July 21, 2017

Campaign Spotlight: Bringing New York City Dance Into the Limelight

The campaign, scheduled to get under way this week, is being sponsored by Dance/NYC, a nonprofit organization that was spun off in January from the national organization Dance/USA. The campaign, which is being created internally at Dance/NYC, carries the theme “New Yorkers for dance.”

The campaign seeks to stimulate interest in and increase awareness of the New York dance community through short video clips being uploaded to YouTube, which feature a cross-section of figures from the New York dance community, including Robert Battle, artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; the ballet star David Hallberg; Virginia Johnson, artistic director of Dance Theater of Harlem; the choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones; Sara Mearns, a principal dancer at the New York City Ballet; the Broadway star Bebe Neuwirth; and even the Rockettes.

The subjects they discuss include the importance of dance, the city’s pre-eminent place in the dance world, what dance has meant to them and the need for dance artists and companies to receive the financial and other types of support they require.

Also appearing in the brief YouTube videos are familiar New Yorkers from outside the world of dance who discuss how dance has enriched their lives. They include the designer Isaac Mizrahi, who says he is a New Yorker for dance “because I love legs,” and Vin Cipolla, president of the Municipal Art Society.

The campaign is to begin with a handful of video clips, with more to be released in the coming days and weeks until there is a total of 35 or so available at youtube.com.

The campaign also includes the Dance/NYC Web site, e-mail and a presence in social media like Facebook and Twitter. The thrifty budget is being estimated at less than $10,000.

Plans call for the campaign to be formally introduced on Tuesday at a fund-raiser for Dance/NYC at the Ailey Studios and Joan Weill Center for Dance at 405 West 55th Street at Ninth Avenue. Some of the videos are to be shown at the event.

The campaign is indicative of how recent successful efforts for political candidates and ballot initiatives, which appeared primarily online and in social media rather than in traditional media like television, are influencing other forms of advertising.

Lane Harwell, executive director of Dance/NYC, tips his hat to New Yorkers for Marriage Equality, an initiative by the Human Rights Campaign that was centered on dozens of video clips featuring residents of New York State, famous and otherwise, urging support for same-sex marriage rights in the state. The video campaign was cited as a reason the state approved same-sex marriage in 2011.

“We wanted to adapt technologies and strategies that are working well for other causes to expand the online footprint for dance,” Mr. Harwell says.

“We had the right assets” for such a campaign, he adds, listing “our growing online presence at dancenyc.org” along with “a community of artists with meaningful stories to share and a desire to connect.”

“The idea for the campaign has been hanging around a while,” Mr. Harwell says. “I took it off the hanger when Dance/NYC became an independent nonprofit.”

“It’s difficult to describe the work a support organization like ours is doing; you get blank stares,” he adds. “But when we say, ‘New Yorkers for dance,’ people get it.”

“We’ve always had a great following inside the dance community,” Mr. Harwell says. “This is an opportunity to have a more public face and connect with New Yorkers.”

“I would describe the campaign as a springboard for audience engagement,” he adds. “We want New Yorkers to see themselves in the stories.”

In the video featuring Mr. Battle of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, he extols dance as “the most primal of the performing arts.”

Asked why he is taking part in the campaign, Mr. Battle writes in an e-mail: “Dance is a universal language that brings people together. That’s particularly true here in New York — our home — where the heart of dance beats so loudly.”

“We need to recognize how dance positively impacts all of us in the city, individually and collectively,” Mr. Battle says. “We’re a part of a community that is moving forward, and I’m happy to be a New Yorker for dance.”

Ms. Mearns of the New York City Ballet, in her video, says she calls herself a “New Yorker for dance” because “it allows dreams to come true for boys and girls from all around the world that make dance their communication and their expression,” adding, “I’m a living example of that.”

Asked why she is participating in the campaign, Ms. Mearns replies in an e-mail: “Dance is a freedom of expression that everyone takes part in, whether it be in the shower or on a New York stage like myself. Professional dancers are the peak athletes of the world and I believe should be seen in the same league as any sports athlete you watch on the field or TV.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/03/business/media/bringing-new-york-city-dancing-into-the-limelight.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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