Two-week Artist Residency at Mount Tremper Arts and Danspace Project Premiere

Clarinda Mac Low - A DINOSAUR ATTACKS A LIGHTHOUSE - photo by Paula Lobo
Clarinda Mac Low – A DINOSAUR ATTACKS A LIGHTHOUSE – photo by Paula Lobo

Year: 2012-2013
DanceForce Member: Judy Hussie-Taylor
Artist: Clarinda Mac Low
Community Partner: Mount Tremper Arts
Audience: 378
Counties:New York, Ulster

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 CW².

In this light, DSP developed a residency partnership with Mt. Tremper Arts, Inc. in Mt. Tremper, NY. Set amid the rustic setting of the Catskill Mountains, the festival promotes local tourism while acting as a laboratory for contemporary artists. Mt. Tremper Arts’ (MTA) mission is to provide a cultural center to support contemporary artists in the creation and presentation of new works of art. They fulfill this mission in part by supporting and producing the Mount Tremper Arts Festival, an annual summer festival celebrating the contemporary arts through the integration of performances, exhibitions, artist residencies, and educational programming; and by providing space and time for artists to create new works of art and explore aesthetic questions through an Artist-In-Residence program.

For this project, DSP collaborated with MTA to offer New York City-based choreographer/director Clarinda Mac Low a two-week Creative Development Residency with a work-in-progress showing. Mac Low’s residency took place May 26 – June 10, 2012, with a work-in-progress showing held on Saturday, June 9. DSP’s Executive Director, Judy Hussie-Taylor, selected Mac Low based on her current commission with DSP and the artist’s need and availability for this generous time and space to develop her work. Mac Low received rehearsal space and housing for two weeks from MTA, including a residency honorarium awarded by DSP. An additional honorarium was provided by DSP to be allocated to Mac Low’s collaborators as a per diem for transportation and administrative support. The residency had a very positive, direct impact on the quality of the work produced (see Artist Input), particularly with the type of environment and dedicated work time provided by MTA (away from the city, generous studio time and accommodations).

The residencies benefited local Catskills community members, who were invited to attend the work-in-progress showing at MTA and join a post-performance pizza and bonfire reception. New York City audiences also benefited from this project with Mac Low’s performance of 40 Dancers do 40 Dances for the Dancers at DSP September 13-15, 2012. Mac Low’s piece involved over 40 collaborators, providing a cross-section of several generations of downtown NYC performers. Several writers remarked a communal and familial feeling to the three evenings: “40 Dancers is family-friendly—in fact, family-inclusive—and has a way of turning even seniors into tiny kids” (Eva Yaa Asantewaa, The premiere was attended by an audience of over 340; in total, approximately 410 people participated in the project including artistic collaborators and total audience.