Part 2, by Kenny Pearl
Soon after the collective classes (The 509 Teachers Collective) were cancelled in 2010, due to financial losses, we revived the classes at CCDT in January 2011. We employed a fresh model that included social media outreach, a full week of teaching by each instructor replacing daily rotations, and a successful membership drive, supported by 120 dancers.
This new collective saw attendance increase slightly and brought about a renewed commitment from many of Toronto’s finest teachers. However it remained a fragile enterprise with attendance fluctuating greatly. GMD initially gave a much-needed fee increase to all teachers and musicians. In spite of these cost increases, the class fee was kept at a 1980’s level ($10 per class; a 10-class card for $90) so that it remained affordable for all dancers. And this class price did not allow GMD to cover its costs.
Some private fundraising was done, and two fundraisers with performances by many GMD dancers were both fun and successful. To stabilize attendance we reduced the number of classes to three per week.
The first year GMD applied for an Ontario Arts Grant, we were turned down. With financial losses to deal with, this was a devastating blow. However, we persisted and have been fortunate to receive a grant each year for the past two, with high hopes for another in 2016. (OAC is the only funding body which has a grant category that includes enterprises like GMD.)
So you can see that running these classes is a constant adventure!
On the plus side, the energy at GMD has been growing. The desire of Toronto dancers’ to keep learning and growing has resulted in our best attendance yet!
The energy is high, the quality of work is remarkable. Thanks to all of you for choosing GMD as a place to dance!!!