Breakout Sessions

Be sure to find out more information on the full Conference schedule of events by clicking here!

Thursday, June 9

Breakout Session & SpeakersTimeBrief Description
Dance and Disability: Designing Our Future
Victoria Marks, Mary Verdi Fletcher, Allison Orr, Carla Peterson, Anne Coates
2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Room 2 |
Palmer Events Center
Join us for a panel discussion with national practitioners who have been working at the forefront of the intersections of dance and disability.  AXIS Dance will share highlights from their recent national convening on the future of physically integrated dance in the U.S. and Dance/NYC will share recommendations, findings, and accomplishments from the Dance/NYC Dance Disability Initiative aimed at increasing inclusion and access to the art form. 
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Race, Erasure, Resistance: A Multi-year Collaborative Process Between Dance Exchange and Dallas Community Members Matthew Cumbie, Meghan Abadoo, Vickie Washington

2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Room 3 |
Palmer Events Center
How can performance and engagement strengthen the web of work already happening to resist erasure? What is the role of intergenerational collaboration in creating lasting change? How can our dancemaking help move racial equity forward? Join Dance Exchange and members of the Dallas creative cohort for excerpts of and engagement with “Bricks & Bones: A performance series in response to the erasure of Black lives and communities in Dallas, Texas, and the movements to recover, rebuild and honor those lost histories," co-directed by Cassie Meador and Paloma McGregor, which premiered in Dallas in November 2015. We will share about the process that brought Dance Exchange into partnership with local Dallas communities and lead partners South Dallas Cultural Center, Ignite|ArtsDallas, Southern Methodist University, and the Embrey Family Foundation to explore how race has shaped the Dallas landscape and to ask how each of us takes a step in moving racial equity forward.
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The Future of Audiences
Robin Zander, Emily Wanserski, Keira Heu-Jwyn Chang, Christy Bolingbroke, Sydney Skybetter
2:30 PM - 3:45 PM 

Room 4 |
Palmer Events Center
We will explore the intersection of dance, technology, and human attention. There is a growing desire for audience experience over observation. The question is how do we capitalize on the inherent strengths of dance as a visceral medium to engage with the audiences of the 21st century. As technology becomes an increasingly embodied platform, we have a singular opportunity to reinvent and renew the relationship between audiences and dance.
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Engaging Dance Audiences: Sharing Our Learning
Suzanne Callahan, EDA Round 3 Grantees
2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Room 5 |
Palmer Events Center
Round Three of Engaging Dance Audiences (EDA) grantees will be onsite to give short presentations about their projects, in a speed dating format. In this lively session, attendees can hear successes and lessons learned, seek help and even offer assistance.  An online database of audience engagement methods will be previewed, along with a host of audience engagement resources that, through EDA, are now available to the dance field.
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Mistakes Were Made
Ellen Chenoweth, David Mallette,  Pam Tatge
2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

Room 1 |
Palmer Events Center
Join us for this session intended for organizational leaders as we discuss strategic mistakes we've witnessed and what we've learned in the process. Please come prepared with an example from your own professional history that you're comfortable sharing with a small group. There will be a prize awarded for the most educational mistake in the room!
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Cultural Equity and Common Ground for Culturally Specific Arts Organizations: Exploring the Redistribution of Funding Resources in the Arts
Denise Saunders Thompson, Maurine Knighton, Eleanor Savage, MK Wegmann

4:15 PM - 5:30 PM

Room 1 |
Palmer Events Center
As public funding for culturally specific arts organizations remains unstable, the private, corporate, and foundation sector are viewed as the viable financial resource to support operation and programmatic efforts. With the recent emphasis on cultural equity, inclusion and diversity, the inequitable distribution and barriers that exist within the funding community are beginning to be addressed. This session will discuss racial equity in Arts Philanthropy and what tangible and strategic efforts grant making institutions have committed to combating this systemic economic inequality.

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A Matter of Perspective
Ron Fredman, Aimee DiAndrea, Gretchen Wollert McLennon, Andrea Lodico Welshons

4:15 PM - 5:30 PM

Room 3 |
Palmer Events Center

Executive Directors, Board Members, and development and marketing officers all are engaged in fundraising, friend-raising, revenue creation, and organizational management. But their expectations of each other can be notably different. It’s as if they all agree on the color blue, but can’t settle on which shade is right. Our interactive, honest dialogue will address this subtle tension and seek common ground through debate of scenarios and situations, championed by a representative of each respective group.

