LOW-RESIDENCY DANCE WRITING LAB AT NCCAKRON
"Dance making, dance viewing, and dancing are relational propositions/activities. There is no unidirectional movement from choreographer to dance to performance to audience to critic to writing. All of this lives and breathes in interaction, intersection, criss-crossing vectors...
Tere said he would prefer to hear “bad or intelligible words from the artist to dismantle hierarchies” rather than have writers speaking for artists. Let’s talk badly and unintelligibly together."
- NCCAkron Low-Residency Dance Writer Sima Belmar
For more of Sima's thoughts on the NCCAkron Low-Residency Writing Lab, please read her essay "In Practice: Colleague-Criticism," published by Dancers Group.
Tere O'Connor Dance in The Goodbye Studies. Photo by Paula Court.
In the summer of 2017, NCCAkron Executive/Artistic Director Christy Bolingbroke and choreographer and writer Tere O'Connor (NYC/Champaign-Urbana, IL) co-designed a Low-Residency Dance Writing Lab to be hosted by NCCAkron. This year-long experiment connected a cohort of five dance writers from across the country to investigate questions such as: What is the purpose of dance writing? For whom are we writing about dance? How is it getting distributed?
Dance writing and criticism has often kept itself at arm's length from artists and presenters. As such, dance writers are unable to locate themselves in the dance ecology -- an ecology that is rapidly changing and shifting with fewer and fewer writing opportunities to be had. NCCAkron pushes initiatives that allow dance writers to dialogue directly with artists and embrace "a position of passionate proximity" ¹ (Low-Res Dance Writer Sima Belmar).
The five writers who participated in the inaugural Dance Writing Lab are:
• Sima Belmar, lecturer in the Department of Theater, Dance, & Performance Studies at UC Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
• Betsy Brandt, dance dramaturg and professor at Webster University (St. Louis, MO)
• Katy Dammers, artistic producer at Philadelphia FringeArts (Philadelphia, PA)
• Benedict Nguyen, administrator for Donna Uchizono Company and freelance performer (New York, NY)
• Lauren Warnecke, dance critic at The Chicago Tribune (Chicago, IL)