Starting Your Dance Career in The City of Angels

Leslie Scott Beyond, Career Advice, College, Dance, Getting Started, Performing Arts Leave a Comment

As scores of young dance graduates are licking the stamps on their graduation invites, the question on so many family members’ lips ring “So, what’s the next move for your dance career?”

With the ‘WHAT’ hinging so fully on the ‘WHERE,’ young dance professionals have a more diverse map of options than ever before. At one time the only US dance mecca, New York City seemed like the obvious choice, but more and more, young artists are looking to thriving dance communities across the nation from Seattle to Chicago and Dallas to Portland. As a former New Yorker and Founder of BODYART Dance, my recent move to Los Angeles has prompted a few focused thoughts on the impact geography can have on starting your dance career.

In 2014 the NY Times published an article citing the increase of skilled dancers in LA for the concert stage in Brian Seibert’s piece “Kicking Up a Boom Out West.” In opposition, Jeff Slayton at See Dance cited the lack of dance critics feeding into the difficulties of sustainability in the community. While no city is able to offer support to all it’s artists, what rings true on both sides of the argument is an understanding that there is something special in LA that’s worth continuing to define and strengthen and fight for. As a New York transplant, here are a few things I have come to really admire about tinsel town’s community.

1) A spirit of inclusiveness: You can pick up the phone and call almost anyone you need.

Yes, there might not be as many people to call but the difference here is that you can usually get through, and 9 times out of 10 you’ll get a response. “In NYC nobody was interested in my work or presenting it. In Los Angeles I have good working relationships with presenters who return my phone calls and emails” cites Rosanna Gamson of Rosanna Gamson WorldWide. After creating work in NYC for over ten years, I had a close circle of other choreographers I could call to ask advice. But 20 or so people compared to the vast ocean of over 2,000 choreographers in the city is in stark contrast to the LA landscape. The spirit of inclusiveness from local arts organizations is really inspiring and it makes me excited to contribute rather than compete.

“Dance making in New York was saturated and seemed hyper judgmental. When I moved to LA, there was not much happening, but what did exist was fresh, supportive, and eager for growth”

says Lillian Barbeito, Artistic Director of BODYTRAFFIC. I also see this ring true in choreographers who share resources from designers to dancers, and in dancers who get opportunities from fellow performers.

2. Space and Opportunity: No one has asked to do the ridiculous thing you’re proposing before, and that’s amazing.

In 2009, I set out to make a piece in NYC set in a 2 inch deep, 60 ft squared infinity pool entitled Anatomy of Lost. In 2011, after 27 space requests I finally got a theatre to agree to let me build a small pool after I was able to raise additional funds to cover the extra insurance fees. It wasn’t that the venues didn’t want to help, it’s that someone had been there before, and done something wrong, and the venue had increased their restrictions. In just a few weeks of making phone calls in LA I have 3 developers excited about the prospect of remounting the work, Lost in one of their warehouses. While there are fewer small to mid sized theatres than New York, what LA does have is space. With space comes opportunity, if you are willing to think outside of the (black) box.

3. Strong women: There are some rad women voices here.

Different than other major cities around the world the vast number of contemporary dance direction is being done by women. After reading countless pros on the lack of female choreographers at major dance organizations, strong female voices is something LA has in spades. “I think LA is going to be the next major hub for contemporary dance in the United States” says Barbeito “it is impossible to ignore that great concert dance is being made in our city of angels.”

4. Work life balance is a thing in LA.

I remember calling a friend after one of my first weeks at an arts administration job with Invertigo Dance Company saying “They eat lunch here. And not at their desks!” Whether it’s Google employees who surf over their lunch breaks or non-profits that ask you to eat lunch in the garden, filling your creative well can take on many forms. Mine took on sunny afternoon vegetable picking in Invertigo’s office garden and surprisingly also came with increased productivity.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when deciding where to move:

“What is important to me in a dance community?”

As opportunities start to unfold I invite you to think of what success really means in the whole sense of the word. Anyone can dance anywhere, you just might not get paid. Do you mind having four jobs that support your one non-paid dance job if it’s fulfilling? Do you want to see four shows in one day or will a few over the weekend be enough for you? Be clear about what success looks like to you so that post graduation decisions about where you will live can strengthen your goals and not feel so daunting.

Just one short month ago LA got another shout out from the NY Times in ‘Los Angeles Art Scene Comes Into Its Own’ and while I don’t like to “Colombus” (aka, coming into a space already established and claiming you’ve discovered it) a region already living and thriving, I have to smile in agreement.

