Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Crowdfunding for the Ballet

Melissa Chapski and Giovanni Princic
Photo Michel Schnater
Copyright 2016 Dutch National Ballet, All rights reserved
Reproduction licensed by kind permission of the company

I argued in Ballet as a Brand? How to bring More Money into Dance for Companies and Dancers 13 March 2014 that more money could be raised for the arts by licensing, merchandising and sponsorship. The Dutch National Ballet have been particularly innovative in that regard.  One of its most imaginative initiatives has been its collaboration in the design and marketing of Bounden, an award winning dancing game for two players (see Bounden - Something that appeals to my Interests in Technology and Dance 17 Dec 2013, Bounden Part II - How it works 1 Feb 2014 and Bounden Launched 28 May 2014).

The company's latest fund raising method has been crowd funding. On 12 May it launched a campaign to raise scholarships for two outstanding young dancers, the Italian Giovanni Princic, and the American Melissa Chapski (see Crowdfunding Campaign for Juniors Melissa and Giovanni on the Dutch National Ballet's website). The above photo shows them in van Manen's Trois Gnossiennes which I covered on 9 March 2016.

Van Manen is one of the big names mentioned on the website who train the Junior Company's dancers. Others include its principals, Igone de Jongh and Marijn Rademaker. The aim is to give those dancers a "last little push to reach their final goal: getting to the top of the ballet world". Readers can do that using their debit or credit cards through the donations page of the company's website.

As I said in 70 Years of the London Ballet Circle 10 May 2016 Ernst Meisner's name cropped up more than once in my conversations with dancers, dance administrators and teachers in this company. That is largely because he spent 10 years with the Royal Ballet and we regard him with great affection as one of our own but also because of his work with the Junior Company providing a bridge between ballet school and the company. I asked whether any company here had thought of setting up a junior company and was told that it would be something that they would all like to do but that it would cost too much money. If that is the case, maybe the Dutch have shown us a way to raise that money.

Returning to Giovanni and Melissa I do hope a generous contribution to their scholarship comes from this country.  The rewards of giving will be not only the dancers' gratitude but also "great personal rewards" which I surmise to be great performances  some of which could be in London.

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