10 Hairy Legs Residency

10 Hairy Legs

Year: 2019-2020
DanceForce Member: Robin Collen
Artist: Randy James
Community Partners: SUNY Potsdam
Audience: 380
County: St. Lawrence

My goals for the project were two-fold: (a) to give 10HL the opportunity to work in the North Country and get exposure to new audiences and (b) to expose the Potsdam campus and broader community to the company’s work as artists and teachers. I developed the residency primarily through communications with Executive Director, Elizabeth Sobo, and Artistic Director, Randy James. I also coordinated with the faculty in the Department of Theatre and Dance, since 10HL company members would be teaching 9 class sessions. I worked with Tom Grabowski who was the technical director of the production and I kept apprised of Tom’s communications with 10HL’s technical director.
Randy James and the 5 dancers in the company were the principal artists involved. Originally, Randy was going to act as stage manager, but he ultimately felt that his regular stage manager—Alexandra Tennenbaum—would do a better job at calling the show. Randy brought her to Potsdam at his own expense. An additional benefit of Ms. Tannenbaum’s participation was that a student stage manager was able to shadow her during technical rehearsals and performance.
The planning process for teaching and performing was easy. The department as a whole was excited to have the company in residence. The biggest challenge was getting the Department of Theatre and Dance to commit to contributing $3,500 because of its tenuous financial situation. The Community Performance Series (on-campus presenting organization)—located in the same building as the Department of Theatre and Dance and its studios and theaters—ticketed the production and supplied trained ushers and a house manager. This contributed to the smooth running of front-of-house activities.

Teaching activities:
Monday Sept. 23.
• Teach 2 classes: Modern Dance one/two and Modern Dance three/four 1:00-2:45
• Teach Dance Composition 1 – 3:00-4:45
Tuesday Sept. 24
• Teach Intermediate Ballet – 9:30-10:45
• Teach Student Choreographers’ Concert Course: 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Wednesday Sept. 25
• Teach 2 classes: Modern Dance one/two and Modern Dance three/four 1:00-2:45
• Teach Dance Composition 1 – 3:00-4:45
• Teach Intermediate Ballet – 9:30-10:45
Performance: Thursday Sept. 26 – 7:30 pm

I worked with Elizabeth Sobo to develop the program copy and poster. I wrote the press release, which was distributed widely by the SUNY Potsdam Communications Office. I contacted the morning announcer of WSLU—the local NPR station—and he interviewed Randy James. Because the students had an abundance of exposure to the company members in their classes—and because of the artists’ friendliness, magnanimity, and willingness to continually engage with students—there was great enthusiasm about attending the performance at the end of the residency. Word spread around campus which led to a substantially sized house.