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Dance in Academia in the 21st Century: Training Beyond Ballet and Modern Dance
Melanie George, Michael Medcalf, Onye Ozuzu, Rosy Simas
4:15 PM - 5:30 PM

Room 4 |
Palmer Events Center
Though the field is becoming increasingly inclusive, dance in academia is largely based on hegemonic models established in the early to mid-twentieth century that do not reflect range of voices within and out of the academy.  This discussion is meant to interrogate the efficacy of our established academic training models: How can we better prepare our students for the range of creative processes and performance aesthetics they will encounter post-graduation?  How do we bridge the gap between cultural pluralism/inclusive education and the hierarchical training model that prizes ballet and modern above other forms? What curricular changes can we propose that serve all stakeholders in the field?
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Cross-Sector Collaborations between Forklift Danceworks and the City of Austin
Allison Orr, Krissie Marty, Don Anderson, Lara Schuman, Allen Small, David Teltow 
 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM

Room 5 |
Palmer Events Center
Join Forklift Danceworks as they moderate a panel with City of Austin employees who have performed and collaborated on award-winning dance performances. Featuring Austin’s Sanitation, Fire, Energy, Police, and Parks & Rec Departments, these projects have built morale, changed citizen’s perceptions of city workers, and created new audiences for dance. See short clips, hear the nuts and bolts about how these projects happened, and get advice from city staff and leaders for working with dance in innovative ways.
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Building Audiences for Dance: How Audience Research Can Lead to Audience Growth
Cookie Ruiz, Michael Reed, Michelle Martin
 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM

Room 2 |
Palmer Events Center
Hear from two leading organizations in the dance field, Arizona State University (ASU) Gammage and Ballet Austin, which, with the support of The Wallace Foundation, have used market research strategies to attract new audiences. ASU Gammage has been working to cultivate and retain a larger audience for contemporary programming with an eye to attracting younger and more ethnically diverse audiences. Ballet Austin aims to better understand the interest in new, contemporary works among its current audience in order to cultivate audience growth. What have these organizations learned about their communities and target audiences? What surprising insights have they gained? What lessons have been learned? This is an opportunity to hear from highly-regarded dance leaders on the new ways they are approaching their work to be responsive to our changing communities.

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Friday, June 10

Breakout Session & Speakers TimeBrief Description
Dance Business Bootcamp
Jason Tseng, Lisa Niedermeyer, Theresa Hubbard
 9:00 AM - 11:30 AM

AdlerLand Studio |
Ballet Austin
Jump start your creative practice with this hands-on co-learning experience on building, leading, and managing a small dance business. Join other entrepreneurial dance makers where you'll learn ways to tackle core challenges like fundraising, building an audience, finding and choosing your team, strategic decision making, and more.
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Part I: Hands on Demos with Design for Dance
Rob Crane, Ian Garrett
 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

IBC Bank 
Community Suite

Join us for a day of exploration into cutting edge technology and choreography. Join leading designers and technologists for demonstrations, hands on experience, and in-depth discussions on lighting and media design for dance including LED and Intelligent lighting fixtures, interactive video systems, and projection mapping. The space will be open throughout the day for people to look, touch, and move. Join us at the beginning of each schedule breakout time for focused discussion on technology and design for dance. 

At this time, get an introduction to the design and technology tools we will be using throughout the day including LED lighting, intelligent and moving fixtures, media servers, projection mapping, and more. We will have the equipment installed and ready for you to test drive with local dance talent. 

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Plugging In
Christopher Williams
 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Mills/Ruiz Legacy Studio | Ballet Austin

Over the last 15 years, the channels through which people and organizations communicate has changed faster than any other time in human history. Mobile devices, social networks, video and search engines are now all critical vehicles for reaching your constituents. As cultural marketers it can be daunting to keep on top of all of these changes and position your organization for success across ever-evolving digital platforms. Using research and case studies, this session will provide guidelines and strategies for evolving your organization in the digital age as well as actionable tips to focus and bolster your digital marketing. The session will explore best practices in social media, digital advertising, and content creation. There will be takeaways for both digital novices and more experienced practitioners.

