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The Background Dancer

The Background Dancer

Author: Jason Yap

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The Background Dancer sheds light on critical aspects underpinning the dance and performing arts industry through topics ranging from management, entrepreneurship, education, technology, fashion, choreography, politics, interdisciplinarity, media and wellness. Host Jason Yap details fascinating and useful information to help deepen your knowledge of all things offstage, while exploring and preparing together for a post-performance career. Listen in for a bi-weekly conversation with dance lovers from across Asia, Europe and the US, sharing experiences and practices that are both intimate and insightful. Jason is a dance artist, multidisciplinary producer and psychology graduate himself. Despite not pursuing it vocationally, he has still adopted many of psychology's approaches throughout his professional life - the concept of multiplicity and the performing arts as a 'whole that is bigger than the sum of its parts' ecosystem. Ready to talk all things dance? Join us as we begin to foreground Dance in the Background!
34 Episodes
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How can we best navigate power dynamics within a dance workplace? What about through active agency and heterarchy? Organizational structures have historically been a challenge for corporates and performing arts groups alike, mostly presenting itself as a tough nut to crack. However, therein lie a multitude of ways to better grasp and understand the psychology and modus operandi of our environment, resulting in a reframing and distancing from the often negative connotations associated with the concept of POWER. Sarah Rubidge is an educator, academic and choreographer and digital artist working in dance for over 40 years. She was Head of Education at Rambert Dance Company and headed up the MA in Dance Studies at the Laban Centre between 1992 and 1997.  She is currently mentoring Postgraduate students at the Bartlett School of Architecture Masters in Design for Performance and Interaction, and serves as a PhD examiner and mentor.  She was subsequently awarded a Readership and then a Professorship in Choreography and New Media. Kickstarting the month of Politics, this episode explores the research and methods of navigating power dynamics within the increasingly complex workplace of the performing arts. Ready to become an active agent and unleash personal power? Join us as we foreground dance in the background!Sarah Rubidge Paper and articlesRambert SchoolLaban CentreBartlett School of ArchitectureUniversity of ChichesterBooks on politicsIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler Twombly | Poison Ivy Yard Work - Uncle MilkSupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
What is the difference between education and learning? And for who exactly is dance education for? Although most of us would have to teach at some point, education accounts for much of what the present and even upcoming generation promises to offer. In other words, it's not easy and should never be taken for granted! Instead of relying on standardized education, why not adapt your way of absorbing and transmitting information as an independent learner?Zebastian Mendez Marin is an instructor, choreographer, director, dancer, actor and co-founder of Colectivo Priekopník Veverička and the Red Movement Network. He hails from Costa Rica and performed for Belgian company Ultima Vez, touring the revival of Wim Vandekeybus' legendary "What the body does not remember".  In recent years, he has collaborated with the likes of Honey and Dust and Divadlo Štúdio Tanca of Slovakia. Concluding the month of Education, this episode explores what it means to be a dance educator outside institutional frameworks, also the key differences between education and learning. Ready to learn better and become a great learner? Join us as we foreground dance in the background!Zebastian Mendez MarinColectivo Priekopník VeveričkaRed Movement NetworkEducation vs. Learning If you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler Twombly | Poison Ivy Yard Work - Uncle MilkSupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
Why engage in academic research as a dancer? How does intellectual rigour contribute to the development of a dance artist? While we are often instructed to dance first and think later, careers in the performing arts can resemble a slippery slope to many. So, why not combine the visceral with the exegetical to stand out amongst the 'moving' crowd? Mohd Anis Md Nor is an educator, author, Research Fellow and Managing Director of the Nusantara Performing Arts Research Centre (NusPARC). He was Professor of Ethnochoreology and Ethnomusicology at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur for many years, pioneering the study of Zapin dance and music in Southeast Asia and has published widely on the said topic, including 20 books to date.Kickstarting the month of Education, this episode explores the importance of academic research and intellectual training within dance education, also the future of practice as research within the global curriculum. Ready to be debunked on some researcher myths? Join us as we foreground dance in the background!Mohd AnisNusPARCTalking About InterviewPublishing CatalogueIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler Twombly | Poison Ivy Yard Work - Uncle MilkSupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
