The New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards recently announced the 2019 nominees, many of whom furthered their creative processes through MANCC residencies. These artists have been recognized for a range of achievements, including choreography, performance, production, and overall contributions to the dance field. MANCC is proud to have played a part in the development of singular works that have earned these artists such important recognition.
Nominated for Outstanding Production for her work Folk Incest, choreographer Juliana May came to MANCC in 2018 to develop this particular work, which explores uncomfortable arousal, sexual trauma, incest, and the fetishization of young girls. While at MANCC, May and her collaborators generated text, vocalizations, and images driven by their personal narratives, ultimately furthering the work ahead of its October 9, 2018 premiere at Abrons Arts Center in New York City. The New York Times’s dance critic Siobhan Burke sat down with May to further discuss the work and the motivations, research, and process behind the work.
Also hailing from New York City, Jonathan González came to MANCC in April 2019 to further Lucifer Landing II and has been nominated for Outstanding Breakout Choreographer. Focusing on the looming premiere of the work and using their MANCC residency to specifically hone the elements of light and sound in relation to their movement vocabulary, González and the collaborative team used Ableton software to convert MIDI notes into DMX standard lighting, which allowed the lights and sound to sync. These tactics functioned in relation to the idea of obscuring certain elements, ultimately prioritizing what the audience sees or does not see.
MANCC also welcomed Alice Sheppard, Artistic Director of Kinetic Light, into residence in 2017 to further DESCENT. Sheppard has been awarded the coveted 2019 Juried Bessie Award for “boldly and authentically inventing new movement vocabularies full of supercharged physicality and nuanced detail.” At MANCC, Sheppard and Laurel Lawson developed movement to be performed on the ramped stage with an eye toward showing what disability and disabled movement contribute to dance. This residency marked the first time the ramp had been fully broken down at one site and reinstalled at another, MANCC, a logistical feat necessary in touring the work.
Finally, choreographer Kathy Westwater came to MANCC in February 2019 to further Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part and the work’s sound score, which contains interpretations of Julius Eastman’s music by Joseph Kubera and Adam Tendler and original composition by M. Lamar, inspired by Eastman, has been nominated for Outstanding Sound Design/Music Composition. At MANCC, Westwater and her collaborators continued to finalize the piece for its subsequent premiere at New York Live Arts, while responding to and celebrating the profound music of post-minimalist composer Julius Eastman.
MANCC is excited to have also supported past works by Bessie nominees Nora Chipaumire, Shamar Watt (collaborator with Chipaumire), and Kyle Abraham.