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Arts & Culture

An upswing in local arts collaborations is promising, but inconsistent content is a risk

Live Active Cultures

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Humiston’s motivation in producing the show was equal parts philosophical and economic, since dance is expensive even without well-paid performers. As she shared during Saturday’s post-show Q&A, a modest United Arts grant covered barely a quarter of the costs, and they needed to nearly sell out Orlando Shakes’ Goldman Theater to break even. But I was struck by her well-intentioned admonition for patrons who “want dance to survive” to “go out there and support all of the companies” with $20 tickets even if they “like one work better than the others.”

There’s something to be said for the theory that a rising tide of more dance product (regardless of merit) will benefit all boats, so I appreciate Humiston’s egalitarian impulses and applaud her community-building efforts. But as a devoted devil’s advocate, I’d modestly propose modifying her admonition and saving your money for only those artists you actually enjoy. You don’t have to be Ayn Rand to understand that, absent unlimited resources, healthy competition is essential for allowing quality to emerge above the noise. I’m all for artists sharing moral and logistical support, as long as it doesn’t mandate sacrificing individual artistic standards, or celebrating mediocrity as equal to mastery. Divided we fall, perhaps … but united we can still flail.

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