Annually through the Creation & Development Fund, the National Performance Network (NPN) directly awards $500,000 and leverages an additional $1,500,000 in resources to support the commissioning, development and touring of 20 new performance works across disciplines, geographies and cultures.

The National Performance Network announces its 2017/18 Creation & Development Fund artist recipients. Creation & Development Funds are given to a diversity of artists that reflect NPN’s commitments to equity and access through the arts. Sixteen of the 20 artist companies are first time Creation Fund recipients and the artists hail from 19 cities across the country from Shelburne, VT to Davies, FL.

The Creation & Development Fund allows NPN, its Partners, and colleagues across the field, to collaborate with performing artists and artist companies by contributing resources to the development of new works and provides valuable presentation and touring opportunities. Fifty-one arts organizations from Homer, AK to Alexandria, LA, participated as commissioners, which will result in at least 58 paid artist engagements over the next three years.

The Creation and Development Fund is made possible with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency) and Commissioners.


2017/18 Creation & Development Fund Recipients

Charles O. Anderson, (Re)current Unrest, Performers: D’Lonte Lawson at students from UT Austin, Photo credit: Chian-Ann Lu

Charles O. Anderson – Austin, TX – (Re)current Unrest
COMMISSIONERS:
Fusebox Festival, Austin, TX; 651 Arts, Brooklyn, NY
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
(Re)current Unrest will be an evening-length, multimedia dance work built on the sonic foundation of Steve Reich’s three earliest works: “It’s Gonna Rain” (Parts 1 and 2), “Come Out” and “Pendulum.” The piece explores the African American cultural and historical experience and transforms the way African Americans are portrayed and/or erased in literature and the arts. Using symbolic imagery (Re)current Unrest explores the kinesthetic state of unrest-the condition of unease, discontent, and social disturbance. (Re)current Unrest is politically motivated in ways reminiscent to the art borne out of the Black Arts/Black Power Movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Ping Chong + Company – New York, NY / Anchorage, AK – Where the Sea Breaks Its Back
COMMISSIONERS:
Bunnell Street Arts Center, Homer, AK; Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, Juneau, AK; LaMaMa Experimental Theater Company, New York, NY
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
WHERE THE SEA BREAKS ITS BACK (working title) weaves puppetry, video installation, recorded interviews, and Alaska Native Yup’ik drum and dance in a collage of contemporary and historical encounters between indigenous Alaska Native communities and newcomers to the Great Land. The piece is directed by Ping Chong. Performers Ryan Conarro and Gary Upay’aq Beaver (Central Yup’ik), along with puppeteer Justin Perkins, unfold a series of little-known historical narratives of collisions between people and cultures in Alaska. Audience members join in through story circles and an ongoing community interview archive.

Combat Hippies, Weapons of Mass Creation, Photo: Combat Hippies, Credit: From Combat Hippies Facebook Page

The Combat Hippies – Davie, FL – Weapons of Mass Creation
COMMISSIONERS:
MDC Live Arts, Miami, FL; Su Teatro, Denver, CA; MACLA, San Jose, CA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Weapons Of Mass Creation is a brave new Spoken Word work that explores the effects of war on both veterans and civilians who have been in war-torn countries. The Combat Hippies plan to work with refugees who have been affected by war to continue to spread their message of Post Traumatic Growth in addition to their continued work with veterans.

Sean Dorsey Dance – San Francisco, CA – Boys in Trouble
COMMISSIONERS:
Bates Dance Festival, Lewiston, ME; Dance Place, Washington, DC; 7 Stages, Atlanta, GA; Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului, HI; Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica, CA; Queer Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
BOYS IN TROUBLE will investigate male socialization, constructs of masculinity, and experiences of trouble, violence, and ‘outsider’ status by centering the perspective of ‘outsiders’ – transgender and gender-variant masculinities, Black queer masculinities, and aging gay masculinities.

keyon gaskin – Portland, OR – a lavender rectangle: a self portrait
COMMISSIONERS:
Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, OR; American Realness, New York, NY; On The Boards, Seattle, WA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
[a lavender rectangle]: a self portrait is a solo performance questioning the concept of “self-portraiture” in relationship to technology and human advancement and disrupts identity politics as a modality. This iterative work is developed through collaborative research, writing, and performance presented multiple times in different cities. In each location, gaskin will work collaboratively with local partners and identify and teach a guest soloist (or several soloists) the choreography. Additionally, a limited edition book/program exploring themes in the work will be created and distributed.

