Most dance companies make money by selling tickets to their performances. Boise-based troupe Trey McIntyre Project has a more expansive business model: "We've decided that we have a real asset, which is the creative process itself. We're selling that," says John Michael Schert, the company's co-founder and executive director.
Some corporate giants are interested in the pitch. The University of Chicago Booth Business School recently brought Schert in for advice on getting inspired, and several Boise businesses have teamed up with the dance company.
"Artists live the whole process of inspiration. We decided to refine it as a tool," says Schert, a former dancer himself. "We want companies to understand what they are creating, whether it is a marketing strategy or a healthcare policy, and get them to think about where they get hung up, and how to find ways around those stopping points to come up with new ideas."
At Aetna, the dance troupe's work is intended to be more hands-on -- literally. The health insurance company's philanthropic foundation is in discussions with TMP about training thousands of the company's doctors and nurses on improving their patient interactions. The goal, says Schert, would be to help them learn to ready body language and reduce their patients' stress.
The troupe's creativity about its own business model has certainly helped its bottom line: The group is aiming to have its corporate business account for a third of TMP's $2.25 million annual budget.
Schert is bullish about how the business-and-art synergy can pay off for both sides.
"We're changing the role of the artist," he says. "We can help with how ideas are generated and harnessed. It helps companies, and it helps artists state their value."
Read the entire article at CNN Money.
*Photo courtesy of Trey McIntyre Project.