New York Professional Outreach Program
New York Professional Outreach Program (NYPOP)
Through a semester-long course and two trips to New York City in the fall, NYPOP (launched in 2007) enables students to explore the dance world and their relationship to it, with an eye toward their careers. UMass Amherst is one of the few universities in the country to offer travel to New York City to learn about professional careers in dance.
The curriculum is based on the needs of the dancer entering the workforce and designing a career that best matches his/her passion, strengths and skills while promoting development. There is an emphasis on income, revenue streams and creating financial stability as we strive to end the "starving artist" mentality. The readings include:
• The Dancers' Forum Compact, a document from the 1996 Dance Theater Workshop retreat for dancers, designed as a list of guidelines and responsibilities for dancers and choreographers.
• Dance from Campus to the Real World (And Back Again): A Resource Guide for Artists, Faculty and Students, by Suzanne Callahan, published by Dance USA, January 1, 2005.
In the Classroom
In the classroom, participants:
• Chart their goals as dance artists;
• Investigate dance communities in U.S. cities which might best suit their needs;
• Learn how to locate artist networks and secure jobs;
• Research national artist service organizations;
• Investigate health care options;
• Learn about grant writing and performance presenting;
• Discuss articles about UMass dance graduates (Layard Thompson, Deborah Hay, Jen Rosenblit) and about "making it" in the NYC dance world;
• Study The Dancers' Forum Compact, a 17-page document with origins in 1996 Dance Theater Workshop retreat, that lists guidelines/responsibilities for dancers/choreographers;
• Design press kits and press releases; and
• Explore trends, perceptions and misconceptions about the dance world.
The trips to NYC are designed to bring the classroom theories and skills to life. The participants attend classes, auditions, open rehearsals, meetings with choreographers and dance performances. They meet with Five College Dance alumni and well-established dance service organizations. Past trips have included some of the activities below, where students:
• Met with panels of choreographers and artists who provided tips for successful auditions;
• Interacted with young professionals about their victories and challenges;
• Attended workshops at The Field, Dance Theater Workshop and Career Transitions for Dancers;
• Visited the Dance collection at Lincoln Center's Library for the Performing Arts;
• Attended a choreographic workshop at the Juilliard School;
• Attended performances of major companies (Batsheva, Garth Fagan, Sensedance, Riedel Dance) and met the dancers post-performance;
• Attended open rehearsals of well-known choreographers and companies (Limón Company, Robert Battle, Rebecca Stenn, Gerald Casel);
• Took class at renowned studios with nationally recognized artists;
• Met with Tony Award winner and UMass honoree George Faison; and
• Took advantage of audition opportunities. On one trip, five of the students who auditioned were featured on the first episode of Bruno and Carrie Ann's Dance Wars, on ABC-TV!
The NYPOP course is taught by Dance Program faculty member Paul Dennis. A graduate of the Juilliard School and Purchase College, Dennis is a former member of the José Limón Dance Company and is also director of the White Mountain Summer Dance Festival at Sarah Lawrence College.
New York Liaison:
Rochelle Rice graduated from the Department in May, 1983 and has been living in New York City since 1985. She performed with Jazzdance: The Danny Buraczeski Dance Company and was on staff at Dance Space (currently DNA/Dance New Amsterdam), where she taught Simonson Technique. Rochelle is a nationally-recognized speaker, author and educator and dedicates herself to empowering women of size. She remains passionate in helping dancers create a powerful and positive experience in the dance world. Rochelle@RochelleRice.com Toll-free: 877-943-7749