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Part II: Discussion on Lighting Technology for Dance
Ian Garrett, Natalie George, Kevin Rigdon, Trish Rigdon
 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

IBC Bank
Community Suite

Join us for a day of exploration into cutting edge technology and choreography. Join leading designers and technologists for demonstrations, hands on experience, and in-depth discussions on lighting and media design for dance including LED and Intelligent lighting fixtures, interactive video systems, and projection mapping. The space will be open throughout the day for people to look, touch, and move. Join us at the beginning of each schedule breakout time for focused discussion on technology and design for dance. 

Join lighting designers Ian Garrett, Natalie George, Kevin Rigdon, and Trish Rigdon to talk about their approach to lighting for dance and live performance and how new technology is changing the field.

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Dance Business Bootcamp
Jason Tseng, Lisa Niedermeyer, Theresa Hubbard
 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

AdlerLand Studio |
Ballet Austin
Jump start your creative practice with this hands-on co-learning experience on building, leading, and managing a small dance business. Join other entrepreneurial dance makers where you'll learn ways to tackle core challenges like fundraising, building an audience, finding and choosing your team, strategic decision making, and more.
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Social Relevance at the Heart of Practice: The Role of American Dance Companies in Cultural Diplomacy and Peace
Reginald Harris, Shawn Lent, Stacie Williams
 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM

Mills/Ruiz Legacy Studio | Ballet Austin
What is the importance of social practice dance interventions for people living in divided communities? What should be the role of American dance companies domestically and abroad in the 21st Century? In what ways do social dance practice interventions foster peace education, conflict resolution, prevention, and people-to-people diplomacy? What knowledge and capacities are important for American artists and dance companies wanting to do this work? Come join us as we explore these questions.
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Part III: Discussion on Media Design for Dance
Kate Ducey, Ian Garrett, Jennifer Sherburn, Simon Clemo
 3:15 PM - 4:45 PM

IBC Bank
Community Suite

Join us for a day of exploration into cutting edge technology and choreography. Join leading designers and technologists for demonstrations, hands on experience, and in-depth discussions on lighting and media design for dance including LED and Intelligent lighting fixtures, interactive video systems, and projection mapping. The space will be open throughout the day for people to look, touch, and move. Join us at the beginning of each schedule breakout time for focused discussion on technology and design for dance. 

Join us at this time for an in-depth conversation with our design panel to discuss interactive video, projection mapping, and how live tracking is revolutionizing design for dance. 

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Supporting Diversity in Funding: Reports from Indigenous America

Andre Bouchard, Dayna Martinez, Sara Nash, Rosy Simas


 3:15 PM - 4:45 PM

AdlerLand Studio |
Ballet Austin
How can we build advocacy for field gatekeepers to consider diversity in a more profound way? How do we create equal access to resources available, with consideration that dances from different cultural contexts may have very different values and aesthetics?  How do we bridge cultures and build understanding between gatekeepers and dance-makers from non-European heritage?  Looking at examples from Indigenous America (Native American, Native Hawaiian and Native Alaskan) this session will give an overview of the culturally rooted aesthetics and values and the current challenges and opportunities of the Indigenous contemporary dance community.
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Navigating the Dance Domain: Ownership of Movement, Bodies, and Cultures
Michele Ramos-Burkhart, Iquail Shaheed, Stephanie McKee, Adam Mandell 

 3:15 PM - 4:45 PM

Mills/Ruiz Legacy Studio | Ballet Austin

This conversation will be tackling trending issues of copyright, trademark, and cultural appropriation. Panelists will bring their real-life experiences and knowledge with these intellectual property challenges to the discussion. We will move beyond a basic Arts Law 101, to a more nuanced discussion on what dancers, dance makers, and dance institutions need to know about how these topics can impact of their work, artists, marketing, and commissions.

