Hettie Barnhill in Residence

Hettie Barnhill. Photo by Robert Gertler.
Hettie Barnhill. Photo by Robert Gertler.

Year: 2023-2024
DanceForce Member: Robin Collen
Artists: Hettie Barnhill, Kerri Canedy
Community Partner: SUNY Potsdam
Audience: 335
County: St. Lawrence

Choreographer Hettie Barnhill will be in residence at SUNY Potsdam to choreograph a dance for a student cast and teach 3 workshops in Afro-Modern Dance Technique. She will audition dancers over Zoom on January 27, 2024, and then be in residence March 9-15. During this time, she will teach a Monday, Wednesday, Friday workshop, 1:00-2:45, on Afro-Modern Dance Technique to a mixed-level class of students. She will rehearse her cast 6 times: March 10 (11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) and March 11 through March 15 (6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.). Between March 16 and April 20, Ms. Barnhill’s cast will rehearse under the direction of Kerri Canedy, an instructor in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Ms. Barnhill will return to Potsdam. On April 22, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. she will rehearse with her cast and meet with the technical director/lighting designer. The students will perform Ms. Barnhill’s work 4 times in a concert of works choreographed by dance faculty and senior dance majors, May 2-5, 2024.

The principal artists are Hettie Barnhill and Kerri Canedy.

This project is partnering with the SUNY Potsdam Department of Theatre and Dance.

Regarding communities and/or special populations served, Ms. Barnhill identifies as a Black, queer woman. Her choreographic projects require participants to engage in honest and frank conversations about their identities and the social and political milieux in which they live. This project—in specific, the choreographic element—will be relevant to all populations, but it will be particularly meaningful for non-White, queer-identifying participants.

Audience size for all activities is estimated to be 335.

This project is significant to Ms. Barnhill because she was in residence at SUNY Potsdam in September 2022, teaching, and choreographing. The students greatly enjoyed her as both a teacher and choreographer, but they were disappointed because their time together was limited. First, Ms. Barnhill offered only one workshop on Afro-Modern Dance Technique and the students felt like they had just barely been introduced to the style. Second, members of the cast in Ms. Barnhill’s choreography were disheartened that they did not have more time to develop the work and perform it in a more complete state; rather, they performed a rough version in a very informal venue. Ms. Barnhill had the same feelings as did the students and greatly hoped to return to Potsdam to continue what she had started. This residency would give her that opportunity. In Ms. Barnhill’s absence, Kerri Canedy will rehearse the dance. Ms. Canedy has been a dance professional in the North Country of St. Lawrence County since 2009 as a faculty member of St. Lawrence University (in Canton) for 11 years, and currently as a member of the SUNY Potsdam faculty. She is familiar with, and highly respectful of Ms. Barnhill’s work as a teacher and choreographer and is excited to have the experience of collaborating with her as a rehearsal director.