Is Your Performance Tour Ready?
Getting your performance ready for a post-pandemic tour.
What does it take to get your dance company or dance project “Tour Ready?” For many dance companies, dance managers, dance agents and dance presenters, the challenges in touring dance have only exacerbated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are challenges to post-pandemic touring.
So while many have resumed live performance touring, there are still many changes and challenges that traditional dance touring will continue to face. Additionally, there are changing perspectives about the need to tour as well as growing outlets and avenues for artists to share their works. While keeping in mind that we are in a time of change, below are some details on traditional touring. Keep these traditional protocols in mind, as we move toward post-pandemic touring.
Following are a few traditional tour steps that we follow at Pentacle with the roster artists on getting “tour ready”:
- Identifying a dance program to tour. This dance program can be an evening length work or a repertory program. If you are looking to tour with traditional presenting organizations, the general expectation is that the performance should be no less than 60 minutes in length. This can vary from presenter to presenter but if you are offering a dance program, whether it is a full length work or a repertory program, a minimum 60 minute duration should be a safe bet.
In creating a work to tour, remember to keep the scale of the work in mind. For example, if the creation features 15 dancers, 5 jugglers, 3 musicians and a large metal set, how does that affect the stage that the work can tour to, what are the logistics needed to transport the set and personnel from venue to venue, and what sort of compensation from the presenter needs to be paid to cover the company’s expenses? And is that a realistic number understanding that the presenter also has their own production budget to consider?
- Preparing a budget. In order to provide a presenter with a fee for your engagement, it is important to create a budget so that the company has a clear understanding of the financial investment needed to take the work on the road. From paying personnel, rehearsal costs, securing general liability insurance, music rights and other administrative expenses, (i.e. cost of creating marketing material including photographs, videos, trailer, and electronic press kit); the company needs to determine how much of this is covered by the engagement compensation paid by the presenter.
The reality of touring is that in many instances, dance companies fundraise separately in order to support touring activity. After factoring all of these details, the company needs to ask itself, is this financially viable? Should the company scale touring (i.e. would it be best to focus on regional touring as opposed to national efforts)? Will the company need to financially supplement these engagements and would using company funds for touring be the best use for the company’s overall vision?
- Preparing marketing material and technical rider. A touring company should have: an electronic press kit, a video of the work that is touring, a trailer, draft program copy, and a technical rider (even if it is a tentative rider, technical details are important).
Planning ahead to get tour ready
Keep in mind that most presenters typically book their season far ahead, so there is a booking season that is then followed by a touring season (when the shows that were booked actually go out on the road). This was typically the case pre-COVID.
Whether timetables will change as our industry emerges is yet to be seen, but the typical booking/touring cycle would approximately be as follows:
- Spring 2021 – This is generally the time that Managers and Agents are finalizing their rosters for the Fall 2022-Spring 2023 touring season.
- Summer – Fall 2021 – Communication with Presenters begins to get touring projects on their radar. However,some engagements involve years of communication until they are finally realized.
- Fall 2021 – Regional booking conferences take place where presenters meet and see work to consider. Presenters may begin to book their Fall 2022-Spring 23 season.
- January 2022 – APAP – Some presenters might be attending to wrap up details on their season, find additional works to present, or watch works for consideration for their following 23-24 season.
- Winter-early Spring 2022 – Presenters start solidifying their season.
- Fall 2022 – Touring begins.
Following are some useful resources for companies that are interested in getting tour ready!:
Link to Are You Tour Ready from Dance USA & Equitable Contracting Document.
- Technical and Standardization Document – this is a helpful document that outlines timetables and requirements for a successful tour (please note, this document was drafted pre-covid).
- Equitable Contracting Document. Info on how to draft/negotiate a contract with some basic equitable contracting principles.
Touring Budget Template:
– Questions regarding Insurance:
Bob Middleton <Bob-Middleton@mdpins.com>
Arts Insurance Program | MDP Programs
Direct: 443.529.0328 Fax: 410.685.3071 | email@example.com
– A list of some of the regional conferences:
Arts Northwest: https://www.artsnw.org/
North and South Carolina (South): https://ncpresenters.org/content.php?page=ArtsMarket
Other useful resources:
– This is a useful list of presenters in New York State who are active in the New York State Presenters Network: https://www.nyspresenters.org/
– NPN (National Performance Network) https://npnweb.org/
– MidAtlantic Arts Foundation https://www.midatlanticarts.org/
Pentacle remains dedicated to continuing to provide a high level of support to artists during these extraordinary circumstances. Alongside many other key and respected organizations in the field, we have begun accumulating and curating resources for artists and organizations experiencing income loss and other troubles as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Find our list of resources here.
NEXTSTEPS | 12.16.21
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