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Leading a new era of international cultural exchange by exporting
American creativity and crafting global relationships.
September 2020

Announcing Pitchbook VII

Pitchbook is American Dance Abroad's biannual publication that promotes new works by U.S. choreographers to international dance programmers. 

Congratulations to the following companies, whose new projects were selected for this sixth edition of Pitchbook!

Stephen Petronio Company
TRIBE by Shamel Pitts
Nejla Yatkin Dance
Heidi Duckler Dance
Laura Peterson Choreography

Winifred Haun & Dancers
J'Sun Howard


Please note there will not be a print edition this year


This edition will be centered on Dance Fest Skopje in North Macedonia

In the face of near cessation of international performances, five American dance companies in partnership with American Dance Abroad’s FOCUS:USA program were this year’s focus at Dance Fest Skopje, North Macedonia’s only international dance festival, on September 4-5, 2020.

Originally scheduled for April 2020, Dance Fest Skopje was to celebrate the Jubilee of Dance Fest Skopje’s Founder Risima Risimkin, with a festival highlighting three American dance companies:  Stephen Petronio Dance, TRIBE (Shamel Pitts), and Megan Bridge’s <fidget>. Within days of departures, the worldwide quarantine launched instead.

Working with North Macedonia’s public agencies and adhering to its government regulations, the Festival re-envisioned the programming from a 10-day event to a two-day dance marathon with American companies remaining at the center of the programming. In a highly unusual and unique experiment to present dance to Macedonian audiences during the COVID pandemic, the event took place on outdoor stages in the city with socially-distanced seating.

Artistic Director Megan Bridge of <fidget> (Philadelphia) performed two solos – Consent and Morphic Resonance – on September 4 and 5. Christine Bonansea Company (NYC) performed Gamer on September 5. Doug Varone and Dancers, Shamel Pitts/Tribe, and Stephen Petronion Dance were seen on video via a state of the art video wall.

Chats Across Borders 

 Chats Across Borders is a series of recorded conversations among international and American dance colleagues intended to share updates and reflections about what the future might hold for us all. Chats #1-4 can be found  here.

August's CHAT #5 is between dance professionals in North, South, & Central America:
Eleno Guzmán Gutiérrez, General Director, MOVES @ Cultura UDG Streaming, Guadalajara, Mexico
J’Sun Howard, Independent Choreographer, Chicago, Illinois
Stephen Petronio, Choreographer & Artistic Director, Stephen Petronio Company, New York, NY

Aparna Ramaswany, Co-Artistic Director, Ragamala Dance Company, Minneapolis, MN Mirna Zagar, Executive Director, The Dance Center, Vancouver, BC
Martin Inthamoussu, President & CEO, SODRE, Montevideo, Uruguay

If you would like to participate in a future Chat on the Zoom platform, please let us know by sending an email to 

Stories from Quarantine

Life has changed as we adopt new ways to communicate and discover new ways to make dance.  Below we highlight the efforts and best practices being employed by three American artists. Please use this form to share with us your stories and ideas to highlight in our future newsletters.

Stephen Petronio of Stephen Petronio Dance Company in New York City is asking important questions such as "What are we as performers if we don't touch each other and perform our art in live gatherings for people to experience?" in his journal entries for the company. Below is the introduction to Entry #4, to view the rest of the post, please click here.
Elizabeth Andrews

I would like to introduce myself. My name is Elizabeth Andrews, and I am a solo American Artist. Due to COVID 19, my plans, like the rest of the world changed. I have been quarantined in Europe since the beginning of March when I was due to begin working as a dancer in the United Kingdom. I had just flown over to Europe one day before President Trump ordered to close the borders. My boyfriend and his family live in Hungary, so I have been very fortunate to live safely here with them during these times. Flash forward almost 6 months later, I am still residing in Hungary near the capital city of Budapest. On occasion I travel to Budapest in search of the dance world. 

These times have been detrimental to artists, especially freelancers. Unfortunately my contract was canceled, so since I never began my work with the company I now fall under the category of a freelance dancer with no financial support. I believe my biggest challenge during these times has been the lack of community in my life. I have faced cultural differences, language barriers, lack of family, friends, and familiarity, but the biggest hole in my life has been dance. I have not had the luxury of going through this process with a dance community, or company. I turned to social media for comfort; watching, listening and learning about others' stories. But nothing can fill that void of a dancer whose desire is to connect, create, perform and learn. 

After a while I decided focusing on these negative impacts from the pandemic were useless. So I began to focus on what I could do during these times and eventually everything came back. I began to recognize myself while also learning a new side to myself. I began to read books, research things, listen to new music, became an English teacher for young students in Hungary, I learned Hungarian traditions, I got close with my boyfriends family, I contacted friends I hadn’t spoke to in a while, and I worked out/ took care of my body everyday. I focused on my future and where I want to be, and how I can achieve these goals while trying to envision every detail. I learned so much about myself, and that there is so much more to me as a human. Not just dance.  

This has been an unforgettable journey and experience for me. I feel grateful that I remain safe and healthy, but my passion and my art has suffered. I hope that by sharing my story I may find another fellow dancer, or artist of any kind who is also residing here in Europe. Whether it be to connect, to have a conversation, or to practice social distance dancing, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can find my social media accounts, and email address connected to my website here.

