Amy Seiwert Takes the Helm at Sacramento Ballet
       
Sacramento Ballet in Seiwert's "I Want Inside" 
Photo by Annali Rose
 
Renowned choreographer Amy Seiwert was recently designated the new Artistic Director of Sacramento Ballet following a controversial year for the company. Seiwert spent eight years as a professional dancer at Sacramento Ballet, and also danced with Smuin and Los Angeles Chamber Ballet. She has choreographed extensively for her own company, Imagery, and has work in the repertoires of dance companies across the country. The World Dances spoke with Seiwert about this new chapter, returning to Sacramento Ballet, her goals for the company, and more.
 
What is it like to inherit the artistic directorship of a company where you danced for eight years?
 
It is daunting that the outgoing Artistic Co-Directors, Ron and Carinne Binda Cunningham, aren't leaving by choice. There is a lot of heartbreak involved there and it feels awkward. My dream job would be a transition where they fully support me taking over the company.  Ron has been really great to me. We've met up and had coffee. I am going to just keep having the awkward conversations. I want to continue the beautiful legacy they have built there. I think acknowledging the awkward elephant in the room right away is the best way to go, but it has been hard. They are my former bosses and I've learned so much from them. That is my biggest challenge: dealing with the transition and making it as positive as I can.
 
I want to stabilize everything so the dancers are supported, so the community that supports the ballet is growing, and so the dancers are challenged by and grow artistically with the rep. I really want to rebuild the community- -from the board side, the patron side, from the people who have been seeing the company for over 25 years. I want everyone to feel invested in what the company is doing.
 
What was the application and vetting process like?
 
It was interesting. I had some people ask me casually if I'd be interested in the position. When I first applied and talked to the search committee at Sacramento, I told them I wanted to be of service to them and give them my thoughts on what was happening. I invited them to use me as a resource because I wanted to support this institution that had given me so much. Then I made it on the short list and it became a more real possibility. That shifted how I thought about it. I'm in my 40's now, and I look at the world very differently than I did when I was younger. I've grown into this urge to give back, and it felt like this was a way I could really give back to my field. As a choreographer, working with dancers and helping them accomplish something they didn't realize they could do is so much better than dancing. Being a part of someone else's process is such a gift. Being able to be in a company and advocate for pay equity and diversity is a gift. Getting to think about how to strengthen our art in the field is something that is important and exciting to me.
 
What are your goals for the company in five years?
 
I would like to oversee the achievement of a stable budget, dancers making fair wages, and an increase in the number of people that are truly invested in the ballet. I want there to be a buzz happening whenever this company is performing and that people are excited about what they're seeing.
 
Read more about Seiwert's artistic vision for the company, her preparation for this role, Imagery, and more.
 
By Tamara Johnson



Rachel Moore's Advice for Succeeding 
in the Performance Arts
     
 
Rachel Moore, President and CEO of The Music Center in Los Angeles and former CEO of and dancer with American Ballet Theatre, understands success in the performing arts with more savvy and perspective than most. Fortunately for would-be and current professionals, she has written  The Artist's Compass: The Complete Guide to Building a Life and a Living in the Performing Arts . The book is a practical, wise, and compassionate suite of advice, with tips on everything from choosing your home and company to doing your taxes. The World Dances spoke with Moore about her inspiration for writing  The Artist's Compass , suggestions, and more.

What inspired you to write this book?

I had been thinking about this book for at least ten years. Over the years I have spoken with a lot of young artists. There was this common theme of these incredibly talented young performers who had no understanding of what the current professional world is like or how to manage it. That was true when I moved from California to New York to join ABT as well. I didn't know what a union was, what taxes were, any of that stuff. And it's really scary. My belief is that an artist should fail because their art doesn't work, not because they don't know about a W2. The book is meant to help young performers navigate the business side of show business, which is complicated. 

What are some of changes in the performance arts with which professionals need to contend?

