Momentum strengthens the touring capacity of selected Southern dance companies through residencies, touring grants, and professional development.
Momentum is an intensive professional development program over a three-year period for a group of five Southern dance companies, which will include mentorship, networking, conference showcasing and exhibiting, on-site planning meetings with presenters, tour-prep residencies, and touring. South Arts will convene the group for in-person meetings, webinars, and conference calls throughout the program’s duration and provide funds to support touring engagements in at least five Southern communities. For each touring engagement, the companies will provide multi-day community residencies to include educational activities and public performances. Technical assistance and professional development will be designed to complement the tours and enhance companies’ organizational and touring capacity. Throughout the initiative, South Arts provides access to additional resources. Each participant must commit to the three-year program running from spring 2019 through spring 2022. If you are a modern dance or contemporary ballet company based in the South with touring aspirations but limited success, this new program is an opportunity to build both your artistic and technical capacity.
Using a cohort learning community model, the goals of this initiative are to increase (1) touring capacity, (2) access to resources and opportunities, and (3) awareness/recognition within and outside of the South Arts region. The companies will improve their organizational capacity, gain further understanding of the touring process, enhance the tools for touring, and increase their touring in the South.
Get to know some of the Momentum companies and learn about their experience in these artist spotlight conversations.
The following five companies were selected to participate in Momentum. Over the course of the program, each company will receive professional development, residency opportunities, and touring grants to fund their work.
Participants will also participate in showcase opportunities to share their work with arts presenters and programmers.
Founded in 2016 by former Miami City Ballet principal dancers Carlos Guerra and Jennifer Kronenberg, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami (DDTM) is South Florida’s newest critically-acclaimed contemporary ballet company.
In two short years, Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami has forcefully impacted South Florida’s local arts landscape by consistently presenting creatively potent and engaging performances driven by culture, innovation, and quality. DDTM prides itself on delving deep into the Miami community.
Mirroring Miami itself, the makeup of this unique company is a blend of Cuban, Latin American, and Anglo-American dancers. This ethnic mélange infuses a remarkable energy, innate warmth, and infectious pulse within the troupe, making for an alluring ensemble representative of the vibrancy of culture of where we live, work, and play.
To establish a professional dance company in Greater Miami with the purpose of enhancing the community with affordable, high quality professional ballet performances of innovative works in varying styles, to create opportunities for local young performing artists, and to create outreach programs; actively serving as ambassadors of South Florida’s arts and culture landscape by showcasing works reflective of our community and its artists.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Founded in 2009, Helen Simoneau Danse (HSDanse) is committed to creating and performing dance works of its founder and choreographer Helen Simoneau.
In addition to an annual performance in Winston-Salem, NC, the company has been presented in Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and toured throughout Germany, Asia, and the United States. This past Fall, the company made its debut in China at Dance Stages Shanghai Dance Festival.
Her solo “the gentleness was in her hands” was presented at the 13th Internationales Solo-Tanz-Theater Festival in Stuttgart, Germany, where she was awarded 1st place for Choreography. The 2019-20 season marks HSDanse’s 10-year Anniversary of creating and presenting dance in North Carolina and beyond.
She has been described as “a Choreographer-on-the-rise” with a style that is both “athletic and smooth” — Dance Magazine.
The work I create is inspired and informed by a fascination with the intricacies of relationships and the vast spectrum of human dynamics. Through dance making, I explore ways of expressing and sharing the ways we, as individuals, interact and relate to the larger group. Proximity, intimacy and personal space have been ongoing and appealing catalysts for me as they establish a visceral tension between performers and between the stage and the audience.
Founded by veteran dancer, Juilliard graduate, and Nashville native, Banning Bouldin, the collective made its beginnings by forming the city’s first daily training program for contemporary dancers in 2013.
With support from the NEA and Tennessee and Metro Arts Commissions, New Dialect now provides year round multidisciplinary residencies for local and international artists, creative process-based outreach workshops in partnership with several local service organizations, and professional development intensives for dancers from around the world.
