Mentorship in the Field

At Dance/USA, we believe that mentorship is an important way to engage the emerging leaders and renew the established leaders in our field. Working from the recommendations of the Emerging Leaders in Dance Task Force, Dance/USA has created a mentorship program called the Dance/USA Institute for Leadership Training (DILT). Read more about this year's DILT program.

We're also using our website as a forum for encouraging dialogue about mentorship, sharing stories of mentors and mentees, and providing tools to those in the field who are interested in pursuing mentorship relationships. 

Mentorship Tips and Tools
Here are some tips from seasoned mentorship partners that might help you develop effective mentoring relationships:

  1. Set goals for what you hope to accomplish in your time together
  2. Actively engage in listening,
  3. Seek advice about specific, real-life challenges and opportunities
  4. Be open to change, new perspectives and approaches.
  5. Remember the best mentorship relationships are reciprocal

Looking for more? Read Thoughts on Mentoring, written by Ivan Sygoda, director of Pentacle.

Mentorship Resources
Dance/USA Emerging Leaders in Dance Task Force has compiled some resources for young professionals in the field. You may download the PDF files here.

Starting a Mentorship Program?
Across the country, entrepreneurial individuals and groups have been setting up their own mentorship programs and reaping the rewards of interactions between established leaders and emerging leaders and amongst networks of peers. Here we share some success stories and pointers about how they made their mentorship programs happen.

Goucher College Peer Mentorship
As a student at Goucher College, Angelica Daniele saw how valuable it would be for freshmen to have the benefit of the recent experience and insights into campus life that their sophmore, junior and senior peers could offer. So, she set about to create a peer mentorship program on campus. While she initially paired the incoming students with mentors based on their hometowns or shared majors, she soon discovered that random pairings worked out just as well. In addition to requiring mentorship partners (all mentors were matched with more than one mentee) to meet one-on-one or in small groups, the program also provided three group interactions for all of the mentors and mentees over the course of the school year, including at least one educational opportunity and one social gathering.  During the years that she managed the program she coordinate such events as an information session on eating disorders, a holiday party, an event with dance department alumni, and a session with a massage therapist.  Many of the mentorship partners formed lasting friendships and ongoing connections that continue to serve them as they launch their careers in dance.  Although Angelica herself graduated in May 2009, the program continues as other students have taken it up and continue to keep it going.
 
To find out more about the program and how she set it up, look at the guiding documents.
 
A Philadelphia native and current Baltimore resident, Angelica Daniele serves Dance/USA as the program coordinator for the Institute for Leadership Training. Angelica is an advocate for mentorship in the arts, and proud to see Dance/USA furthering its commitment to building emerging leaders through facilitating mentoring relationships. She earned her M.A. in Arts Administration (2012), and B.A., summa cum laude, in Dance and Psychology with concentrations in both arts administration and dance therapy (2009) both from Goucher College. Angelica now dances professionally in Baltimore and serves as an administrator for local dance schools and organizations.  Angelica is also the proud author of the Diary of a Good Luck Charm, an autobiography, and Performance: The Collective and Introspective, a research-based work that explores the psychology of the dance performer, and the mental, physical, and emotional journey the dancer moves through in preparing for and executing a performance. Angelica received the Emerging Voices in Psychology and the Arts Award through True Center Publishing based in Doylestown, PA for this work, following completion of her undergraduate degree. Angelica hopes to further develop her master's thesis, Mentorship and the Arts: Building Our Leaders of Tomorrow, through her continued research on mentorship in the field..

Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles' Arts Professional Advisors Link (APAL) Program

The Emerging Arts Leaders/LA piloted a new mentorship program in 2008-09. The advisee-driven program included at least four one-on-one meetings between advisors and advisees, three shared social events for the entire group and access for the advisees to a Google group mediated peer network on which they could share and discuss their experiences. Advisees identified advisors they wanted to work with (or asked for the assistance of seasoned administrators to help make a match) and set their own goals for the year-long mentorship.  The pilot program included eight advisee/advisory pairs but they hope to expand in the coming year with up to twenty pairs participating.  If you are interested in more information, email artsleadersla@gmail.com.  
 
Check out the report on the pilot program.    
 
Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles (EAL/LA) is a network of leaders in the field of arts administration whose purpose is to grow and support the next generation of creative leaders in Los Angeles County. Members conceive of programs designed to expand their network, share resources, and enhance their professional development.

Mentor Profiles
We are pleased to introduce you to leaders in the field who serve as mentors and who have benefited from mentors in their own careers. Check back often for new mentor profiles!

Kate Dumbleton - Executive Director, Chicago Jazz Ensemble
KT Nelson - Co-Artistic Director, ODC Dance Collective
Yannis Adoniou - Director, KUNST-STOFF