Finally, if you are on the fence between these two mega cities you can always try the following NYC vs. LA test: sit in your parked car for an hour and only move a few feet, then put a 45lb backpack on while standing in a walk-in freezer. See which you hate least and find your new ocean. Of course, if neither is your jam, start asking around, there are loads of places that don’t involve extreme cold or traffic. I have yet to find a community anywhere on the globe that did not have some sort of culture community and opportunity.

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Kadenze and Artzray Host Twitter Chat on Future of Arts Education

Johnae McDonald College, Events, High School, Performing Arts, Visual Arts Leave a Comment

What’s the future of arts education? Recently, Kadenze  and Artzray banded together for their first-ever Twitter chat to discuss the topic using the hashtag #FutureofArtsEd. We were joined by an exceptional panel of moderators  with the intent of sparking a conversation about the future of creative education. This chat fortunately exceeded expectations, so much that the #FutureofArtsEd started trending while the discussion was happening. In case you missed it, here’s a recap of everything that went down.

Q1: In your opinion, what’s the future of creative education?




Q2: How can the 21st century bring art into everything we do? #FutureofArtsEd




Q3: How has technology impacted the current state of creative education? #FutureofArtsEd




Q4: What new teaching models and trends in art education are on the horizon? #FutureofArtsEd




Q5: What will creative education look like in 10, 15, 20 years? #FutureofArtsEd




Q6: How will K-12 arts education need to adapt? #FutureofArtsEd




Q7: Will technology drive equity and access to arts learning? #FutureofArtsEd

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Q8: How will the pipeline to arts careers and the creative economy be developed? #FutureofArtsEd

A8-1 A8-2 A8-3We’d like to give a huge shout-out to all of our moderators who helped make this happen!

Ajay Kapur, President & CEO of Kadenze, Associate Dean for R&D in digital arts, at California Institute of the Arts –@Ajay_Kapur

Perry Cook, Co-founder and Executive VP of Kadenze, professor (emeritus) at Princeton University –@HumbugSonicArts

Owen Vallis, Vice President of research and data analysis at Kadenze, professor at California Institute of the Arts –@OwenVallis

Marshall Ayers, Founder & CEO of Artzray – @Artzray and @ayersmarshall

Ian Temple, Founder & CEO of Soundfly – @ianrtemple

Zoe Young, Editor-in-Chief at Soundfly – @learntosoundfly

Amy Bond, professor at OTIS College of Art and Design – @otiscollegebond

Priya Shekar, Program Director at Real Industry – @th3freq

Janine Christiano, Special Projects Manager at Armory Center of the Arts – @J9Christiano and @armoryarts

Jordan Hochenbaum, Chief Creative Officer and Vice President of engineering at Kadenze, professor at California Institute of the Arts – @Jnatanh

Parag Mital, Director of Machine Intelligence at Kadenze – @pkmital

Harmony Jiroudek, Director of Academic Customer Relations, and instructional designer/producer at Kadenze –@harmonyjiroudek

What’s your opinion on the future of creative education? There’s no right or wrong answer, because we won’t know until the future gets here! What we CAN say, is that we at Kadenze are doing our part to contribute to it.

We’ll be hosting another Twitter chat with Artzray in the near future. Stay tuned for more details!

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Best Music Festivals to Check Out This Summer

Samantha Jacobs Events, Music, Opportunities, Performing Arts Leave a Comment

Your summer schedule may be booked with internships, real work, programs, camps, family reunions, etc., but don’t forget to schedule in some time for fun. And is there anything more fun than enjoying some music out in the summer sun? I don’t think so. With a wide range of genres and a wide range of locations, these summer music festivals are worth checking out. They could make the summer of 2016 one for the books.

Here are the best summer music festivals to check out this summer.


When: July 28-31

Where: Chicago, Illinois

Who: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem, Lana Del Rey, J. Cole, Flume, Haim, Ellie Goulding, Major Lazer and more

What: For the first time, Lollapalooza is not three, but four days long. This famous Chicago music festival has been held annually since 2005, and is famous for its blend of all-star performers, as well as artists who are new to the scene but have the potential to be the next big thing. The headcount of attendees can add up to over 100,000, so obviously Lolla is doing something right to attract that kind of crowd.

