When seeking equality it is important to keep one’s discourse open to outside opinions so as to see things – in this case Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform – from multiple perspectives. This both strengthens our understanding of our own thinking and lets us consider questions we may not otherwise ask.
In the spirit of equality I’ve asked a few men in the dance community to give their opinion on the state of equality with choreographers, and on Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform’s mission.
Here is the second of several interviews done with that different perspective in mind. It comes from Doug Hooker, a contemporary dancer and rehearsal director currently based in Minneapolis.
Do you think there are more well known/successful male choreographers in today’s dance scene than female? I do think that there are more male choreographers that are commonly well known than female. However, I wouldn’t specifically say they are more successful.
Why, do you think that is? Men, on average, tend to start their professional dance education at a later age. Most teachers want to nurture this late onset interest in dance and will foster opportunities for these men to perform and create.
Do you personally find any difference between the works created by men versus women? I don’t find works created by either men or women to be any more or less physical, insightful, or relevant than the other.
Does this affect their exposure/popularity? No. Being in Minneapolis has shown me that creative content is more fruitful when it is well thought out and understood by its creators and performers in combination with a promotional team that understands that content just as well. There are many choreographers, men and women, that are creating relevant bodies of work and are funded because they know how to discuss its relevance.
Any final thoughts or personal opinions regarding the subject of male and female choreographers? I think historically men have been given more opportunities in dance to find their place inside of a female saturated line of work. Success of male choreographers may be linked to the classical notion that men have better business ties than women, allowing them greater access to better funding. A notion that is, thankfully, antiquated. As dance as a business has progressed, that disparity between numbers of men and women as working artists has become smaller. The awareness of this discussion is only going to help perpetuate a larger growth and wider variety of artistry in the creative community, regardless of any person’s sex or gender.
A big thank you to Doug Hooker for your input.
Doug Hooker graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Dance. He is thankful to have had a wide variety of professional performing opportunities dancing nationally and internationally with the Broadway show Blast! and the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps in Santa Clara, California. Most recently Doug was a company member with Dancing People Company in Ashland, Oregon under the direction of Robin Stiehm. This is Doug’s first season with ARENA DANCES and he is excited to work with such outstanding artists!
This post was written by Cecilia Berghäll.