Recently, I received an email inviting me to showcase work at RAW Artists Queens, New York. RAW is an indie arts organization that produces events in over 60 locations worldwide. Each show features 60 local artists from the community, and the curators do this by hand-selecting a diverse range of artists in film, fashion, music, visual art, performance, and jewelry design. Of the five performance acts per event, I was invited to be one of them.
To be clear, NOTHING this cool has ever happened to me. I had yet to be invited or hand-picked for anything choreographically, as it often takes years of experience and solid funding to produce quality work—especially as a young woman in the field. So, you can imagine how initially shocked I was to find out about this opportunity. Luckily, the shock wore off and I decided I had to make this happen, since my participation will be an automatic “in” for other RAW events anywhere in the world and it will allow for tremendous exposure (we’re talking about 900-1,000+ people at these events). And while I’ve been teaching and choreographing for competition teams over the past few years, this will be the first time I get to work with professional dancers for a professional, highly publicized event.
That brings me to this fundraising campaign: I promised myself long ago that when this day came, when I finally got to set work on professionals, I’d do things right and pay my dancers. In case you’re not familiar, freelancing often means you’re doing work for little or no pay, and here in the city it means balancing those rehearsals with your four other side jobs and hoping that you can still find a way to take class and maybe take care of yourself. Keep in mind, many of us have actual college degrees in this—and yet much of the time, we’re hardly paid for what we do. (I don’t mean for that to sound whiny... it’s just a fact to help put it in perspective for those outside the dance world.)
RAW Artists is wonderful in that there are no entry fees (a rarity) and they do have opportunities for profit if we (my group of dancers and myself) sell more than 20 tickets through my RAW Artist page. However, this profit is not guaranteed, nor will it be enough to prevent me from tapping into my own money (earned from said four other jobs) to pay for costuming, renting rehearsal space, and of course, my amazing dancers’ time and talent. To be clear, I’m not rolling in dough over here; I’m an artist living and working in New York City. I take pride in the fact that I can pay my bills—even if I barely make it—every month.
Therefore, I humbly come before you to ask for your help. I can’t do this alone. And while I know there are SO many causes to which you could donate right now, I ask that you please consider donating to my cause in support of the arts, in support of a young, emerging female choreographer, in support of the dancers working with me, and—even if it’s a little hokey—in support of a dream.
Your donation will contribute to the following, in order of priority:
- my dancers’ paychecks
- renting rehearsal space
This is just the beginning for me, in so many ways. I wasn’t able to creatively put myself out there the way I can now; it’s been quite the journey, and there’s still so much ahead. I would deeply appreciate anything you can give to help me get started. Your support would mean the world to me, and I wouldn’t soon forget it.
And one last thing... even if you can’t make a donation, PLEASE do come see us perform! You can purchase tickets through my RAW Artist Page: rawartists.org/sararodriguez.
Thank you for taking the time. I appreciate each and every one of you.
Sara’s RAW Artist Page
Learn more about RAW Artists here
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