New Works 2021

Synapse Arts - New Works

call for Choreographers/Directors

ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Synapse Arts invites proposals from choreographers/directors who wish to take part in “New Works”, a program that supports independent dance-based artists in making an original performance piece. This program reflects the founding principles of Chicago-based Synapse Arts, connecting artists with one another to share resources and develop their voices through the creation of unique performance works. New Works takes place every other year and has commissioned 17 choreographers/directors so far. 

This program typically takes place in person, however the 2021 cycle will largely center around virtual programming, in the form of a remote residency. This means that applicants for this cycle do not necessarily need to be based in Chicago.

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THE APPLICATION PROCESS

Two choreographer/director positions are available by application. Applicants should be independent artists who are developing their body of work and are interested in learning about how to self-produce. We emphasize process over product, and this remote residency is intended to help artists learn about themselves and their working style as they create. Proposed pieces may be created for any number of performers, including solos, and can be part of ongoing projects. Applicants who have not worked within the New Works program previously will take priority.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel that includes Synapse Arts staff, ensemble, board members, and previous New Works artists. A minimum of 50% of the panel will be individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+ and a minimum of 25% BIPOC. Please consider how your work intersects or aligns with the Synapse values of supporting LGBTQIA+ and womxn/women before applying. 

A recorded information session from a panel of former New Works artists, including Maria Blanco (of LOUD BODIES), Chris Knowlton, Amanda Ramirez, Megan Rhyme, and Nora Sharp is viewable here: https://vimeo.com/424177182. Please email info@synapsearts.com to request a transcript of the closed captioning.


WHAT ARTISTS RECEIVE
The selected choreographers/directors will receive:
-A stipend which can be used as pay for oneself and/or to pay for rehearsal space, collaborator fees, etc.

-Support from the staff and collaborators of Synapse, including coordination of a work-in-progress showing, virtual rehearsal visits (if desired), marketing and public relations

-A dedicated mentor (chosen in collaboration with the artist) who receives a stipend

-Experience in performance production, including planning, marketing, fundraising, and presentation. Primarily this experience occurs in support of the artist’s own New Works piece; we also offer coaching sessions for topics the artist wishes to learn about

-A place in a final showing, the structure of which will be determined by the artists and Synapse staff, in response to pandemic considerations. This showing could be a performance via Zoom, a dance for the camera, a site-specific outdoor performance, or other format

-Professional photos and video of their final work

-Additionally, we are working on partnerships for reduced cost rehearsal space in Chicago while our studios are closed due to COVID-19

This minimal and flexible structure is intended to organize a process that provides balance and direction without restricting creativity. New Works can be a step in your artistic evolution; we are interested in helping move focused artistry forward.

We are attempting to be as transparent as possible in explaining this program and what we are asking for in your proposal. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out via email or social media messaging. Since our staff does not work full time (we are 3 part time workers) we do not have an office number and prioritize written communication that can be answered during our work hours. Transparency is a way of debundling the power we acknowledge exists within the relationship between an organization and an applicant, please know that we are artists ourselves and have experienced all the parts of application processes. All respectful questions are welcome.


HOW TO APPLY

To apply, send PDFs of the following to rachel@synapsearts.com BY MIDNIGHT on TUESDAY JANUARY 5, 2021. Label and title each document with your full chosen name. Please note that incomplete or late applications cannot be reviewed as it overextends our small staff. 

Narrative - Two pages maximum with 12 point font, 1” margins, and single spaced (Margins and spacing help us read your text more easily)
A description of the concept or idea you would like to develop, how your personal style of performance-making will approach this idea, and a brief description of what the final work might look like. Describe any envisioned plans for sound, staging/spacing, apparel/costumes, etc. and how you will coordinate or make these elements. Proposed pieces should be no longer than 20 minutes in length. 

Address how making this piece fits into your hxstory/history and future as a choreographer and/or director. What aspects of producing your work are most interesting to you, and what do you want to learn more about? Prior experience in professional presenting is not necessary, however if you have no prior professional experience please include an additional paragraph describing how you are prepared to manage the resources available through the Synapse Arts - New Works program. 

You might also recognize assets or positive things that you can bring to this project and the New Works program now and in the future. Many New Works artists continue to work with us in a variety of ways. 

Please outline an anticipated rehearsal schedule, taking into account these important dates:

January, 2021 – notification of chosen choreographers/directors

Early April, 2021 – shared showing and feedback session 

Late May, 2021 – final showing


Background - One page maximum
A resume, CV, or listing of relevant experience in performance, production, teaching, marketing, and/or presentation. 

Please also include your complete contact information and the contact information for two references (professional references if available).

Work sample
A link to a full-length video of an original work created within the last three years. Vimeo, YouTube, and online storage links such as Dropbox (with password provided as necessary) are preferred. 

