The industry of dance has shifted dramatically over the past year of lockdown due to COVID-19. Dance companies were no longer able to rehearse in groups to share space, energy, breath, touch, ideas in person. Many artists have been forced to work within a digital realm to create, document, and share movement.
True to its form, Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) celebrated and supported the process of creation and documentation of that process during this shifted time. For the 2020-2021 Season, BCA’s signature program, Dance Documentation Initiative (DDI) became Dance Documentation in Isolation (DDI), a collection of videos of movement-based works in progress.
Led by Andrea Blesso, Director of Dance at BCA, in partnership with Marissa Molinar of Midday Movement Series and Ernie Galan of Scalped Productions, BCA invited artists from across Massachusetts to share video footage of work created within the past year.
Videos were organized in groups based on their length, under 10 minutes, under 3 minutes, floating snippets of interesting movement. Applicants had the opportunity to self-select the stage of their work – in progress, polished, reworked.
Selected videos were woven into a curated collection of works shared via BCA platforms. Dancemakers were awarded a stipend for sharing their work, invited to speak about their process on a panel after the airing of videos, and offered professional development resources for the growth of submitted work.
- Work was to be movement-based and created within the timeframe of April 1, 2020 – April 1, 2021.
- Lead artist had to be a resident of Massachusetts.
- Submitted footage had to be a documentation of new or revisited work, not a dance made for camera or dance film. This program is a celebration of capturing work created despite the obstacles of the past year.
Financial/Value in process
Selected artists/videos received a financial stipend to share their work and participate in the DDI program ranging from $100-$200.
Artists were invited to sign up for feedback sessions with each DDI Team Member within their focused areas: Ernie Galan for technical and production notes, Andrea Blesso for presentation and description notes, Marissa for creative and choreographic notes and to discuss and clarify their artistry in this moment. Notes from these conversations were to be used in building the post-presentation talk.
Videos premiered as an evening-length presentation of the collection. Each video was linked together by either intro slides or short video introductions from the artist.
The premiere was followed by an artist talk via zoom. Participating artists were be paid an additional stipend to speak on the panel about their work. Topics of discussion developed from their individual meetings with the DDI team.
February 1st – Call for Applications
April 1st – Applications Due and
April-May – Professional Development Sessions with DDI Team
Mid-May – Premiere of DDI public events
All events free and open to the public. All quality and forms of video footage were considered. We were eager to see what you’d been creating during this time of forced stillness.
Andrea Blesso, programmatic lead for DDI, has danced with each of the elements – underwater, 18ft in the air, spinning fire fans, and in the mountains of Portugal. She has many careers – as Director of Dance at Boston Center for the Arts, as Executive Director for Sonia Plumb Dance Company in Hartford CT, as a performer and Board member for EgoArt Inc, as a model for artist Judith Larsen, as a Board member for ANIKAYA Dance Theater and Boston Dance Alliance. For the past twelve years, Andrea has been producing, curating, and leading dance programs and events in the Boston-area. In addition to her work at BCA, Andrea has deep experience with outreach, fundraising, marketing, program and venue management, and strategic planning for arts-based community organizations. With over a decade of experience creating programs in direct response to community need, Andrea has produced and partnered with over 90 dance companies. Throughout her dance life, Andrea has performed with Snappy Dance Theater, Bennett Dance Company, Falling Flight Project, Partners for Youth with Disabilities, and Annie Kloppenberg, among others.
Marissa Molinar is a contemporary dancer and Director of Midday Movement Series, a grassroots initiative cultivating a new generation of dance leaders. She holds a Bachelors in Environmental Science from Brown University with a focus in Urban Conservation and Environmental Justice, and she holds a certificate in Contemporary Dance from the Professional Training Program at Gibney Dance in NYC. A late-comer to contemporary dance, Marissa’s administrative work focuses on creating artistic sustainability by empowering artists in their fierce individuality while building fierce community. She is passionate about centering artists and administrators of color at all levels of the arts ecosystem. Currently, Marissa also works as the Coordinator for the Network for Arts Administrators of Color (NAAC Boston) at ArtsBoston, and she is a performer with Nathan Trice / Rituals Dance Theater in Brooklyn NY.
Ernesto Galan is a highly respected, film maker, producer, and editor with many years of extensive accomplishments in the motion picture industry. From conception to completion he has proven his ability to make media an awe inspiring expedition through his lens. Ernesto is most recognized for a number of music videos, documentaries and independent films that have caught the attention of film makers, media and film fans alike. He is a dynamic leader who consistently achieves outstanding results in challenging environments while building and maintaining strong, loyal relationships with both clients and colleagues. Ernesto’s clients include Boston Ballet, Institute of Contemporary Art, Global Arts Live, Commonwealth Shakespeare, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.