My Human Experience is As Human as Anyone Else's

On Founding and Creating an NYC Company

By Marc Andrew Nuńez

 

 PHOTOGRAPHY: PARKER OVALLE

PHOTOGRAPHY: PARKER OVALLE

Who Is the Man Behind Gotham Dance Theater?

MARC ANDREW NUÑEZ is a founding member and director of Gotham Dance Theater (GDT). GDT premiered in 2015 at The Tank in Times Square with a sold out premiere of Fade to Black, an evening length work exploring life lived, life lost, and life continued. GDT co-produces two annual shows with The Tank: LAUNCH and Emerge Choreographers Showcase. GDT has also performed at the Queensboro Dance Festival, Triskelion Arts Summer Shake Up Series, and at various nonprofit community organizations including El Puente and The Door. Marc is currently an Artist-in-Residence at The Performance Project at The University Settlement in the Lower East Side. GDT will be premiering a new work in October 2017.

Marc holds a Dance Performance BFA with Excellence in Choreography from the University of California, Irvine. Marc also received acting training at the Actor's Conservatory at East West Players (Los Angeles) and from his beloved Mrs. Cindy Little (Thespian Troupe 4712, UHS). Marc is a member of Actors' Equity Association and is represented by CESD Talent Agency.

The Journey of Creating a Dance Company in NYC

Dance has always been my favorite form of art. The human is an athletic, expressive, mysterious, and sexy medium for creating theatre. My work has always been geared towards telling a story. My relationship to the audience is very important and I want them to understand what is going on when they experience my work or, at the very least, evoke emotions. I created Gotham Dance Theater to really keep that essence of dance alive and for my own artistic expression. Dance has helped me embrace my sexuality, cope with death, balance masculinity with femininity, empathize with humanity, and spread happiness and joy. 

The journey is ongoing. With each passing season, I approach choreography and production in very different and evolving ways. I still work as a dancer and actor throughout NYC and learning from different professionals help shape the type of company I want to create and also structure the type of rehearsal and production I want to plan. The journey has also been very humbling. There are hundreds of dance and theatre companies throughout NYC and it really takes hard work to even get noticed. The journey has also been very rewarding. When my dancers are invested in the work, that's a huge accomplishment. When my audiences are moved, that's another huge accomplishment. I've had the blessing of both. 

Tips for the fellow artistic entrepreneur, on creation and stability

I've learned to really preserve and care for my self - body, mind, and soul. That, for me, needs to happen first before you can bring anyone else into your artistic and business endeavors. Creation and stability aren't presumed to be complementary, but if you can be creative with the way you stabilize yourself, you may be able to accomplish more as an artist. Try not to fall into the trenches working in fields you know will kill your soul. If you aren't yet fully supported by your art, look for sideline work rather than survival work. 

Money. My first year with my company ended in a huge personal financial loss, but what I gained was trust from dancers and my artistic community. I built a solid foundation for the company. That is a priceless investment of my time and money. Having The Tank, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to helping emerging artists, absolutely helped because they provided the platform and support for creation for me since 2014. Now in my third year, I have a residency at The Performance Project at The University Settlement. It's also just as important to remember that the work should always be priority, not money. 

Dancers some times lack the ability or interest to understand and wear many hats. There are lots of moving parts with any production like creating a schedule, thoughtfully designing lighting and costumes, stage managing and house managing, the choreography and production itself. Then there are the logistics of marketing, branding, graphic design, social media, press releases, industry comps, etc. In terms of budgeting, there are rehearsal and performance rentals, dancer stipends, technician stipends, props and costumes, box office income. It really takes a village to make anything work well. Start small. Present choreography anywhere you can first. All you need to do is take that first fearless plunge headfirst. 

 

An Artist and a Mission

My mission as a company is to create work with social purpose, strengthen the community of artists, and represent the diversity of NYC. My personal mission as an artist is to break stereotype and show that my human experience is as human as anyone else's. And yes, I can also play that role written for the white man. The stories of disenfranchised groups are very important to me. They exist in the dance community but don't get enough attention. My hope is to make dance theatre a more accessible and understandable art form for our audiences to help these stories transcend.