Stephen Petronio Company Teaching Residency

Ryan Pliss and Ernesto Breton in Stephen Petronio Company in Stephen Petronio’s AMERICAN LANDSCAPES. Photo by Ian Douglas.

Year: 2019-2020
DanceForce Member: Jacquie Davis
Artists: Stephen Petronio Company
Community Partner: The College at Brockport
Audience: 306
County: Monroe

This was the third of three projects that focus on Legacy, starting with Trisha Brown. Stephen Petronio was the perfect person to follow after other former company members Mariah Maloney, Irene Hultman, and Vicky Schick helped in the 2017 restaging and coaching of the signature Set and Reset/Reset with Brockport dancers. That was followed in 2018 by two sold out performances by the Trisha Brown Dance Company.

This project was designed to provide an experience with greater depth through an intensive full day teaching schedule with Stephen and three core company dancers – Tess Montoya, Jaqlin Medlock, and Nicholas Sciscione. February 7, 8, 9, 10 covered a four-day weekend that enabled college and community dancers to attend at least a part of the intensive workshop.

One highlight, in addition to technique and repertory classes, was a video supported talk by Stephen about his personal dance history and the Bloodlines Project he continues to develop in order to honor his mentors and other influential choreographers. The residency concluded with a company lec/dem and showing by the Intensive students. It was obvious from watching the participants that the experience with Stephen was deep and satisfying.

Planning was done collaboratively over an 18-month period by a small Brockport faculty committee and the company, especially education director Tess Montoya – detail after detail was covered in advance. Most advance outreach was done in the Western NY region through direct emails and social media beginning many months ahead so potential participants could include the offerings in their busy schedules. Registration was simplified by making everything available without fees. While most classes were limited to those who registered for the full Intensive, there were several drop-in classes and two presentations open to all.

Participant comments include “I love his work – what he does – I want to do it”. “The boldness and technical virtuosity of his work was modeled deeply and material was broken down and taught well”. “His telling of his own history and experience was done with generosity, love and open sharing.”

From the company: “This project really gave us an opportunity to deepen our engagement with our syllabus and also helped to reinforce our ability to engage the syllabus with our students. It was exciting to see how useful our approach can be for students at that age and level!”.