Choreographic Center Without Walls (CW²) Residencies for Two Choreographers

Rashaun Mitchell (Silas Riener) Photo by Robbie Campbell
Rashaun Mitchell (Silas Riener)
Photo by Robbie Campbell

Year: 2011-2012
DanceForce Member: Judy Hussie-Taylor
Artists: Benjamin Kimitch, Rashaun Mitchell
Community Partner: Kaatsbaan International Dance Center
Audience: 470
Counties: Dutchess, New York

For nearly four decades, Danspace Project (DSP) has been a foremost supporter of the creation and presentation of cutting-edge dance work. DSP’s home, the iconic St. Mark’s Church in the East Village of New York City, has been a reliable and flexible base for these activities. In 2009-2010, DSP launched the Choreographic Center Without Walls (CW²), a new framework for examining and re-invigorating dance presenting practices, and deepening the impact of our commissioning program. Residencies and partnerships are integral components of the CW².

In this light, DSP developed a residency partnership with Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli, NY. As stated in their mission: Kaatsbaan is a year-round facility dedicated to the growth, advancement and preservation of professional dance and provides a creative residence in an aesthetically inspirational and healthy working environment for dance-related artists from all disciplines and ethnic backgrounds.

For this project, DSP collaborated with Kaatsbaan to offer New York City-based choreographers Benjamin Kimitch and Rashaun Mitchell one-week residencies and work-in-progress showings. Mitchell’s residency took place April 7-13, 2012, with a work-in-progress showing held on Thursday, April 12. Kimitch’s residency was held May 21-27, 2012, with a work-in-progress showing on Thursday, May 24. DSP’s Executive Director, Judy Hussie-Taylor, selected the artists based on their current commissions with DSP and the artists’ need and availability for this generous time and space to develop their work. The artists received rehearsal space and housing for one week from Kaatsbaan. DSP provided an honorarium, per diem for up to four artists, transportation, and administrative support. The residencies had a very positive direct impact on the quality of the work produced, particularly with the type of dedicated work time provided by Kaatsbaan (away from the city, generous studio time and accommodations).

The residencies benefited local Hudson Valley community members, who were invited to attend work-in-progress showings at Kaatsbaan and participate in a post-performance discussion. New York City audiences also benefited from this project with Rashaun Mitchell’s performance of Nox at DSP May 10-12, 2012. The premiere was very successful with sold out crowds and a long wait list each night (which DSP was able to accommodate). Benjamin Kimitch’s work is scheduled to premiere during DSP’s 2012-13 season. The target audience for this project was Hudson Valley audiences and New York City-based artists and audiences. A total of approximately 470 people participated in this project.