Sep 7, 2017
Arts Council, Dance

This Arts Council grant supports a Contemporary Dance Residency focused on multidisciplinary work, dance and social justice. This project was proposed by Kim Brooks Mata, Head and Artistic Director of the Dance Program at UVA. 

After the transformative 4-day residency with Dance Exchange this past February, the Dance program at UVA is  eager to continue its efforts to bring vibrant, engaging, active dance artists to grounds to provide  students with experiences that open their minds to new and exciting methodologies for dancemaking and creative practice.

This past year UVA’s dance program brought in artists who are committed to making art in and with community, through intergenerational dance creation that focuses on social issues. Dancers were deeply impacted by this residency and were highly motivated by the opportunity to explore dancemaking in relation to issues of social justice.

Another area of interest for dance faculty and students with regards to current trends within the field of dance has to do with inviting artists who work across disciplines. This is a highly relevant area not only within the professional world of dance, but in academia as well.

The program hopes to bring artists to grounds who will not only increase the visibility and influence of the Arts, but also expose the community to new ways of seeing, experiencing,  and perceiving the world through art making practices. Bringing in an artist who collaborates across disciplines would likely increase interest and participation by students and faculty from a wide range of departments and disciplines while inviting dancers on grounds to expand upon their understanding of the art of dance.

With the support of the Arts Council, the Department of Drama’s Dance Program seeks to bring 1 to 2 professional contemporary dance artists to grounds to conduct master classes, workshops, hold brown bag sessions and potentially set a work on some of our students. Inviting artists engaged with dance in multidisciplinary work, and/or who are actively engaged in dance and social justice issues will provide students with access to new ideas, practices and perceptions of dance as an interdisciplinary, collaborative art form.

While the experiences gained from our current dance faculty are most certainly valuable to our student body, offering them intimate, transformative learning experiences with respected contemporary dance artists offers them new perspectives and invaluable insights into the state of the field for dance artists outside of a university setting.

Our hope is to expose our students to contemporary artists in order to broaden their understanding of the creative process and current practices in relation to multidisciplinary dance projects and/or the use of dance (both practice and choreography) to address issues of social justice. These residencies also provide our students with valuable networking opportunities and the hopes of future possibilities for acceptance to workshops, intensives and internships. At least one invited artist, in addition to offering workshops and master classes, will be asked to set a work on a number of our students.

A few of the artists UVA’s Dance program intends to or already has approached, are listed below.

Susan Marshall:

As artistic director of Susan Marshall & Company, Marshall has, since 1985, created over 40 dances on her company, and has also created works for the Lyon Opera Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, and Mikhail Baryshnikov. In its home base of NYC, the company has performed most frequently at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (six seasons), and Dance Theater Workshop, as well as at The Joyce Theater, The Kitchen, and Baryshnikov Arts Center; it has also toured extensively across the US and overseas, including appearances at the Edinburgh Festival, Spoleto Festival, and Pina Bausch’s Internationales Tanzfestival NRW.

A 2000 recipient of a MacArthur fellowship, Marshall has received numerous other awards, including three New York Dance and Performance Awards (BESSIES) for Outstanding Choreographic Achievement. In addition to her own company’s work, Marshall serves as Director of Dance at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, having assumed that post in September 2009.

Paloma McGregor:

Paloma McGregor is a choreographer, writer and organizer living in Harlem. An eclectic artist, she has structured improvisation for a floating platform in the Bronx River, choreographed an Afro-futurist pop opera at The Kitchen and devised a multidisciplinary performance work about food justice with three dozen community members and students at UC Berkeley.

A collaborator by nature and practice, Paloma has worked extensively with her sister, director Patricia McGregor, as well as with Niegel Smith, multidisciplinary artists Mendi+Keith Obadike and LaTasha Nevada Diggs, musician/cultural critic Greg Tate and environmental educator Damian Griffin.

Check back for more information on this Arts Council-funded project’s unfolding timeline.

The Arts Council provides advocacy, advice, and support in the Arts at the University of Virginia. It strives to develop and strengthen the bonds of interest and participation among the Arts Departments, their associated programs,  and their alumni and friends; to advocate on their behalf; to advise and assist with communications; and to help raise funds in support of academic programs, facilities, and special events. Among its multitude of arts advocacy efforts, the Council awards annual Arts Council Grants. These grants have, and continue to play an instrumental role in a number of  residencies, workshops, project and research-based endeavors proposed across Arts Grounds annually. This series of articles will highlight each funded project and serve to inform the UVA community of their unique timelines, progress and outcome reports.

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