DanceMedia Publishers of Dance Magazine Announce New Ownership


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By Carolyn Callahan 

September 19, 2016 New York, NY – Frederic M. Seegal has acquired DanceMedia, a suite of five respected publications (both print and digital) written for and by dancers, including the renowned Dance Magazine, which marks its 90th year of publication in 2017.

Seegal, Vice Chairman of Peter J. Solomon Company, has made his career advising major media, telecom and internet clients. He brings to DanceMedia, a seasoned knowledge of and passion for the performing arts, having served as President of American Ballet Theatre’s Board of Trustees, and as trustee for New York City Center, San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera. Currently, he is a trustee for Gallim Dance, based in New York.

“I’m very excited about the potential for growth represented by these highly respected publications and the tremendous content they’ve created over the years,” says Seegal. “These magazines have enjoyed exceptional stability during a time when there has been sweeping change in the publishing industry, as they have continued to be the authoritative voice for the entire dance world.”

“The DanceMedia publications deliver the most effective and highly targeted opportunities for the industry—in both print and online,” says Amy Cogan, Senior Vice President & Group Publisher. “Our reach is unsurpassed. This vote of confidence in our properties can only boost their effectiveness as we move into the future.”

In addition to Dance Magazine, which is regarded as the most trusted content in the field of dance, the DanceMedia titles, with a combined reach of more than 2 million, include: Dance Spirit, written for dancers who aspire to “So You Think You Can Dance,” Pointe for students training pre-professionally for careers in ballet, Dance Teacher for studio owners and educators in conservatories, k–12 schools, and on faculty with colleges and universities. Dance Retailer News is the only monthly b2b publication connecting dance manufacturers with storeowners who serve the buying public.

Macfadden Communications Group, which has owned Dance Magazine since 2001 and DanceMedia since its formation in 2006, will continue to provide publishing services for the brand, including digital services, print management, circulation and accounting, according to Carolyn Callahan, President and Chief Operating Officer. “The opportunities presented by this new affiliation assure a solid future for these titles,” Callahan says. “We look forward to a lasting partnership.” No changes in staffing are anticipated.

 

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The Skinny on Second Companies: Benefits, Logistics and Costs


By Steve Sucato

Second companies are nothing new in dance. Some, like Ailey II and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s HS2, have been around for decades while others like Joffrey II have long gone by the wayside. In recent years, however, more and more dance organizations are seeing the value of adding a second unit to bolster their dancer ranks as well as provide an invaluable learning experience for talented young dancers to bridge the gap between student and professional.

Like their professional counterparts, second companies can come in a variety of shapes and sizes with varying goals and missions. To take a closer look at what makes a second company tick, five dance organizations with old and new second companies — BalletMet, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Kansas City Ballet — weighed in about the benefits, costs, logistics, and concerns involved with starting and maintaining one.

“One thing we have to understand is that what one company calls a second company, another calls something else,” says Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen. “San Francisco Ballet apprentices are like our second company [Boston Ballet II] and our trainees are like Houston Ballet’s second company. It’s a little confusing.”

Whatever the moniker, “second company,” “studio company,” or some other variation, dance organizations give several common reasons for having one.

Education Through Performance

One main reason to build a second performing troupe is to provide talented young dancers, not quite ready for a main company contract, a place to hone their stagecraft and learn what it is like to be a professional dancer. Typically those dancers fall between the ages of 18 and 22. Some can be as young as 16, or as old as 24 if joining from a college dance program.

“The most important thing in bringing out greatness in a dancer is to put them on stage and put them on stage often,” says Hubbard Street 2 (HS2) director Terence Marling. “This … alters a person’s dancing more than anything that happens in the studio.”

In most second companies dancers augment the main company in corps de ballet roles. “A long time ago ballet companies hired inexperienced young dancers and after a few years they became well-functioning company members,” says Nissinen. “Today financial resources are so tight that nobody can afford to do that anymore, not even in Europe. So everybody needs dancers who are ready to dance. When they come from a school, they naturally don’t have professional experience and the likelihood they will survive in a company is less. If they go through a second company program, whether it is one year or two, they actually get all that experience and then when they join the company, they excel versus just get in.”

Kansas City Ballet artistic director Devon Carney, whose career began in the late 1970s as a member of Boston Ballet II (BBII), knows what being in a second company can mean to a young dancer. “It’s an invaluable internship to work in a professional company environment for a young dancer who has the ability but doesn’t have the experience yet,” says Carney.

