Blog

2.25.13

Production Residency: Palissimo/Wexner Center for the Arts

Steven Skerritt-Davis
Program Coordinator, NDP

Palissimo’s PRD residency at the Wexner was an example of a post-premiere/pre-tour residency and the residency’s goals were extremely ambitious. The NDP-supported work, Strange Cargo, is the third part of Pavel  Zuštiak’s Painted Bird Trilogy. In addition to some post-premiere tweaking of Part III, Palissimo used their time at the Wexner—and its spacious facilities and “highly-skilled and enthusiastic” staff— to determine just how the final trilogy would come together as an evening-length work and how it would tour. The strategy was to present the work in different combinations—Parts I & II, Parts II & III, and Parts I, II & III—to determine the touring and presentation challenges and find strategies to address them. At the Wexner, Parts I and III shared a space while Part II was performed in a separate space. The changeover between spaces (including moving the musicians) was initially problematic as was the thought of touring to other cities, each with a different performance configuration. 

Though the work of making the piece easily tourable was not entirely completed by the end of the residency, Palissimo was able to identify and address several major issues and strategize around upcoming presentation configurations with the help of Wexner staff and crew. The company also completed some great documentation of the work.   

What was particularly noteworthy about this residency for us at NDP was the level of communication and collaboration between the artist and the residency partner.  As Pavel wrote to us, 

It was the best working period in the history of my company. Period… The working conditions at Wexner were those that any artist could dream of. The support and freedom we received from Chuck Helm was affirming and encouraging. When meeting his entire team during our site visit in February (they flew us in 7 months prior which we all benefitted from very much later on) I was impressed how thoroughly the team was briefed on the project and prepared from the get go… 

Working under conditions where the crew and staff is content and happy created a pleasant atmosphere of trust and it brought also all 14 of us on the Palissimo team closer. I know this sounds like I am making it all sound better than it was but IT WAS truly an ideal working setting. 

Sounds like a pretty amazing experience, right? We’ve noticed that setting clear goals and expectations for each party, advance planning around what resources are needed and available, and constant communication among artist, partner, and crew are hallmarks of residencies that are rewarding in terms of creating a more fully-realized and ready-to-tour work and facilitating a stronger artist/residency partner relationship. To help facilitate this we’ve continually revised our data collection and reporting processes. But, more on that in a later post.

To learn more about The Painted Bird Trilogy, visit: www.thepaintedbird.org.

Be sure to catch my other posts in this NDP PRD blog series:

  1. Lessons from NDP's Production Residencies for Dance Pilot Phase (2.19.13)
  2. Production Residencies: Pilot Year Case Studies (2.22.13)
  3. Production Residency: Palissimo/Wexner Center for the Arts (2.25.13)
  4. Production Residency: Brian Brooks Moving Company/DANCEworks Santa Barbara (2.27.13)
  5. Production Residency: Emily Johnson, Catalyst/MASS MoCA (3.1.13)
  6. NDP's PRD Program Evaluation and Lessons Learned (3.4.13)