Breaking Glass – Promoting Women in Dance


DEVIATED Theatre - “siGHt” choreography by Kimmie Dobbs Chan

DEVIATED Theatre – “siGHt” choreography by Kimmie Dobbs Chan

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure to travel to New York City with my parents to see my sister perform with her dance company DEVIATED THEATRE as part of the Breaking Glass Project. I didn’t know much about the performance as we were driving up – only that Dana’s choreographer, Kimmie Dobbs Chan, was selected as a female choreographer to present her work and Dana was super excited for this performance. We met with Dana’s fiancé’s parents for dinner before the show and then headed to the performance venue, Symphony Space.


The Breaking Glass project was developed by ELSCO Dance, directed by Ellenore Scott(she was on SYTYCD!), and co-produced with Nathalie Matychak of MATYCHAK. Breaking Glass was developed on the premise of providing emerging female choreographers with artistic support for arts administration. In addition to receiving a “supportive ongoing online network and mentorship with established female choreographers”, the choreographers would receive a NYC performance. Because dance artists do not always receive the training in marketing and branding that they need to survive, this program would create the opportunity for the selected choregraphers to meet with arts consultants to identify areas where they can improve their business.


The performance in NYC ended with the audience texting a vote for their favorite dance, a la SYTYCD?, and that choreographer would receive an evening length NYC performance next year sponsored by Breaking Glass! Spoiler alert: Kimmie Dobbs won and DEVIATED THEATRE will be back in the big apple next year! My other favorite dance was “LetHerFly” choreographed by Ellenore Scott. The movement had a wonderful quality and style and the dancers were very committed to the emotion of the piece.


I spoke with my sister after the show about some of the discussions they had that weekend with the arts administration consultants. The dancers generated some great discussions:
  • As a dancer, it’s easy to find oneself volunteering to dance because it’s your passion, but why then are you paying a videographer or photographer when the dancers – the product – may not get paid? It is important to recognize the value of the artists and prioritize spending.
  • To grow your audience and donor base, you need to perfect your marketing pitch and get out of your comfort zone. Rather than attending other dance concerts (or calling Mom and Dad) to promote your company, head to corporate events – that’s where the money and potential board members are! Government grants are on the decline, so relying on those methods may prove futile.


If you are a dance artist, what are some challenges you face in developing your brand, fundraising, or arts administration, in general? I’d love to hear from you and if you are a female dance artist, I encourage you to submit an application for Breaking Glass 2014! To learn more about this project, check out the video below: