Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
The Harris Theater for Music and Dance announced last week that it has appointed choreographer Brian Brooks its first ever Choreographer in Residence. This Residency provides $600,000 over three years that will fund choreographer compensation, commissioning, and production support. The new residency will provide encouragement and allow choreographers to focus on creating one-to-three new works each season without the constraints of financial pressures, while providing financial support to mount and produce the new works set upon regional, national, and international dance companies.
The first three companies chosen for commissions are Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (2016-17 season), Miami City Ballet (2017-18 season), and Brian Brooks Moving Company (2017-18 season), with more to be announced. Each new work will either premiere at the Harris Theater, or will be presented by the Harris Theater after its premiere in another city.
The Harris Theater has a history of awarding commissions to promising and important choreographers, composers and visual artists, including Mark Morris Dance Group, Jonathan Berger, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Trey McIntyre Project, Jessica Lang Dance and many more.
The new residency is made possible by the Jay Franke and David Herro Choreographer in Residence Fund through the Harris Theater’s Imagine campaign.
"The fund is an opportunity for the Harris to 'invest' in choreographers and cultivate a relationship with their work for our audiences,” said Jay Franke. “It will allow choreographers a chance to dig deep into their work while the Harris provides the venue and opportunity along with a long term commitment to ideas they wish to explore. I see this fund as a catalyst for a choreographer to hone their craft further while allowing them the freedom to not stress about paying the bills."
"The Choreographer in Residence program with Brian Brooks is an important step in the development of our mission at the Harris which is to nurture and support creativity at all levels," said Michael Tiknis, President and Managing Director of Harris Theater. "It is also an example of inspired philanthropy and vision on behalf of Jay Franke and David Herro. The benefits of a Choreographer in Residence at a theater without a resident company are unique, allowing for collaborations at national and international levels with the world's most respected companies."
Based in New York City, Brooks is the recipient of a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship. His many recent awards include a NY City Center Fellowship, the Jerome Robbins New Essential Works grant, the Joyce Theater’s Artist Residency, and the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project. His dance group, the Brian Brooks Moving Company, has toured nationally and internationally since 2002 with recent presentations by the Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow, the American Dance Festival, and BAM as part of their 2013 Next Wave Festival.
The American Dance Institute is commissioning his company’s next production, Wilderness, with a NY premiere at The Kitchen in June 2016. Beyond his company, Brooks has been commissioned by Damian Woetzel at the Vail International Dance Festival to create three new works featuring dancers from NYC Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet, including First Fall, in which Brooks dances with former New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Wendy Whelan. He is currently creating a full production that he will perform together with Whelan beginning in the summer of 2016.
For more information about the Harris Theater for Music and Dance visit HarrisTheaterChicago.org.
Choreographer Brian Brooks in the 2007 solo work, I'm Going to Explode (photo courtesy of The Brian Brooks Moving Company)