How could we identify and solidify personal style as a creator in such an overwhelmingly saturated world? Ever wondered why Urban/LA Choreography has grown into the cultural (TikTok) phenomenon it is today? While choreography works differently according to specific genres, creative capacity runs parallel across all choreographers. Obviously, the only way to find out is by diving deep into the mind of one! Adam Tan is a dancer, choreographer and instructor based in Brooklyn, USA. Beginning his journey as a pole dancer in Malaysia, he has evolved into an internationally touring performer dancing alongside the likes of Shaun Evaristo, Bam Martin and Aye Hasegawa. Currently, he trains and performs with Southern Sole and Hood Nation. Concluding the month of Choreography, this episode explores the differences in choreographic styles between genres, as well as tips to keep evolving as a creator. Ready to think like a choreographer? Join us as we foreground dance in the background!Adam TanYouTube ArchiveTikTok vs. Hip HopIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler Twombly | Poison Ivy Yard Work - Uncle MilkSupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
How does a piece of choreography extend its lifespan and visibility beyond the point of creation? Why have both music and the visual arts speared ahead with copyright and licensing frameworks while dance lags far behind? Choreography Online is the world's first online choreography marketplace, paving the way for creators to not only license and sell their works to a global audience, but also others to purchase rights to a work of genius on demand! Rick Tjia is a choreographer, composer, coach, and currently the co-founder/CEO of Choreography Online. Besides working for the Cirque du Soleil, he is also Patron of Phoenix Associates and I-PATH in the UK. As a dancer, he has performed for the likes of Twyla Tharp, Joe Layton and La La La Human Steps. Kickstarting the month of Choreography, this episode explores the potential for selling and purchasing choreography through the digital terrain, while emphasizing the crucial necessity to establish more anti-plagiarism laws for dance. Ready to view choreography in a completely different light? Join us as we foreground dance in the background!Choreography OnlineRick TjiaI-PATHJaQuel Knight makes historyIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler Twombly | Poison Ivy Yard Work - Uncle MilkSupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
Love to both dance and act? Maybe you don't need to choose one over the other after all. But what exactly is the connection between dance and theatre in contemporary times? From the heydays of DV8 Physical Theatre, Pina Bausch, Ultima Vez and currently the likes of Punchdrunk or Gecko Theatre, dance and theatre are forever inextricable both as art forms as well as physical entities. Ho Ying Fung is a theatre director, playwright, designer and producer based in Hong Kong whose work focuses on applied theatre and arts for education and cultural studies. He is also the founder and director of Ho Bit Goon (何必。館), a cultural hub for arts and body-mind centering practices.Concluding the month of Interdisciplinarity, this episode explores the intersection between dance and theatre in contemporary contexts. Ready to learn more about the ins and outs of this truly fascinating crossover? Join us as we foreground cross-disciplinarity of arts in the background!Ho Bit GoonIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Leave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler Twombly | Poison Ivy Yard Work - Uncle MilkSupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
How does dance and philosophy intertwine as an art form? Is dance a philosophy itself? Much of dance has evolved from a performative act into the universal thought process and stream of consciousness that has shaped the world around us. Behind every text spoken is movement as a communicative language. Behind the aesthetics of dance is also humans' basic need to share and connect beyond the ring of philosophical fire that has made art what it is today.Henry Lai is a  lecturer in Complementary Studies and Liberal Arts at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA). Prior to his current tenure, he worked at Silicon Valley for more than 10 years managing international education programmes and is a M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering graduate from Purdue University, USA. Kickstarting the month of Interdisciplinarity, this episode explores the intersection between two often complex yet fulfilling topics of discussion - dance and philosophy. Yearning for a deeper understanding of dance aesthetics and intellectual rigour? Join us as we foreground cross-disciplinarity of arts in the background!Henry LaiThe Philosophy of DancePhilosophers of DanceIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Leave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler Twombly | Poison Ivy Yard Work - Uncle MilkSupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
A much postponed episode and one a long time coming. This week, I write a little poem for you as a means of a sharing some very new and exciting updates about the podcast and my life! After successfully acquiring funding to expand the team, we will be launching a few new features to the platform including blog posts, a Clubhouse room and even a YouTube channel! All this is coming soon and arriving at your doorstep across October, so stay tuned for more in what's also the month of Interdisciplinarity. In fact, you could always start here..."It's finally that time of the year, when the ships arrive and the cargos clear.I pinch myself awake for light to appear, remembering all the things held unto so dear."If you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Leave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler Twombly | Poison Ivy Yard Work - Uncle MilkSupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
How does modelling help dancers perform better? And does one necessarily have to be 'beautiful' to pursue such a career? The fashion industry has progressed massively from the days of archetypal body types and facial features, where the one size fits all model loomed by and large. Nowadays, it is about compatibility and authenticity. Find the right agency or project, and a model is potentially born. Ema Steindl is a student at the Academy for Performing Arts in Bratislava pursing her Bachelor's degree, but is also a professional model currently tied to three different international agencies. While she did not qualify fully as a model early on, she was discovered serendipitously on a bus and given the opportunity to realize her unique gifts in both fashion and dance. Concluding the month of Dance Fashion, this episode explores life as both a dancer and fashion model, offering insights as to what these two industries entail when interweaved. Interested in joining a casting session soon? Consider picking up a move or two and surprise your panel! Ema SteindlAgenciesIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler Twombly | Poison Ivy Yard Work - Uncle MilkSupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
How much does fashion influence dance and vice versa? Does dance photography differ from commercial fashion photography? The truth is, the dancer and the dancing body offers a model unlike any other, as the physical architecture and visual awareness potentially render a photographical experience something beyond just the image.  Szabina Biro is a UK based freelance photographer whose portfolio ranges from audition shoots, dance classes, theatre performances and lifestyle or fashion shoots. While she dreamt of becoming a dancer when still a child, she now realizes her dreams through her lenses, dancing through life shot by shot, image by image, dancer by dancer. Kickstarting the month of Dance Fashion, this episode shares insights into a dance photographer's life and how a cameraman helps fulfill a dancer's potential. Szabina is not the only photographer around, but she certainly is one who truly cares about her dancer. "I found I could say things with colour and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for."  -  Georgia O'KeeffeSzabina BiroDancing Through Life PhotographyIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler Twombly | Poison Ivy Yard Work - Uncle MilkSupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
What is the hardest question to ask in dance or as a dancer? Regardless of one being a dancer, or wanting to become a dancer, there are questions that are always incredibly difficult to communicate such as salary, goals, aesthetics etc. Join All House Dance Collective director Jacob Caldwell and artists Elsea Mayes Brown as well as Megan Schneider to talk all things dance. Concluding the month of Bonus Content, this episode explores some of the most difficult questions within the industry through the first roundtable discussion involving guests of the Sol Fest 2021 virtual arts festival held in June. What is YOUR hardest question to ask? Jacob | Elsea | MeganAll House Dance CollectiveSol Fest 2021If you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler Twombly | Poison Ivy Yard Work - Uncle MilkSupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
Are you happy with your career? A certain Chris Rock once joked: "there are people who have jobs, and there are those who have careers." We spend so much time in the workplace and often neglect the all important question - Is this the right profession for me? Jonathan Collaton is a student affairs coordinator at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and creator of the Career Crossroads Podcast, a platform investigating career transitions and lifelong professional development. Kickstarting the month of Bonus Content, this episode explores the understanding of careers as the bedrock of human society, Jonathan's path to his current position and what it means to run the podcast. "In order to find yourself, you have to lose yourself." -David Brooks.Jonathan CollatonCareer Crossroads PodcastIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler Twombly | Poison Ivy Yard Work - Uncle MilkSupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
How often have you engaged with technology and shirked? Is it something that annoys or even intrudes you? Love it or hate it, technology is the FUTURE. Maybe consider how it could enhance your livelihood instead, and suddenly it is more friend than foe. Concluding the month of Dance Technology, this episode introduces the FIVE must have apps as an artist or creative in today's age. Knowing technology is never enough anymore, we have to master it and...Trust it!MagistoLink in BioShazamMarquee TVBuymeacoffeeIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler TwomblySupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
Wish to dance differently? Within an augmented reality, the limits are endless both with technology and dance! Gilles Jobin is the founder and Artistic Director of Cie Gilles Jobin, a Geneva based dance company specializing in VR and technological integration. Continuing in the month of Dance Technology, this episode introduces the importance and potential of technology not just to dance, but life as we know it. Ready for a change? Come and join us in this augmented reality! Cie Gilles JobinCosmogonyLa Comedie VirtuelleIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler TwomblySupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