Governors Ball




When: June 3-5

Where: New York City, New York

Who: Kanye West, Death Cab For Cutie, M83, The Killers, The Strokes, Robyn, Beck, Of Monsters and Men, Chvrches, Chet Faker, Father John Misty and more

What:  This is one music festival that’s worth its ticket price. The artists span many genres from rap to rock and all that in between, but most of the artists are household names. Governors Ball is like an all-star game, so don’t miss out. This will be the music festival’s fifth year, and aside from its killer musical lineup Governors Ball also features a Silent Disco, ping pong, photo booths and lawn games.

Outside Lands

When: August 5-7

Where: San Francisco, California

Who: Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Lionel Richie, J. Cole, Lana Del Rey, Zedd, Sufjan Stevens, Chance the Rapper, Duran Duran, Halsey, Third Eye Blind and more

What: Since 2008, Outside lands has become well-known for its more laid-back atmosphere, and its featuring of indie rock, alternative rock, hip-hop and electronica music. This music festival is chill both in vibe and in weather, and features nearly as many food and beverage stands as it does artists who are performing.


When: June 9-12

Where: Manchester, Tennessee


What: Since 2002, this music festival has brought in about 80,000 per year. While other music festivals may be more mainstream, Bonnaroo truly covers all genres. They feature pop, alternative and indie rock, hip-hop, r&b, EDM, metal, jazz, Americana, country, folk, bluegrass, gospel, reggae and world. Bonnaroo has consistently been lauded for integrating music and subculture and for revolutionizing rock music festivals. And in addition to the musical performances, the festival has tents set up over the campground that feature comedians, charities, Silent Disco and more.


When: June 16-19

Where: Dover, Delaware

Who: Kings of Leon, Two Door Cinema Club, Florence and the Machine, Deadmau5, Mumford & Sons, Ellie Goulding, Tame Impala, Disclosure, Blink-182, Fetty Wap and more.

What: This little state is home to a big music festival, considering it has only been around since 2012. People flock from all over to see Firefly’s impressive acts, and people even camp at the grounds for the weekend. Aside from music, Firefly hosts activities such as a secret woods rave, a tent sponsored by Toms Shoes in which you can design your own pair of shoes, an arcade tent, etc.

Newport Folk Festival

When: July 22-24

Where: Newport, Rhode Island

Who: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Norah Jones, Flight of the Conchords, Ray Lamontagne, Father John Misty, Violent Femmes and more.

What: If folk is more your scene, Newport Folk Festival is for you. Around since the 1950s, this music festival has built a reputation as a platform for artists on the cusp of stardom and success, and as an event that unites dissimilar genres of music. Musical veterans and those new to the stage are all welcome. Get ready for unexpected collaborations, rocking after-shows and folk families galore.

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Creating Teen Theatre: Young, Gifted and Black

Marshall Ayers Acting, Creative Writing, High School, Improvisation, Performing Arts, Playwriting, Production

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAPLAAAAJDRlNmQyMTM2LWU1MGYtNDI5OS1hMDg0LTFjNGVlMzczMGQ2YQYoung, Gifted & Black (YGB) is a theater troupe that is a part of the Teens N’ Theatre programming at the Rose Theatre in Omaha, Nebraska. I’m Olivia Jones and I’m a Teaching Artist at The Rose. As an arts administrator and former performer with Walt Disney World, the arts are in my DNA. I moved 2,000 miles away from my home in Southern California to Nebraska for my first teaching position and the opportunity to work at The Rose and make this program come to life.

By definition “Young Gifted & Black is an ensemble of diverse youth that explore issues presented by being African American [or black] in today’s culture”. This was the first year that the Rose empowered YGB by using the voices of the group to improvise and create new theater works to share their story.

YGB by the numbers: 11 Students. Ages 13-15. 8 weeks. 24 rehearsals. 1 original work.

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5 Steps To Doing A Pop-Up Show

Marshall Ayers Beyond, Career Advice, College, How To, Visual Arts

Sally Deng and Cassie Zhang are young artists who are recent graduates of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. Fresh out of school, they decided to produce a pop-up show in downtown Los Angeles with some of their classmates to exhibit their artwork to new and wider audiences.

Here is their step by step guide to doing your own pop-up show.

Sally Deng and Cassie Zhang

Sally Deng and Cassie Zhang

1. Gather a group of artists you know and whose work inspires you.


Meet Kadenze: The Future of Creative Learning

Marshall Ayers 3D (Gaming & Printing), Animation, College, Digital Media, High School, Music, Performing Arts, Student Resources, Visual Arts

Kadenze is a purpose-built online learning platform for the arts and creative technology. It pairs world-class instructors with a beautiful and innovative digital platform that’s built to support arts-based curriculum and deliver the best possible online experience. Two members of the Kadenze team shared their own creative journeys with Artzray and why creativity is at the heart of all their work.

