Success of first Dance Accelerator program led to prestigious collaboration intended to create more opportunity for dancers
After a successful launch of its inaugural program last June, Orlando Ballet will collaborate with The Juilliard School to host the second Dance Accelerator competition for choreographers to blend artistry with the business side of the performing arts.
Developed and facilitated by Broadway producers Pamela and Tim Kashani, of Apples and Oranges Studios, Dance Accelerator leverages the power of technology to create a global platform for choreographers to present their creative ideas before industry professionals for critique and potential investment. The program is modeled after the Kashani’s “Theater Accelerator” program, which supports producers, writers and performers pursuing backing for theatrical productions. Tim Kashani serves on the Orlando Ballet Board of Directors.
Recent Juilliard Dance graduates will be invited to participate with their choreographic creations to be performed by Orlando Ballet dancers.
Hosted by Artistic Director Robert Hill, Orlando Ballet’s Dance Accelerator 2 is scheduled for Saturday, May 1, 2021 when those competing will present a live, 90-second digitally transmitted dance performance before a panel of volunteer judges primarily from the professional dance and theater communities. Dancers from Orlando Ballet will perform the programs live with those performances being live-streamed from beginning to end for public viewing around the world. Judges will offer their critique as well as their thoughts about whether the presentations carry potential for financial investment. The winner will be awarded $5,000.
“I am thrilled to collaborate with Orlando Ballet to elevate the extraordinary talent that exists between both organizations, and to give our young choreographers a platform to share their unique artistic voices and entrepreneurial skills,” said Alicia Graf Mack, Dean and Director of Juilliard’s Dance Division.
The process, which is informally referred to as “Dance Tank,” fosters entrepreneurship in dance artists who seek support for their choreographic work by creating interactive opportunities with experts in production and business. The process culminates in a virtual global broadcast where competitors pitch their ideas before a panel of professionals from dance and other areas of the performing arts.
“Dance Accelerator provides a safe place where those interested in becoming choreographers can get a realistic idea of what it’s like to pitch a creative idea to industry professionals as well as potential investors,” Kashani explained. “It’s critically necessary and very stressful part of the business. It’s definitely a challenge to showcase dance in this current global health crisis we are all living with, but the incredible power and scope of technology has enabled dancers to continue to work toward the future.”
Hill noted that the program is valuable to aspiring choreographers and dancers by exposing them to all that is required in terms of artistry, logistics and business pressures that are core to the performing arts.
“The business side of the performing arts can be brutal, but it’s necessary knowledge to have in order to make things happen. Dancers who embrace the business side of our industry have a better chance at longevity. This program offers a unique mentorship for performers to grow and evolve while they learn all that is involved in bringing a production to life,” Hill said.
Orlando Ballet hosted the first live program in June of 2020 where four brief programs were performed live by Orlando Ballet company dancers during a Zoom Livestream broadcast. Due to the self-isolation associated with the COVID-19 virus, the choreographers were forced to work with their dance teams remotely and then their performances were accomplished remotely as well, watched by a panel of judges all through Zoom.