One of the biggest changes is that in the last 25 years a lot of the biggest institutions have gone away. We no longer have City Opera. Dance companies and orchestras are struggling financially and reducing their numbers. Today, just going to Juilliard and getting a degree won't get you a job the way it would 20 or 30 years ago. Because of that, artists have to be more entrepreneurial. Many artists now do multiple gigs to make it through. You also really have to market yourself. Some artistic director isn't necessarily going to wander by and notice that you're super talented. You need to be able to present yourself. For some that means developing an online presence. But at root, as an artist, you need to know what is special about your voice and what you bring to the table and you need to be able to articulate that.

How can artists best articulate what makes them special to promote themselves? 

Artists need to think about their own mission statements. Why are you doing this? Why are you special? What are your attributes? Are you a great storyteller? Can you evoke others' emotions? Write it down, even if it's still a draft.  Just start thinking about it. Write it down and build it into your personal brand of who you are and how you promote yourself. You promote yourself through social media, when you're applying for jobs, through pitches, through meeting people at events. You can't assume people will see your talent and want to hire you. You need to be able to talk about it and make people see what you're about.

Read more of Moore's advice to young professional dancers.
 
By Tamara Johnson

 
 

7 Great Back-to-Class Tips  
     
 
Welcome back to the studio!  Embrace these seven valuable pieces of advice from experts to help get your dance year off to a great start:

1. It all comes down to self-discipline. Have respect for yourself and all those around you.  Kate Lydon - Artistic Director, ABT Studio Company and Summer Intensives and Apprentice Program Coordinator

2. It's most important to stay focused on yourself and your goals. It's important to stay focused on owning your classes and being the best dancer you can be.  Alison Stroming - Dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem 

3. Be everything as a dancer. Do everything you can do. Have the best technique and base you can possibly have. But also have life experience that colors your work. Having another physical discipline, or acting, or anything that makes your mind work in different ways is really helpful.  Trey McIntyre - Choreographer, Dancer, Photographer

4. Make your own footprints. You are unique.  Stephan Bourgond - Dancer with Les Ballets de Monte Carlo

5. Healthy eating and exercise are the keys to becoming strong enough to eventually pull off leading roles.  Sara Michelle Murawski - American National Ballet, Principal Dancer

6. Keep working hard. It's more important than how much talent you have. You can have all the talent in the world but if you don't work hard you might as well throw it in the garbage.  Sarah Lane - American Ballet Theatre, Principle Dancer

7.  One of the biggest mistakes we can make is making it our mission to 'beat' someone else at something. It's a distraction courtesy of our ego to test us. Let it go.  Francisco Gella - Master Teacher/Choreographer


 
September 11, 2017
 
 
 
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Congratulations to the August 2017 Harlequin Floors Scholarship Winners

Last month saw an incredible collection of dance videos in competition for the Harlequin Floors scholarships.  Thank you all for sharing your dancing with us!  Our congratulations to the four August Harlequin Floors scholarship winners.  Watch their excellent videos now, and post your video today on TheWorldDances.com for your opportunity to win one of four $250 Harlequin Floors scholarships in September.


 

 
 
 
 
 


July 2017 Viewer' Choice 
Harlequin Scholarship Winner
Tanishq Joshi
 I Hate You I Love You
 


July 2017 Judges' Choice 
Harlequin Scholarship Winner
Zachary Doran
Love Me or Leave Me
 
 

July 2017 Judges' Choice 
Harlequin Scholarship Winner
Garet Wierdsma
Widow's Walk
 
 

July 2017 Viewers' Choice 
Harlequin Scholarship Winner
Makayla Eugene
Queens Be Like
 
 
Jobs in the Dance World
 
Looking for a new career in the arts?  Are your skills and experience a good fit for any of the 50+ active job listings on TheWorldDances.com?  The Joyce Theater Foundation, CityDance, Jacob's Pillow, Grand Rapids Ballet, and DANCECleveland are among the organizations with  multiple job openings.  Southern Methodist University is seeking an Associate/Full Professor and Chair for their Division of Dance.  The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is hiring a Manager of Programming. Ballet Idaho is searching for their next Artistic Director.  Are you an expert in arts development? Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, and Mark Morris Dance Group have openings for development management roles.  Here's to the professionals seeking new positions and the organizations with openings finding the perfect matches!


 
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TheWorldDances E-Newsletter Team

 

Publisher:  Karla Johnson

Editor:        Tamara Johnson

Producer:   Ester Rodriguez