October 24, 2019

Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance announces next round of Caroline Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence

The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance at Princeton University announces four artist residencies in the third round of the Caroline Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence Program. Brian Brooks, Annie-B Parson, Jumatatu Poe, and the ensemble Urban Bush Women will spend anywhere from a week to a semester in the Lewis Arts complex studios at Princeton during the 2019-20 academic year. The purpose of the Hearst program is to bring prominent choreographers and dancers in conversation with Princeton students through a variety of engagement activities while supporting the development of these choreographers’ work. The residencies planned for each of these four recently named choreographers are aimed at maximizing that potential engagement.

The Caroline Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence Program fosters the Program in Dance’s connections with the dance field. It provides selected professional choreographers with resources and a rich environment to develop their work and offers opportunities for students, faculty and staff to engage with diverse creative practices. The program is supported through a gift from Margaret C. and William R. Hearst, III.

Many of the choreographers in this round of residencies will be rehearsing in Lewis Center studios with their professional dancers to further their work on current creative projects. Princeton students will be invited to showings and open rehearsals, with a number of these events open to the public. Each choreographer will also be guest-teaching in classes and inviting their professional dancers to join the classes to dance side by side with students. Other engagement activities include students apprenticing as choreographic assistants; dinners and conversations between the choreographers and students; advising student projects; and sharing informal showings of works-in-progress. 

In 2017, the inaugural year of the residency program, four artists were chosen as choreographers-in-residence – Ralph Lemon, Abigail Zbikowski, Karen Sherman and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. The Hearst Program supported the presentation of A Love Supreme by De Keersmaeker and Salva Sanchis. In May, Zbikowski will present an in-progress performance of her new work developed during her residency. 

The second round of residencies included Souleymane Badolo, Shannon Gillen, Jessica Lang, Jennifer Nugent and Paul Matteson, Olivier Tarpaga, and Raphael Xavier. Last March Gillen set her new work Outland, choreographed in collaboration with Jason Cianciulli and Kiley Dolaway, on Princeton seniors. On October 18-20, Tarpaga and his company, Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project, presented his new work developed during his residency, When Birds Refused to Fly.

Brian Brooks is director of Brian Brooks Moving Company, a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow, and the inaugural Choreographer in Residence at Chicago’s Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Other recent awards include a New York City Center Fellowship, Joyce Theater Artist Residency and Mellon Foundation Creative Artist Fellowship. Brooks’ work has toured internationally since 2002 with presentations by BAM’s Next Wave Festival, the Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow, the American Dance Festival, New York City Center Fall for Dance Festival, and the Works and Process series at the Guggenheim Museum, among others. Beyond his company, Brooks has developed work with renowned ballet dancers, actors, and student groups. Damian Woetzel/Vail International Dance Festival has commissioned him to create three works featuring dancers from New York City Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet, including First Fall, in which he dances with former New York City Ballet Principal Wendy Whelan. He is in his fifth year collaborating and touring with Whelan, currently performing a duet evening accompanied by the string quartet Brooklyn Rider. Brooks has choreographed off-Broadway Shakespeare productions for Theatre for a New Audience including A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2013), directed by Julie Taymor, and Pericles (2016), directed by Trevor Nunn. He has created dances for Eliot Feld’s Ballet Tech, The Juilliard School, Boston Conservatory, The School at Jacob’s Pillow, and Harvard University, among others. 

Annie-B Parson co-founded Big Dance Theater (BDT) in 1991, and with BDT she has created numerous large-scale works for such venues as BAM, The Old Vic/London, Sadler’s Wells/London, The Walker, The National Theater/Paris, and The Kitchen. Parson has also made choreography for rock shows, marching bands, movies, museums, objects, television, augmented-reality, opera, ballet, theater, symphony orchestras, string quartets, and a chorus of 1,000 amateur singers. Her awards include the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award (2014), an Olivier Award nomination in choreography (2015), Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award (2014), U.S.A. Artists Grant in Theater (2012), Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography (2007), two New York Dance Performance (Bessie) Awards (2010, 2002), and three New York Foundation for the Arts Choreography Fellowships (2013, 2006 and 2000). Big Dance Theater received an OBIE Award (2000) and the first Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award (2007). Artists she has worked with include David Byrne, David Bowie, St. Vincent, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Wendy Whelan, Anne Carson, Laurie Anderson, Nico Muhly, The Martha Graham Dance Co., and Jonathan Demme. Her work with David Byrne began in 2007 with his tours with Brian Eno, and then St. Vincent. Their most recent work, American Utopia, is on Broadway this fall. Parson’s new book Drawing the Surface of Dance: A Biography in Charts will be published by Wesleyan Press.

