Who’s your target group?
You are a choreographer and you run a business. Correct, your job is to develop and manufacture products that you push on individuals with titles such as programmer or festival director, organizations such as the art council or e.g. the Goethe Institute. Your target group and your client are not identical, on the contrary they are significantly different and don’t know each other.
So what do you do? You continue to push products called dance performances without analyzing who your clients and target groups are – no let’s not talk about “your audience” that is irrelevant. The business strategy utilized by dance and performance is simple: hope for the best.
Your client is not cool; she doesn’t stay up late, has no idea about what a beatmix is, and if he has a FB account she has less than 250 friends, still more than 60. Are you d’accord with this, are you fine knowing that your clients idea about life is approximately as contemporary as your vintage sneakers were last year. Your client has heard about bittorrent but never used it. He still considers that music is something stored on stable media, that mp3 is not authentic, and has all the Patti Smith’s albums on CD (he had all of them LP, but you know… times change). Check it out, that’s the guy that buys your show. Are you happy about the fact that he likes your work? Are you okay with the fact that your work adheres to her taste, or that she thinks that your stuff has potentiality.
Too many of your clients spend time with their grand children. Think about that!
Dance, especially produced by choreographers without health insurance, without exception addresses the same target group. This kind of choreography, created with too small budgets but always state funded, is directed to itself. The target individual is identical to the maker: young, good looking, middle class, fresh and conservative. The target individual dresses badly and considers it uncool to be cool. The target individual considers herself contemporary but doesn’t know the address of Colette. The target person considers himself contemporary but listens to soul.
Dance and choreography, shape up! It’s not a defeat to know your client or detect your target group. But a person who doesn’t is either ignorant or somebody with an unconditional belief in authenticity. Who thinks that art is special. Stop that! You are not your work, and your work is not supposed to consolidate your identity. Dance and performance does not become less superficial because you think it’s deep: it is after all more or less an hour of classical representation accompanied by creative electronic music (help). Dance and choreography will not lose its specificity because it’s glossy, effective, fast, aggressive or fuckin’ nuts. But it will lose its specificity as long as you, and me, continue desperately to try to please programmers, managers, our friends and worst of all the audience, especially when we do it through being alternative, healthy, medium rare, positive, disillusioned, a little bit crazy and always available.
Summarizing the first half of this years shows, season and festival programs brings me to a simple conclusion: dance experiences a deep crisis and this is signified by a continuous mass emigration towards the general. The watchword of dance today is: one size fits all. And worst of all it lacks any kind of attitude.
The reason is obvious: production value, belonging, identity and staying alive are more important than specificity, excess, cocaine and revolt. Of course I’m pathetic, but what’s the alternative? Modesty, Buddhism, demure, enthusiasm, faith? Are those notions that you’d like to signify your practice by? Did you make life difficult for yourself deciding to be a choreographer in order to confirm such an attitude? If you did, I don’t want to be your friend!
Dancers, choreographers and all you others, we have a job to do:
– Stop working for your client, they don’t care – they just want more money.
– Evacuate your audience, and don’t let them in again until they are ready to kill for it.
– Fuck modesty and all other well-meaning aspirations. If you don’t consider your mission an armed struggle, ready to declare war, you are not needed.
– Accept no interviews, agree to no essays published in dance magazines or written by dance scholars. To be published in a dance magazine is a disaster, it means your work is good.
– Spend more time on producing press images, rumors and attitude than rehearsing and processing your next piece. The project is you and your pieces nothing more than an hors d’oevre.
– Stop collaborating, and show too much attitude! Hierarchy is the only way to change the notion of success.
– Sleep around, stop decency now!
– Fuck enthusiasm it’s just another word for priorities, moderate ideas and a balanced psyche. Enthusiasm is another word for shrinking in front of circumstances. Enthusiasm is another word for insecurity.
– Practice being categorical. Be glam.
– Execute your client. Be a fool.
Show No Mercy!