“Shopping” for Dance
Updated: Dec 4, 2019
International Presenters Program
Friday October 5, 2019 – Part 1
Fall for Dance North
In parallel with the festival performances, master classes, talks and panel discussions, FFDN hosts a group of dance presenters from various countries and introduces them to local Toronto choreographers and their work. The International Presenters Program includes a series of performance showcases and several networking and discussion events. These events are generally open to industry folks only, in order to provide a contained space for more in-depth conversation and relationship-building. As Festival Writer, I had the opportunity to attend one of these showcases today and gained a little insight into how they work.
The artists typically share excerpts of tour-ready work that is in their active repertoire (meaning the dancers are rehearsing the work in the current period, in contrast to works from the past that are no longer being practiced.) The choreographer speaks about the piece either before or after the performance, providing some context about the work itself and some aims and parameters for potential touring. The presenters then have the opportunity later to meet with choreographers whose work is of interest and to begin a dialogue.
The aim of the IPP is in a way the opposite of the FFDN mainstage programming. Where the latter brings international dance to Toronto audiences, the former aims to send Toronto dance to international audiences. Of course the choice rests with the international presenters, who are essentially “shopping” for dance while they’re here. Programs like the IPP are a fundamental part of the industry and are often folded into major events like FFDN, because presenters tend to travel to festivals as part of their process. While artists can certainly send videos of their work to international presenters, and share material digitally, there’s nothing quite like an in-person experience when it comes to live performance. Further, as with so many things, relationships are key, and – though Facebook might have us think otherwise – they truly develop most effectively in person.