If 2016 means more dance and more spaces for dance, that’s “Happy New Year” enough for me. And it looks like that’s the case. This week, two prominent forces in modern dance, Urban Bush Women and Stephen Petronio, announced plans to launch choreographic programs that will support new work and new choreographers.
Urban Bush Women’s Choreographic Center, though not a physical space, will partner with institutions across the country to develop women choreographers of color. UBW is the perfect organization for such a project—the company’s founder (and 2015 DM Award winner) Jawole Willa Jo Zollar has created a legacy of nurturing the young black women in her company as choreographers. If anyone can change the landscape of modern dance to support the work of more women of color, it’s her and her team.
Stephen Petronio’s new project takes a vastly different approach—the choreographer has begun a $3 million fundraising campaign to create a physical residence in Pawling, NY, where artists will be able to live and work for long periods of time. But Petronio has a plan to fund this ambitious venture. Visual artist Anish Kapoor has donated a sculpture (inspired by a Petronio work, Strange Attractors,) that will sell for around $1 million. Other artists are expected to follow suit. This model is smart—collaborating with visual artists whose work is valued at a high price to support dance work that is notoriously underfunded—and hopefully will be used in the future in other contexts.
Let’s hope the new year brings more good dance news!