Providing an Upstate Residency to the Bessie Juried Award Winner

Abby Zbikowski. Photo by Effy Falck

Year: 2018-2019
DanceForce Member: Toni Smith
Artist: Abby Zbikowski
Community Partners: The Egg, Albany; UAlbany Department of Music and Theatre; UAlbany Performing Arts Center
Audience: 150
County: Albany

My project, Providing an Upstate Residency to the Bessie Juried Award Winner, provides a five-day residency in Albany to Abby Z and the New Utility from November 29 through December 4, 2018. It will include a performance of “Abandoned Playground” as part of the Dance in Albany series presented collaboratively each year by The Egg and the UAlbany Performing Arts Center. The company will also teach a master class to students taking a dance class at UAlbany through the Department of Music and Theatre. This class had been eliminated from the course offerings about ten years ago and has just been reinstated.

In discussions with Abby Zbikowski, it became very apparent that the company’s most pressing need at this point in their growth is time and space to focus on creative process. With dancers scattered around the country and Abby teaching in the Midwest, the company’s time together is limited and at a premium. The five days in Albany will help them prepare for the performance at UAlbany as well as one shortly after at Bryn Mawr College. It will also give them time to work together in a performance space on “Radioactive Practice,” a new work that is being considered for National Dance Project support and is set to premiere at New York Live Arts in the 2019-20 season. This opportunity to have unrestricted time and space early in the creation process is invaluable and deeply appreciated by the company.

While the Capital Region community will have exposure to the artists through the performance and the master class, this project focuses primarily on the needs of the artists. It reinforces the DanceForce’s commitment to the Bessie Juried Award winner and provides funding and resources to this company at a critical juncture in their development.