Welcome to the Dove Stage Project, a new performance initiative founded as a collaboration between Austin artists Elaine Dove, Lydia Michaelson, Will Walker, and Megan Ortiz.
The Dove Stage Project was founded in August 2020 in response to both the COVID-19 crisis in the United States and the Black Lives Matter movement. During the 2020 pandemic, which at the time of this writing has been going on for five months with no end in sight, dance and performing arts came to a complete halt in Austin, Texas, which previously had a vibrant performing arts and music scene.
As the months of the pandemic have gone on, the future of performance venues and the performing arts in Austin seems less and less certain as funds for closed venues dwindle with no reopening on the horizon. Additionally, dance athletes and performers of all types cannot safely perform in indoor venues or for crowds without endangering their safety and health. It is from these circumstances that the Dove Stage Project was born as a way to give a small pod of artists the ability to continue creating and presenting work during the COVID-19 crisis. This quartet of artists will also function as gatekeepers to bring other COVID safe artists to the venue, with an eye to giving opportunities to BIPOC/LGBTQ+ creators.
The Dove Stage Project, in its complete iteration, currently consists of two simple outdoor stages, one 12×12 and the second 16×20, on the secured grounds of private Austin residence. It is designed this way both to ensure the safety of BIPOC/LGBTQ artists and to be able to admit only a small, select number of COVID safe audience members to rehearsals or showings of work in progress. Since the stages are outdoors, it is easy for the performers to socially distance and work and dance safely, even in the Texas heat; we just have to schedule our rehearsals at creative times of day!
For performing artists, creating, dancing and sharing with others is what keeps us going in hard times. It is our hope that the Dove Stage Project will bring joy both to the small groups that may see our work in person, and to many others staying at home all over the world.
We are learning all of this as we go – how to work and rehearse outdoors, how to create homemade lighting and sound, how to livestream, how to create COVID safe protocols, etc.
It is a journey of love and I hope it will bring all of you joy as we explore our way along it.
Donations to the Dove Stage project can be made through Venmo: @elaine-dove-motogirl, or PayPal: email@example.com. All funds will go to the construction and upkeep of the space – which I am keeping as low cost and simple as possible, the purchase of simple yet effective technology for lighting and live-streaming (since we were generously donated a sound system, yay!) and to supporting the work of the artists who offer their gifts here.
Thank you and see you soon!