Kate Corby Crosses The Border (Again)

“Most results come from dogged persistence”

says the Madison-based Artistic Director of Kate Corby & Dancers to her students in the dance department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison – and this is a mantra she lives by.  A short three months after the company’s engagement at The Drucker Center, Passing premieres tonight at Links Hall.  The reason for the close-together border crossings? In part, Corby’s participation in Links Hall’s Apprentice Producer Program.

The AP Program is admittedly one that is near and dear to my heart. I helped develop it with Links Hall’s Roell Schmidt while I was still working at The Menomonee Club.  The idea is to give emerging artists and companies the opportunity to present a season of work (two shows over the course of nine months) at two venues.  To assist in this process, each selected artist is given the gift of an apprentice Production Manager to handle the administrative load that comes along with self-producing concerts.

The inherent challenge of self-producing:

Time that could be spent in the studio is occupied by writing press releases and programs, creating schedules and writing hundreds of emails. In an economic climate that warrants wearing multiple hats, small company directors and emerging dancemakers are forced to prioritize administrative tasks over the art.  Rare is the company who has access to the robust, consistent funding that justifies hiring a production manager to make more space for the work itself.

In the case of Kate Corby (selected in 2011 by Dance Magazine as one of six national choreographers “on the cusp of making waves”), she’s worked on both sides of the fence: as a dance faculty member at UW-Madison, and as a self-producing, independent artist.  In addition to all the usual hubbub of self-producing, Corby has the extra challenge of presenting a large chunk of her work in a different state from the one in which she lives.

This is where Lydia Feuerhelm comes in.

Lydia is a student at The Dance Center of Columbia College, and somehow in the midst of being a full-time student and marketing intern at The Dance Center, she’s also helped put up two shows for Kate Corby & Dancers as their Apprentice Producer for 2012.

All six Apprentice Producers work with a mentor, and in our email conversation Lydia revealed that she’s learned a lot about marketing and PR by going through the program. But she also found that her inherent abilities manage her time, multi-task, and work independently were critical to her success.

And by success, I mean this:

I would work with Lydia again! I have spent so much of my career in a DIY purgatory of sorts so Lydia’s competent and pleasant help has been awesome. We didn’t have to reinvent the wheel for this second show of the season and subsequently everything is running smoothly…Without the Apprentice Producers Program I don’t think I would have had the chutzpah to produce two shows in less than three months.

I’m excited to see what this chutzpah brings to the table this weekend as KC&D creates a world inspired by Corby’s grandfather’s death through the lens of dance.

Passing takes place this weekend at Links Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield Avenue (Friday/Saturday shows at 8pm, Sunday at 7pm). Tickets can be purchased at the door or online.

Links Hall’s Apprentice Producer Program is funded by the James M. Kemper Foundation and generous individual donors

Photo of Mikey Rioux, Erin Kilmurray, and Josh Anderson in Kate Corby’s Passing by Ryan Bourque

Author: Lauren Warnecke

Lauren Warnecke is a reporter for NPR affiliate station WGLT and freelance arts and culture critic, primarily reviewing dance for the Chicago Tribune. Lauren enjoys cooking, cycling and attempting to grow things in her backyard. She lives in central Illinois.