There was an assumption that we’d be taken care of. A company would support us as artists, carrying on from where our training took us. That notion is gone.
Artistic Director, Mascall Dance
Jennifer When I studied to become a professional dancer, there was an assumption that we’d be taken care of. A company would support us as artists, carrying on from where our training took us to. That notion is gone.
Susan That was a different period – a smaller field in our country, rapidly growing, and funding bodies were forming around it. After that we’ve expanded our tribe of practicing artists for decades without parallel growth in audiences and funding.
Jennifer There was a mourning period in our field, as dancers realized that there was no company to take care of them, and a lack in training of skills to take care of themselves with. Whereas now, someone like Darcy McMurray was travelling the world as she entered her twenties, teaching people Pilates. Then she founded and runs her own Pilates studio. www.http.//www.fcpilates.com.
She’s a survivor. She administrates the Pilates studio and practices art performance concurrently. It would be interesting now to talk to people in university dance departments. Do they feel this type of support? And if they do, are they asleep – because the reality is that you go for it, and can be left behind if you don’t.
Justine I do see dancers really being taken care of in pre-professional training.
Susan I see a more layered training now, more insight into how bodies work. On the other hand, vast media influence on younger dancers – competitive and often not prizing subtlety or expressive range. And I am still seeing lots of kids on stage in some training contexts who are doing things (pointe and extreme movement) their bodies can’t safely support.
Justine: What I find most different now training-wise is that there are no more teachers to follow. I think this is because there aren’t teachers that stay in one place. They tour and move, and so on. In the commercial dance world, teachers are followed. Dancers follow teachers like Jo Jo Zolina, for example. But there is no Maggie Black who trains professionals in Vancouver.
PHOTO BBZ Jojo
Jennifer WOW was about this, originally. I was studying and wanted to keep studying with Linda Putnam. We made WOW a platform for repeated studies with master teachers like Linda.