Sep 17, 2018
Arts Council, Dance

This Arts Council-funded Project is entitled Residency: Multidisciplinary/Media Work, Set Original Work on Students.  The project was proposed by Kim Brooks Mata, Head and Artistic Director of the Dance Program at UVA. 

Each year, the Dance Program’s engagement with dance artists through these intensive, yet rich 3-5 day residencies have contributed greatly to their program and have left indelible marks on each of the individuals who have 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 moments for students who have limited access to professional working artists outside of their faculty interactions. For this reason, the program hopes to continue to build upon this momentum and excitement by establishing new relationships and opportunities for students to learn from practicing dance artists.

An area of interest for faculty and students with regards to current trends within the field of dance has to do with inviting artists who work across disciplines or create multi-media dance works. 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. Bringing in an artist who collaborates across disciplines or who works with dance and multi-media would likely increase interest and participation by students and faculty from a wide range of departments and disciplines while inviting our dance students to expand upon their understanding of dance and their current skill set.

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 set a work on some of our students. We hope to bring at least 1 artist who is engaged with dance in multidisciplinary work, and/or who are actively engaged in dance and multi-media to expose our students to new ideas, practices and perceptions of dance as an interdisciplinary, collaborative art form. 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 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 15 through our program concerts.

There are a number of artists that the dance program is interested in bringing to grounds in relation to this project. We have listed a few of the artists we intend to approach or have already approached below, to give the Arts Council an idea of next year’s potential dance artists in residence.

Susan Marshall has a history of creating interesting multidisciplinary work in collaboration with musicians, visual artists, and designers and would be particularly timely, relevant and engaging for our students. Last year we were unable to get our schedules to work together. Hopefully we will have better luck this year.

Susan Marshall Bio

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. Marshall’s work with Philip Glass includes the stage direction of “Book of Longing,” a song cycle based on the poetry of Leonard Cohen; and the choreography, direction and co-adaptation of “Les Enfants Terribles,” a dance opera based on the work of Jean Cocteau. Marshall has also choreographed/directed the music ensembles Eighth Blackbird and Bang on a Can’s Asphalt Orchestra. 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.

Bridgman/Packer Dance

“Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer, Guggenheim Fellows in Choreography, are acclaimed for their innovative integration of choreography and video technology that explodes the partnering form into a magically populated stage where image and reality collide.” –

Art Bridgman and Myrna Packer, Artistic Directors of Bridgman|Packer Dance, have collaborated as performers and choreographers since 1978. Their innovative work developing “Video Partnering” — the integration of live performance and video technology — has been acclaimed for its highly visual and visceral alchemy of the live and the virtual. They are recipients of a 2017 New York Dance and Performance Award (The Bessies) for Outstanding Production for Voyeur at The Sheen Center.

The 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship awarded to Bridgman and Packer was the first in the history of the Guggenheim Foundation to be given to two individuals for their collaborative work. Bridgman and Packer are recipients of ten grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (2007-2017) and grants from New England Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council for the Arts, National Dance Project, USArtists International, Performing Americas Project, and La Red. They have received two Choreography Fellowships and a BUILD grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts, four National Performance Network Creation Fund Awards, and choreographic commissions from Dance Theater Workshop (now New York Live Arts), Portland Ovations, Danspace Project, and the 92nd Street Y New Works in Dance Fund.

Helen Simoneau – While we have had the privilege of working with Helen 4 years ago, her company has continued to grow and her work develop to the point that we think it would be valuable for our students to work with her once more.

“Described as “a Choreographer-on-the-rise” with a style that is both “athletic and smooth” — Dance Magazine, Helen Simoneau has enjoyed her company’s global presence over the last 7 years. Founded in 2010, HELEN SIMONEAU DANSE (HSDanse) is committed to creating and performing compelling dance works of it’s founder 16 and choreographer Helen Simoneau and has been presented in Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and toured throughout Germany, Asia, and the United States. The company has been commissioned by The Juilliard School, Oregon Ballet Theatre, the American Dance Festival, UNC School of the Arts, The Yard, Springboard Danse Montréal, and the Swiss International Coaching Project (SiWiC) in Zurich. Most recently, Simoneau was resident artist at Baryshnikov Arts Center, Bates Dance Festival and has received fellowships from The NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts, the Bogliasco Foundation, as well as twice from the North Carolina Arts Council. Notable venues that have presented Simoneau’s work include The Guggenheim Museum (NYC), Dance Place (DC), Joyce SoHo (NYC), Tangente (Montréal), The Aoyama Round Theatre (Tokyo), the L.I.G. Art Hall Busan (South Korea), Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out (MA), PACT-Zollverein in Essen (Germany), and Athens International Dance Festival (Greece). Her work was also presented at the 13th Internationales Solo-Tanz-Theatre Festival in Stuttgart, Germany, where she was awarded 1st place for Choreography.


“The work I create is inspired and informed by a fascination with the intricacies of relationships and the vast spectrum of human dynamics. Through dance making I explore ways of expressing and sharing the ways we, as individuals, interact and relate to the larger group. Proximity, intimacy and personal space have been ongoing and appealing catalysts for me as they establish a visceral tension between performers and between the stage and the audience.

Much of my work is created on ensembles of three to as many as twelve or more dancers, and I enjoy sculpting and directing these from the outside, developing each performer’s distinctive characteristics and honing the energy of the group. While I find it essential to be an outside choreographic eye for these works, I frequently dance in my own solos and duets and relish pushing my own physicality to extremes, experiencing the work from the inside.

I am deeply invested in the energies and possibilities that emerge from collaboration and strive to work within a collaborative environment with dancers in order to further utilize their curiosity and decision-making. Although my work begins with form, an underlying meaning or “through line” emerges during the creation process. Committed to supporting, creating and holding space in an effort to cultivate agency and build a sense of shared ownership of the work, I view my art making as a political act and strive for a workspace grounded in horizontally based organizational hierarchies. The work I create embraces a democratic process and highlights a vibrant physicality, intricate craft and striking imagery”.-Helen

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.

The hope of the project is to expose 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 multi-media dance practices. 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.

As mentioned above, we intend to ask the artists to hold an open brown bag or presentation/discussion about their work. We will invite the university and local communities to these sessions in order to increase visibility and access. Additionally, the community will be exposed to these artist’s works through the performance of their choreography in our semesterly programmatic concerts, as well as through the impact that they inevitably will have on the work of our student choreographers.

This project brings regional attention to the University of Virginia and the UVA Arts Grounds, as well as the Department of Drama and its beautiful state of the art facilities. Residencies such as this convey to our community and the region that UVA is committed to exposing its students and the community that it serves to engaging regionally and nationally recognized artists. These residencies also enable us to attract more artists to work with our students. When visiting artists spread the word of the caliber of our students and program through their networks, it is easier for us to entice other dance artists to come in the future. Hosting residencies such as the proposed is also enticing to prospective students interested in the arts and it shows that Dance is a vital part of the university.

Attendance at the master classes, workshops, brown-bags/discussions and the performance will provide us with an idea of the number of students and community members affected by this residency. Students will be asked to provide written feedback regarding their experiences in the various events to learn how students were impacted by their participation in this residency.

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 2018-2019 Arts Council Grants Awarded Arts Council Logo