The Bay Area?s National Dance Week celebration went out with a bang Sunday night at the second annual Choreographers in Action showcase at ODC Theater. Titled ?24 Views,? the evening gives two dozens dance makers (one extra squeaked in this year) two minutes each to show off their wares. Allan Ulrich, reviewing for Voice of Dance, gives the quality of the entrants pool lower marks than last year, and he?s right: Many of the performances this go ?round were semi-professional at best. But the quality moments really popped: EmSpace Dance?s uproariously downtrodden antics, Janice Garret + Dancers? vivid Baroque capers, Nina Haft & Company?s emotional rollercoaster of a duet. And anything is bearable for two minutes.
But what was more exciting than the discovery of any one talent?what should truly have crowds queuing around the street corner, as they did Sunday?was the invention of a fabulous new format for promoting dance. ?24 Views?s? two-minute slices serve as trailers, accompanied by a flier telling you where you can see your favorite acts next. The busy lobby was buzzing at intermission with exclamations of ?I really loved that company X!? and ?I?m definitely going to see more of that company Y!? At last, audiences have a festive way to make informed decisions about which companies to catch in the months ahead.
Think about it: Movies have trailers, and you know by watching them, often with great accuracy, whether you might like a particular film. But what resources does a potential audience member have in choosing a dance performance? A picture in a newspaper ad? A review? No wonder attending dance performances is an insider?s game: Buying a ticket without a first-hand recommendation is just too risky.
The Choreographers in Action showcase changes that. Why not host ?24 Views? twice a year: A fall season preview and a spring season preview? Charge $5 admission if you must, but offer a coupon to apply that investment towards a ticket to the company of the viewer?s choice.
Think of it as a lower-budget, shorter-attention-span version of City Center?s overwhelmingly popular ?Fall for Dance Festival? in New York. I hope the Bay Area?s Choreographers in Action get back in action soon.