11695975_1599188090354091_1616464531621889170_nMeet Harmony, Director of Academic Relations/Instructional Designer & Producer – Harmony Jiroudek is a vocalist, composer, producer, and instructional designer. She is currently the Director of Academic Relations at Kadenze and continues to perform and teach in and around Los Angeles, CA.

Meet Johnae, Communications & Social Media Manager – Johnae McDonald is a singer/songwriter, creative visionary, and self-proclaimed digital nerd. A new addition to the communications team at Kadenze, Johnae is merging her passion for the arts with her professional background in digital marketing & communications.


Q & A

Tell us more about Kadenze.

H: Kadenze is an arts and creative technology-focused MOOC platform. Our #1 mission is to expand access to world-class education—in the fields of art and creative technology. The Kadenze team is a community of artists that partner with instructors from leading universities and institutions, to teach the next generation of creatives. This is also an experiment on how we can use cutting edge tools to re-imagine what the future of creative education can be. What we provide is a community where people can learn new skills, share their work, and discuss one another’s work.

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Arts Career Pipeline: Anthony Quinn Foundation Scholarship

Marshall Ayers Arts Resources, High School, Opportunities, Student Resources

The Anthony Quinn Foundation Scholarship (AQF) is Awarded to California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) Alum

What happens when a high school artist has learning experiences that build one on top of another? A pipeline to a career in the arts begins. In 2013 Erin Stoodley was a high school sophomore and attended the CSSSA in Creative Writing. Through that connection Erin, now a senior, has been selected to receive the 2016 Anthony Quinn Foundation Scholarship. Like pearls on a necklace, a foundation for a career in the arts was made.

The AQF Scholarship Program is the signature initiative of the Anthony Quinn Foundation and was established to help young high school-aged artists – of all creative disciplines – attend intensive summer arts programs.

Ten students have been selected by a panel of judges from among hundreds of applicants hailing from around the globe.

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Arts for LA Joins LA Youth Vote

Marshall Ayers Beyond, College, Events, High School, Opportunities, Sponsors, Student Resources

Arts for LA partners with the LA Youth Vote campaign. 

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 2.23.15 PMStudent voices matter! High school students and young people have the power to ignite change and impact elections. Are you ready to express your voice and vote? I believe every single voice matters and it’s up to us to use that voice to create the society we want to see. I’m Cristina Pacheco, the Director of Programs at Arts for LA where I train community arts advocates in areas of policy, leadership, coalition building, and communication. I’m also a musician and creative and I vote. I believe especially as artists we have a platform to use our work to inspire others to action.

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USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance Student Profile Madison Vomastek

Samantha Jacobs Artist Profiles, College, Dance, Dance, High School, Performing Arts, Performing Arts, Student Resources

USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance Spring Dance Performance April 28 and 29

Los Angeles is known as one of the arts capitals of the U.S., but for a long time, one of LA’s most prominent schools did not feature a dance department. That all changed in 2012 when Glorya Kaufman founded the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. The school offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance, as well as two dance minors, and it has already become a revered school among the USC and overall dance community and in the fall of 2016, classes will be held in the state-of-the-art Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center. Madison Vomastek is a freshman at USC and is in the inaugural BFA class program, and answered some questions about her experience as a dancer and her time at Kaufman.

Samantha Jacobs: How did you get started in dance?

Madison Vomastek: As a young child I always had a creative mindset and my mother noticed that I was highly active and she put me in dance to get me to focus and learn how to be disciplined. I started dancing when I was three years old with Company Dance Traverse in Traverse City, MI under the direction of Betsy Carr. I continued to dance with them for twelve years and I started spending my summers away from home at age eleven to travel and study at different summer intensives. Traveling and seeing different genres of dance showed me that dancing and performing was something I wanted to pursue. As my passion increased I started to look at performing arts schools to further my education and technique. When I was fifteen years old I spent five weeks at Walnut Hill School for the Arts located in Boston, MA and was asked to stay for the following two years of my high school career. Upon graduating from Walnut Hill School for the Arts in 2015 I moved to Los Angeles to be a part of the inaugural class at USC Kaufman School of Dance under the direction of Jodie Gates and William Forsythe.

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