August 26 2013
Today, the San Diego Foundation hosted a convening of members of the San Diego Dance community. It was open to all interested parties.
A presentation was made of a survey that had been sent out in 2012. It was not particularly scientific, as it was just tying to get a general feel. And the general feel was that there were a lot of local dance professionals who were creating work for little or no money. But this is not new in the world of art.
The main point of the evening was to get the community talking to itself. So there were break out sessions into smaller groups, where we got to imagine idealized outcomes.
Afterwards, it fell to me to lead the call to action. I wasn't aware that I was going to do this, and I hate public speaking, but I got on a bit of a roll.
The most important thing was that the community make a commitment to continue a dialogue with itself. And we did set up a frame work to do so.
I did have one moment of grandstanding though. Many of the younger artists had mentioned a lack of mentoring opportunities or help with basic grant writing or admin skills and that they wished that there was some sort of service organization to help them with this. To which I replied that as director of the San Diego Ballet for 20 some odd years, I had not once received a call from a young artist asking me for advice. They need to start the dialogue. No one will do it for them. And it can be as easy as picking up the phone.
Afterwards had some nice chats with various young (and not so young) artists, including a young lady who teaches aesthetic barefoot dance in the manner of Isadora Duncan. Hence the image. Oh and she did get a kick over my use of the term "aesthetic barefoot dance." :)