The selected work should be a minimum of 5 minutes long. Please specify the time frame you would like reviewers to watch, if the sample piece is longer than 15 minutes. Feel free to direct us to what you think of as the strongest part. Panelists will have agency to watch more than 5 minutes of works they are interested in viewing.


NOTES

A note on language in your application: we are aware of and have been complicit in the “professionalization” of proposal language which centers whiteness and prioritizes education that has not been accessible to everyone. In an effort to better support artists who may not have written proposals before, we ask that you focus on communicating your ideas in the best way that reflects your style. If we are unclear on essential elements, we will reach out to you.

Also, we ask for references because accountability is important in this program. New Works creators who can respond to deadlines and lead their own projects lessen the workload for our small staff. 


Find out more about Synapse Arts at www.synapsearts.com

Questions? Email rachel@synapsearts.com



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Video classes, events, and music

Did you know that we have multiple galleries full of videos for you to move with? Guided improvisations, movement workshops, and dance technique classes are available for all ages and levels of experience. 

Check out the Vimeo “showcase” and Facebook “playlist” links below, and when you need some ambient music for creating or relaxing, listen to our Retrospective playlist on Bandcamp.

Music and movement videos: https://vimeo.com/showcase/7164155

A variety of dance activities for all ages: https://vimeo.com/showcase/7071960

Ballet exercises: https://vimeo.com/showcase/7042387

Playlist of original music selected from 15 years of Synapse performances: https://synapsearts.bandcamp.com/album/retrospective

Short video “Dance Breaks”: https://www.facebook.com/watch/156636280018/2618653491721472/




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Crosswalk Dances returns!

Our popular public performances are cropping up all across the country from September 17th through October 14th, 2020. Though you may know our Crosswalk Dances series as ensemble works, this year you’ll see mostly solo dances through crosswalks in cities across the U.S.A. 

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15 artists will be doing live dances and posting clips from their performances. Follow Synapse Arts on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with the dancers and watch their videos!

SCHEDULE

Sept 17 - Dylan Roth, Chicago, IL

Sept 20 - Steph Anderson, New York City, NY

Sept 21 - Kara Brody, Seattle, WA

Sept 22 - Kait Dessoffy, Chicago, IL

Sept 23 - (NEW date) Nora Sharp, New York City, NY

Sept 25 - Jamila Kekulah Kinney, Chicago, IL

Sept 27 - Rachel Damon, Indianapolis, IN

Sept 29 - Molly Hillson, Chicago, IL

Oct 4 - Cat Miller, Chicago, IL

Oct 6 - Megan Rhyme, Chicago, IL

Oct 7 - Marie Casimir, Oklahoma City, OK

Oct 9 - A. Raheim White, Atlanta, GA

Oct 14 - Nadine Lollino, Taos, NM

Oct 17 - (NEW DATE) Laura Tennal and Katie Matteson-Campana, Chicago, IL


Dates are also visible on the Synapse Arts Google calendar, at the bottom of the Synapse Arts Events page


Make more dances happen when you donate: https://synapsearts.networkforgood.com/projects/97355-dance-will-keep-us-together-synapse-arts-pandemic-support



Are you a movement artist who would like to make your own Crosswalk Dance performance and video? Here’s how you do it:

1. Dance in a crosswalk, safely, taking video while you dance (landscape orientation is best, at 720p or 1080p)

2. Post a clip of your video on your social media, tag Synapse, and use these hashtags: #crosswalkdances #synapsearts plus your own.

3. Email rachel@synapsearts.com to see if a clip from your video can be included in the Crosswalk Dances 2020 compilation video!





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Virtual Classes for Kids

Join us for a FREE virtual fall session of classes! Though we cannot hold in-person classes at our normal Park District locations, we encourage students to continue taking classes with us online. The wonderful Ms. Katie will return as our teacher for beginning and intermediate ballet, and we are excited to have Synapse collaborator Tim Tsang teaching our first ever hip hop class.

All classes will be held virtually via Zoom.

Find more information and register for free at this link: https://synapsearts.networkforgood.com/events/23223-fall-2020-virtual-dance-classes-with-synapse-arts



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Watch “Strata” on Arts for Illinois

Strata is a “textile dance” by Synapse Arts, currently being featured on the Arts for Illinois website

This 9-minute duet was directed by Rachel Damon and performed by Joan/Chih-Hsien Lin and Matthew McMunn, with music by Matt Griffo and costumes by Jeff Hancock. 

Watch it here: https://artsforillinois.org/posts/strata

Arts for Illinois is a collaboration between the State of Illinois, the City of Chicago, and the broader philanthropic community, co-chaired by Illinois First Lady MK Pritzker and Chicago First Lady Amy Eshleman. The new online platform features talented artists – performers, singers, poets, painters, writers, and many more from across Illinois – who have made their works available for the public’s enjoyment while at home during these challenging times. This platform is a place to connect, express, and inspire. A place for comfort, laughter, and healing among all residents.

Photo by Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth courtesy of Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival.




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