Thanks for reading. Stay safe and stay healthy! 
Megan Bridge, Artistic Director, <fidget>

Megan rehearsing in Macedonia for Dance Fest Skopje

Reflections on traveling abroad during COVID-19

Leaving my family was enormously difficult, harder than ever. Makes sense…who leaves their family and flies halfway around the world in the middle of a global pandemic? 

I was teary-eyed in the car. Just get on the train to Newark, Meg, I kept telling myself. You can think about it on the train ride and all afternoon before the flight at the airport. You can turn around and come right home if you really want to. 

As soon as I walked into 30th street station, everything shifted and started to settle. It was business as usual. Diminished numbers, yes. Everyone wearing masks, yes, but that’s starting to look and feel a lot more normal. I realized—all these people are doing their jobs. And between Philly and Skopje, a 30 hour journey from my door to my hotel, I would be crossing paths with many people who are doing their jobs, and that for a lot of them, their job is to help me get where I’m going. Or feed me. Keep me safe. Or clean the bathrooms for me and my fellow travelers. 

And me, well, I’m doing my job too. My job is to make dances, to perform and travel and share and engage with new people in new communities and contexts. Art and culture is how humans process their life experience. That work is not going to be paused while humanity grapples with its issues. On the contrary—the arts are a necessary read out of what is going on socio-politically in our culture. Continued artistic exchange, whether it is in the virtual sphere or in person, is a crucial part of the meaning-making of our time. 

Movies on the plane. 

13 hrs in Vienna…empty airport. Empty and eerie. Slept on various benches. Wearing a mask continuously for a day and a half is uncomfortable, but more tolerable than I imagined. 

I arrive in Skopje just before midnight. It’s a tiny airport and it only takes 10 minutes from the gate to walking through customs with my claimed luggage. A driver from the festival meets me. 

My hosts, Risima Risimkin and Aleksandra Dimitrovska, are waiting for me at the hotel (it’s 1am!) with warm welcomes, hand sanitizer, and extra masks. 

The highlight of my hotel room is a huge balcony, wrapping around the entire suite. 

I shower and gratefully sink into sleep. 

Awards and Special Recognitions

Recognizing awards and special recognitions received by American artists both at home and abroad.
Click here to submit an award for inclusion
National Menada Award

Acknowledging the importance of American Dance, the Council of Dance Fest Skopje has awarded the National Menada Award to Joan Myers Brown, Artistic Director of Philadanco, which she founded in 1970, for exceptional lifetime achievements in the field of dance. She serves as honorary chairperson for the International Association of Blacks in Dance, an organization she established in 1991, which received a Bessie Award in 2000.

Brown is a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts, which bestowed upon her an honorary doctorate of fine arts. She was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Ursinus College, and is a member of the dance faculty at Howard University. She also received an honorary doctorate of arts from the University of Pennsylvania. Brown has served a broad range of regional and national organizations, including NEFA’s National Dance Project, the United States Information Agency, Arts America, the National Endowment for the Arts, National Forum for Female Leaders, Philadelphia’s Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council, and many others.

She is a recipient of a 2012 National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest civic honor for excellence in the arts. President Barack Obama cited her for carving out “an artistic haven for African American dancers and choreographers to innovate, create, and share their unique visions with the national and global dance communities.”

To view her acceptance speech click here.

Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Visit American Dance Abroad's Events & Opportunities page for all the latest deadlines. Contact to submit an opportunity for inclusion.

Centre for Applied Human Rights
Funding Application
Due Rolling Applications
Learn more
Dare to Dance in Public Film Festival
Call for  Virtual Festival Applications
Due December 15, 2020
Learn more
CAOS 2021
Call for Festival Applications
Due September 30, 2020

Learn More
International Solo Dance Theater Festival 
Open Call for New Choreographers
Due November 11, 2020
Learn more
Ensibuko Arts Foundation 
Call for Residency Applications
Due: Rolling Applications
Learn more
Hodder Fellowship
Call for Fellowship Applications
Due September 15, 2020
Learn more
*The inclusion of an opportunity or event posted on American Dance Abroad's newsletter should not be interpreted as an endorsement of that opportunity. American Dance Abroad has created this listing in an effort to increase access to and knowledge about international opportunities.

News From the Field  

American Dance Abroad brings you links to relevant COVID-19 articles of international importance related to. Please send us your suggestions for new links to include next month.

The dancer and choreographer was on a career high when the pandemic hit. Now she has created a virtual school powered by the kind of social dance at the heart of her work.
More than any other art form, dance is the antithesis of social distancing. Bodies in contact, breathing hard in high exertion for packed audiences large and small, form its essential, now endangered language.
This new study reveals that while performing arts ticket sales have fallen dramatically during the pandemic, the demographic of arts consumers is becoming younger and more diverse
As a Black gay teen in the '90s, Kyle Abraham saw 'a future in which Black men were leading companies and talking openly about love, race and queer identity'.
Dance Mission Theater, also home to Dance Brigade, announced recently that it wants to do more than just stand with the Black Lives Matter movement.
In a joint statement, the unions said their playbook “presents a step-by-step approach to reopening built on five levels linked to the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community".
Did you find this newsletter to be helpful and informative? Show your support of American Dance Abroad by making a donation! Make a secure online donation through Fractured Atlas, our fiscal agent, or write a check made out to Fractured Atlas, mailed to American Dance Abroad, 6636 Wilkins Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15217.
Copyright © 2020 American Dance Abroad, All rights reserved.

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