I attended the opening day of the APAP conference to hear dancers and manager folk propose ways to maximize the changing fortunes of dance and choreography in bad economic times. At a plenary session, Rocco Landesman, the new director of the National Endowment for the Arts, promised to take an active role in bringing the arts into public policy, though he wasn't too specific about how he proposed to do this. He got an ovation from the huge audience when he declared, "We should be supporting artists and doing it directly." Then he quoted public legislation that appears to proscribe that very thing. It seems the arts activists have more work to do.
Landesman's fellow presenters were Paul Miller, a/k/a DJ Spooky, who saw salvation for the arts in cell phones and the Internet, and Elizabeth Streb, who blitzed through 10 minutes of multimedia and advice ("Very little is worth doing if you don't go to the edge") and a message to the president. His platform, she advised, should include the idea that every American ought to do movement every day. Streb then got the huge audience of presenters on their feet to do a fast movement exercise, and she ended with a general admonition: "If we did this every day, it would end the need for Ritalin."
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