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A Ballet Company's Fundraising Success Story: MorDance

We've all seen our share of online fundraising campaigns, good and bad, but can you recall ever seeing a campaign for ballet? Choreographers and dance administration teams typically fundraise event by event, and while it's common for big name ballet companies to receive federal funding, it's not typical for an unknown company to have such monetary luck

All photos by Kelsey H Campbell

We've all seen our share of online fundraising campaigns, good and bad, but can you recall ever seeing a campaign for ballet? Choreographers and dance administration teams typically fundraise event by event, and while it's common for big name ballet companies to receive federal funding, it's not typical for an unknown company to have such monetary luck. Despite that, Morgan McEwen, director and choreographer of MorDance, has beaten the culture odds and successfully raised over $12,000. Now with a backing to sustain a working company, Morgan is gearing up for a showcase at MMAC. We spoke with her about MorDance's upcoming debut and expectations for her young company. Here's what she had to say...

Ashley Mathus: Have you seen other young choreographers fundraise to start a company?

Morgan Mcewen: I’ve actually not known anyone to raise funds to the magnitude that we have with MorDance. I’ve known some choreographers to raise funds for smaller, more specific things. Not to get a whole company up off the ground and running.

AM: How long did it take for you to reach your fundraising goal?

MM: Our campaign ran for 120 days (December - April). I’m still overwhelmed by the support we received! It’s truly amazing and I’ve been waking up everyday thankful and inspired.

MorDance in rehearsal. Photo by Kelsey H Campbell

AM: What are some of the challenges of starting your own dance company?

MM: I guess I would say the biggest challenges are time and money. I know that sounds cliché, but I wish I had more of each. It’s a common artistic plight.

We all have at least four other jobs on top of MorDance and I know when we come to rehearsals late at night it can be tough but we all persevere because of our love for this art form. I’m so lucky to have this wonderful group, we all push each other in the best ways and are having an amazing time doing what we all love.

This is all a big learning process for me too. I’ve spent my life in a ballet studio and that is the side of this world that I know best. I’m now delving into the business side of ballet, and with the help and advice from my support team I have been navigating these uncharted waters.

AM: How would you describe your choreographic style?

MM: It's very classically based but heavily influenced by contemporary styles. I want to create works that present themselves as being relevant without losing the treasured beauty of classical ballet. One of the two works to be performed on May 3rd is titled "Depths Entangled" and is accompanied by selections from the Venetian Snares, "Rossz Csillag Alatt Szuletett" album. This piece is a bit heavy and dark. The general ominous feeling of "Depths Entangled" will be juxtaposed with the classicism of ballet.

AM: Do you want non-profit status eventually?

MM: We actually just sent our 501c-3 package to the IRS. My fingers are crossed that the process will go smoothly and in a couple of months we will be a non-profit. I already have a great board of directors who have been very helpful and are working to help with future fundraising events (not online campaigns) and will be available to help when we begin to apply for grants.

Take a look at Morgan's Indiegogo's campaign video here and be sure to check out MorDance at MMAC on May 3rd. For updates on the company's growth and future performances, visit their Facebook page.

Photo by Kelsey H Campbell

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