Steven smiles in a purple button down
Former Program Coordinator, NDP

In March 2012, New York-based dance artist Brian Brooks took his company to sunny Santa Barbara for a four-week residency at the Lobero Theater to work on his National Dance Project-supported work Big City with residency partner DANCEworks. The first PRD of the program’s second year, Brian’s time at the Lobero epitomized a particular type of residency that the PRD program supports, namely a pre-premiere residency where artists are able to spend an extended amount of time in a fully-equipped space with all collaborators present to work on specific production elements. Over the length of the residency, Brian and his collaborators worked to build and refine the large-scale set, keeping in mind that its touring logistics (and costs) must remain manageable.  In addition, Brian used the time at the Lobero to create a working environment that inspired creativity while allowing the company’s artists to feel comfortable taking artistic risks.

You can see for yourself how they did working toward both of these goals in a series of awesome video shorts produced on site by David Bazemore.

The videos proved a great way of documenting Brian's collaboration with lighting/scenic designer Philip Treviño, costume designer Roxana Ramseur, and composer Jonathan Pratt. DANCEworks also documented the residency on its website in a series of blog posts

The premiere of Big City was DANCEworks’ fourth presentation of Brooks’ company in eight years, a sustained commitment that Brooks recognizes as a catalyst to his artistic growth. Speaking about DANCEworks Artistic Director Dianne Vapnek, Brooks says, “There is an openness and interest for the unknown that Vapnek encourages, instigates. This is a partnership that continues to inspire.” 

In this series’ next post we’ll look at Emily Johnson’s post-premiere, pre-tour residency in New England! 

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)