Dance is HOT!
And, you know what? I don’t see that changing in 2010.
Even astrologer, Susan Miller agrees. She appeared on The Early Show before the new year to make some predictions. This additional new year conjecture was published on The Early Show blog:
“Interest in dance on TV will increase. In the summer there will be reality TV — but as Jupiter goes into Pisces better ideas will be brought to TV because it’s an artistic time.”
I don’t know a thing about astrology but I do like the sound of that. More dance, better ideas, and artistic times ahead.
Gazing into my crystal ball…
My prediction for 2010 is that we’ll see dance artists and companies making better use of technology and the internet to distribute their work in a way that is artistically and financially beneficial.
I don’t know about you, but in my home we download music to our devices. We browse our AppleTV when we want to rent or download a movie. Missed TV shows are viewed online or purchased through iTunes®. Though I live in a large metropolitan area and attend a lot of live dance performance, I’d welcome being only a few clicks, flips, or bleeps away from dance content in my living room… that didn’t feature over-scripted “reality,” frenetic camera cuts, and nails-on-a-chalkboard-thank-goodness-for-fast-forward judges.
There are a few aspects of televised dance that I find annoying but what I truly love about the success of dance on television is its potential for building awareness of what it is to be a dancer and for expanding the dance audience. I don’t think filmed productions can replace live performance, even the flashy stuff on TV doesn’t come close. It is my hope though that, as its small-screen cousin has done, dance which makes its home in live-performance venues will begin to embrace its inner “hottie” in the coming year.
I have to share something I read on the TenduTV blog because there has been a lot of talk in the dance world about a recent NEA report that presents a decline in dance audience numbers (the same report says online viewing is up, by the way):
The Real Dance Audience isn’t Really Declining.
We know what the surveys and studies say, and we don’t believe a word of it. Sure, it’s fair to say that attendance at dance performances is declining. However, to leap from attendance declines to an overall audience decline is a huge and counter-productive stretch. Millions of people are watching dance on television every week. 10 year old children can accurately compare dancers’ attributes. If anything, the dance audience has grown faster in the last few years than in any other period in dance’s history.
The problem is that dance companies aren’t effectively reaching those audiences, if they’re reaching them at all.
I encourage you to read the post at the TenduTV blog. The article doesn’t place all blame on dance companies, it goes on to describe the catch-22 of dance film production – costs vs. distribution – and touches on copyright legalities, all of which make it difficult for artists to get their work out there for even dance-lovers to consume, let alone the general public.
I have talked before about the work TenduTV is doing. In addition to my earlier prediction, I’d like to add that I am confident that this all-dance channel, which already makes streaming and downloadable content available online and via on-demand television, will continue to find more ways to enter your home, your computer, and your devices in 2010 and bring some fabulous dance artists with it.
Dance, Dance Everywhere!
Will the goal in this brave new on-demand world be getting the dance to the people? Perhaps! Despite fears, it may even improve those audience attendance numbers. So You Think You Can Dance doesn’t sell less live tour tickets because the dancers appear on people’s television set each week and movie-goers don’t stop going to movies because they get NetFlix at home or on their computer. Let’s have a little dance, dance everywhere!
When it comes to 1) reaching a wider audience and 2) benefiting financially from the creative work itself, dance companies large, small, known, and obscure face a few obstacles.
These are are the biggies:
- Limited to live performance venues
- Limited funding
So will the funding issue (#2) improve if dance companies are smart about how they expand beyond the confines of the proscenium stage (#1) and move forward in the digital age?
What would be the smart moves to make in 2010?
If companies cling too fearfully to the small audience that pays to come see them, do they risk missing the larger audience that would pay to have the dance company come to them?
Will a larger, home-viewing audience ever make it to the theatre?
What are some of the other obstacles concert dance companies face?