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

A Note from American Dance Abroad

As the American dance community adapts and accommodates the new normal brought on because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and embraces and welcomes the paradigm shifts arising from our nation’s recognition of the need to more fully embrace social justice, American Dance Abroad commits to reflecting all that is good about American dance: its creativity, its skill, its diversity of genres and salutes the inclusion of all dance people without bias.

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 futrue might hold for us all. Chats #1-3 from our June newsletter can be found  here.

July's CHAT #4 is among two U.S. artists and two international programmers:
Debbie Blunden-Diggs, Artistic Director, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dayton, OH
Dr. Danny Tan, Founder & Artistic Director, Odyssey Dance Theatre, Singapore
Georgina Thompson, Director, Dance Forum South Africa, Bloemfontein, SA

Doug Varone, Artistic Director, Doug Varone & Dancers, New York, NY

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 #3, to view the rest of the post, please click here.

The unfortunate universality of “lockdown” has necessitated new (at least for me) ways of making up and presenting dances. For the time being, Zoom has become the predominant medium for the public exposure of the choreo-musical work that I have been doing for the past 40 years. My wonderful dancers, while on salary and sheltered for safety, have risen to the occasion by virtually taking class together and filming themselves performing some adaptations of existing dances and an ongoing series of new “videodances”. I have never imagined myself as any kind of technical adept, and usually flee from the ubiquitous glowing screens of our super-connected culture. In choreographing for these continually evolving new media, I’ve been learning at speed: The screen doesn’t just drain kinetic energy, depth, detail and sound quality(!); it increases perception of detail, contrast, scale and solitude. It also affords potential access to a vast new global audience! We’ve been working hard and fast.

On Thursday, May 28, we live streamed Dance On! An Evening with the Mark Morris Dance Group, an online event that premiered four short videodances by me, choreographed and rehearsed for the first time entirely via Zoom. The dancers were given instruction on what kind of moves and ideas to explore and record on whatever devices they have. Some of them, fortunately have housemates to do the camera work. The music was recorded live and distributed, so that everyone’s contributions could be synchronized in editing. Working with my assistant and my music director/pianist/video editor, I oversaw the shaping of the pieces, assembled from the numerous imaginative submissions. We started with interesting, though vague ideas of each piece: music, rhythm, tone, setting, lighting, focus, framing, height, depth, duration, etc. The results of those guided experiments provided what proved to be the most challenging and fun part...the putting together of a previously untapped form of videodance; a product far from my customary real-time, live performances in real theaters with everyone in the same room. I’m learning a lot that I’m certain will stay with me and my colleagues, in whatever form our performing culture becomes.
To learn more about the company click here.

Written by
 Mark Morris, Artistic Director of Mark Morris Dance Group
STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos (SPdp&SS, had our last in-person, full company rehearsal at our home of PearlArts studio in Pittsburgh, Pa on March 13, 2020.  At the onset of the pandemic, we checked on colleagues in Italy and their warning was dire. When SPdp&SS first zoomed on March 16, we did not realize this would be our primary form of contact indefinitely. We took a break the rest of March as the fallout of COVID-19 invoked extreme grieving and we needed to process.  We did not want to force ourselves to “produce” until we were ready to be in a creative headspace. This grief has recently been compounded by the continued violence against black bodies.

By April 1st, all of our live engagements were cancelled. Despite these losses, Staycee and Herman Pearl, Directors of SPdp&SS, extended contracts and continued salaries for all staff and dancers. Staycee’s commission on Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre will now premiere in 2021 (this work had also been slated to tour to the Joyce Theater), but very few engagements could be rescheduled. It takes thoughtful strategy, but we're adapting. We’re active with our community through virtual classes, weekly newsletters with Anti-Racism resources, industry specific blog posts and upholding our mission of making work that highlights and celebrates Blackness. In the #BlackLivesMatter movement, creating art is a form of protest in dismantling oppressive systems against Black people and Queer Black communities.  


