Expanding the Next Move Festival

Lior ShneiorPhoto by Charles Roussel
Lior Shneior
Photo by Charles Roussel

Year: 2013-2014
DanceForce Member: Kim Engel
Artists: Project 44, Lior Shneior, Ellen Sinopoli
Community Partner: Proctor’s Theatre, Schenectady
Audience: 162
County: Schenectady

Three years ago, Proctors began the Next Move Festival, a two-day event featuring performances by four modern dance companies. With minimal exception, this is the only modern dance that the venue is now offering. Since its inception, Proctors had contracted with Ellen Sinopoli to curate the festival which features her company along with three visiting groups. Past participants in the festival have included Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, Jonah Bokaer, Bridgman/Packer Dance, Melanie Maar, Lucky Plush Productions, Trainor Dance, SCRAP Performance Group, Kun Yang Lin/Dancers and Bill Young/Colleen Thomas and Co. Each of the four companies selected for the festival in the first three years were allotted 45 to 60 minutes of performance time on one evening.

This year, faced with the reality of declining attendance and a concern that weekend festivals are becoming harder to sell, Proctors decided to take a different approach by condensing the festival into one evening and changing the presentation to include more interactive opportunities between audience and performers.

The Next Move Festival took place on Saturday, April 5 from 5:30-10pm. Proctors invited Lior Shneior, Project 44, and the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company (ESDC) to participate. The schedule was as follows:

5:30 artist talk with Lior Shneior along with light hors d’oeuvres
6:30 performance of Little Pinks by Lior Shneior
7:20 artist talk with Gierre Godley of Project 44 along with light dinner fare
8:00 performance of fraternity by Project 44
9:00 artist talk with Ellen Sinopoli of ESDC along with dessert
9:20 performance of Speaking Duchamp by ESDC

Besides the new structure, notable about the program was that both Shneior and Project 44 offered world premieres and ESDC adapted a recent premiere that was created for a gallery space to the GE stage at Proctors.

In addition to the festival schedule on April 5, master classes by the two visiting companies were taught at Schenectady High School to the students in the dance program on the day before the festival and at the Dance + Festival sponsored by the Dance Alliance and held at the National Museum of Dance on the day after Next Move. Proctors has a longstanding relationship with the high school but was able to collaborate and coordinate with the Dance Alliance on their Dance+ Festival for the first time.

DF member Kim Engel had three major goals in mind when providing support to Proctors for the Next Move Festival:

to potentially increase audience members for the festival by introducing the companies to select groups through outreach
to more easily attract potential performance companies to participate in the festival by offering additional work and an increased fee
to support Proctors’ commitment to this festival and help ensure its continued existence for the benefit of the Capital Region

Proctors’ staff was responsible for festival planning, production, marketing and related outreach.