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Buzzblog, 9-10-09: Pop Question
Robin Staff on 15 years of nurturing artists

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2009 Paul Ben-Itzak

I put the following question to Robin Staff, artistic director and producer of DanceNOW [NYC], celebrating its 15th anniversary this week at Dance Theater Workshop: "A lot of this year's artists seem like the same companies that have been performing with you for years. And a lot of those seem to pop up only at Dancenow events. My insinuation is *not* that Dancenow is the only presenter that likes them, but, in fact -- as many of them are solid, unique companies -- is Dancenow doing anything, or does it plan to do anything, to help sustain these companies so that they can also get bookings elsewhere?" Robin Staff responded:

"These are all artists that represent our past and present, and yes... our future. Many are with us again this year after quite a long hiatus, as part of the celebration and many love participating in the festival each year as they use it as an opportunity to test out new ideas and to gather the visibility that the festival always offers. Most of these artists are performing and presented in NYC in various venues as well as touring throughout the country, so to say that they are not being presented by other producers is not true.... They enjoy taking their work to Danspace Project, City Center, DTW, DNA, BAC, Ailey, etcetera, etcetera.... DanceNOW has not only played a big part in helping to advance their careers but continues to support their artistic dreams. Over the last few years we have seeded the development of new work from John Heginbotham, Cherylyn Lavagnino, Brian Brooks, Robert Battle, Monica bill Barnes, the Young Dancemakers, Gina Gibney, and David Parker and commissioned full evening works from Doug Elkins ("Fraulein"), David Parker ("Show Down") and from John Heginbotham ("One Man Show") and Nicholas Leichter and Monstah Black ("The Whiz") in 2010. While we are still working to uncover and provide for new artists, we have been focused on developing comprehensive relationships with artists that provide them annual opportunities to showcase their work, develop new ideas, perhaps develop a full evening work via our creative development series at Joe's Pub and offer them artist residencies at Silo to create their work. The festival is as much an opportunity for audience discovery, to connect and re-connect with artists they know and love, as it is an opportunity for DanceNOW to help to move forward the innovative ideas of artists that we have grown to trust, believe in and support as we can. Such has become the direction of DanceNOW! These are ALL artists that we/DanceNOW stand behind and will continue to promote into the future, as they want and need.

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