THE BIG PICTURE
It is important to remember that each performance you create is part of a bigger picture. We'll finish here with a few tips to help you plan and grow for the long-term.
Whether you are newly arrived in Montreal, or have just graduated from a training program, it can be intimidating to figure out how to integrate yourself into the professional dance community. Looking at things from the outside, it can all feel a bit abstract, monolithic and inaccessible. It might seem silly to say this, but it is important to remember that the dance community is simply made up of the people around you, making dance! Your friends, and the other young artists around you are the future of the ‘professional’ dance world. You are in the process of creating the community and ecosystem in which you will continue to make art for years to come.
That being said, it is important to ‘find your people’… folks with whom you enjoy spending time, who inspire you, challenge you and can provide moral support when the going gets tough. Professional work often exists within networks: a core group of dancers/choreographers will work together over and over in different constellations. Similarly the same lighting designers, dramaturges, or other collaborators will often circulate within this same network. In this way, finding and connecting with the artists you respect can, over time, help you to build a broader network of support and resources.
It is also important to get to know the curators, administrators and other cultural workers who make the dance world work. As your career moves forward their perspective, support and advice will be invaluable.
Tip: So, beyond your current circle of friends, where can you meet people? Take workshops (both creative and administrative). Attend talks and performances. if you can, volunteer or take part-time work in an art institution. Join the RQD and attend the annual members meeting, as well as other symposia or 5 à 7 events.
Many artists dream of touring their work. Touring represents a chance to visit new cities, to meet new people, and to build a CV. However, touring opportunities can be difficult to find, expensive to finance, and complicated to administrate, especially for an independent artist.
Building the network and administrative support necessary for touring is a long-term project that can take years, if not decades. If touring your work is one of your goals, one good place to start is with one of the local touring initiatives available to Montreal-based artists. These programs offer things like mentorship, administrative or financial support, and are a good opportunity to gain touring experience with less financial pressure than national or international bookings.
CAM en tournée is a project run by the Conseil des arts de Montréal which finances touring within the Maison de la culture network on the island of Montréal. Applications are accepted each year in the Fall for touring in the following year.
Jouer Dehors is a program run by La danse sur les route du Québec which offers mentorship and access to a network of presenters for outdoor performances.
LOJIQ periodically holds open calls for touring opportunities which come with partial funding. The best way to find out about these opportunities is to subscribe to their newsletter.
If you have experience self-presenting your work, and are familiar with and able to navigate the financial risks involved, than the Fringe festival network can also offer a framework around which to build a ‘do-it-yourself’ tour in Canada or even internationally.
Tip: La danse sur les routes du Québec offers a series workshops specifically geared towards helping young choreographers develop a touring project.