As a member of the Dance/NYC Junior Committee (JComm) I have the privilege of being a part of a group of diverse young dance professionals who function as a think-tank -- brainstorming, problem solving, and working in service to fellow young New York City dance workers. At our last meeting, we started to talk about ways to put thought into action, and under the direction of fellow committee member Denae Hannah applied a bit of business start-up methodology to our process.
Enter the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), better known to JComm as the mini-cupcake. Her metaphor is simple: if the big project that we want to accomplish during our tenure on JComm is a three-tiered wedding cake, then the MVP is our mini-cupcake. It is the most basic essence of the project, just to try it out and see if it works. The tester/taster.
Shortly after leaving the meeting, I realized that the past few months of SLMDances has been a bit of a mini-cupcake operation. In August, I decided that instead of working on a project-to-project basis, as I have been since 2010, that I wanted to start to build a consistently working/rehearsing company; one that could retain my repertory, including The Window Sex Project, and also one that I could start to build new work with.
It has been an interesting few months - a steep learning curve of what works for me as an artist in process, and also for where I am in my career right now both as a dance maker and dance educator. I've had a chance to think long term about the trajectory of my dance making, and strategically how to get there. This short few months has given me an opportunity to not only articulate my core values, but to really see what that means in action. It has given me an opportunity to evaluate logistically how many dancers I like working with, but most importantly, who those people are.
And those people, let me tell you, are amazing human beings. I am so grateful for their willingness to venture into unchartered territory with me. There have been moments throughout the fall when it became apparent that there is some magic brewing among us and that we are a different kind of dance company. Our work has ranged from dancing The Block is Hot with community members on a corner of Lenox Avenue in Harlem, to giving a lecture demonstration to high school students in Connecticut. We've spent rehearsals rapidly learning choreography and others trying to figure out the laws of supply and demand (because I'm making a dance about business, remember?).
Happy Thanksgiving! And do tell me, What are you thankful for? See what members of SLMDances are thankful for below. :)
p.s. If you think those cupcakes look good, you're right - they are delicious. Check out the recipe for Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting, just in time for Thanksgiving!