Virginia Grise, Rasgos Asiaticos, Photo: Grise’s parents- Emma Lesi Yee Cortez and Manuel Yee, Photo credit: street photographer in Monterrey, Mexico, 1948

Virginia Grise – Bronx, NY – Rasgos Asiaticos
COMMISSIONERS:
MECA, Houston, TX; CalArts Center for New Performance, Duende CalArts, Valencia, CA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Rasgos Asiaticos is a multimedia performance installation that traces one woman’s history back four generations as we are introduced to a cast of Mexican runaways, Chinese refugees, and fiercely independent women trying to let go of binding gender roles. An intimate story about the fluidity of borders and time, transnational migration, and the historic confluence of China, Mexico and the United States, the work will result in a performance installation mapping out how to find home in a place that is unfamiliar and at times hostile.

Terrence M Johnson Dance Projects – Dallas, TX – Like A Tree
COMMISSIONERS:
South Dallas Cultural Center, Dallas, TX; Arna Bontemps African American Museum, Alexandria, LA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Like a Tree will examine the themes of urban/economic development and displacement within historic and contemporary African American communities in Dallas. Artists and participants will explore the idea of place by questioning facts and assumptions about land, home and cultural identity. This project also seeks to examine how personal memory and performance can function as a tool to investigate critical and introspective histories by exploring how multiple generations experience the identical places at varying times.

Celeste Miller – Grinnell, IA – Women at Waters Edge
COMMISSIONERS:
Art2Action, Tampa, FL; Grinnell College, Department of Theatre & Dance, Grinnell, IA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Celeste Miller (USA) will collaborate with Dora Arreola, (Mexico/USA), to create a physical theatre/dance work with text, for three women performers: Dora, Celeste and Miroslava Wilson (Mexico). The work, Women at Waters Edge/Mujeres al filo del Agua, will be created through a multi-site process of building/ collaborating in our various locations and with our communities in those places—Iowa and Florida in the USA, and Tijuana, Mexico. The artists are exploring the places and moments they find connection—in their bodies, in words, in images, as they bring together their bi-national perspectives at a time when the USA/Mexico border is an extremely contested political site, literally and metaphorically.

National Arab Orchestra – Sterling Heights, MI – The Films of Mohammed Bayoumi with Live Score
COMMISSIONERS:
Arab American National Museum, Dearborn, MI; Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, Chicago, IL
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
The work being commissioned is an original score written by National Arab Orchestra founder/director Michael Ibrahim, to be performed by the National Arab Orchestra Takht Ensemble, and paired live with screenings of rarely-seen silent films from the 1920s and 1930s by Egyptian director Mohammed Bayoumi, a pioneer of Egyptian cinema. These are likely some of the oldest films preserved from the Arab World.

Cynthia Oliver – Urbana, IL – Virago-Man Dem
COMMISSIONERS:
Dance Place, Washington, DC; Painted Bride, Philadelphia, PA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Virago-Man Dem, is an evening-length, dance-theatre work navigating black masculinities. Troubling the term “Virago” in reference to characteristically male behaviors and female cultural transgressions, Virago-Man Dem explores Caribbean and African American black expressions and masculinities, staged on male bodies, but designed and interpreted by a woman.

Onye Ozuzu – Chicago, IL – Project Tool
COMMISSIONERS:
Links Hall, Chicago, IL; Dancing Grounds, New Orleans, LA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Project Tool is a durational performance installation that uses hand held tools and legacy processes. Designer Steve Silbe and Onye Ozuzu will build a modular dance “object” that can be arranged and configured to transform many different types of spaces. Project Tool explores the inter-relationships between body, task and tool as an improvisational landscape to isolate and identify the actions, techniques, qualities, and capacities of the body involved in the act of building and working with tools.

David Rousseve / REALITY – Sherman Oaks, CA – Halfway to Dawn: The Strayhorn Project
COMMISSIONERS:
REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA; Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans, LA; ArtPower at UC San Diego, San Diego, CA; Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh, PA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Halfway to Dawn: The Strayhorn Project is an evening-length dance/theater work choreographed/written/directed by David Roussève that weaves dance, music, sound, video, text, and intricate lighting to uncover the deeper ‘truths’ of African American gay jazz composer Billy Strayhorn’s life (1915-67) while creating a dialogue on urgent social issues of our own. The work celebrates the work of a little known musical genius while creating conversations around race, sexuality, and the danger of placing the quest for fame ahead of personal freedom.

Kaneza Schall, Jack & Jill, Drawing credit: Christopher Myers

Kaneza Schall – Brooklyn, NY – Jack&Jill
COMMISSIONERS:
Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH; On the Boards, Seattle, WA; Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, OR; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; REDCAT, Los Angeles, CA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
JACK&JILL is a multimedia comedy of errors. A performance of social codes, the production is structured around active and passive social training from prison reentry programs to debutante balls. Using the writings of Psychiatrist R.D. Laing, JACK&JILL is a duet for two actors ensnared in dialogue exchanges that become mental tongue twisters, and draw on infamous comedy duos with artists such as Buster Keaton, Elaine May, and Flip Wilson. JACK&JILL considers the performance demands of being in prison, how these languages are stored in the body, and their effect on the process of re-entry to society after incarceration.

