The DanceBreak Foundation
2002 – 2011
The mission of the DanceBreak Foundation (a not for profit organization) is “to identify and nurture talented early and mid-career musical theater choreographers and offer them an exceptional platform to showcase their work for an audience of the industry leaders who would be most beneficial in advancing their careers.”
For over ten years DanceBreak has hosted an annual presentation showcasing six new choreographers each year, providing all the financial, administrative and technical support necessary to help develop new choreographic talent for this unique art form.
How It Works
The Application Process
Preliminary applications, in the form of resumes, are accepted from anyone, anywhere, with the exception of those who have previously held a Broadway contract. There is an application fee of $50. After an initial screening of these resumes, a list of semi-finalists is sent to the DanceBreak Board members to approve or disapprove.
That narrows the field to approximately 30.
The next round is the submission of a reel, no longer than 5 minutes in length, and a letter of recommendation from someone they have worked for. These reels are also prescreened and narrowed down to approximately 15 choreographers to be further screened by the full Selection Committee. 6 choreographers are chosen. This selection process usually takes place in early January with the showcase in mid February.
Each of the six choreographers are given the task of creating two dance pieces. One can be anything they want. Absolutely anything. The other piece has to be a classic Broadway number, done in the context of the original show. Although the “free” piece can be performed to prerecorded music, the Broadway number has to be performed with live music, a piano and full drum kit are provided, and, as this is a musical theater showcase, the number has to be sung as well.
The audience was initially by invitation only and consisted of Broadway producers and directors. As the years went on, the rules on that lapsed a bit as many future applicants, out of town theater directors, agents (looking at both choreographers and dancers) and the very enthusiastic Broadway dance community wanted to see this showcase. We started in a rehearsal studio with 70 chairs on risers and ended up in a 300 seat house.
Each choreographer can use up to ten performers, has eight minutes of stage time, divided up anyway they choose, and has only twelve hours of rehearsal time. It is an intentionally tight schedule as solid pre-production work is a necessary skill.
There is no special lighting, and minimal costuming, props or set pieces. The focus is kept on the work, not the production values. At the performance, the choreographers come out on stage and introduce themselves and each of their pieces. A full reception follows each performance to ‘meet and greet.’