JComm’s Blueprint at the Dance/USA Conference

ImageFor the past five years the Junior Committee has been representing the 21-to-30 demographic of New York City’s dance community. The Committee is made up of 20 diverse individuals working in a variety of capacities throughout the field; we are artists, administrators, educators, and advocates. Collectively we serve as a robust think tank that helps Dance/NYC better assist our peers.

Last year a project team was formed to create a case study of the committee. We began by distilling the Junior Committee’s essence into three main elements: our partnership with an established service organization, members with diverse points of view, and a self-reflexive and adaptive approach to infrastructure and programming. As we continued crafting this document we applied and were selected to present at Dance/USA’s Annual Conference.

After attaining this opportunity to share the Junior Committee with our peers across the country, the Blueprint was developed as a guide for individuals and organizations to create similar committees in their cities and regions. We blended our history with lessons learned and outlined six steps to replicate our model.

At the end of June, the five members of our Blueprint team arrived in San Francisco with our working model in hand, eager to share with Dance/USA’s conference. We presented the Blueprint at a breakout session on the second day of the conference and then met with the Dance/USA’s Service Organization Council the following day.

We spent the weekend meeting new people, learning about dance communities across the country, watching performances from local artists, and exploring San Francisco. In our breakout session we met many individuals who were already aware of our work in NYC and we were excited to hear from them about the needs of their community. There was an artist from Houston and a representative from a Houston-based service organization, they met in our session and the seed has been planted for a committee. We also heard from an artist in Minneapolis who has been trying to assemble a group for independent artists and we exchanged some lessons learned.

I was disappointed that my demographic was underrepresented at our breakout session and throughout the conference. Part of the Junior Committee’s mission is to serve as a liaison for our demographic in the wider dance community and I was glad that we were able to represent them at the conference. I understand that the cost of the conference plus travel and lodging are often prohibitive, but my peers are missing out on this forum for professional development and networking, and the conference is missing out on the perspective of my peers.

One of the strengths of the Junior Committee, and a key ingredient of the Blueprint, is the diverse perspectives of the individuals at the table. Each individual brings their own experience and our collective knowledge strengthens our discussions. This conference is a great opportunity for the national community to imaging the future of dance and the entire field should be contributing to this vision of the future.

Mark you calendar! Next year’s conference is in Philadelphia June 12-15, 2013.

Hollis Bartlett

Vice Chair

Dance/NYC’s Junior Committee

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