Margi Cole is uncertain about the future of dance. The art form will survive as long as people can move, but the professional dance industry is in a transitional period, and companies have had to learn how to adapt.
“The field is changing,” says Cole. “Resources are minimizing. The way in which people perceive where dance should be performed is changing. Technology has had a big effect on our field, and the ways in which people access and consume have changed.”
Last year, Cole announced that her company, the Dance COLEctive, would undergo a dramatic restructuring, shifting away from a core ensemble of dancers to a pickup company model where dancers are hired for specific projects. She used her yearlong hiatus to research potential new business models, reaching out to local and national dance professionals for their input.
“It’s really easy to put your blinders on and forget that having conversations with people in the field is helpful, essential, and enlightening,” says Cole. “It’s easy to get caught in a vacuum, and I was caught in a vacuum.”
The Dance COLEctive returns this month with “Reboot,” an evening of three premieres presented at Dovetail Studios in Albany Park. Working with frequent collaborators Peter Carpenter and Colleen Halloran, Cole sees this program as a new beginning celebrating the possibilities of the future and the process of personal growth.
“What strikes me about shedding is that it can be quite beautiful, but it can also be painful,” says Cole. “Whenever you have something that you’re going through, a process that involves peeling back layers, often there are people who are present and all they can do is be present. But the energy of them holding the space with you is enough. This work is about holding that space as a group, but maintaining your individuality on that journey.” v