The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance at Princeton University announces three artists as Caroline Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence for the 2022-2023 academic year: Ronald K. Brown and the team of Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener. All three artists were appointed as lecturers in dance and are teaching repertory works through fall dance courses that will be performed at the Princeton Dance Festival in December, while also developing new work with access to the Center’s studios and other resources.
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 artists share their work and processes with the Princeton community through workshops, conversations, residencies, open rehearsals, and performances. The program is designed to be flexible enough to create meaningful interactions between artists and students, allowing artists to develop engagement activities to suit the interests of the students, and allowing students to create projects that involve the selected artists. Other examples of such engagement activities include guest-teaching a class, selecting students to apprentice as choreographic assistants, participating in dinners and conversations with students, and advising student projects.
Ronald K. Brown founded EVIDENCE in 1985, whose mission is “to promote understanding of the human experience in the African Diaspora through dance and storytelling and to provide sensory connections to history and tradition through music, movement, and spoken word, leading deeper into issues of spirituality, community responsibility and liberation.” He has worked with Mary Anthony Dance Theater, Jennifer Muller/The Works, as well as other choreographers and artists. Brown has set works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Jennifer Muller/The Works, Jeune Ballet d’Afrique Noire, Ko-Thi Dance Company, Philadanco, Muntu Dance Theater of Chicago, Ballet Hispánico, TU Dance, and Malpaso Dance Company.
Brown has been teaching the fall course, “Dance Performance Workshop: Repertory I” in which he is setting an excerpt of his work, Four Corners (2014), on a cast of 12 Princeton students.
Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener are New York-based dance artists. Their work involves the building of collaborative worlds through improvisational techniques, digital technologies, and material construction. They met as dancers in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and since 2010 have created more than 25 multidisciplinary dance works including site-responsive installations, concert dances in venues such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Barbican Centre, and The Walker Arts Center, gallery performances, and dances for film.
In their fall course, “Dance Performance Workshop: Repertory IV,” Mitchell and Riener are setting an excerpt of their work, Tesseract (2017), on a cast of seven Princeton students.
Rashaun Mitchell is a Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Awards for “Outstanding Emerging Choreographer” and for “Sustained Achievement in the Work of Merce Cunningham 2004-2012.” He received a Princess Grace Award Dance Fellowship and a Foundation for Contemporary Art “Grant to Artists.” Mitchell is a Cunningham trustee and licensed stager of the repertory. He teaches master classes and stages work throughout the country. He has served on the faculty at Sarah Lawrence College and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Silas Riener is an alumnus of Princeton, Class of 2006, graduating with a degree in comparative literature and certificates in creative writing and dance. He has worked with Chantal Yzermans, Takehiro Ueyama, Christopher Williams, Jonah Bokaer, Rebecca Lazier’s TERRAIN, and Tere O’Connor. Since 2010 he has collaborated with poet Anne Carson and Mitchell, with whom he continues to develop new projects. In 2011 he choreographed a site-specific performance at the Storefront for Art and Architecture with the Harrison Atelier and premiered a new work in at The Invisible Dog. He was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from November 2007 until its closure at the end of 2011. While performing with MCDC, Riener completed his M.F.A. in Dance at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has taught workshops and technique classes at Concord Academy SummerStages and throughout Turkey at several universities. He has taught on the faculty at New York University’s Playwrights Horizons, Gallim Dance’s Clinton Hill Arts Center, and Princeton University.
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. The Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence program is supported through a gift from Margaret C. and William R. Hearst.
The 2022 Princeton Dance Festival will be performed on December 2 at 8:00 p.m., December 3 at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and December 4 at 2:00 p.m. at the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center. Other choreographers whose work will be performed include Davalois Fearon, Sun Kim, Michael J. Love, Susan Marshall, and Caili Quan. The range of works includes rhythm tap, contemporary ballet, popping/hip-hop, modern influenced by African dance, and contemporary dance works from a multidisciplinary perspective. The December 2 performance will be open-captioned and December 4 will be a relaxed performance.
Visit the Lewis Center website for more information on the Program in Dance, the Hearst Choreographers-in-Residence program, the Princeton Dance Festival, 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.