The show must go on…
Or does it? Is this old adage actually the source of the strain and pressures being felt more and more acutely across the whole creation-production-dissemination chain?
The creation-production-dissemination chain is a complex one, an essential one, each part interdependent on the others. More of a web than a chain, the stresses on each part extend into the others, pressure building on the whole web.
Dancers feel the pressure to keep dancing no matter what pain or discomfort, sometimes with below average pay. Choreographers feel the pressure from presenters to present the « right » type of show for their audiences. Presenters feel the pressure from funders to fill their seats. Everyone is in a pressure cooker and we are not saying « no, the show must NOT go on », at least not in these conditions.
The complex situation of working to produce art is that there is always passion as fuel. That passion is the thing that gets abused, that replaces proper working conditions, that pushes us to make concessions in order for the show to go on.
But that passion is also what brings us so much satisfaction when we finally get to accomplish the project we have worked so hard for. Hence the conundrum we find ourselves in.
There is a price to pay for continuing to work in untenable situations. And that price is human capital. Nurses, teachers, artists…all people who are passionate and devoted to their professions, and who must keep fighting for better conditions in order to continue practicing without burning out.
So what can we do while waiting for the world paradigm to shift? We can start by learning a bit more about what other people do around us in the big web-chain of dance creation, production and dissemination. The more we understand the roles of others, the more useful dialogue can occur.
Jamie Wright and Lük Fleury