Ruth Nelson

Dance Weekly: The N.E.W. dance residency bears fruit

Catherine Egan, Lane Hunter, Linda K. Johnson and Ruth Nelson talk about their N.E.W. Expressive Works Residency at Studio 2-Zoomtopia.

On Friday night, four Portland choreographers—Catherine Egan, Lane Hunter, Linda K. Johnson and Ruth Nelson—will reveal the culmination of six months of thinking, experimenting and moving in the studio as part of The N.E.W. Expressive Works Residency, at Studio 2-Zoomtopia.

The N.E.W. residency program, directed by Subashini Ganeshan, supports the making of contemporary dance of all genres. The program offers 144 hours of free rehearsal space over six months to four choreographers; “Fieldwork,” or peer-to-peer feedback sessions; and a fully produced, ticketed performance at the end.

Portland has only one other similar residency for choreographers. The Performance Works NW’s Alembic Artists Residency awards 80 studio hours over a 10 month period with additional hours at an extremely reduced rate. (This year’s Alembic artists are Claire Barrera, Noelle Stiles and Katie Scherman.) This residency also culminates in a produced performance at the end.

I asked each choreographer of the N.E.W. residency group two questions as a way to introduce them to you.

1. What has this residency done for you?

2. What have you discovered about dance or dance making during this residency? Any ah-ha moments?

When I asked choreographer Linda K. Johnson these questions, she said, “The real answers to both of these lines of inquiry are so much more subtle, fleeting and private. These are extended conversations about intention, and fear of failing or being seen, or how we construct meaning from what we are doing/thinking.”

I agree. My questions are simply a springboard to a larger conversation and a means to introduce these choreographers to you.