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Lifeis likean onion. the depthof our As understanding, ourselves of and our environment, deepens peelawauan we outerlaVer revealing something more profound. we pull backlager As after lager, realize we that the lagers represent the potential power our understanding. of Whendancing, find no endto I exploring piece choreographg, a of whichchanges with eachperforming experience. I lovethe opportunitu to perform piece multiple a in venues because allowsme to discover it something newin evergstep. In mg dancing theselagers life, are just beginning expose to somerhing long concealed. mangdancers,found Like I the beginning mg career of was a combination survival, of acquisition of skill,and a search performing for opportunities. Through experience mg withthe JamesSewell Ballet in Minneapolis, Minn., cameto understand I that whiledanceis something verg personal all encompassing, and I also learned seedanceas a business, to mg business. it'sa business And that serves mUcommunitU. At the JamesSewell Ballet was I fortunate that boththen-executive director Garg Peterson, James and Sewell, artisticdirector, the encouraged theirartiststo explore facets all oftheir careers, stageand off.Thegadvocate on for a compang dancers of who havea personal responsibilitg the to organization alsoto the communitg and that it serves. Thelr encouragement empowered to see begond me mgself, andto takeaction.

A1JamesSewell Ballet, allthe dancers - granted is onlgan eight-member it companU areinvited attendboard to meetings, receive boardminutes and companU financial information. I still don'tknowexactlg howthe budget sheets work,but that transparencg and education changed howI viewed what I do in the studioand on stage. First, I sawhowmuchworkwent on in the administrative of the organization side and I realized howimportant that work

wasto keepthe compang going. ThenI sawhowmucheachitemcosts.Il was overwhelmed realize to that the theater rental aloneexceeded gearlg mg salarg!J BUattendlng boardmeetings,also I formedpersonal relationships board with members and learned abouttheirlives andtheirservice the organization. to In turn,I shared details whata dancer's of lifeentails andwhatthat precious time in the studiois reallg like.I realized that as artistswe become immersed how so in we livethat we take for granted howunique our

WHILE DANCE SOMEIS THING VERY PERSONAL AND ALLENCOMPASSING, I ALSO LEARNED SEE TO DANCE A BUSINESS, AS MYBUSINESS. IT'S AND A BUSINESS THAT SERVES MY COMUNITY. M

lifestgle for thoseon the is outside. met board I memberswho hadno ideawhat a dancer's dailgrehearsal schedule demanded, nor what implicationslagoff a period had

on a dancer financiallg, phgsicallg, a n de m o tionallU. Through theseopen relationships I became ambassador an for mg organization for and dancers general. in Theempowered state of mind that I acquired enabled to me pursue newopportunities outside the organization well.During as this time I began reading the Donce/USA Journal to learn

Brittong Fride nstine-Keefe
photo: €tikSoulitis

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aboutthe issues facing industrg and the the plagers withinit. In 2004,I happened uponthe first National Performing Arts Convention Pittsburgh, in Pennsglvania, whereI sawthe needfor empowering moredancers. Empowerment means

OPPORTUNITIES FOR DANCERSBETTER TO UNDERSTAND THE BUSINESS OF SIDE OUR FIELD HOW AND THE COM PANIES DANCE WE FOR THE SERVE COMMUNITIES LIVE WE AND WORK IN.

EMPOWERMENT MEANS

wasn'taboutme as a performer, it get, felt greatto give otherssomething utilizing what I hadlearned tangible of throughmg Uears dancing. Even greater was mUown senseof still in accomplishment having created MU something others. dance for training taughtme howto interpret otherpeople's andto takecareof visions; howto create behind scenes the multiple details was a greatnewaccomplishment. Perhaps is natural humans it as that first. Yet.the we serveourselves I found empowerment through openworking and environments through a perspective broadened remains relevant the to danceindustrg. These havehelped experiences me in understand place the mg fieldbegond onlgperforming. I Mostsimplg, nowview mgself an ambassador mg as to Whobetter advocate to communitu. than the dancers? dance the public to As dancers understand onlU we not the nutsand boltsofthe profession, we but alsorecognize organizational the and economic impactourworkhason the I communitg.can nowuse mg new-found and empowerment understanding of danceonstage and in the backoffices to reachout to mUUoga teacher, the local to grocer, phgsical therapist, the the and bartender downthe street.I can servedance. can makepeople I care aboutdance. As I lookagainat that onion, am I excited the wisdomencapsulated bg in the nextlager. most rewarding The laUers haveinvolved serving others, just not The mgself. moreI am educated aboutmg profession, moreownershiptake of the I mUown career.knowthat Dance/USA I is thereto serveindividual artistsand companies that we can be empowered so andaffectour industrg and our communities. GargPeterson As oncesaid "We of dancers, arethe faceof dance, but we alsohavea voice."

Brittong Fridenstine-Keefe grew up in Seottle, Wsshington, trainedat the and Pacific NorthwestBollet School.Sheis currentlgo memher American Repertorg of Bollet. Previouslgsheperformed with Pittsburgh Ballet Theotre, Bollet Memphis, Minnesota DonceTheotre, theJames ond Sewell Ballet.Brittong hosoriginotedroles in works bg VolConiporoli,Luco Veggetti, Heather Malog,RonDeJesus,dnd Groham Lustig.Lostsummersheperformedin Germongand ltolg in a solo improvised show bg LucsVeggetti. o/socreotedo She dance theropgprogromfor children with speciolneedsthat she implemented mang cities. in Certified the Ggrotonic@ in exercise system,Brittangis currentlgthe choir of Dance/USA's dd-hoc Doncers' Council. She administers blog, o www.doncersmorts. blogspot.com,to provide resources and linksfor photo: RexTranter professionol doncers.

for opportunities dancers better to understand business the sideof our fieldand howthe companies dance we for servethe communities liveand we workin . I became inspired servedance to begond thoseelusive moments the on stage. Backin Minnesota, I began offering moreof mgself, onlgto the not organization I danced but alsoto that for, mg communitg. Aftersix monthsof planning,launched ballet-based I a summerintensive children for with special needs. Underthe umbrella ofVSA Artsof Minnesota Arts], Special [Verg I created, marketed, administered, secured funding, andtaughtfor Kidsin Motion! | broughteightstudentsto the Hennepin for Center the Artsin downtown Minneapolis, wheretheg couldsee professional dancers rehearse then and taketheirown class. Mg experience bothrewarding was andverghumbling. seethesechildren To with varging phgsical difficulties so bg elated dance wasworthallthe effort necessaru create program. to the lt

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