Looking back and dancing forward into 2015!

December 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

December is a great time to look back on the accomplishments of the past year and make plans for the next. At the Dance Project, the NC Dance Festival’s parent organization, we are doing just that. From professional performances in formal and informal settings, to inspiring outreach classes and workshops, from high-quality classes for children, teens, and adults to internships for college students; Dance Project is hard at work in–and for–the Greensboro and North Carolina community. Today, we are sharing an end-of-year letter written by our Artistic Director, Jan Van Dyke. As she says, community organizations like ours need broad support to function and continue serving the community; we hope you will join us in planning for the future of dance in NC by supporting us today. Thanks for all the support you give already!

 

Dear Dance Lover,

As we approach the end of 2014, I am writing to ask you to consider a gift to the Dance Project, the not-for-profit organization I brought to Greensboro in 1989.   At the Dance Project, we share the mission of cultivating modern dance in North Carolina, nurturing a community of artists, audiences, and students by providing opportunities for training, performance, collaboration, and employment. We have expanded our vision steadily, and now we manage the Van Dyke Dance Group, the School at City Arts, and the NC Dance Festival. We are always busy, reaching out into the community to perform and teach. I hope you are as happy and satisfied with our work over the past year as I am.

This time around, my year includes something special, a substantial gift to ArtsGreensboro to repurpose Room 100 in the Greensboro Cultural Arts Center into a 400+ seat performance space—a really satisfying endeavor. Several years ago, I was left a large sum of money.   I have since struggled to find a meaningful way to spend it that would both honor the legacy of my family, and further my own goals of building a strong and resourceful dance community in this area. It has long been a frustration to operate in a community with no small venue appropriate to local or touring performing artists. Drawing an audience of 250 to a theater meant to seat 900 is not a pleasant or exciting experience for either viewers or performers. Additionally, dance often has special needs in lighting, flooring, and sightlines, which are not always obtainable in makeshift spaces. I noted the energy and money being spent to build up Greensboro’s downtown area, and at the same time, I knew how few alums from the Dance Department at UNCG stay in the area to build their own careers. It seemed a logical next step to conceive of a downtown performance venue, one that might serve as a catalyst in a larger public-private partnership, working with the city to maximize usage of space in the Cultural Arts Center to create a long-needed facility. I am particularly fortunate to have had a big idea like this while also having the means to make it happen. This opportunity has enabled me to fulfill a personal dream while benefitting the entire community.

The new theater will be just one part of a downtown community that is busily defining itself as an active, creative city. Now it is time to redouble support for the Dance Project, so that we can tap into this surge of artistic energy, and continue to be a vital part of this growing community. In particular, we have ambitious plans for the upcoming 25th anniversary season of the NC Dance Festival in Greensboro, with multiple concerts and classes, celebrating years of helping to build the statewide dance community. In addition to an annual concert season and downtown classes taught by a college educated staff, we offer scholarships, free performances, mini-concerts in the schools, and master classes and free workshops throughout the area, all because we love sharing what we do. These projects all require funding to expand on the past 25 years as we go forward with our mission of engaging the community while developing artists and employing dancers.

We are a community organization, needing broad support to function and best serve this community. Thank you very much for considering support of our work, and perhaps, for becoming involved. I would love hearing from you. Please share your ideas with me at jevandyk@uncg.edu or by phone at 336 370 4819. You are the reason we strive to be the best we can be, and we are always looking for new ways to connect.

Sincerely,  Jan Van Dyke

 

Dance Local.

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