In 2015, Bouldin was awarded the Tennessee Dance Association’s Margaret Martin award for her outstanding achievements to increase the visibility and accessibility of dance in Tennessee, and in April 2019, New Dialect was featured in Dance Magazine for their pioneering efforts in Nashville.
Her latest work for New Dialect, The Triangle, was commissioned and presented by OZ Arts Nashville in 2019 and made its debut at Jacob’s Pillow that summer, before returning to Nashville for an audience-requested second run.
Bouldin’s interest in architecture, multidisciplinary processes, and site-based work strongly inform her choreographic aesthetic for theatrical productions, in addition to her artistic direction of New Dialect’s performance programming.
Our mission is to advance the evolution of our art form by inspiring people of all social backgrounds, cultures, and generations with innovative, socially relevant dance workshops and performances that connect us more deeply to ourselves and each other.
The name of our collective has its origins in a linguistic term that explains how new dialects are formed when varying language groups come into contact with each other. In a similar fashion, New Dialect exists as a resource for choreographers, dancers, and teaching artists in search of time and space in which to deepen the exploration of their own movement dialects, believing that through collaborative research new dance languages can emerge.
Avondale Estates, Georgia
In 2005, George Staib and a small group of pick-up dancers created and performed several original pieces, and from these humble beginnings, the inspiration for staibdance was born.
Driven by a growing desire to boost the visibility and viability of contemporary dance in the Southeast, staibdance began to include workshops and educational programming.
With the establishment of the Staibdance Summer Intensive in Sorrento, Italy in 2010, the mission was expanded to include cultural and international exchange. Week-long summer intensive workshops began in Atlanta in 2011. That first workshop was filled to capacity and has been every year since with dancers from around the country.
On the heel of the successful full-length premiere of attic in 2015, staibdance began receiving consistent critical acclaim for his innovative movement combined with energized tension and nuanced virtuosity of the dancers. With the premiere of moat in 2016, Staib’s stature as a choreographer became more elevated.
The premier of wishdust, in 2017, was greeted with completely sold-out performances. Wishdust was recognized by ArtsATL as “one of the most powerful and thoughtfully conceived dance works presented in Atlanta this year.”
We work collaboratively to nurture creative impulses and foster cultural exchange. We provide educational programming, including free and low-cost classes, and artistic mentorship to grow our community. We find inspiration in the volatile, often absurd, world around us. We experiment and play, exploring relationships and creating movement within an open framework that encourages curiosity, risk-taking, and wild abandon. We craft work that is provocative, relevant, and accessible.
Columbia, South Carolina
Wideman Davis Dance, founded in 2003, is deeply committed to revealing social and political issues through an African American perspective. We make work that is inspired by and engaged with current issues including race, social class, gender, and location.
Viewing education as essential, Wideman Davis Dance connects with communities of all ages through residencies and by increasing their awareness of these social and political issues, and the ways in which those issues play out in today’s world.
Wideman Davis Dance make dances that have the capacity to tell the truth and move the spirit, giving voice to the people who both perform and view them. They create a space for truths to be told, rupturing the silence of denial, and retelling history about the African American experience.
Telling such truths can foster a range of reactions, from inspiration to discomfort, from inquiry to debate. In their artistic encounters, the company highly values the exchange that occurs with their audiences as they respond.
They have created and performed with legendary companies and artists, including Dance Theater of Harlem, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, Donald Byrd/The Group, Ballet NY, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet.
Wideman Davis Dance moves audiences, through the dances we create and perform, dialogues we lead, research we conduct, and movement experiences we share.
We invite audiences and communities to engage: With ideas. With history. With the world around us. With honesty.
Our artistic vision reflects truths from our shared lives. Our lineage draws from our long careers with leading professional companies in ballet and contemporary dance. Our model for working with audiences reflects decades of collaborating with communities around the country. Our track record of working with—and delivering to—presenters, colleges, and communities shows lasting results, as told through the stories from our collaborators.
