Gillian Walsh Residency at Petronio Residency Center

Gillian Walsh. Photo by Res.

Year: 2022-2023
DanceForce Member: Judy Hussie-Taylor
Artist: Gillian Walsh
Community Partner: Petronio Residency Center
Audience: 354
County: Greene

With the support of DanceForce, Danspace Project facilitated and supported a week-long residency at Petronio Residency Center (PRC) for emerging choreographer Gillian Walsh in June 2023. Walsh worked with four collaborators–Neal Medlyn, Richard Maxwell, Brianna Lux, and Emma Cohen–during this concentrated period to develop a new work she is creating for a premiere at Danspace Project, slated for fall 2023. This was the last residency held at PRC, which had to close operations shortly after, and represented a special conclusion to a long partnership between Danspace and PRC.

Walsh shared: “I had an incredible time at PRC… The fact that food and travel were taken off the table as things to worry about in the day to day planning left so much extra time and mind space to deepen the work. It accelerated the process from just the material development phase to the show development phase–a huge turning point. It was just beautiful and bonding and special.”

Petronio shared: “Gillian Walsh was PRC’s final residency and I can’t think of a more inspiring and fiery creator to support. Getting to spend a little time with her during her stay was completely assuring in regards to the future of groundbreaking dance. Her voice is exactly the kind that needs our support and we will be repaid in kind. I am deeply grateful to Judy and the Danspace team and DanceForce support for understanding what it takes To care for artists!”

This was Walsh’s first out-of-town and fully funded group residency, which provided a key opportunity for her to deepen her work with her collaborators. Like many, Walsh’s process has often been characterized by patching together different resources and spaces in order to pull together significant rehearsal time. She expressed deep gratitude for the chance to focus on her work this way, using the studio for many hours throughout the week.

PRC’s residency has amenities that are unique: a chef prepares all meals, the private studio is open to artists at all hours, and there are multiple bedrooms so that artists can have their own space. Sadly, Walsh’s residency was the last at PRC, which had to close its operations shortly after. The six-year partnership between PRC and Danspace has been special, and in Petronio’s words, “joyful, open, and proactive,” and with a shared commitment to “the care and support of artists.” This partnership was only possible with the support of DanceForce, which made supporting artists in pivotal stages of their career a reality.

Walsh and Danspace’s curatorial team had discussed the possibilities of finding new connections within Hudson Valley’s religious communities to further Walsh’s theological research and to inform her new work (Walsh is currently a MA candidate in Theological Studies). However, due to the tumultuous moment for PRC, significant scheduling issues including limited time and resources, and the ongoing challenges of forging new partnerships in our post pandemic world, the desired community engagement activities did not take place. That being said, Walsh and Petronio formed a new connection, linking artists from different parts of the state.

Also due to scheduling shifts, Walsh’s premiere will now take place in fall 2023. This performance will be deeply informed by the work she did during the residency, and we anticipate it will reach approximately 225 audience members.