Creating at Crow's Nest: Stephen Petronio's New Upstate Retreat Hosts Its First Residencies
This summer, the Petronio Residency Center at Crow's Nest welcomes its first three artists in residence: Nora Chipaumire, Will Rawls and Kathy Westwater. The center, located in the Catskill Mountains, about two and a half hours north of New York City, is idyllic: The 2,500-square-foot studio has radiant floor-heat and a sprung floor, and the 6,500-square-foot house sleeps up to 10 people and has soaring views of the mountains. "As a creator, I understand the power of a residency," says Stephen Petronio. "I want the dancers to feel like they have gone to heaven when they pull up to the gate."
The PRC residency is an early-stage development facility. "I want to give artists a place to work, hike for three days, paint, read, do nothing—there are no deliverables for this residency," Petronio says. "Finding the value of zero, maybe that's what people need before going into a creative time."
The inaugural artists in residence were nominated by a panel of 12 "movers and shakers" in the dance field, including Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival director Pamela Tatge, LUMBERYARD director Adrienne Willis and American Dance Festival executive director Jodee Nimerichter. The selection committee, comprising Ralph Lemon, Bebe Miller, Eiko Otake and Petronio, made the final decision.
Artists in residence have meals prepared by a private chef using locally sourced ingredients. Photo by Claire Flack, Courtesy Everyman Agency
Each awarded artist receives a one-week stay, a $5,000 stipend, $1,500 in travel assistance and all meals prepared by a private chef using locally sourced ingredients ("If you feed a dancer they are yours forever!" jokes Petronio). He is excited by future possibilities of linking creators with other local residencies, such as more technically focused production opportunities at LUMBERYARD or Jacob's Pillow.
Petronio's desire for alternative, off-the-grid workspaces is a longtime pursuit. He began looking seriously in 2008, but the stock market crash caused donors to pull funding. The dream was delayed but not deterred. In December 2016 the company purchased Crow's Nest, a 175-acre sprawling property, for $1.3 million. "This is one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to me—it is also more work than I could have imagined!" Petronio says. A lead gift from famed sculptor Anish Kapoor jumpstarted the $3 million fundraising campaign, with his donated artwork titled Strange Attraction (Violet) fetching nearly $500,000 in a private sale. The sculpture pays tribute to their collaboration on Petronio's Strange Attractors, which premiered in 2000.
Petronio wanted to provide his company with a country retreat of their own, but he also felt a sense of urgency to offer this space to the dance community. "I began to feel a more global sense of my life and work, and wanted to share these resources," he explains. While the space is not open to the public, opportunities for use by companies, boards or administrative staffs and visits can be coordinated by contacting Stephen Petronio Company. Petronio says, "We want this to be a place for the dance field to come and dream."
Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.
Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
Every dancer knows there's as much magic taking place backstage as there is in what the audience sees onstage. Behind the scenes, it takes a village, says American Ballet Theatre's wig and makeup supervisor, Rena Most. With wig and makeup preparations happening in a studio of their own as the dancers rehearse, Most and her team work to make sure not a single detail is lost.
Dance Magazine recently spoke to Most to find out what actually goes into the hair and makeup looks audiences see on the ABT stage.
On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.
SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.