DanceWorks has announced the reopening of the DanceWorks New York City Project, premiering this coming October 23. For the first time in over a year, the performance dance company will be looking for new dancers to join. Open call auditions are happening August 5-6, at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Astoria, Queens, with registration starting at 6:45pm. Dancers who are unable to attend can also send a video audition by email to the director.
“We are thrilled to welcome dancers back to the studios and open Season 17 for auditions,” says DanceWorks New York City Owner and Executive Director Betsy Moran. “We are realistic about the ongoing pandemic, and we’re focused on reopening in a responsible way.”
The health and safety procedures were recently updated in response to the current variants of COVID-19 and require dancers to show proof of vaccination to participate. This is in line with Broadway theaters’ recent announcement as well as in line with the current NYC mandate. The updated guidelines can be found on the DanceWorks New York City website. DanceWorks makes it clear on its website that everyone who participates will contribute to keeping DanceWorks members safe by following these guidelines to help stop the spread of germs.
During lockdown, DanceWorks offered virtual dance workshops and produced the first-ever Virtual DanceWorks New York City Project featuring small group performances. The virtual performance expanded accessibility of the show to a wider audience not limited by geography. Moran mentioned that family members and friends who had previously not been able to travel to New York to see the shows in person were now able to join the online experience. Because of the successful virtual show, DanceWorks plans to sell live-streaming ticket options in addition to the in-person general admission tickets to its shows going forward. While virtual shows for the dance world have been a good outlet during the pandemic, they will never replace the experience of being present with the energy at a live show.
Moran also spoke about the hardships DanceWorks encountered during 2020. “We were collectively going through rapid changes and unknown circumstances,” she says. “It was a difficult time, but seeing friendly faces in the virtual studio over the past year helped many of our dancers maintain some normalcy during such an unpredictable and stressful time.” This relates to one of DanceWorks’ core values, which is to build a family-like community, and to be respectful, flexible, helpful and professional. The Director and dancers look to one another for help and assistance which goes beyond the dance studio. Moran adds that she is “grateful for the flexibility and support that dancers have demonstrated in the reopening of DanceWorks.”
Seeing small businesses in the arts industry reopen responsibly after such a challenging year is great news. The financial impact of COVID-19 on DanceWorks resulted in a significant financial loss, which put future seasons of DanceWorks at high risk. But with auditions reopening for Season 17, dancers and choreographers have the chance to send 2020 away with the power of dance. “Along with many returning dancers and choreographers, we look forward to also welcoming new ones!” says Moran.
Join DanceWorks New York City for opening night on October 23, at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. For more information, visit danceworksnewyorkcity.com.