DANCE PARTNERS aims to spread the reach of dance to underserved communities by pushing the boundaries of interactive telecommunications technology. The project will initially be concentrated in three diverse communities in Minnesota and a southeastern Ohio university. The project will link master teachers with dancers, non-dancers, and disabled people across generations. For example, one aspect of the project will link inner-city youth in Minnesota with Ohio senior citizens; another will link disabled youth from rural and urban Minnesota with one of the region's most gifted dance teachers.
DANCE PARTNERS will use part of its TIIAP funds to create a network of studios equipped to transmit and receive video transmissions. Traditional teleconferencing rooms and dance spaces will be made interactive by adding roving mobile cameras, modifying audio pick-up patterns and installing dance flooring. A multimedia website will place dance in the context of community culture and history, and include such benefits as streaming video of live classes, digitized movement studies, journals for self-critique, links to a wide variety of dance-related resources, and notes from professional dancers and community elders.
The project is expected to have a tremendous impact on dance throughout our nation. Today, the 50 largest dance companies are concentrated in only 10 of our largest cities. Many people in rural cities grow up without exposure to dance in any form. The architects of this project will learn more about how to teach dance using interactive technology, how to form partnerships to extend the reach of dance, and how to involve disenfranchised segments of our society, including the elderly and disabled, inner-city youth and people in rural communities, in learning and teaching dance.
Partners include artservices & company, Ballet Arts Minnesota, Beyond Broadcast, Chris Aiken Dance Company, the Higher Education Telecommunications Consortium (HETC), Minneapolis Public Schools, Myles Reif Performing Arts Center, Ohio University School of Dance, and the Ohio University Telecommunications Center.