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Saturday, June 11

Breakout Session & SpeakersTime Brief Description

Cultural Competencies and Dance: Engaging Diverse Audiences in Meaningful Ways

Andre Bouchard, 

Brianna Figueroa, 

Yvonne Montoya, 

Fabiola Torralba


 8:45 AM - 10:00 AM

Mills/Ruiz Legacy Studio | Ballet Austin


What are cultural competencies? And how can cultural competencies be used to engage diverse dance audiences in meaningful ways?  What does this mean in terms of aesthetics? This session will examine working definitions of culture and cultural competencies and explore the ways in which cultural competencies can be used to reach diverse and under-served dance audiences. Examples of purposeful and effective culturally competent strategies currently being used by dance practitioners will be presented. The session will also highlight questions in regard to cultural competencies and aesthetics.
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Intro to Immersive Video
Lisa Niedermeyer
 8:45 AM - 10:00 AM

AdlerLand Studio | Ballet Austin
How do 360 immersive video, 3d video, interactive video and virtual reality all differ? Who are the dance artists making compelling experiments in these spaces? In technologies where body intuition and crafting a meaningful audience experience is where the magic comes from, what is the unique opportunity for dance makers?  Come join Fractured Atlas staffer Lisa Niedermeyer in a show and tell across the spectrum of immersive video through the lens of dance. (Google cardboard will be available for those who have yet to have their first immersive video experience - bring your smart phones).
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Real Talk: Reclaiming Professional Success As a Dance Artist
Jenni Rebecca Stephenson, Stephanie Todd Wong

 8:45 AM - 10:00 AM

Herman & Verastique Studio | Ballet Austin
You’ve invested time and energy into your craft and professional development- now what? Even with the tools and training, it is a lifelong struggle to apply them while building a sustainable career. Let’s talk about goals, priorities, and integrating your art and entrepreneurship into your life in a manageable way.
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Fireside Chat on the State of the Art
Sydney Skybetter, Madison Cario
 10:15 AM - 11:30 AM

AdlerLand Studio | Ballet Austin
Join Sydney Skybetter (Brown University) and Madison Cario (Georgia Tech) in front of a real fake fireplace to talk about the state of dance performance in America. With special digressions on drones in theaters, robots on stage, and dancers in virtual reality. Skybetter and Cario will discuss the current craziness of the technologic fringe of the dance world, and prognosticate about the future of live art. 
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Asking for Help
Ivan Sygoda, 

Martin Bragg, Harold Norris, Andrea Snyder

 10:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Herman & Verastique Studio | Ballet Austin
In our precarious performing arts universe, everyone needs help at one juncture or another. There is never enough time, space or money to fully actualize our dreams or solve our problems. But we arts workers are adept at making miracles happen, and wonderful art somehow materializes. Nonetheless, despite fine minds, good intentions and more than a little talent, things can take a dark turn, and the light at the end of the metaphoric tunnel can become dim. It’s at such moments that one is forced to take stock and ask for help. One could waste energy casting blame, or one could make a sober assessment of contexts and possibilities. What are the areas in which help is most needed? And where can one go to get that help? Four experienced hands will walk us through scenarios both representative and cautionary, indicate the warning signs, identify possible courses of action, and solicit “testimony” from members who have been through some fire and emerged all the wiser and more resilient for the experience. There will be time for questions and input from attendees.

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The Politics of Identity
Kaisha Johnson, Rachna Nivas, Theresa Ruth Howard, Tiffany Rea-Fisher
10:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Shiflet Studio |
Ballet Austin
How much does an audience’s perception of identity play into how an artist is received on stage, regardless of the dance form? And what role does one’s cultural heritage play in his identity on the stage, particularly if an identity is already perceived through the lens of his or her skin color? Do our choices of what we produce on stage, as both artists and administrators, directly correlate with the perceptions our society holds about identity? We’ll dialogue about all forms of dance, whom it belongs to, and what it means to create and promote work that is closely tied to and separate from a dancer’s specific cultural identity. Presented and facilitated by Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA).
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Fierce Conversations
Suzanne Callahan, Thaddeus Davis, Indira Goodwine
10:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Mills/Ruiz Legacy Studio | Ballet Austin
This session would explore the ways in which select artists lead their audiences in post-performance dialogue that is rooted in the important—and often difficult—questions raised by their choreography. Artists will tell stories of the ways in which they interact with audiences, including the artistic intent of their work; design for discussion, including format, facilitation, and entry point; what has worked or not worked for them in holding these conversations; and audience response. Leave this session with new alternatives for audience interaction that move beyond the standard post-show talk and better reflect an artists’ intentions.

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