The Performance Garage has awarded the 2019 DanceVisions residency to Dawn Marie Bazemore. Bazemore, a former Phildanco dancer whose creative focus is socio-political issues affecting the African American community, will create the world premiere of Letters, a collaborative performance about fragmented relationships and profound loss within American culture. Letters was initially conceived by Bazemore as a Choreographic Fellow at Jacob’s Pillow in summer 2018 and is being developed with her collective #dbdanceproject. Letters will premier at The Performance Garage on April 19-20, 2019, alongside her acclaimed dance The Browder Project (2018), inspired by the life and death of Kalief Browder.
Of her residency at the Performance Garage, Bazemore said “The DanceVisions Residency has offered me the tools and support to bring my artistic visions to fruition. This program is vital to the sustainability of emerging Philadelphia choreographers.”
DanceVisions was launched in 2018 as a comprehensive residency for a developing choreographer. DanceVisions is an invitation only, curated residency that provides a selected artist forty-five hours of rehearsal space, support from administrative staff, and a fully produced concert. Since it’s founding in 2000, the Performance Garage has housed hundreds of artists, and yet as funding for the arts has decreased, Jeanne Ruddy, Executive Director of the Performance Garage and former Principal Dancer of the Martha Graham Company, saw a need for independent choreographers to receive more concrete and sustained support.
According to Jeanne Ruddy, Executive Director of The Performance Garage, “Creating DanceVisions has allowed us to further support dance artists and has been a goal of mine since co-founding the Performance Garage nearly 20 years ago. Dawn Marie Bazemore’s work speaks to the important role dance can play in furthering conversations about social justice.”
DanceVisions this year will enhance the collaboration between the resident artist and the Youth Engagement Program of The Performance Garage; a program which offers technique dance classes and performance opportunities to Philadelphia students 6-18 years old. In Spring 2019 Bazemore will teach the high school dancers of The Franklin Learning Center, as well as facilitate an ongoing dialogue about the creative process. Students will then integrate this experience to assist their choreographic creations that will also be presented at the Performance Garage in the future.
Ruddy added, “We’ve strive to create an environment that nurtures dance artists and facilitates a broader audience for dance in Philadelphia. We’ve recently been pleased to receive support from the City of Philadelphia through the Cultural Corridors’ Fund, and by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. Because of these and additional individual donors, we’ve had a wonderfully active year with fifty-four dance productions, forty-eight world premieres, and twenty-two thousand people who have crossed our threshold in order to create, train, audition, or to view dance as an audience member.”
Dawn Marie Bazemore is a dancer and choreographer who is dedicated to investigating the socio-political issues that affect the African American community. In 1998, after receiving her BFA from SUNY Purchase, she relocated to Philadelphia to join Philadanco where she performed for the following ten years. In 2009, she transitioned into musical theatre, performing ensemble and featured roles in various Broadway and regional theater productions, including: All Shook Up, Dreamgirls, Purlie, and The Color Purple. After earning her MFA from Hollins University, Bazemore served as a guest choreographer and Artist-in-Residence at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and as a Master Lecturer at the University of the Arts. In 2013, Bazemore presented her solo work Loss: Loving Into Life at the American Dance Festival. In 2015, she created A Movement for Five for Philadanco, inspired by events surrounding the Central Park Five, which made its world premiere at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. That same year, Dawn Marie’s essay Dance and Activism: The Practice and Impact of Sociopolitical Activism was published in the online journal The Dancer-Citizen. Bazemore currently teaches in the College of Performing Arts at Rowan University, and is the Dance Visions Resident Artist at the Performance Garage.
#dbdanceproject and Dawn Bazemore presents Letters
Friday, April 19, 2018 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 20, 2018 at 2:00 PM & 7:30 PM
Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes with intermission (No late seating)
$20 General Admission
$15 Students & PhiladelphiaDANCE.org Members
Purchase tickets: www.performancegarage.org
***Photo credit Dave Cimetta