The lights dimmed. The curtain drew back. A spotlight appeared. Two legs, two feet, and then…a flurry of furious tapping, twirling and jumping! I had never seen anything so precise and fantastic come from a person’s feet before. This was only the opening of Dorrance Dance’s performance at Cleveland Public Theatre, and my first experience with DANCECleveland.
DANCECleveland has been bringing the passion and verve of modern dance to Cleveland for the past 60 years. In that time, the organization has brought such companies as Malpaso from Cuba, Momix, Jessica Lang Dance, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and many more to the stages of Playhouse Square. Before this internship I had never gone to see one of their performances, and what a mistake that was. You haven’t seen good dance until you have seen one of the companies DANCECleveland brings to the city.
I was lucky to start early with the organization and attend some of their performances from the 60th season. Now, in week six here at the offices, I have been learning what it takes to bring such a high level of dance performance to Cleveland, and it is no small feat. Summer is a slower time at DANCECleveland since there are no performances to prepare for, but there is no lack of work.
Since I began my internship, one of my projects has been to plan and organize a professional development day for high school students on September 10th. The day is meant to be a tool for students and their parents to begin planning for future careers in dance, whether in performance or production, artistic direction, presenting, or a number of other career paths. Coming from an arts background myself, I understand what a cutthroat world performance can be in any art form. That’s why we want to show students that there are so many more opportunities and paths to pursue within their respective field. And if their heart is in performing, then we want to give them the tools they need to succeed.
The summer internship program at the Cleveland Foundation has been such a great opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone and learn new skills. Since starting, I have learned project management, marketing, graphic design, database management and a slew of other skills that I’m sure I will realize down the road. In my initial interview for the internship, I remember talking about how I wanted to learn outside of a classroom. I couldn’t be more thankful that this program gave me that opportunity. It’s not a classroom; it’s the real world, and I’m learning everyday how to navigate it better.
Iris Kleinman, a graduate of Cleveland State University with a major in Communications, is placed at DANCECleveland. Iris creates and organizes Professional Development Days for middle and high school dance students and assists staff with developing an event database and implementing marketing strategies.