By Randy Gener

NEW YORK CITY |  In the culture of APAPNYC 2017, world-music klatches quickly formed today while arts presenters, agents, marketers and producers from around the country begin their descent to the New York Hilton and Sheraton New York Times Square. What’s happening, you ask?

These rituals of pre-conference meetings always happen every year. Once again the Association of Performing Arts Presenters alighted the 60th-year of its global gatherings from January 6 to 10 in New York. People who arrive two days early took in two full-day intensives and one half-day intensive to help attendees “strengthen skills, grow opportunities and build careers,” as APAP’s marketing and publicity officials stated.

APAP is a membership-only affair. More than 1,000 performance showcases of dance, music, theater and more events are scheduled at venues around New York City. The group quoted an estimated number of 3,600 performing arts industry professional and enthusiasts are expected to come. People pay anywhere between $125 to $1,125 to hawk their wares and rub elbows. They’ve come to check out what’s new, hot, and about to be seen on stages and at performance spaces near and far. (For full details seeapapnyc.org

“Flow” — orange-colored signs bearing that word — can be seen everywhere. It’s the overall conference theme. Appropriately enough, APAP invited to the occasion Will Power, an award-winning playwright and performer who wrote a fast-paced musical that is itself entitled as FLOW.  So wouldn’t you know?  Power could be seen right in front of the registration booth where he had been accosted or teased or embraced by a bevy of friends, colleagues and newbies to his splendid body of hip-hop work.

The two-day preconference divides into two swarms.  One of them is called “Wavelengths” and has been organized by Rock Paper Scissors and globalFEST, Inc. It’s intended to be what it reputes itself to be “he largest gathering of world music professionals in the U.S.” even though the attendance did not seem to be as wild and various as in previous years.

Meanwhile, whole other panels and programs began the buzz necessary introspection. For example, a dance forum roped in many individuals working in the dance industry to connect with peers and discuss immediate, field-wide issues. Dance/USA provided updates on upcoming programs, new research initiatives and membership.

Eight theater artists and companies hit up groups of presenters at an Under the Radar Speed Dating from 9:30 a.m. to noon. This session is geared towards presenters. Artists are curated in advance by The Public Theater.

Other hives took on other questions-of-the-day. Who determines what “serious” classical music is, and does classical music have to be “serious” to be important art? How can we create a more engaging experience for students?

Communities around the world are experiencing a growth in conflicts marked by violence and destruction, largely due to underlying conditions they share in common. So arts organizations work in partnership with governmental and non-governmental entities.

Two of the more fascinating forums spoke about “Security for Performing Arts Events” and offered “New Paradigms for New Economic Realities in Performing Arts.”  In these uncertain times, what is the role and responsibility of arts presenters when audiences come together for performing arts events? What do we have to do and what are we already doing differently to survive and prosper as presenters, artists and agents in the new economic realities we face?

Reflecting on the post-election,” Mario Garcia Durham, president and CEO of APAP, said: “This year our members and guest will gain particular insight, strength and creativity when convening together. Some, including guest artists, have expressed they are particularly looking forward to our gathering after a tough 2016 that left many feeling isolated or pondering the dichotomy of social concerns and priorities in our country that bubbled further up to the surface during the pre- election campaign season.” — icultworld

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