Celebrating Garth Fagan Dance’s 50th Anniversary in Two Upstate Sites

Year: 2019-2020
DanceForce Member: Kim Engel
Artist: Garth Fagan Dance
Community Partners: Arts Council of Wyoming County; The Egg, Albany
Audience: 570
Counties: Albany, Wyoming

In celebration of Garth Fagan Dance’s 50th anniversary, DanceForce member Kim Engel planned to utilize her allocation to support the company’s appearance in two upstate locations. In the Capital Region, the company performed at The Egg in Albany. The company also performed in Wyoming County under the auspices of that county’s Arts Council. Both performances were originally scheduled for the spring of 2020 and were postponed multiple times because of the pandemic. They finally took place in the spring of 2022.

It had been a dozen years since Garth Fagan Dance performed at The Egg and half dozen since they appeared in the Capital Region. Their performance was a part of the Dance in Albany series collaboratively programmed, promoted and packaged by The Egg and the UAlbany Performing Arts Center. Other promotional efforts included press releases, Times Union feature article, email blasts and social media posts. Originally scheduled for March 27, 2020, then moved to May 29, 2020 and further postponed to April 23, 2021, the performance finally took place on April 22, 2022. There were 320 audience members at the performance; 150 also attended a pre-performance talk given by the company’s Executive Director.

“With the ever-decreasing number of opportunities to experience live dance performances, this engagement offered an opportunity for audiences to see the work of one of New York’s legendary choreographers,” said Egg Director Peter Lesser. “This, and past DanceForce support has contributed to The Egg’s ability to continue to offer quality dance performances in the Capital Region.”

The company was also presented by the Arts Council of Wyoming County (ACWC) at Letchworth Central School Auditorium. The 60-minute presentation was a family-friendly one geared for a relatively uninitiated audience for dance. Filling the single dance slot offered by ACWC each season, the performance attracted 110 audience members. The presentation was free through a sponsorship from the Tompkins Bank of Castile. Tickets were available at all of the bank’s locations. Originally scheduled for April 18, 2020 and postponed to April 17, 2021, the performance finally took place on May 14, 2022. Promotion included an article in ARTSnews with a 600-plus distribution to individual mailboxes; 150 posters placed in small businesses throughout two counties; press releases; interview on the local WCJW Country Radio; paid advertisement in two local newspapers; and multiple social media posts including a four-month featured spotlight on the ACWC website.

“This engagement was highly significant and made even more poignant given consideration to the climate of our culture today. Events like this offer an opportunity that helps to foster appreciation and exposure to diversity on multiple levels. Wyoming County’s population is 92.2% Caucasian, very rural, and conservative, with agriculture being the number one industry,” said Arts Council Director Jackie Swaby. “For 14 years, I have dreamt of presenting Garth Fagan Dance to the community we serve; the NYS Dance Force made this possible.”

Of particular significance for the DanceForce, this project marks its first sponsored activity taking place in Wyoming County in the membership’s 25-year history.