Introducing Renewal Residency Artists 2021-2022: Jordan Demetrius Lloyd, Mina Nishimura, Christopher “Unpezverde” Núñez and Gillian Walsh
September 8, 2021
Danspace Project’s 2021-2022 Renewal Residency artists are: Jordan Demetrius Lloyd, Mina Nishimura, Christopher “Unpezverde” Núñez and Gillian Walsh. Danspace is thrilled to announce this new program for early-career artists. This year-long residency program will take place at Danspace Project’s home at St. Mark’s Church beginning in August. The residencies will continue all year with public engagement, artistic dialogue, research and space support. Renewal Residency artists will participate in Danspace Project’s digital Conversations Without Walls series and contribute to the online journal.
“In this first iteration of Danspace’s new Renewal Residency program we are focusing on artists who may not have administrative support, extended networks, or access to free rehearsal space,” explains Judy Hussie-Taylor, Executive Director and Chief Curator. “We hope this program will provide artists with the necessary support to create new work.”
This open and flexible program is an urgent response to the needs of these artists. Renewal Residencies emphasize: recuperation time to create work without the immediate pressure of production; renewed connection to creative process and artistic research; renewed connection to collaborators and fellow artists; and renewed connection to the Danspace Project community.
Danspace Project renews its own commitment to support the development of new work in dance with Renewal Residencies that attempt to make up for vital time lost.
“As a maker, my choreographic impulses lean toward producing material that viewers can both see and feel, activating a sort of tension between the performers, the movement, and everyone witnessing,” explains Brooklyn-based dance artist Jordan Demetrius Lloyd.
“These days I find myself energized by my imagination, and am interested in exploring movement vocabularies that blur the lines between abstraction and storytelling. I hope to prompt viewers into an associative headspace, where they can begin to project, name, and place meaning on the things that they are seeing.”
“Right now I am doing a lot of listening, which feels more like my research than any sort of physical or choreographic practice I might be engaging in. I feel myself attuned to the shifts in my personal, and our collective realities. I find myself interrogating the structures in our field that are no longer serving artists today. I care deeply about honoring and protecting my artistry and sense of voice, and also respecting, engaging, and amplifying the communities with whom I interact. Much of my process, my identity, and my perspective on the world is shifting, and I’m grateful that Danspace is providing a physical container for this ongoing work.”
Mina Nishimura’s Bladder Inn (and X, Y, Z, W), presented by Danspace Project in 2018, invited audiences and performers to consider peripheral spaces of architecture, perception, and sound specific to the architecture of Danspace Project’s home at St. Mark’s Church. While in-residence, she will be working on a new piece, currently titled Mapping a Forest while Searching for an Opposite Term of Exorcist.
“Exploring an anarchic body, which pierces holes in the wholeness of a thing, I would like to re-imagine a way of organizing a body and a space where multiple energies, traits, memories, and identities are fluidly bubbling up and disappearing,” writes Nishimura. “During my Renewal Residency, I will re-imagine, sketch, compose, and build a new visual landscape using objects, fabrics, drawings, and bodies at St. Mark’s Church.”
“I would like to see how my movement practice of an anarchic body meets a re-imagined landscape. After spending some time alone in the space, a few other dancers will be invited for the exploration.” Nishimura will invite a writer and a photographer to document and map the new landscape and ever-evolving and disappearing process during her residency.
Christopher “Unpezverde” Núñez is a Visually Impaired Choreographer and Accessibility Consultant with an interest in expanding audio description as an artistic medium.
“While traditional approaches to audio description involve a sighted person describing the dancers’ actions for a visually impaired audience, I became interested in performing the audio description myself as I performed. Rather than describing what a sighted person would see, my audio description centered my own low-vision perspective. I use my own voice as a tool to highlight my cultural, gender and disability identities that are audible in my speech, my accent, my word choice and my bilingualism,” he writes.
“For my Renewal Residency, I am interested in how the physical, emotional and spiritual processes of dance are intimately interconnected to our ancestral memory and how it informs audio description practices. As collaborators in this process, I have invited the artists, researchers and disability activists Krishna Washburn, Marielys Burgos Melendez, and Michelle Mantioni, who will contribute from their experience in immigration, gender, and disability experiences.”
Gillian Walsh is an artist and performer from Brooklyn, NY. Her work Moon Fate Sin (2017) was presented in the St. Mark’s Church sanctuary by Danspace Project & Performa. The work explored the death drive and transcendence in dance and the turn toward mysticism in times of global crisis.
“I work with dance as a problem and site of (psychospiritual) friction,” writes Walsh. “I tend to make highly formal choreographies that are severe and challenging in concept and experience. My work is often long and meditative and sometimes lasts for several hours at a time. In some ways I can be extreme in my use of stillness, emptiness and repetition but it’s in a sincere effort to find new ways to experience dance, time and being together.”
“Moon Fate Sin was guided by research into the kind of escape dance offers, a conception of dance as the meeting place between prayer and suicidal tendency. The next project, FAME NOTIONS (Performance Space New York, 2019) delved further into this line of research considering the alienation and spiritual quest of a dancer’s life. Here in 2021 I find myself deeper in this turn toward mysticism, thinking about God and the materiality of the body, as global crisis worsens. During this residency I’ll be developing a new ballet considering grief and new modes of transcendence. Together with dancers and collaborators we will delve into liturgical forms, ballet history, transfiguration, grief, visions, faith, and journeys through consciousness. This process is informed by my theological studies and research I’ve been doing visiting various spiritual and holy sites across the US.”