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Dance Companies Apply for Business Training to Get a Leg Up

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dancer Emily Pope-Blackman of the Tiffany Mills Company. (©Julie Lemberger 2011)

Small to mid-sized Brooklyn performing arts dance companies can now apply for free professional development through the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management.

The goal of the 14-month program is to help arts non-profits improve the business behind their art by bolstering their financial management, marketing and strategic planning skills.

"A lot of times, smaller organizations focus so much on the creative," said Tamara McCaw, the director of BAM's government and community affairs division. "But you need to be able to market. You need to be able to have those people in those seats and you need to be able to fund-raise."

The program will offer business training to six Brooklyn dance companies or performing arts groups that incorporate dance into their business development programs. Groups selected will also be offered deeply-subsidized rehearsal spaces.

Comparable assistance to non-profits in other performing arts genres — like theater or opera — will be offered by BAM and the DeVos Institute in the coming years.

Tiffany Mills, who is the founder and artistic director of her own five-person dance company, said she was excited to apply for such a program.

"It will bring a different type of artist to BAM," she said. "Most of BAM's program to date has been very well-established artists."

Mills said the new program had the potential to engage new audiences by focusing on homegrown Brooklyn talent.

"BAM draws people from all over, so it's not just local," she said. "But I think if our company were to perform in Brooklyn, we might get some Brooklyners who might not get the opportunity to go into Manhattan."

Due to Brooklyn's few dance venues, The Tiffany Mills Company schleps to Manhattan to perform in spaces like the Baryshnikov Arts Center, where it will premiere the show berries and bulls next year.

After the participants complete 14 months of development, each will perform at BAM's Richard B. Fisher Building, a new arts and community center scheduled to open in September of 2012. The opening and performance are part of BAM's 150th anniversary celebration.

BAM and the DeVos Institute will accept applications from dance non-profits through December 5.

BAM/Studio AMD
A rendering of the Richard B. Fisher Building at 321 Ashland Place, which will house the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Professional Development program.
©Julie Lemberger 2011
Tiffany Mills, the founder and artistic director of the Tiffany Mills Company, is applying for BAM's Professional Development Program on behalf of her group.
©Julie Lemberger 2011
Tiffany Mills Company: Jeffrey Duval, Kevin Ho, Tiffany Mills, Emily Pope-Blackman, Petra van Noort.
©Julie Lemberger 2011
Dancer Emily Pope-Blackman of the Tiffany Mills Company.
BAM/Studio AMD
A rendering of the Judith and Alan Fishman Theater Space in the Richard B. Fisher building at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Another Manhattan dance company is the John Jasperse Company. Here dancers from the company perform
Julieta Cervantes
Another Manhattan dance company is the John Jasperse Company. Here dancers from the company perform "Misuse liable to prosecution."
'A Quarreling Pair' was directed and choreographed by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. The group is an established Manhattan dance company now part of the super group New York Live Arts.
Stephanie Berger
'A Quarreling Pair' was directed and choreographed by the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. The group is an established Manhattan dance company now part of the super group New York Live Arts.

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