Houston Ballet II (HB II) fields one of the largest and most successful second-company programs in the country, giving its 12 to 16 dancers from all over the globe the opportunity perform locally, regionally and nationally. They have even toured internationally to Canada, China, Hungary, Mexico and Switzerland. Houston Ballet artistic director Stanton Welch says he patterned the program after The Dancers Company, Australian Ballet’s second troupe, which his mother created when she was artistic director.  “I gained so much both as a dancer and choreographer through that company that I wanted to have the same for us in Houston.”

Dance organizations with second company dancers performing main company corps roles also benefit because it gives more opportunities for main company dancers to do soloist and principal roles says Carney. This “trickle up” effect is good for the entire company, allowing more dancers more opportunities to dance better roles and the added dancers can also allow the main company to do larger ballets.

In the case of HS2, which is essentially a second professional troupe with its own touring schedule, their dancers can be called up to the main company when needed, much like a farm club to a Major League Baseball team or the NBA’s D-league.

While in practice second company dancers are a source of cheap labor, all those I spoke to were adamant they not be treated as such, especially to the detriment of their careers. To that end, all those artistic directors I talked to limit the time a dancer can spend in their organization’s second company to one to two years. That time limit benefits both the dancer and the organization.

After one to three years, if a director will not offer a second company dancer a main company contract, “It is important to push them out of the nest,” says BalletMet artistic director Edwaard Liang. “We don’t want to them to feel complacent in a company they cannot stay in forever. It is crucial around age 21 or 22 that they go out and find a job.”

An additional benefit of the dancer turnover for the organization is it allows opportunities for other talented young dancers looking to join the second company.

Some organizations like BalletMet build in another safeguard against the unfair use of their second company dancers. If they are used in a main company leading role more than once, they automatically receive a first-year main company dancer contract.

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A former dancer turned writer/critic living in Ohio, Steve Sucato studied ballet and modern dance at the Erie Civic Ballet (Erie, Pa.) and at Pennsylvania State University. He has performed numerous contemporary and classical works sharing the stage with noted dancers Robert LaFosse, Antonia Franceschi, Joseph Duell, Sandra Brown, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. His writing credits include articles and reviews on dance and the arts for The Plain Dealer(Cleveland, Ohio), The Buffalo News, Erie Times-News (Erie, Pa.), Pittsburgh City Paper as well as magazines Pointe,Dance Studio Life, Dance Magazine, Dance International, Dance Teacher, Stage Directions, Dance Retailer News,Dancer and webzines Balletco, DanceTabs, Ballet-Dance Magazine/Critical Dance, and Exploredance.com, where he is currently associate editor. Steve is a chairman emeritus of the Dance Critics Association, an international association of dance journalists.  

Photos:
First image: Hubbard Street 2 Dancers Jade Hooper, left, and Elliot Hammans; photo by Todd Rosenberg, courtesy of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
Second image: Boston Ballet II’s Desean Taber and Boston Ballet’s Albert Gordon in Viktor Plotnikov’s Colloquial Dreams; photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of Boston Ballet.

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Verb Ballets Director selected for American Dance Abroad US Delegation at Internationale Tanzmesse NRW in Germany


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By Jen Garlando

CLEVELAND, OH- Verb Ballets’ Producing Artistic Director, Dr. Margaret Carlson is part of the American Dance Abroad U.S. Delegation attending the Internationale Tanzmesse NRW in Germany from August 31st through September 3rd. She will be working with American Dance Abroad hosting the American Corner booth, which includes fifteen U.S. organizations: Patricia Noworol Dance Theater, Eva Dean Dance, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, keila cordova dances, Lotus Arts Management, Rioult Dance NY, Verb Ballets, Stefanie Nelson Dancegroup, Christine Bonanza Company, inkBoat, Rosy Simas Danse, <fidget>, Abraham.In.Motion, LeeSaar The Company!, and The Bang Group. The delegation consists of artists, presenters, and managers representing American dance.

The Tanzmesse NRW encompasses parallel congresses of world meetings, a humanities program of workshops and professional development, a festival, and a marketplace. The marketplace is the core of the professional activities, as it includes numerous opportunities for professionals to meet, network, and exchange information. It is the largest single gathering devoted to contemporary dance in the world.

Verb Ballets was honored to receive support from APAP Conference NYC and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for travel grants to allow Dr. Margaret Carlson to attend the festival.  In addition to support from American Dance Abroad, the project is supported by the U.S. Consul Generale in Düsseldorf.  Verb Ballets is honored to represent American dance companies at the  Internationale Tanzmesse NRW!