We are staying focused and making work. We meet 3 - 9 hours a week and rehearsals are primarily virtual. However, in June we started rehearsing Wednesdays at a park with physical distancing and masks as needed. SPdp&SS is a National Dance Project Production Grant Finalist for our current project in development, CIRCLES, premiering Fall 2021. CIRCLES centers #Blackjoy and self reclamation as a response to white supremacy and its aftershocks in African Americans. CIRCLES combines dance, visual arts, and an original soundtrack created by Herman Pearl in collaboration with Black Femme and Queer musicians.

SPdp’s work has been presented in streaming events such as the Three Rivers Arts Festival, August Wilson African American Cultural Center Juneteenth Celebration, and Breathing Art Company’s Ai Confini del Corpo OFF STAGE. July 16, PearlArts Studios will be one of 7 arts organizations featured in Hotline Ring, a virtual fundraiser led by Kelly Strayhorn Theater, designed to ensure we thrive into the future.

To learn more about the company click here.

Written by Staycee Peal, Co-Artistic Director, Staycee Pearl Dance Project $ Soy Sos

Photo Credit: Kitoko Chargois, courtesy of STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos

Dancer : LaTrea Rembert

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
Ronald K. Brown Receives Jacob's Pillow Award

Ronald Brown, an acclaimed choreographer whose work blends contemporary dance forms with West African and Caribbean influences, was celebrated at a free online event on Saturday, June 20, 2020. The Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award is given to “an artist of exceptional vision and achievement” and includes a cash prize of $25,000. Past winners include Camille A. Brown, Michelle Dorrance and Kyle Abraham.

“Life always puts things in perspective,” he said in an interview on Monday. “The prize is amazing, so amazing, but it’s not as important as the lives that mean nothing to some people.”

In response to the continuing turmoil, Mr. Brown and Jacob's Pillow decided to include an excerpt from his 2002 piece “Come Ye” in Saturday’s streaming event. The dance, which was performed at Jacob’s Pillow in 2018, was inspired by the legacies of Nina Simone and Fela Kuti, artists for whom creativity and politics were inextricably linked.

“I made the piece when our country was in a state of upheaval,” Mr. Brown explained. “At that moment, I was like ‘What happened to all of the people who believed in creative protest and that in a time of war the destination is still peace?’”

The idea that art and social justice share a common foundation, he said, continues to push him forward. “The award is a recognition of and encouragement to continue to do work that says: We know what’s right in our heart and we need to keep that front and center.”

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
Sanskar Virtual Performance Festival
Call for  Virtual Festival Applications
Due July 26, 2020
Learn more
Cinedanza Festival
Call for Festival Applications
Due August 24, 2020

Learn More
Four Elements Artist Residency
Open Call for Residency Applications
Due August 15, 2020
Learn more
Ensibuko Arts Foundation 
Call for Residency Applications
Due: Rolling Applications
Learn more
Imagine Arts Festival
Call for Festival New Work Applications
Due June 30, 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.

Choreography, typically, requires closeness. A connective art, forged between dancemakers and dancers. So how, in a time of social distancing, do you make dances? 
These days, it's not uncommon to see artists dabbling in both concert and commercial projects, and working in a variety of mediums. With more crossover than ever, the line between the two once-distinct career paths feels increasingly blurred.
Francis Lawrence, a freelance artists based in New York City, explores his own experiences and encounters with police officers.
IABD is launching a program digitizing at-risk audiovisual recordings of historically significant material.
  • Companies are Rethinking Live Performance - and Coming up with Many Creative Solutions by Nancy Wozny, from Dance Magazine.
Returning to live performance requires more time as we need to consider the safety of the performers, the crew and the audience.
Although not widely publicized, the company has been working steadily to correct what it recognizes as pressing issues of inequity and lack of diversity.
An open letter to ballet companies addressing the need for more comprehensive action for diversity.
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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