Collaboration within the performing arts is it possible?


October 12, 2021


Susanne explores what it means to collaborate within the performing arts world. How she has come to learn that simply collaborating with like-minded organizations, and people have had such a massive impact on her own business. Not just trading services or giving away free seats in trade of playbill printing. Rather an equal exchange of information and collective willingness to trust again.

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Collaboration within the performing arts is it possible?

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Pointe To Rise podcast.  My name is Susanne, and I am your host today. 

So today’s topic is, I want to talk to you about collaboration. And why collaborating is one of the most important things you can do to grow as a human being and grow in your business or even with your family. I also want to explore what that could look like in the performing arts because that is my place. I like to draw the bridges between what we see in business and applying that in the performing arts. 

Collaboration, I found in the entrepreneurial space, is highly recommended, but it is such that we have understood that we don’t do things by ourselves. We cannot Rise to our full potential when we’re keeping everything that we know and keeping everything where we want to go to ourselves because working collaboratively, instead of individually, helps improve our productivity. It gives everyone a sense of purpose and belonging because we’re helping each other, and it is our innate need. It is something that we need even to feel happy to help each other. 

Before we get further into that, let’s back up a little bit and explore what it means to collaborate? What’s the definition here? And what are some of the elements that are needed for a successful collaboration? Okay, so what does it mean to collaborate? Collaboration is the process of two or more people, entities, or organizations working together to complete a task or achieve a goal. To put their ideas together and work together, tap into their networks, and spread their message faster across a more comprehensive number of people.

Now, let’s look at what that looks like in the performing arts. From my perspective, from when I was dancing, there was no such thing. There wasn’t even such thing in the studio. It was very individually focused, and the environment was cultivated that way. I would say, even when we’re dancing in the core, and we had to feel each other, we had to collaborate to create the picture of one unit. I remember the yelling consistently for us to “be one, feel each other.” I didn’t know how that was to work. How was I to figure it out, trying to feel each other? There was no grace, and no communication, no problem-solving. And little support at times. Because everybody was just so burned out, everybody had forgotten ‘their’ why we were in the studio, on stage. We had become numb to our ‘Why’; what was our purpose within the art form? Where we more there to collect a paycheck. And I think that’s where the problem started: why the company’s core values weren’t ours, nor did we know what they were. I don’t think we even had some, quite honestly. If we did, they weren’t enforced; nobody knew about them. And we did not embody them in many ways. 

So when I’m saying collaboration is a shortcut. It’s a shortcut to your success. It’s a shortcut to get to where you want to go faster, more effectively, with less friction, with more support more empowerment. I think that is precise, no I don’t think I believe I know that is exactly what we need in the performing arts more support financially. 

We’re begging donors to support us. What is needed is support from each other, we need mental support, we need communication, we need diversity, we need sharing expertise, we need sharing of where we are at what we’re struggling with. We need a supportive, supportive mindset. We need a problem-solving attitude. And with that, we can create more trust not only in each other but also within the organization. We can build more trust with our audience. Because when we are capable of showing up as a collective as a collaborative collective, that’s powerful, that is so powerful. And you can feel that and people will be attracted to it. It will create respect within. Within the leadership, within your audience, it will create a willingness to go an extra step, it will create a willingness to think outside the box, and it will create the willingness for people to be problem solvers. And not just to sit in the green room or a studio and complain. It will empower people to own the company. And when I say to own, I mean to have a sense of pride that they get to be there. You know what a big difference that makes when people understand that they get to be there, that they’re part of the solution, that they’re part of the creation, that they are part of something bigger that really matters. That is so empowering; people will go the extra mile, and I’m not talking about showing up crazy, or you know, doing all the things that we think artistic directors demand of us, to keep the job. No, it’s the empowerment to take care of ourselves. It’s the empowerment to really show up as the very best version of ourselves. It’s the empowerment to speak up. It’s the empowerment to feel worthy of being seen, heard, and loved. That’s the empowerment I’m talking about. It also will increase effective communication. Imagine the most minimal thing that we can have on a collaborative scale in the performing arts. Would it be a collaboration between the artistic staff and leadership and the actual artists, right? Then there’s no longer battling against each other, not trusting each other. But when we’re thinking of this as a collaboration, we are there for each other. And we will also gain the ability to communicate with each other and say, what we need, what we want, what we can create together, and why we’re here. It will build beautiful relationships where people feel safe, show up, speak up, stand in their power, and be better than they think they can be because they believe in the people they’re surrounding themselves with. That they have their back no matter what, they always will be seen, heard, and loved. 

I understand that collaborating with others is asking ourselves a lot. Meaning that it takes a specific ability in oneself, meaning letting go of your ego and understanding that you don’t have to do everything yourself. You can ask for help. That’s a new way of thinking. And in a way, it’s a different way of thinking, and it’s hard because you have to trust another person. You have to understand that they will have their best interest in mind. You also have to trust that they have your best interests in mind. And if you don’t have your best interests in mind, then how can they, and even if they have it, you will always come from a place of, well, will they really, you will always doubt that.

We would have a long way to go in terms of establishing great collaborations and performing arts. And I’m not only talking about, within companies, but I’m also talking about with other businesses, other arts organizations, sports organizations, sponsors. Where we’re not coming from a place of lack, you need to give me, and I’m just going to take that, but having a real true collaboration where there is an exchange of knowledge, products, beliefs, audiences, and so on. 

I’m going to leave this here. I would love to know what you think about that. I would love to see where you are at and collaborating. I would love to know what holds you back from collaborating. And I would be grateful if you could tag me after listening to this episode and let me know what resonates with you. And what kind of made you mad, like what triggered you? What is it that you disagree with? I want to know this is how we start a conversation. This is how we change things. I’m sending you so much love. Thank you for tuning in. 

I’m sending you so much ❤


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About Susanne Puerschel

Susanne Head shot

Susanne, Founder of Pointe To Rise, an Empowerment society for dancers and other artists, Wellness Entrepreneur, podcast host, former international ballerina, and an experienced principal chief executive officer had the privilege to grow up behind the iron curtain in Berlin, Germany.
She’s dedicating her time now, after working in cooperate America and running her own businesses, to building community among dancers and artists, providing mindset and high-performance coaching, and building a media company that will be the springboard to revitalizing the Arts.

👉 Follow Susanne on Instagram | Facebook 


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Past Episodes 

There is a better way to pursue ballet at the professional level. Instead of dancers pushing beyond their body’s limits, there is a healthier way to train your body, your mind and your spirit to soar. To become the best at your craft, you must be healthy. The mentality of surviving to make a performance perfect is an old paradigm that needs to change. As athletes, dancers must thrive in order to shine and connect with their audience. This new approach, leads to fulfillment, strength and longevity. It allows you to give more of your heart and soul on stage, creating an unforgettable experience that moves your audience. And that’s the whole pointe.