Bill Shannon – Pittsburgh, PA – Touch Update
COMMISSIONERS:
Kelly Strayhorn, Pittsburgh, PA; Painted Bride, Philadelphia, PA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Touch Update is a new evening-length performance that combines dance, wearable projection technology and video installation to explore the significant and often subtle implications of physical human contact in the digital era. Embedded in technology, three performers reveal their yearning to connect, as choreography emerges in which bodies learn to navigate mobility—in the absence of apparatus.

Teada Productions – Santa Monica, CA – Masters of the Currents
COMMISSIONERS:
Maui Arts & Cultural Center, Kahului, HI; Teada Productions, Santa Monica, CA; Brava!, San Francisco, CA; Pangea World Theater, Minneapolis, MN
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Welcome to Hawaii, the Aloha state – a tropical paradise where everyone gets along. The reality for many residents is much different. Recently, “climate refugees” from Micronesia have joined Hawaii’s mix of cultures and are struggling to find their place within the multi-hued landscape. Their arrival has sparked ethnic tensions in making this community’s path to assimilation extremely challenging. Masters of the Currents will be the creation of a professional theatre production built with the involvement of these new immigrant communities.

Timur and the Dime Museum – Los Angeles, CA – Nueva Canción Project: Protest Songs of Latin America
COMMISSIONERS:
Miami Light Project, Miami, CA; Beth Morrison Project, Brooklyn, NY
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Nueva Canción, a Latin American style of music originating in the 1960s, is now widely recognized as a powerful movement for sociopolitical change – often about unequal distribution of wealth, corrupted politicians, abuse of power, human rights. The genre-defying band Timur and the Dime Museum, whose members come from the worlds of classical, jazz, glam rock and industrial music, will reimagine in a multimedia performance in the revolutionary spirit of Nueva Canción. The work focuses on the repertoire of Mercedes Sosa, photo images of youth protests in Latin and Central America, and new music composed by Daniel Corral in the original Spanish and the newly commissioned translations in English.

True Colors: Creative Action Crew – Boston, MA – The Heart of the Matter
COMMISSIONERS:
The Theater Offensive, Boston, MA; ArtsEmerson, Boston, MA; Legion Arts, Cedar Rapids, IA; Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, Pittsburgh, PA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
THE HEART OF THE MATTER will be an innovative new piece of LGBTQ youth theatre created by the True Colors: Creative Action Crew (CAC) youth ensemble at The Theater Offensive (TTO). The work focuses on connecting intergenerational audiences to LGBTQ youth of color narratives–contemporary and historical–to illuminate and engage with the LGBTQ youth experience of today. It utilizes an immersive, participatory performance strategy to challenge theatrical conventions and confront audiences with adult, white, middle class culpability in the oppressive systems LGBTQ youth face.

Urban Bush Women – Brooklyn, NY – Hair and Other Stories
COMMISSIONERS:
Junebug Productions, New Orleans, LA; Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans, LA; Dance Place, Washington, DC
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Hair and Other Stories (H&OS) is a reimagining of Hair Stories, a 2001 UBW work exploring race and gender. The UBW ensemble will collaborate with audiences to construct a live experience that includes processional performance that will move the performers and audience from theater to beauty shop to bar, to elicit conversations between and among the performers and audience around the subjects of self-image, race, and gender inequality through the lens of hair, primarily that of African-American women.

Lida Winfield, Imaginary, Performers: Lida Winfield & Maree ReMalia, Photo credit: Alan Kimara Dixon

Lida Winfield – Shelburne, VT – Imaginary
COMMISSIONERS:
Flynn Center, Burlington, VT; Jacob’s Pillow, Becket, MA; The Yard, Chilmark, MA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Mixing dance, theater, storytelling, video, lighting design and original audio scores, Lida Winfield creates IMAGINARY, a quirky, funny, innovative and socially poignant performance that explores perception. IMAGINARY investigates the impact of imagination: what we see in the light, what we see in the dark, imaginary friends, what is real, and what is pretend. How does what we imagine impact or dictate our potential and reality?

Netta Yerushalmy – New York, NY – Paramodernities
COMMISSIONERS:
New York Live Arts, New York, NY; Jacob’s Pillow, Becket, MA; Hope Mohr Dance – Bridge Project, San Francisco, CA
PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Paramodernities is a multidisciplinary project that involves lectures, performances, and discussions. This project engages with the canon of modern dance in radical ways in order to spark new ideas and new choreographies. The project involves deconstructions of landmark modernist choreographies, as well as contributions by writers, philosophers, and historians who situate these iconic works in modernity’s larger context. The project explores foundational tenets of modern discourse—such as sovereignty, race, feminism, and nihilism—and emphasizes public discussions alongside virtuosic performances by lauded dancers.




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