Jun 16, 2020
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Jennifer Stahl, Editor-in-Chief of Dance Magazine. Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree of fine arts in dance and journalism from New York University. As a dancer, Stahl has danced for a number of well-known choreographers such as Karole Armitage and Gali Hod. As a journalist, she has written for a number of well-known publications such as The Atlantic and Runner’s World, prior to her current role.
As editor-in-chief of a 100-year-old dance magazine, Jennifer sits in a difficult position — trying to drive innovation in the midst of two extremely traditional print and dance industries. However, on the podcast, she describes the principles that help her continue to innovate and survive. She also explains how these very same principles helped her thrive in her career — being a good listener, being proactive, seizing opportunities, taking risks, and being willing to fail fast and keep on trying new things.
“I hope to never be afraid to fail because [some of my ideas] most likely will, but it’s worth trying to see what the outcomes might be."
“Have something that reminds you every day why [you’re pursuing a career in dance]. Because it is so hard. It is a difficult career… But having a reason why you’re doing this and having a way to remind yourself of that reason regularly will help keep you motivated and help keep you growing."
“I think it is innovative for the dance field to really have this collective moment of coming together and not seeing each other as competitors but as possible allies in helping each other to survive this [pandemic] and hopefully thrive afterwards."
“Dancers aren’t considered ‘essential workers,’ but they are. Because, at this time when we’re all isolated, dance and the arts are essential to keep our souls alive."
“Seek out [a mentor] who has a working knowledge of the dance field right now. Ideally, you’d have a teacher at your studio or school who is still involved in the dance world or who has a number of connections. Who knows what different companies are like or are looking for… If you don’t have this, there are now a number of online resources you can use."
“It’s interesting to see the dancers who are growing up now… I think they have grown up with ‘woke-ness’ — being aware of [gender imbalances in dance leadership] … Today’s generation has a lot more awareness and hunger to change that."
“My advice for young people looking into doing internships is to take full advantage of them. Most are set up as learning opportunities, so it’s important to ask questions, jump in with ideas, find ways to share your interests, and ask for other opportunities… Taking initiative can make a big difference."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
5:34: Jennifer discusses how her team makes innovation happen in two industries that are extremely traditional — dance and journalism.
10:48: Jennifer walks through her career and how she eventually became Dance Magazine’s editor-in-chief.
14:13: Stahl, who started as an intern, gives some great advice on how to use internships to their full potential.
17:00: Jennifer discusses the friction she experiences in her role between the rigid structure of running a magazine and the creative nature of dance.
19:51: Stahl dives into a rich discussion on the nature of women leaders in dance and how the gender gap is finally starting to shift.
26:10: Stahl speaks on her mentors and shares some advice on how to find great mentors.
33:35: Jennifer discusses the pride that she feels in being the lead of a 100-year-old magazine.
35:47: Jennifer explains what she believes is the future of dance — a future that is extremely bright.
38:06: Stahl encourages young aspiring dancers to keep their eyes on their goals in the midst of a difficult career path.
39:31: Jennifer discusses what’s next for her in her career and her desire to continue taking risks, even if they may fail.
Bullet List of Resources –