What Difference Does a Curator Make?
The new Gibney Dance at 280 Broadway is shaping up to be a dance center we can get excited about. It will have, along with its five studios, three performance spaces: a black box theater, a studio theater and a creative laboratory. The organization just named a curator, Craig Peterson, to fill those spaces with dance that matters. His official title is director of programs & presentation, for which he is well prepared. He’s held leadership positions at Dance Theater Workshop, the Philly Fringe Festival and the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, always with an eye to research and development. He’s developed a sophisticated eye and enquiring mind. Kudos to Gibney Dance for hiring him.
Why does a dance center need a curator? Some dance presenters are just open to all who apply, or make decisions by committee. But when there is a strong curator making artistic decisions, it means you can attend any performance and know that someone (beside the choreographer) has put some thought into this. Also it gives a strong artistic profile to the presenting organization. For a choreographer, it raises the prestige of being programmed there. It will be very interesting to see what direction Peterson takes Gibney Dance center.
Photo of Craig Peterson by Mark Peterson.