Jumatatu M. Poe is a choreographer and performer based between Philadelphia and New York City producing dance and performance work independently, as well as in collaboration with idiosynCrazy productions, a company he founded in 2008 and now co-directs. The company serves as a resource to produce public dialogues around the integration of art into society and the social responsibility of the artist. For the past several years Poe has worked collaboratively with J-Sette artist Jermone Donte Beacham on a series of visual and performance works, Let ‘im Move You. He has performed his work in various cities throughout the U.S. and in Europe and has received a number of awards including NEFA National Dance Project Production Grant, Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, MAP Fund, and National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN) Creation & Development Fund. From 2009-2018, he was an assistant professor of dance at Swarthmore College. Previously, Poe danced with Marianela Boán, Silvana Cardell, devynn emory, Emmanuelle Hunyh, Tania Isaac, Kun-Yang Lin, C. Kemal Nance, Marissa Perel, Leah Stein, Keith Thompson, Kate Watson-Wallace, Reggie Wilson, Jesse Zaritt, Kariamu Welsh/Kariamu & Company, and Merián Soto.   

dancers in colorful outfits jumping

Urban Bush Women will be one of four 2019-20 Hearst Choreographers in Residence at Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts. Photo by Hayim Heron/courtesy of Urban Bush Women

Urban Bush Women (UBW) is a Brooklyn-based contemporary dance company dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change founded in 1984 by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. The group seeks to bring the untold and under-told histories and stories of disenfranchised people to light through dance and does this from a woman-centered perspective and as members of the African Diaspora community in order to create a more equitable balance of power in the dance world and beyond. UBW works to galvanize artists, activists, audiences and communities through performances, artist development, education and community engagement. With the performance ensemble at its core, ongoing initiatives like the Summer Leadership Institute, Builders, Organizers & Leaders through Dance, and the Choreographic Center Initiative, UBW continues to affect the overall ecology of the arts by promoting artistic legacies; projecting the voices of the under-heard and people of color; bringing attention to and addressing issues of equity in the dance field and throughout the United States; and by providing platforms and serving as a conduit for culturally and socially relevant experimental art makers. Zollar recently named company members Chanon Judson-Johnson and Samantha Speis as co-artistic directors of UBW.

Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence are chosen yearly through a nomination process and include choreographers at various stages of their careers exploring a wide range of aesthetics, including those who may not otherwise fit easily into the Dance Program’s curriculum. 

Under Dance Program Director Susan Marshall’s leadership over the past ten years, the dance faculty has grown from two full-time faculty and four adjunct professors to five full-time and nine adjunct faculty. The number of dance courses have also increased from nine to 23 and the curriculum includes introductory courses, courses suited for dancers at the pre-professional level, as well as courses in dance studies and interdisciplinary contemporary practices. Acclaimed artists who have visited campus to work with student dancers include choreographers Bill T. Jones, William Forsythe, Dean Moss, Robert Battle, Jessica Lang, Miguel Gutierrez and Pam Tanowitz, and dancers Lil’ Buck, Ana “Rokafella” Garcia, Robert La Fosse, Heather Watts, Damian Woetzel, and Silas Riener, Princeton Class of 2006. Riener, whom The New York Times described as , “one of the superlative performers of our day,” explored dance for the first time as a Princeton undergraduate and went on to dance with Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and now works as an independent choreographer and dancer. 

The Program in Dance is celebrating 50 years of dance at Princeton, which began in 1969 under the direction of Ze’eva Cohen and coinciding with the beginning of undergraduate co-education at the University.

The presence of more than 20 extracurricular dance companies makes Princeton a particularly lively environment for dancers, choreographers, and their audiences. 

Students in the Program in Dance earn a certificate, similar to a minor, in addition to their major area of study. These certificate students are deeply committed young artists who often create full-length works as part of their senior thesis projects. The guest artists made possible through the Hearst Choreographer-in-Residence program contribute significantly to an environment focused on creativity, risk-taking and process. Increased access to respected working artists in the program is also expected to raise the curiosity of introductory-level students and students in other disciplines.For more information on the Program in Dance, future events related to the choreographers-in-residence program, and the more than 100 other performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, concerts and lectures offered each year by the Lewis Center for the Arts, most of them free, visit

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