Why apply for a Spotlight Showcase?
Spotlight Showcases are one of my favorite parts of the Conference each year – partially because in talking with attendees, both presenters and exhibitors, there is always an energy about attending the showcases. There’s lots of anticipation around them.
I am also in a unique (and lucky) position to see the entire process unfold, and then I get to work closely with each of our selected artists – from submitting their application to curtain call.
2017 Spotlight Showcase dance company GroundWorks DanceTheater performs at the Davidson Theatre in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Terry Gilliam.
It’s one of the few times, or possibly the only time, our attendees have access to dozens of live performances in a year, in one location. For Spotlight Showcases, attendees receive the added bonus of viewing artists who have been selected by their colleagues and peers.
Combining flamenco musical ideas and comedic theater, OLE! performed for attendees during the first evening of Spotlight Showcases in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Terry Gilliam.
Before the Conference begins, attendees research artists they are eager to see perform and they talk with their peers about who stands out, who is bringing something fresh and exciting, and who should be on our stages. These performances can be so valuable for our attendees because they have the chance to see dozens of artists, not only in one place, but in a live setting.
“Seeing artists perform live beats video any day. I appreciate the curated process that narrows the field of what’s out there.” -2017 Conference Evaluation
The artists that attendees see perform at Spotlight Showcases are the artists you will see in performing arts centers’ season brochures in future years.
Following an Ohio dance company, the Telegraph Quartet performed works by Ravel and Beethoven at the Davidson Theatre. Photo by Terry Gilliam.
The lineup of showcases each year can be so unique, with different mixes of genres, disciplines, and topics. One-man and one-woman shows, groups that mix music, comedy, and theater, full dance companies and musical ensembles from all over the country and world – it’s a kaleidoscope of what’s going on in the performing arts field.
Another reason I look forward to these performances is because I have the opportunity to work closely with each of the selected artists from the time they apply until they take the stage.
2017 Spotlight Showcase artist Page Turner Adventures took audiences on a rapid storytelling journey with their children’s show at the Davidson Theatre.
Once the applications are in, I see the panel at work. They review all of the applications and watch the submitted videos, and I observe how the panelists take over two hundred applications and choose who they want to be on stage for their colleagues, all from a quick video sample. They take two or three-minute snippets and can imagine a full evening on the stage.
After months of emailing and planning, I finally get to meet the artists and agents in person at registration and help them prepare for their performance and time at the Conference. From viewing their video sample in the application process to seeing the artists take the stage and finally perform for our attendees – it’s a thrill to showcase them and then wait to see what happens next.
Anna greets Mia Hsieh and Scott Prairie, members of A Moving Sound, at the 2017 Conference in Columbus. Photo by Emma Bohmann.