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Cover image for Company XV — Grant Report #1
Jakari Sherman for Company XV Dance

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Company XV — Grant Report #1

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Hello Everyone!

Company XV is a virtual dance company with XV designating an eXperiment in Virtual Dance. We strive to be an artist-first company. We do this by making our artists the face of our company and by giving them agency in the development of our season. We began this incredible exploration at the top of this year.

Artistic and administrative planning began in January 2022. The development phase included staff confirmation in March, website completion, and onboarding artists in April. The project moved from development to implementation in June with our debut performance. The administrative staff now meets weekly and we have released two additional digital works on the Co.XV website.

We experienced some initial challenges in hiring. Some shortlisted artists were not available, others confirmed participation but their offer was reneged when they did not submit required documents. Website development also created delays in our expected launch due to a few technical issues and content creation delays.

We’ve experienced a few challenges related to Coil and the web monetization process, in general. We designed our system around the ability to offer tiered subscriptions to our content, hoping to streamline that process by acting as a payment bridge for new Coil accounts. Several factors have impeded that plan, but essentially the Subscription-to-Coil-to-Content pipeline has proved cumbersome. Additionally, we must acknowledge apprehensions and a lack of familiarity with cryptocurrencies within our communities that create barriers to adoption. We’ve addressed this with more careful guidance through the process not only to ease their concerns, but so they can better advocate for Co.XV and web monetization in the future. We acknowledge that prospective subscribers may find the Coil set up to be a barrier to viewing our work. The administrative staff is currently seeking ways to address this, including the creation of a “How-To” guide that lives on our website and linked on our Instagram page.

Progress on Objectives
The Company is still operating with the objective of democratizing the relationship between the company, artists, and patrons. As we continue to determine processes and administration systems, we are gathering input from the artists. We have set a weekly artist meeting to maintain engagement and feedback.

The company has been successful thus far in operating 90% virtually. All internal operations and meetings have been conducted virtually, primarily through Google Meet. We have released two digital works to-date with two more set to launch over the next two months. Co.XV now has 255 followers on Instagram.

Key Activities

  • The Company XV website launched June 2022.
  • Two digital works have been released to the public.
  • We are currently in production for two additional short digital works and one full-length work.
  • Co.XV artists’ “fan” pages are monetized and artists have begun receiving micropayments for their engagement.

Communications and Marketing
We are still marketing to gain followers on social media. Co.XV now has 255 followers on Instagram. We have scheduled social media engagement that includes Instagram Lives and collaboration posts. The artists are instrumental in our marketing efforts, and we’ve learned the importance of understanding artists’ digital identity to better align company strategies with their personal/professional social objectives. Additionally, we have been able to showcase Company XV in two live dance showcases - the Barnstorm Dance Festival in Houston, TX and the Kennedy Center Millenium stage in Washington, DC. Rather than implement a PR campaign during the foundational period of the company, we will focus those efforts around the release of the upcoming digital works. Marketing funds have been spent on producing introduction videos and trailers.

What’s Next?
In line with our name, Company XV, we have set release dates on the 15th of each month. The first two works were released on June 15 and July 15, 2022. The third and fourth will be released on August 15 and September 15, and the final full-length work on October 15. In this next phase of the project, we are focused on marketing, building our social media following and increasing subscriptions.

Community Support
Marketing is probably the area most in need of support at this stage. Social media marketing, in particular, is the area where we have the greatest room for growth. Any strategic partnerships in this area, or connections with an experienced consultant would be very helpful. We also encourage you to visit, subscribe and check out our work!

Top comments (2)

chrislarry profile image
Chris Lawrence

Have you considered doing away with the subscription/tier model and making your content open. But then using WM as a way to support (like an NPR/PBS model). That might help that onboarding users and the motivation is different because its not to "see the content" but rather to support it and see more. Just a thought.

Also I am sure @casey_herd @ericahargreave @creativelivingfordancers Might have some thoughts here.

Also maybe ILF should host a virtual performance and we can figure out a way to WM it! Let us know if that is interesting.

jkco613 profile image
Jakari Sherman

Now that the work of producing this content is behind us, I love the idea making the content open both as a way to increase exposure and to extend the life and reach of the works. I think we'll have more capacity to explore other models as we move forward.

I'd also love to explore a virtual performance/screening hosted by ILF. We're working on a couple other virtual and in-person engagements around the final film piece in the spring, so perhaps we can make some connections.