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Recently, we have had an internal debate at Dd about whether DIYdancer (meaning DO-IT-YOURSELF!) is still relevant to our site as we evolve to be an online journal representing the current diverse values, interests, and debates of dance, art, culture, and business from the point of view of dancers and artists. The name began sounding too crafty and kitschy. (However, we do continue to love crafts, projects, recipes, and the like because these other hobbies lead us down new and interesting paths as people and artists.)

In the midst of these thoughts, I was reminded of a press release from my friend Brent Whitney regarding his new company, Traverse City Dance Project. When I read it, I knew Dd will continue to stand for a very real and true spirit of DIY.

From the press release:

“we are a group of artists and dancers from all over that are taking our art into our own hands by starting this new project in a place that doesn’t have a resident dance company.  The possibilities of getting a community involved in this project in a small midwest town seem more feasible than doing it in NYC or other large cities.  I can’t wait until after the shows, to see the feedback and excitment we will hopefully bring to Traverse City!!!  They don’t get to see dance like this everyday and we don’t get to perform and make art like this everyday!”

The enthusiasm is palpable. The name of Whitney’s company, while in keeping with the city of his choosing, is apt for many reasons:

trav·erse/trəˈvərs/ A verb meaning to travel across, over, and/or through.


Night Falls Fast by John Utans. Amy Fote and Matthew Bruno pictured.

In addition, two new words appeared to stand in as a riff on Dd: double duty. Or really triple duty, quadruple duty, deca-duty? We are all treading over old ground and simultaneously crossing new boundaries daily in this economy. The freelance train that is blowing through this country, out of necessity as much as creativity, is producing some inspired multi-tasking. I look forward to updates from TCDP as they begin their residency at the end of this month, which will culminate in an international mixed bill of works by Whitney, co-director Jennifer McQuiston Lott, Mauro de Candia, and John Utans. Whitney and Lott are seizing this moment to create their own opportunity. The bonus is providing summer work for their colleagues and infusing an unlikely community with their art.

Incidentally, the first John Utans piece I danced in was titled towards/ traverse/ terrain. The universe smiles and the cyclical nature of life provides a momentary comfort to me (in between my many jobs and projects).

Click here for tickets to the performances on Jul 26th and 27th at the City Opera House. You can contribute to this effort HERE.


Written by Candice Thompson

After more than a decade in Brooklyn, Candice Thompson is now an Atlanta-based artist and writer. Prior to dancing with the Milwaukee Ballet Company and ad hoc Ballet, she trained with Kee Juan Han at the School of Ballet Arizona and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She founded LOLAstretch Dancewear in 2000 and has designed costumes for a variety of theater and dance companies across the country. She recently received a masters degree in Literary Nonfiction from Columbia University’s Creative Writing Program and more of her dance writing can be found in the pages of Dance Magazine, Pointe, and Dance Teacher.