Robin Staff, Founding Executive Artistic Director of Dance Now, sat down with Clara and new PDD host Paul Hamilton to discuss Dance Now’s 25th anniversary season that kicks off on September 10th! Dance Now, which traditionally opens the NYC performance season with a week of shows at Joe’s Pub, is charting new territory by hosting a completely virtual season with performance and celebration chapters spanning September 2020 to May 2021. Pod de Deux will be covering the whole season! We chatted with Robin about the process of going virtual, presenting artists with the challenge of creating work remotely within the dimensions of the Joe’s Pub stage (fitting for quarantine!), and her own personal history in the dance world. Purchase tickets to individual events or a season pass at https://dancenow.online/!
Don’t miss these videos of creative approaches to dance in pandemic times that Robin mentioned enjoying!
The daughter of a painter, Robin went to Goucher College to study visual and creative arts and graduated as the first dance major, charting the development of one of today’s most vital college dance programs. She continued her career as a dancer at an age that was then considered ‘too old’, creating a small repertory company to sustain both a love of neo‐classical ballet and an eagerness to explore new and contemporary movement styles. Robin was inspired by unusual urban spaces and created her first gallery performance at the Wooster Street Gallery in Soho in 1993. The intimacy and enormous enthusiasm between the artists and audience members at this first performance predicted DANCE NOW’s artistic direction.
Over the past two decades, DANCE NOW has worked to make dance accessible and welcoming, bending the rules to offer artists a new way to think about creating and audiences new ways to experience dance. As DANCE NOW moves into its third decade, Robin’s vision continues to encompass the untraditional, the unconventional and the unknown. As an administrator, she is directed by her concern for the survival of dance makers, particularly young artists and BIPOC dance artists. She remains steadfast in her commitment to providing opportunities that present new choices, stimulate creativity, advance careers, and encourage exploration of the untried, while defying the archetypical and carving a path to new means of expression.