Testing Ideologies, Ideas, and One’s Id

One of our stories in this week’s Festival News, “What Choreographers Talk About,” featured an energizing model of festival development, outreach, and engagement.

The New York Times covered an initiative created by the Springdance Festival of Utrecht. The festival takes place every two years. In the off-years, Simon Dove, director of Springdance, organizes dialogues with choreographers. Artistic organizations in different countries recommend choreographers who are then selected to gather for several days. During the sessions, they have safe conversations about their practices, their careers, and the field. Discussions are followed by performances; and, there are also opportunities for mutual workshops.

For Dove, this is a way of creating relationships with artists and their work rather than just “cherry-picking off the international market.” Moreover, for Dove, facilitating these honest exchanges extends the role of a festival, and its responsibilities. Rather than just presenting the fully flowered culmination of work, Springdance is helping to fertilize the field.

The New York Times eavesdropped on a conversation held in New York with ten choreographers. Although from different countries, they examined the common issues of maintaining artistic independence and/or integrity while attempting to sustain a career in relation to established institutions.

Clearly the conversations, work sessions, and the opening of work to each other challenged the choreographers to test their artistic ideologies, ideas, as well as their individual ids.

What could be a better way of spending a few days?

Springdance’s model of engagement is one to watch develop and, as the sincerest form of flattery, imitate.

- Bill Reichblum

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