Ever noticed what you've been dancing on all this while? Research has proven the effectiveness of quality dance floors in preventing serious injuries as well as extending the life span of professional dancers. Guy Dagger is the Managing Director at British Harlequin / Harlequin Floors, one of the world's leading manufacturers of dance and performance flooring.Kickstarting the month of Dance Technology, this episode introduces the importance of good flooring and how they differ accordingly. Those dance floors surely don't make themselves, so let's raise the floor together with Harlequin! Harlequin FloorsGuy DaggerCase StudyIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler TwomblySupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
How do you brand a ballet? Every Artistic Director needs a business brain as support in marketing a company forward. Heidi Lee is the incumbent Executive Director of the Hong Kong Ballet, one of the three flagship dance companies in the city and among the leading ballet institutions in Asia.  Concluding the month of Dance Entrepreneurship, this episode introduces the job scope of an Executive Director, as well as key branding and leadership strategies to energize a dance company's commercial image within the community. Heidi LeeHK BalletRomeo & Juliet If you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler TwomblySupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
What do ballerinas and entrepreneurs have in common? Yes, there is always failure before success, a fall before the RISE. Susanne Puerschel was a former member of the Berlin State Opera and founder of Pointe To Rise, an empowerment society and online business platform for ballerinas and dancers alike. Continuing in the month of Dance Entrepreneurship, this episode delves deep into the psyche of life as a former ballerina and how to gain empowerment for a future in entrepreneurship. Ready to run your own online dance business? Come, let's put on our shoes and pointe to rise!Susanne PuerschelPointe To RisePointe To Rise PodcastIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler TwomblySupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
Do dance and business ever go hand in hand? How could dance artists maximize financial opportunity by gaining financial literacy? Erin Pride is an educator, performer and founder of The DancePreneur Academy, an online business coaching programme dedicated to helping dancers thrive as self-made entrepreneurs. Kicking off the month of Dance Entrepreneurship, this episode introduces the do's and don'ts of owning an online dance business, and how to fulfill one's purpose as a dance entrepreneur. "It's time to say no to starving artists,  but more thriving artists!"Erin PrideDance Boss Podcast@erinprideKindly share your feedback via Rate and review here Email backgrounddancer.jy@gmail.com (audio files are welcome)Leave a thought on Facebook and InstagramSupportive donationIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communityHost's website on https://jasonliel92.wixsite.com/curatistSoundtrack: Birds - Tyler TwomblySupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
What was our first ever universal language? No, it did not require speech as there was only movement at the very beginning. Vincent Yong is Singapore's sole Certified Movement Analyst, Somatic Movement Therapist and founder of Danspire International.Concluding the month of Dance Wellness, this episode introduces the concepts and applications of movement studies and somatic practices. Movement is not just motion, it is a mindset. Listen in as we explore why the 'first wealth is health'! Vincent YongDanspire InternationalFacebook page YouTube channelFlow: The Art of Creating AbunDanceIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler TwomblySupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
Who do you ultimately serve? No, I don't mean as an employee or such, but as a human being who's driven to bring value to others. When you wake up every morning, ask yourself these questions: Who do you dance for? Why do you dance? If you can't figure one out, consider defining your Avatar. Continuing in the month of Dance Wellness, this episode introduces the business application of an ideal customer/Avatar. Learn how to design your own compatible version and develop an effective means to thrive within the creative industries. Yet to have a purpose for life or work? Come and let's build our Avatars! Defining an AvatarHK Dance Magazine featureIf you resonate, connect with me byVisiting The Background DancerRate and review here Sign up here to receive notifications regarding future contentLeave a thought on Facebook and InstagramJoin the Facebook group and introduce yourself as a member of our communitySoundtrack: Birds - Tyler TwomblySupport the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/background)
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Comments (2)

Silver Yee

I am very impressed by the way Jason curates the podcast. He posits dance in context to give audience a bigger picture of how performing arts relates with the real world. Despite this web of relationships is such a vast and complicated one, I am able to follow along under Jason's well organized topics and his clear articulation of thoughts. Highly recommended!

May 10th
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Jacob Caldwell

What I enjoy most about The Background Dancer Podcast is that it is incredibly unique. I have yet to find any podcast that fully encompasses the world of performance art—and more exclusively, dance! Jason also has a bona fide talent for podcasting. His voice is clear, distinct, and intuitive. The Background Dancer brings the topic and discussion of dance into the foreground!

May 6th
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