Meet Cardboard Stage: Redefining Dance
A Dancers multifaceted global platform launches New York creatives into a melting pot of collaborative possibility.
Connect.Collaborate.Create. The defining mottos which shaped the budding platform started by professional dancer Dasha Schwartz, Cardboard Stages 26-year-old founder and director.
Cardboard Stage is a promising global collaborative platform that brings artists together to create original work with the focus of making dance and the arts more accessible. Schwartz’s mission is to bring art to unconventional audiences, spaces and communities. “I was frustrated with how ballet was very inaccessible, appealing to a primarily wealthy and older generation”, Schwartz said. Cardboard Stage offers a community and safe space for artists to freely express without limits, creating an atmosphere of “play and spontaneity” that “bring together different bodies.” “They make you feel confident in your own work,” said Cardboard Stage photographer Kit Pilosof.
Cardboard Stage’s artists are encouraged to bring forth their own unique styles and genres of all forms, breaking down antiquated standards of the music, dance, art and film communities. “You can have the people, ideas, and resources at your fingertips to create from there. Cardboard Stage is here to support what you want to make a say,” said Cardboard Stage film director Bren Cukier.
Schwartz began Cardboard Stage in 2015 and in the years since, has amassed a following of dancers and creatives from around the world. The company is composed of visual artists, dancers, composers, and cinematographers from the United States, Canada, France, South Africa, Spain, Mexico, Chile, Italy, and Australia. According to Schwartz, Cardboard Stage is a community of artists “not limited to genre or location.” For example, dancers in Amsterdam could hypothetically collaborate on a digital show or film with composers and cinematographers in New York City if they so desired.
This limitless connectivity the platform presents is incredibly prominent and relevant to today's digital world, especially in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the onset of the pandemic, Cardboard Stage enacted their #6ftapart campaign which emphasized the company’s mottos of connect, collaborate and create more than ever. Furthermore, in a time where the world was isolated, Schwartz mobilized the power of the arts and the internet to connect artists globally. “We challenged our community to think creatively within the limitations of a 6X6ft space. We got over 100 submissions from artists all around the world using these parameters to create such beautiful pieces. In a time where those 6 feet were used to socially distance people, this campaign used that space to bring the community together,” Schwartz noted.
In addition to their digital platform, Cardboard Stage curates collaborative performance events and partners with fashion brands. These performances have taken place around Amsterdam, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and New York City. For Schwartz, working with brands was “another avenue for accessibility”. As social media shifted into video, showcasing movement was vital. “Why not use professional movers instead of models?” she said.
Over the last few years, the platform has collaborated with brands such as The Break, Frisson Knits, Talentless, and Notte Jewelry. In these collaborations, dancers, artists, cinematographers, and composers come together to create compelling digital content. “Brands can connect to their customers through art; art can transcend. This is why we exist”, said Cardboard Stage dancer Sindy Folgar.
In the coming months Schwartz plans to connect the global arts community even more through new campaigns and events.“I would love for artists to find a home with Cardboard Stage. Wherever you go you'll be immersed in the local arts community. That's the beauty of the company,” said Schwartz.
Cardboard Stage is always seeking new talent and collaborators. To stay up to date on the happenings of the platform, to view the artists’ work and for more information on how you can join a stage, visit www.cardboardstage.com