Most New York based dancers, teachers and choreographers know, “Fall for Dance” is an annual  ten-day long dance festival presented by New York’s City Center; celebrating the joy of dance with the hopes of exposing new audiences to our beloved art form. Inspired by the Delacorte Festival in Central Park during the 1960’s & 1970’s, “FFD” was established in 2004 and has grown in popularity every consecutive year since then. The most diverse, prestigious dance companies from around the world perform multiple programs over the course of the festival; offering a broad taste of assorted dance styles to satisfy a wide variety of aesthetic palettes. Built into the event are also free dance classes and public panel discussions. These “talks” create for intimate encounters in which to participate in a wide range of dance related topics; with highly regarded artists within the field.  

  While “Fall for Dance” is often sold out quickly due to the consumer-friendly ticket pricing, it got me thinking how each of us as dance teachers and choreographers can create our own mini “Fall for Dance” in our own communities. With the attempt to introduce new audiences to dance and we what we already love so dearly about it, how can we organize an attainable event like this for the masses? First, think about the resources that you already have and people you know and go from there. Keep it simple and within realistic reach of executing a great event.  Keep cost down and don’t lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish; bringing the joy of dance to the community! Think about some of these things to get you started: 

     **How long do you need to plan an event like this? How long should your event be? While ten-days is a long time, could your festival be a weekend long event? Or maybe even one night in its inaugural year?

     **Would this be a free event or would a nominal fee for tickets be charged, perhaps to cover basic costs and/or dance scholarships, etc? Are there businesses in your area that would like to sponsor your FFD event or donate items for marketing, publicity, refreshments, merchandise, prizes, etc.?

     **Is it feasible to use your studio; where if applicable multiple performances could be going on at once within each studio? Would there be repeat programs? Are there other cool spaces in your town that could also be used as a performance space?

     **Are there other dance studios in your town that would want to collaborate? Local musicians, visual artists, photographers, etc.

     **Who are your guest artists? Students for sure, but are there also up and coming dance companies in your area that are also willing to perform or donate their time? Do you have students who are drawn to choreographing and wanting to present works? Friends that may know dancers/companies from other areas that would like to be involved? Is there a budget for bringing in one or two well-know companies or artists? Think about the schedule and how many performers you will need; as well as the variety of genres you wish to include. (Keep in mind when NYC’s “Fall for Dance” started, only five companies performed each night over the original six-night festival, and that was with repeated programs.) Think about where your sound and video equipment, costuming, lighting, programs, etc, are going to come from. Again, keeping it simple and cost effective is paramount. Think about things you already have handy and people who would like to participate and help out.

     **Will you have panel discussions, auctions, expos? Will the kids be able to fundraise over the course of the weekend? Who is documenting the event with photos and write-ups as to promote the following year’s event?

Keeping in mind that the purpose of “Fall for Dance” is simply to induct more dance aficionados into the world, producing an event like this should be joyful and not daunting. What are your thoughts? Do you have any ideas or recommendations? Have any of you presented events like this before and can share some experiences? Hope to hear from you! And…if you do make it to NYC September 30th-October 11th 2015, I hope you’re able to check out at least one performance on the program!  http://ow.ly/Sw5lJ

Enjoy!

See you in the studio!

Jessie                                                

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