Connect the Blocks was a FAB program implemented in 2010 that started to help downtown dancemakers share resources to get their work done. Much of what Connect the Blocks comprised has been subsumed into our ongoing (and ever-growing!) Dance Block program, which:
- provides dancemakers with access to subsidized rehearsal space in FAB member spaces
- provides member spaces with an earned income stream consisting of the rental fees generated from rehearsals
- connects dancemakers and institutions through the proliferation of rehearsal space that might not otherwise be in contact, creating a wider audience for institutions and dancemakers alike
- ensures that working artists have access to space in the historically fertile and creative neighborhood that is the Lower East Side.
Connect the Blocks was created to help downtown dancemakers share resources to get their work done. FABnyc and OurGoods joined forces to offer a workshops, live barter events, networking opportunities, and sharing circles all designed to help artists make your work with support from one’s own community.
Within this program, Downtown Dance Learning Circles are facilitated peer-to-peer resource sharing groups. Within the circles, dancemakers present their challenges to each other and brainstorm solutions together, and in doing so, build relationships, share resources, and move your work and the work of your peers forward.
Challenges posed came from a few areas:
- Artistic (“I need help breaking out of my habitual movement vocabulary”);
- Career-focused (“I need help bringing my work to the attention of Presenter X/developing a relationship with Funder Y”)
- Production-focused (“I need help finding a video designer to collaborate on my project/writing a realistic budget for my show/coping with a conflict at this rehearsal space”).
Each circle consisted of six to eight dancemakers at similar career stages. Each meeting began with 90 minutes of facilitated conversation during which each artist presents his/her challenges and gets feedback from the group. The meetings ended with a half an hour of open time when members can talk one-‐on-‐one. The circle met monthly for four months.