About This Project


Amad Simmons, from River North Dance Chicago, leads the Boys PE class at Opelike Middle School.

Amad Simmons, from River North Dance Chicago, leads the Boys PE class at Opelike Middle School.

Some performing arts disciplines have particular challenges for both presenters and audiences. Modern dance and contemporary ballet are among them. South Arts has determined that, in addition to general support for touring and presenting in the region, there is a need to develop discipline-specific, multiple-year programs which offer presenting organizations opportunities to acquire deeper knowledge and experience in order to cultivate appreciative and committed audiences.

South Arts began with the Dance Touring Initiative, an intensive three-year program working with presenters in the region. The groups engage in block-booking, technical assistance, networking, and professional development at national and regional conferences and dance festivals. South Arts, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, provides matching funds to support the tour of a dance company for two consecutive years.

The goals of this initiative are to (1) assist presenters in their ability to more effectively present dance by promoting greater understanding and audience engagement; (2) move presenters from sporadic to regular dance presenting; and (3) create a strong network of dance presenters.

Each cycle includes two tours. For 2010-2011, the presenters selected Doug Varone and Dancers and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company to provide multi-day residencies and a public performance in their communities. For the 2011-2012 tour, the presenters selected Abraham.in.Motion, David Dorfman Dance, Evidence Dance Company, and Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Technical assistance and professional development will be designed to complement each tour and enhance presenters’ organizational capacity including planning for residency activities and audience development.

Statement of Values

The South Arts Dance Touring Initiative provides dance presenters a galvanizing, transformative process that creates a dynamic impact on artists, audiences, and communities. This process empowers presenters to develop a sustainable approach to the art of presenting modern dance and contemporary ballet by incorporating the following dynamics:

Creating a Learning Community of Dance Presenters – We value building expertise in dance presenting, understanding the process, developing the tools, and taking the responsibility to see and learn about the work. We welcome a diversity of viewpoints that enriches the experience, provides resources to the learning community, and creates continuous dialogue that deepens and widens relationships. We recognize the advantages of teamwork and that building consensus is not just a single choice, but also a doorway to new possibilities and ideas for engagement.

Building Community with Dance Artists – We value opportunities to partner and build relationships with dance artists in the work that we do in our communities. We recognize the power of artists and community working together over time in order to inform, develop and tailor programs into meaningful residencies. We believe in the value of continuous dialogue between the creators, agents, presenters and audiences in order to come full circle in our understanding of their work.

Developing a New Approach to Dance Touring – We value developing relationships with dance agents and managers that emphasize their role as resources about the art of dance. We recognize the importance of their partnership in developing ongoing relationships with dance artists and an understanding of their work. We seek to have continuous dialogues that move away from a “commodity” approach to dance presenting and revolve around the art form and how we can meaningfully engage our communities through the work of their artists.

Dance Touring Initiative in the News

NY Dance Company Sets Performances, Outreach >>

Shall We Dance? >>

Rioult Dance NY to Perform at Manship Theatre on Nov. 13 >>

Prophet Margin >>

NY-Based Dorfman Dance Bringing ‘Prophets of Funk’ to Wright Center Stage >>

David Dorfman Dance: A ‘Sly’ Tribute Channeling ’60s and ’70s Hits >>

Afro-Cuban Dance, Music for Novice and Ardent Lover Alike >>

Professional Dancers Share Expertise >>

Evocative and Provocative: River North Dance Chicago Explores Issues of Gender, Identity, and Emotion >>

Dance Event to Urge Testing >>