

Dušan Tynek Dance Theatre performs ANNA as artist in residence at John Jay College. Photo by Ian Douglas, courtesy of CDI

Space to rehearse and perform. Guest teaching gigs. Relationship building. Deepened college curriculum. Financial support. These are valuable gifts to artists and college departments alike. The CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI), now heading into its sixth year, successfully embraces and supports both artists and students, dance companies and theater/arts departments. They have become a model example of public/private partnerships.

The seed for the project is credited to Kerry McCarthy, vice president for philanthropic initiatives at The New York Community Trust, whose reflection about the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's report "We Make Do" sparked some out-of-the-box thinking about spaces at City University of New York (CUNY) campuses. CDI is based at Queens College and works with 13 colleges and community colleges within the CUNY system—4 dance programs and 9 performing arts centers. CDI's goal is to connect each resident artist and their project with a variety of departments and student groups across each campus.

Artists can apply for a CDI residency at one of the 13 campuses. Artists can select their choices, and the open call for applications is October 3–November 4 for residencies from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021.

Residencies include studio space, and, frequently, performance opportunities, as well. Through generous funding by several foundations, CDI is able to offer an artist stipend of $500–$3,000, depending on the project. Visiting artists offer master classes, workshops and open rehearsals.

"As a program with a budget for guest artists, CDI has been the primary way we provide workshops to our students," says Amy Larimer, director of dance at Lehman College (Bronx). "These kinds of residencies have exposed the students to approaches to dance that they might not otherwise know about, and have also provided the program with a way to get to know artists and develop more substantial relationships."

Over the past five years, the program has offered more than 6,000 hours of studio and stage time for artists. Says director Alyssa Alpine, "Certainly in New York, where space is at a premium, and the cost of it takes a good portion of a company's budget, we have space, plus we offer access to a new community for artists. Time, space and money—the essentials for dance to flourish. We literally open the doors at the CUNY campuses."

"CDI gave me the freedom and the space to realize a major production that I have been working toward over the last six years," says former CDI artist in residence Dušan Týnek, who worked at John Jay College in Manhattan. "Having access to a beautiful theater (basically for free!) for two weeks in New York City was a dream come true."

Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

Keep reading... Show less
Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

Keep reading... Show less
Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.