"Tina (Finkelman Berkett, BODYTRAFFIC co-founder) and I are committed to cultivating and empowering female choreographic voices. The nomination and selection process alone has been extremely rewarding because we got to learn about so many female choreographers that we weren’t familiar with. Exploring in the studio without an end game in mind is a rare opportunity that BODYTRAFFIC is grateful for.

We hope that the Dancing Laboratory is just the beginning of what the Center is able to do for and with female choreographers."

-- Lillian Rose Barbeito, co-founder, BODYTRAFFIC (Los Angeles, CA)

Helen Simoneau Danse (2017 Dancing Lab resident artist). Photo by Peter Mueller.

Dancing Labs are residency environments that bring together two or more artists who normally do not have the time or privilege to be in dialogue. A Dancing Lab is a space for rigorous play, positive failure, and collective experimentation around an issue, idea, or field-wide trend.

The Dancing Lab model helps NCCAkron subvert prevailing constraints on choreographers by offering connections across geographical distance and subsidizing creative time without an expectation of a final product. It's an opportunity for artists to share each other’s working knowledge and develop new ideas through body-based studio practice, personal introspection, and group reflection. 

The inaugural Dancing Lab, in September 2017, was centered on female choreographers. It featured BODYTRAFFIC (Los Angeles, CA) and three choreographers selected by a a panel of presenters and funders from a pool of almost 50 nominations nationwide: Kimberly Bartosik (Brooklyn, NY), Helen Simoneau (Winston-Salem, NC) and Kate Wallich (Seattle, WA). 

The second Dancing Lab, in April 2018, explored themes and challenges around native intelligence in dance with contemporary choreographer Christopher K. Morgan (Washington, D.C.) and hula choreographer Patrick Makuakāne (San Francisco, CA) and other invited guests including dancers, presenters, and visual artists. In July 2018, Dancing Lab: Screendance paired choreographers and filmmakers in partnership with the San Francisco Dance Film Festival and Reimagining the Civic Commons to craft choreography for the screen and create dance films set in Akron. Subsequent Dancing Labs have explored embodied archive and alternative space performance (August 2018), dance as cultural diplomacy (March 2019), immersive media through the work of Merce Cunningham (August 2019), and physically integrated dance (November 2019).

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