„Contemporary dance – Why? How? What?“ A workshop held in Tallinn

On November 14th, 2014 in Tallinn the kedja Writing Movement partner The Union of Estonian Dance Artists hosted a workshop „Contemporary dance – Why? How? What?“ for journalists and editors of Estonian newspapers and magazines.


The aim of the workshop was to introduce contemporary dance in general and to discuss how to write about contemporary dance. The workshop was intended to make the journalists more aware of contemporary dance, to make them more familiar and comfortable with this realm and give tips how to write about it, as it often proves to be tricky. To this end, the program of the workshop entailed a lecture by Raido Bergstein, general manager of the Union of Estonian Dance artists, about contemporary dance in general. A contemporary dance class by a great Estonian dance artist, Krista Köster, so every participant could try it out him/herself. A workshop on how to write about dance by Kristin Valla, editor in chief of the cultural magazine K, which is published by Norway’s biggest daily newspaper Aftenposten. And also a panel discussion, in which critics, dance artists, editors and producers discussed about what to write about dance.


Great Expectations and harsh reality
The invitation was sent to 35 different magazines and newspapers (both local and national) across Estonia. A date for preliminary sign-up was set in order to be able to make adjustments in the schedule if necessary. The organizers were ready to host up to 20 people, whilst 10-15 attendants would have been regarded a huge success. To organizers huge surprise, the interest in the workshop was almost nonexistent – only three people had signed up by the deadline.


Adjustments and the element of surprise
As only three journalists showed interest, the organizers adjusted the target group, making the workshop available to dance artists, critics and students of dance and theatre critics. This was probably quite sudden opportunity and most people already had other plans. Due to lack of interest the organizers also modified the workshops program. On the day of the workshop, the organizers had no idea, how many would show, except for the ones who had registered. Huge was the surprise, when just prior to the workshop by Kristin Valla, the persons who had pre-registered informed them that they will not come. So, there were a total of three people taking part in the workshop.


Thumbs up and hope for success in the future
“If could have would have…“ The organizers could dwell forever in the “if’s” and “could have’s” and “should have’s”, with no outcome. The sad truth is that due to whatever reasons, there was no interest at that time in the workshop by the Estonian journalists and editors.
Despite that the organizers regard the workshop in a way a success. The people who did come, gave very nice feedback, saying that the workshop was extremely useful and they enjoyed it very much. The organizers also learned that the dance artists, critics and students of theatre critics are very interested in such workshops. Thus, with a different target group, there does exist an audience for it.


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