Internationale Tanzmesse NRW Background:

The Internationale Tanzmesse NRW was created in the early ’90s by Anne Neumann, director of the GesellschaftfürZeitgenössichenTanz NRW (GZT), to facilitate international exchange and understanding among dance people worldwide.  The GZT is a regional NGO that supports and provides service to the dance field of North Rhine Westphalia in Northwest Germany.  Begun as a regional gathering, the Internationale Tanzmesse NRW has grown into an international meeting point of dance drawing professionals from over 40 countries.  In 2002, Kajo Nelles and Carolelinda Dickey assumed leadership of the Tanzmesse.  Kajo Nelles was named Director in 2004 and Carolelinda Dickey became the co-Director in 2006. In 2014, Felix Wittek became the Director of the Tanzmesse and with Carolelinda Dickey, Christian Watty and Roman Arndt, a programming team was formed.  Roman Arndt died in 2016.

Website: www.tanzmesse.com
Facebook:  @tanzmesse
Twitter: @tanzmesse

About Verb Ballets:

Verb Ballets, a contemporary ballet company, presents dynamic programming through bold artistry, unique styles and technical excellence that captivates a broad audience. Under the direction of Dr. Margaret Carlson, Producing Artistic Director, and Richard Dickinson, MFA, Associate Director, the company will present a season that ignites passion in the energy, beauty and athleticism of dance. Critics have hailed Verb Ballets as, “Dashes preconceptions …with keen dramatic power.” -The Plain Dealer, “(Verb) is dance magnifique.” – The Examiner, “confident and polished, Verb’s dancers shone” – Dance International Magazine. Verb Ballets cultivates dance appreciation and nurtures wellness through movement in community dance classes, school residencies, senior outreach, library programs, master classes and college course partnerships. Verb Ballets has also been named one of Five Great Tiny Troupes in America by Dance Magazine and was one of the 25 dance companies in America to watch.

Website: www.verbballets.org
Facebook: @verbballets
Twitter: @verbballets
Instagram: @verbballets

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Broadway Icon Ben Vereen to Perform at Pittsburgh’s Hillman Center Sept. 17


 

Ben Vereen-photo credit Isak Tiner

Ben Vereen. Photo by Isak Tiner.

By Jen Roupe

The Hillman Center for Performing Arts at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh is thrilled to welcome Tony Award-winning Broadway icon Ben Vereen for a one-night-only engagement in Steppin’ Out Live With Ben Vereen on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. The Hillman Center is located on the Shady Side Academy Senior School campus at 423 Fox Chapel Road, Fox Chapel.

General admission tickets for the show are $45 and $60. VIP tickets are $115 and include orchestra seating and the chance to meet Vereen at a special VIP post-show reception. Purchase tickets online at www.thehillman.org or by calling the Hillman Center Box Office at 412-968-3040.

The one-man show Steppin’ Out Live With Ben Vereen is a unique blend of artistry, combining a tribute to Broadway, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., and featuring hit songs such as Defying Gravity, Mr. Bojangles, For Good and Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries. The performance is filled with song and dance, stories of Vereen’s life, and a great deal of humor.

Few entertainers today are as accomplished or versatile as Vereen. His legendary performances transcend time and have been woven into the fabric of this country’s artistic legacy. On Broadway, he’s appeared in Wicked, Fosse, I’m Not Rappaport, Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, Pippin, Grind, Jelly’s Last Jam and A Christmas Carol. His role in Pippin garnered him both a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Actor in a Musical. For more than 40 years, he’s performed countless one-man shows throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. While performing worldwide, his acting credits include memorable roles that stand the test of time, such as the unforgettable Chicken George in Roots and Louis Armstrong in Louis Armstrong – Chicago Style. Vereen’s many TV guest appearances include How I Met Your Mother, Grey’s Anatomy, Hot in Cleveland, NCIS, House of Payne, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Oz, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Jamie Foxx Show and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In 2011, he released the CD Steppin’ Out Live With Ben Vereen and staged a triumphant return to Broadway. Learn more at www.benvereen.info.

The Hillman Center for Performing Arts, established in 2004, is one of Western Pennsylvania’s newest cultural venues. Its flagship offering, the Hillman Performing Arts Series, presents programs of excellence that represent Pittsburgh’s cultural traditions while celebrating global artistic innovation. Special emphasis is placed on family-friendly programming. Learn more at www.thehillman.org.

 Shady Side Academy is a nationally respected private school in Pittsburgh for boys and girls in grades pre-kindergarten through 12, with an optional boarding experience in high school. Three age-specific campuses with extraordinary resources, teachers who actively mentor, a forward-thinking curriculum, a diverse and inclusive community, and a legacy of alumni accomplishments all inspire Shady Side students to high achievement in academics, the arts and athletics, and to meaningful ambitions in life. Learn more at www.shadysideacademy.org.

 

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