Momentum is an extension of South Arts' Dance Touring Initiative. From 2009-2019, South Arts developed four cohorts of Southern performing arts presenters to build their capacity for presenting modern dance and contemporary ballet companies. Over the course of 10 years, these presenters received targeted training and support, learning how to build audiences, community connections, and funding necessary to make dance a regular component of their programming. The strength of these networks as well as the knowledge gained from this decade-long program provide the foundation for Momentum.
Over the past decade, South Arts’ Dance Touring Initiative (DTI) has developed a wide network of nearly 30 performing arts venues/programmers in Southern communities which present touring companies performing modern dance and contemporary ballet. During the process of building this network and supporting residencies/performances, South Arts identified a significant gap in the field: with a few notable exceptions, dance companies within our region were not being selected for touring engagements. In our conversations with presenters, several reasons have been identified:
South Arts will address these gaps and increase the feasibility of Southern artists to tour their work through professional development with dance companies’ artistic and executive directors, week-long residencies to refine choreographed works in preparation of touring, assistance with developing necessary marketing and technical materials, and connecting dance companies with prepared dance venues. For many Southern dance companies, the gap between their current status and becoming tour-ready and competitive is readily achievable with the appropriate tools, guidance, and connections. The program components include:
Annual Gatherings and Professional Development: South Arts will provide ongoing professional development opportunities for the selected companies and convene them in person at least once annually for professional development and showcasing. Additional professional development offerings will occur through an ongoing series of webinars, and during peer-to-peer conference calls. South Arts will also pair each dance company leader with an established professional in the field for guidance and mentoring.
Tour-Prep Residencies: In preparation for touring, dance companies will be matched with a presenter (usually from within the DTI network) to serve as a host for a week-long residency. Throughout the residency, the companies will workshop pieces that are already in development or in their repertory, refining them for tour readiness. South Arts will document part of the residency to assist companies with video and/or photography needed as part of their touring tools. These residencies will be an important opportunity for the company to focus on their needs and work closely with a performing arts presenter, including their technical staff. We anticipate these residencies to address areas of growth and refinement as determined between joint efforts of the artists, presenters, mentors, and South Arts team, including:
Showcasing and Exhibiting: Artist showcasing allows performers to share their work through live performance directly with an audience of presenters programming upcoming seasons in their venues and communities. South Arts will produce a series of showcases for the dance companies, providing staging, lighting, and audio so that presenters can experience how these companies would perform in their venues. At least one showcase will occur at a booking conference, where the dance companies can experience self-representation in a Marketplace. The Marketplace at these conferences serves as the core location for conducting business and discussing schedules, technical needs, artist fees, and educational outreach. The exposure from showcasing and exhibiting in the Marketplace is oftentimes critical for performers to be considered for engagements.
Touring and Planning Subsidies: South Arts will assist the dance companies in developing their initial tours (up to five locations), and will connect companies to the Dance Touring Initiative network as well as other Southern presenters. At each tour location, the company will provide a public performance and educational activities for community participation during the multi-day engagement. These initial tours will be eligible for subsidies from South Arts to support their fees for touring engagements, and travel expenses for planning visits. These planning visits, an integral component of the Dance Touring Initiative, involve the company’s artistic leadership conducting a one or two day planning/site-visit at each location on the tour – months prior to the public engagement – in order to develop community connections and plan educational and other outreach. These visits should be used to explore residency ideas with the artistic director, include presenter staff and partners in conversations, discuss potential participants, visit possible sites, and discuss the optimal schedule for the educational activities that also accommodates the company’s load-in and theater tech time. The planning visit also provides opportunities to see the performance venue, discuss potential technical issues with the production staff, and meet with marketing and box office staff to discuss marketing strategies.
Requirements for Presenting/Touring Engagement Subsidies:
South Arts anticipates that the participating Southern dance companies will be better prepared to compete nationally in the field of touring, and be in a better position to sustain their work as touring artists. The primary desired outcome for this initiative is increased touring activity of Southern dance companies within the South Arts region and nationally.
For questions about Momentum and Dance Touring Initiative, please contact Nikki Estes.Contact Us