UC Extension, Cal Performances launch artist residency program in San Francisco

04 OCTOBER 00 | A national initiative to assist eminent choreographers in creative research will be launched at University Extension's San Francisco campus with a two-phased pilot program slated for Fall 2000 and Spring 2001.

The National Dance Lab will support national and international artists as they spend time in creative collaboration without the normal pressures brought on by commissions and performances with revenue expectations.

Parts of this research environment will be open to the public, providing an opportunity for students, artists, scholars and others to actively experience the creative process.

"The National Dance Lab Project - through its link to UC Berkeley's innovative 'Cal in the City' program - serves as a compelling and convincing response to the perennial question facing public education: if the performing and fine arts are among civilization's great achievements, how might we reasonably define the roles and responsibilities of publicly funded universities in encouraging, supporting and developing the arts?" said Donald McQuade, vice chancellor for university relations. "Further, how can a public research university forge productive links between and among scholars, researchers and artists - within and beyond traditional disciplinary and institutional boundaries?"

The first host site is the extension campus at 55 Laguna St. in San Francisco. The premiere Dance Lab will be part of the "Cal in the City" initiative, a collaborative effort designed to bring Berkeley students closer to cultural and educational opportunities in San Francisco.

Joining the university as founding partners are the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, the New England Foundation for the Arts through the National Dance Project and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Following evaluation of the pilot program, the lab may expand, identifying new host sites around the country.

Jenkins, who helped conceptualize and shepherd the program, will be the first artist to test the concept. The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company will commence the first phase of the lab with nine dancers, a writer, composer and video designers to develop material inspired in part by video artist Bill Viola.

Throughout the six-week lab, which began Oct. 4, students, community members and the general public will have opportunities to observe and inform the artists' process. A final showing Nov. 17 at extension's San Francisco campus will showcase the resulting program.

In the project's second phase, New York-based artist Elizabeth Streb will conduct her lab as part of a Cal Performances event. Like Jenkins, Streb will have the opportunity to create work in collaboration with artists of her choice and to develop choreographic ideas in a university research setting. Streb's creative process will be accessible and will be integrated into the academic study of students in the sciences and arts, along with interested members of the community.


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