This past year, with the support of the Arts Council, we were able to expose our students to 5 professional dance artists through intensive, yet rich 3-8 day residencies that contributed greatly to our program and left indelible marks on each of the individuals who interacted with the artists or witnessed their work in performance. These moments of exchange with artists from the field are some of the more important experiences for our students who have limited access to professional working artists outside of their faculty interactions. For this reason, we seek to continue to build upon this momentum and excitement by establishing new relationships and opportunities for our students to learn from practicing dance artists in the coming year. An area of interest for faculty and students has to do with the practice of dance performance and the power this embodied form has to project, complicate, construct, and deconstruct notions of identity (race, gender, etc.). We hope to bring artists to grounds who will not only help to increase the visibility and influence of the Arts, but also expose our community to new ways of seeing, experiencing, and perceiving the world through art making practices. By bringing artists to grounds who can model the ability to synthesize theory with practice through their creative processes, we hope to spark new conversations regarding the nature of embodied performance, and how the practice of this art form can disrupt, reinforce, reimagine, and replicate preconceived notions of the body in motion. With the support of the Arts Council, the Department of Drama’s Dance Program seeks to bring 1 to 2 groups of professional contemporary dance artists to grounds. We have begun to reach out to a few possible artists who are listed below. Depending on funding, availability, and scheduling, we will either seek to present 1 or 2 of the modules/pieces from Netta Yerushalmy’s lecture-performances Paramodernities or invite two separate solo dance artists to grounds to either present a work or set a piece of choreography engaging students in their creative process. The two solo artists we are considering are Christopher K. Morgan and Shayla-Vie Jenkins.
We intend to have the artists not only work directly with our dance students through master classes and workshops, but to also host open brown bag sessions,performances or discussions about their current work(s). We also hope to have at least one artist set a choreographic work on our students to be shared with the university and local communities through one of our program concerts.
Bringing Netta Yerushalmy and five other artists to grounds was a significant learning experience for our students. She engaged some of our student body in her creative process by offering a composition workshop that challenged our students comfort zones in relation to making and creating work and proved to be impactful on the projects that they presented in class the week following the residency. Students were also further pulled into her process and work through the artist talk that she gave focused on her trajectory as an artist and the development of her work Paramodernities. And finally the concert was well attended by students from across grounds – dance minors, architecture students, music students, art and art history students in addition to faculty and community members.Composition workshop – 13 students attended Guest Artist Talk – 30 students and faculty attendedPerformance of the first 2 installments of Paramodernities – 119 people attended. There were first through fourth year students and alumni in attendance.
Performance of the first 2 installments of Paramodernities –119 people attended, including students, faculty members (from our institution and peer institutions – VCU, UofR), alumni and community members. Of the entire audience, approximately half of them stayed following the performance for a discussion about the work and their impressions with the artists for about 45 minutes. These conversations then continued on in the lobby for the reception. It was incredibly encouraging to witness these conversations continuing for so long and so many people staying to take part in them.
I thought that this was an extremely successful residency. The workshop and guest artist talk impacted 45 students and a few faculty in addition to the well-attended evening performance and discussion session. The dialogue that took place following this performance was one that addressed highly relevant topics in the arts and our community dealing with agency, gender, the politics of the body on stage amongst others. It was stimulating to take part in and felt as though we were helping to move the conversation forward for many present who engage with the arts to help makes sense of the world around them. Thank you so much for making this valuable experience possible!
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.See all 2019-2020 Arts Council Grants Awarded