The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance at Princeton University announces award-winning choreographer and interdisciplinary artist Miguel Gutierrez as principal Caroline Hearst Choreographer-in-Residence for the 2020-21 academic year. Gutierrez’s residency will include teaching, creating a new commissioned work, and advising on student-created choreography. 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. Gutierrez’ residency, along with several other shorter residencies being planned for the coming year, is aimed at maximizing that potential engagement.
Launched in 2017, 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.
Gutierrez is a choreographer, composer, performer, singer, writer, educator, and advocate who has lived in New York City for over 20 years. He notes his fascination with the time-based nature of performance and how it creates an ideal frame for phenomenological questions around presence and meaning-making. Gutierrez’s work has been presented in more than 60 cities around the world, in venues such as the Wexner Center for the Arts, Walker Art Center, Centre National de la Danse, Centre Pompidou, ImPulsTanz, Fringe Arts, TBA/PICA, MCA Chicago, American Realness, Chocolate Factory, and the 2014 Whitney Biennial.
“This year we are excited to expand the Hearst Choreographer-in-Residence program to allow for extended teaching and ongoing student mentoring in addition to providing a commission for the development of new performance,” said Rebecca Lazier, Senior Lecturer in Dance and Acting Director of the Program in Dance. “Miguel Gutierrez is a performance-maker who engages imagination and intellect with equal rigor. He is an important figure in the dance field who has paved the way for multi-layered work that reflects deeply on society. During previous visits to campus as a guest, Gutierrez offered excellent mentorship and we look forward to welcoming him to campus to create meaningful exchange with students, faculty, staff, and audiences.”
Gutierrez has received past project support from Dance/NYC Dance Advance fund, MAP Fund, New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, National Performance Network Creation Fund, and Creative Capital. He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, United States Artists, New York Foundation for the Arts and Foundation for Contemporary Art. In addition, he received a Franky Award from the PRELUDE festival, and he has received four New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards. He is a past Doris Duke Artist.
Gutierrez’s recent work includes Unsustainable Solutions: Duet with my Dead Dad, This Bridge Called My Ass, and Cela nous concerne tous (This concerns all of us), a commission for Ballet de Lorraine. He has created original music for several of his own works and his current music project is called SADONNA, in which upbeat Madonna songs are transformed into sad anthems. His book of performance texts, When You Rise Up (2009), was published by 53rd State Press, and his essay, “Does Abstraction Belong to White People,” appeared in BOMB magazine in 2018.
Gutierrez teaches regularly at a variety of festivals and intensive workshops worldwide, including Movement Research, ImPulsTanz, CND’s Camping and Bates Dance Festival. Gutierrez served as visiting guest professor at several universities including Bennington College, Hollins University, Yale University, Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, University of California at Berkeley, University of New Mexico, University of North Texas, New York University Tisch School of the Arts’ Experimental Theater Wing, among many others. He is the program director for LANDING, a community-building, non-academic educational initiative at Gibney Dance. He invented DEEP Aerobics (Death Electric Emo Protest Aerobics) in 2007, disseminated it for 10 years, and then “killed it” in 2017. He is also a Feldenkrais Method practitioner, an exercise therapy designed to reorganize connections between the brain and body to improve body movement and psychological state.
“I am really thrilled to be chosen as a Caroline Hearst Choreographer-in-Residence at Princeton University,” said Gutierrez. “I am bowled over by all of the opportunities and support this position offers — the commission, the chance to teach and to advise students on their thesis projects. In my previous interactions with the students, I have been struck by the quality of their artistic and intellectual abilities. As an artist, this is the kind of student you dream about and hope for. I am excited that I get to hone my teaching experience into new and challenging directions. It is an honor to be chosen for this residency, and I am excited to get going on my work, my classes and to get to know the students and the community at Princeton better.”
In the fall, Gutierrez will teach, “Are you for sale? Performance Making, Philanthropy and Ethics,” a new course cross-listed with the Programs in Theater, Visual Arts and American Studies that will study the relationships between performance-making, philanthropy and ethics. Topics include how performing artists are financing their work and what this means in relationship to economic and social justice, as well as current conditions of arts funding, the connection between wealth and giving and when those ties may be inherently questionable, what is at stake in the debate of public versus private support, and whether funding follows artists’ concerns or delimits them. For the spring semester, plans are underway for him to teach a course on creating interdisciplinary work.
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.
Past Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence have included Souleymane Badolo, Brian Brooks, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Shannon Gillen, Jessica Lang, Ralph Lemon, Jennifer Nugent and Paul Matteson, Annie-B Parson, Jumatatu Poe, Karen Sherman, Olivier Tarpaga, Urban Bush Women, Raphael Xavier, and Abby Zbikowski. Additional dance artists will be chosen later for the 2020-21 academic year for shorter residencies.
Over the past 11 years, the Program in Dance, under Director Susan Marshall and Associate Director Rebecca Lazier, 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.
During the 2019-20 academic year, the Program in Dance celebrated 50 years of dance at Princeton, which began in 1969 under direction of Ze’eva Cohen and coinciding with the beginning of 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 arts.princeton.edu.