Upping the ante on dance coverage and conversation

Join thINKingDANCE this Spring For In-Person Events in Philly!

tD is partnering with Philadelphia Dance Projects to host THREE WRITE BACK ATCHAs this Spring! Our next  is on Wednesday June 26th  at 7pm after Dance Up Close: Lily Kind.  

Open Call for New Writers - Closed

by Kalila Kingsford Smith

Now Closed

thINKingDANCE is seeking 10-15 new writers to join our Philly-based organization and we encourage you to apply if you:

  • Are interested in both dance and writing
  • Are looking to regularly practice constructive critique
  • Want to be in a community of writers who develop writing and editing skills together
  • Want to delve into salient questions in the field of dance writing
  • Want to influence the quality of thinking reflected in tD publications
  • Value risk taking and experimentation in the practice of dance writing
  • Have lived experiences in American vernacular dance, Indigenous dance forms, African diasporic dance, percussive dance forms, folk dance, social dance, street dance, and concert dance, among others.
  • Are aligned with our mission statement

You do not have to be based in Philadelphia to apply, however, of our new cohort, we aim to accept 75% who plan to review performances in Philadelphia and 25% based in other areas.

What do we expect of thINKingDANCE writers?

  • tD holds quarterly mandatory virtual meetings on a Saturday from 11-1pm ET.
  • Between each quarterly meeting, writers will join thINKingDANCE “pods” which will meet two times each quarter.
  • New writers are expected to contribute 8-10 articles per year, featuring a variety of formats: performance reviews, interviews, news, thINK pieces, book and film reviews.
  • Writers are invited to participate as editors after completing an editor training.
  • Writers are invited to participate thINKingDANCE’s fundraising and development, communications and public relations, public programing, bookkeeping, and editorial board. Participation in any of these roles is paid hourly. Leadership in these areas is open to any writer demonstrating an interest in sustaining our organization.

How do thINKingDANCE writers benefit from being involved?

  • Financial: Each writer is paid $50 / article; each editor is paid $15 / article; administrative labor is paid $15 / hour; leadership roles are paid $18 / hour
  • Development: Writers engage in regular educational workshops with leading dance writers to support the development of writing practices. Each article published goes through a thoughtful editing process, with two editors providing supportive dialogue for each article’s development.
  • Recognition: Writers publish their work on the tD website (read worldwide).
  • Community: Writers gain membership in a writing community that values collective leadership, access and engagement, creativity, innovation, and leading change in the industry of dance criticism.
  • Access: Writers receive press access to tickets at a range of performances and film screenings in Philadelphia and beyond, and access to books when writing book reviews.
  • Impact: Writers for thINKingDANCE make an impact on the local dance community, providing avenues for emerging, mid-career, and established artists to receive written coverage of their works. Writers have significant agency to choose topics to cover and can use their platform at tD to increase visibility for forms that are historically marginalized in criticism (e.g. drag, Indigenous dance, African diasporic dance, percussive dance etc.)

To Apply:

Send an email titled “tD Writer Call 2023” with the following materials to: Kalila Kingsford Smith, director@thinkingdance.net

  • Main Writing Sample: Watch this short dance video and write a performance review, 500 words maximum. Demonstrate your ability to describe, interpret, and analyze what you see.
  • Statement of Purpose/Cover Letter: In your cover letter, please address the following questions:
    • How are you engaging with our mission?
    • What perspective do you think you bring to the organization?
    • What is your relationship with dance in Philadelphia?
    • How do you think your unique position would benefit our organization?
  • Resume/CV
  • Optional Additional Writing Samples
    • Feel free to include any additional reviews or other pieces of writing you have written in the past. However, we will be focusing our review process on the main writing sample.
  • Interest in Administrative Work: Do you have any interest and expertise in working on any of the following aspects of thINKingDANCE’s work? Editorial, Finance/Bookkeeping, Operations, Special Projects & Outreach, Fundraising & Grant Writing, HR & Staff Development, Education & Workshops, Communications, Website Design

Criteria for Selection:

  • Writing sample demonstrates a distinctive voice, perspective, curiosity, evocative description, interpretation, and analysis.
  • Potential for committed engagement and willingness to grow with and contribute to the internal culture of this Philadelphia-based organization.
  • Demonstration of particular interest in our mission statement and/or a meaningful interest in uplifting or covering artists who are indigenous, queer, artists of color, and/or artists with disabilities.

If you have previously applied to thINKingDANCE, you are encouraged to apply; if you have previously worked with thINKingDANCE, but have not been in the writer’s room within the last 5 years, please submit an application. If you are interested in engaging in some of our other leadership or administrative activities, please note that our pathways to leadership typically start with making written contributions to thINKingDANCE; we encourage you to apply as a writer first. If you would like to be considered for an internship with thINKingDANCE, please indicate that in your cover letter.

Deadline to apply:

Please submit materials by July 21st. You will be notified of your acceptance by August 21st.   After acceptance, there will be a new writer training meeting on zoom in late August or early September. You are expected to start writing in Fall of 2023.



thINKingDANCE is a collective of independent writers who produce media about dance in its broadest sense. Founded in 2011, we publish a digital journal focused on the Philadelphia area. Our mission is to:

  • Meaningfully contribute to the creative ecosystem by marking the presence of dance and movement-based arts
  • Innovate and foster the practice of dance writing in traditional and experimental forms
  • Work to dismantle dance criticism's status as a gatekeeper by engaging performing artists and writers who have historically been sidelined

We pursue these goals by training together through peer-critique sessions, workshops with guest educators, and a two-tiered editing process. thINKingDANCE is a place where ideas thrive, where editors and writers engage one another in transformative dialogue, and where we imagine a more just dance media landscape.

By Kalila Kingsford Smith
June 13, 2023

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