Gibney Company Artistic Associates engage the community through individually-crafted Advocacy Fellowships, serving as advocates and creators of new programming at Gibney. Each AA pinpoints a pressing issue in the dance field that ignites a personal passion within them, then leverages the resources and mentoring of the larger organization to develop, implement and co-create new programs in response to the evolving needs of the field.
OKAY, LET’S UNPACK THIS is a collective effort to normalize the conversation on mental health in the dance community. The project website holds space for dance artists to share their mental health stories in written or verbal (video) form, and offers comprehensive resource lists for anyone who might need additional support.
“No matter how strong, disciplined, or driven I’ve become, I am inevitably still a human being. Yet, I’ve often felt expected to defy this simple fact. No one is immune to vulnerabilities and challenges, including mental illness—even those superhuman in the dance community. What we can control is how we choose to address mental health and challenges within the field. This begins with a complex conversation.”
“For my advocacy fellowship, I’m developing CONFIDANZ, a program that highlights collaborative techniques for dance artists and photographers to create thoughtful and crafted images. Professional photographs are a vital tool for advancement in the dance field. Yet, few dancers have a comprehensive understanding of the key components of photography, which limits their ability to collaborate effectively with photographers. The sessions stress the importance of trust, dialogue, and understanding between dancer and photographer (both artistic and logistical). CONFIDANZ workshops create a safe and supportive environment for dance artists to learn tangible tools and build ‘confidanz’ through bold choice-making, leading to successful and empowering photo shoots.
In the summer of 2018, CONFIDANZ was piloted with pre-professional dancers enrolled in the Gibney Summer Study program and youth (ages 14-21) enrolled in The Door’s Summer Dance Intensive. Photographs from workshops with The Door were shown at The Whitney Museum in August 2018. The program is generously funded by The Ready Foundation with gracious support from Gibney and The Door’s board member, Bethany Menzies.”
Photo of Zui Gomez in CONFIDANZ by Gabriel Johnson, Levue Studios.