Jessica Kelley

New Expressive Works: The tension builds

Subashini Ganesan's resident choreographer program features Stephanie W. Schaaf, Jessica Kelley, Dora Gaskill and Michael Galen

New Expressive Works’ current residency program shows that this dance community is as strong as ever. Founded in 2012 with the mission to support dancers of diverse backgrounds in developing original work, N.E.W. also provides accessible practice space and a variety of movement classes in a centrally-located, well-equipped studio.

Annually, the space serves 4500 audience members and students, and more than 200 independent performing artists have used the facilities for some aspect of their practice. The residency program has supported 32 choreographers to date, with four more on the way. In short, it’s exactly the kind of program that artistic communities in this city need in order to survive all the closures and changes to the spaces where they can work and live.

Every six months, four choreographers are chosen for the residency program. They receive 144 hours of free rehearsal space, a modest stipend, and moderated, critical feedback in the form of Katherine Longstreth’s Fieldwork program. The works, whether they are finished or in progress, debut as 20-minute pieces at the end of the residency, as they did last night for the 8th session. The show continues at 7:30 pm through Sunday, May 28, at New Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont, Ste 2, in the WYSE Building (use building doors located on the south side of the building).

The program moved with a steady momentum, held together by themes that emerged though the individual works. These conceptual threads that ran through the performances seemed to indicate a zeitgeist of shared concerns among the resident artists rather than enforced curatorial decisions. One could easily imagine the questions and ideas bouncing off of each other during the Fieldwork sessions to recombine later in the residents’ individual practice.

Continues…