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A Conversation About Art with (Art)versations. Let’s Pass on The Mic...

Nicole Decsey gets the scoop from Brianna Clarke on running her own podcast, (Art)versations. This is part two of our Businesses Run by Dancers series that also includes Nicole Dymianiw on Social Media for Dance (now online) and Tina Pereira on Ballerina Couture (Dec 20).

Brianna Clarke is fresh out of university, but she is already making headway in the arts community through her podcast (Art)versations. What started as a side project recorded on her phone and shared on YouTube is now widely available on Spotify, Apple, Google podcast, YouTube and other podcast platforms.

She has been keeping the conversation going by interviewing a variety of creatives including dancers, choreographers, actors, photographers, costume designers, stage managers and more. But now we're passing the mic to her. Let's here what she has to say...

Tell me about yourself as a dancer, what should we know about your dance career?

I feel I have a different relationship with movement during this pandemic. I’ve looked at how I train differently. I’ve been giving myself lots more days to rest, lots more days to just move in a normal human way rather than cranking my body into these weird positions and I think it’s actually helped me enjoy dance a bit more and give my body the time it needs to restore and figure out exactly what’s going on.

I just graduated from Ryerson and I feel like I had this whole environment that was very competitive and very go, go, go no stopping. Then as soon as the pandemic hit it was like I need to stop, I need to recharge, I need to figure out exactly what I want to do. There are so many things I learned from Ryerson, but having my own voice in dance and in movement just allows me to be freer and connect to pleasure a bit better. It’s been a lot of learning though, because I am a type A person who likes to overachieve and do everything. So, I have really had to be patient and be okay with that.

Why did you start the podcast (Art)versations?

In my second year at Ryerson, I realized that there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for specifically dancers and choreographers to speak about their projects or speak about their perspective on art. And so, it really was a side project, I didn’t have any schedule at all. But I just sat down with my friend Sam Davilmar and recorded it on my phone, and it was a ten-minute little chat and I put it up on YouTube. And I started to just really enjoy hearing about the behind the scenes of a project, or a piece or whatever it is and hearing what was working and what was not working. There are so many things that you don’t know about that just get thrown in the trash.

And then somehow it started taking off and I wanted to put it on Apple and Spotify, that was a goal of mine before the end of 2019. And then I kept going and then the pandemic hit, and I was like I need to do this, I need to keep going. Even if I can’t be in person with people I need to keep talking, I need to keep the conversation alive. And then its expanded into not just dancers, not just choreographers but actors, photographers, costume designers, stage managers, you know all of the people that are creatives, all of the creatives in the world that I wanted to pick their brains. I sat down with them and I just felt so inspired and I hope it’s in some way a chance for us to keep the arts alive during all of this. It’s getting lost I think because we can’t be in person and we can’t have little conversations before a show or during a process. I hope I can be a little part in just allowing the community to stay connected.

There are so many of my friends who have unique things to say and if no one gives them the mic then they won’t get said.

Why do you like running this side business along with your dancing?

Well, obviously podcasting is an audio form and it helps me to practise speaking and to practise vocalizing my thoughts. I think as dancers, at least in my experience, we’ve been told to shut up. We’ve been told not to have an opinion in most cases. I am a dancer at heart for sure and that’s always going to be something that I practise and a part of my life style but then when I have something that’s kind of brewing or when I am curious about a certain thing and I get to ask people about it or I get to hear what they have to say about it, it just helps me to understand dance and art a little bit better. It’s a lot of work but I enjoy working on something that’s out of dance and completely different. I’m still trying to figure out how to be a host and how to be a producer and having that practise is really great.

What skills have you developed from your dancing that have helped you in creating this podcast?

I have a lot of experience in improv. Growing up it was a big part of my studio’s environment, we got to just improv all the time. And a lot of podcasting is just being on my toes, being ready for anything, staying present. So, dancing and dancing for a long stretch of time definitely helped me prepare for recording a podcast, it’s so interconnected even if its movement versus words. I think I also bring a perspective as a mover that might be different from my guest and as I study movement and I study dance there are things that I’ve learned about other art forms and I think they are all connected. There is so much you can learn from dance; discipline, being present, mindfulness it all just kind of fits in with the podcast in some weird way.

How do you promote and market your podcast? Do you have any tips for dancers looking to do something similar?

Like I said before, I didn’t go to school for business, and I don’t make money off the podcast. But I’ve learned a few things about marketing over the years. Social media has been a big help in getting the word out and keeping the community of my podcast and my listeners. I try to post at least twice a week to keep people interested and remembering about tuning in. So that’s I guess maybe one tip, that people will forget about your project because they are doing their own stuff and so just a little reminder of what you’re working on is helpful. I make posts about who is on the podcast each week and I always add a little quote as a taster of what the episode will be like. I’ve also complied some “best of” clips from each podcast episode that I’ll be releasing once the season ends. That’s kind of a way to keep people reminded to listen to episodes. They can tune in whenever really; you know an episode is going to be there forever. So, it’s important to just always make sure that people are tuning in and hopefully staying interested in what you are doing even when you are not recording.

Season 3 of the (Art)versations podcast will be ending mid-January. After the final episode is released, there will be a series of “best of” clips from season 3 that will be available for viewing. Make sure you take the time to check it out!

Ready to tune in? Click here for links to all the platforms (Art)versations streams on.



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