Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts
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Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts, formerly American Dance Institute, now based Catskill, New York, but formerly of Rockville, Maryland where it was a performance venue serving the greater Washington, DC region. Founded solely as a dance school in 2000, ADI expanded into a performance venue in 2011 and began presenting contemporary, post modern and dance theater works and providing production residencies for choreographers creating new works. In 2017, ADI had changed its name to Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts and had moved its location to Catskill, where it is building a performing arts center as well as producing a season in New York City.
The American Dance Institute was founded in September 2000 by Pamela Booth Bjerknes, a former dancer with American Ballet Theatre, and Michael Bjerknes, a principal dancer with The Joffrey Ballet, with financial support from Solange MacArthur. In 2010, newly hired Executive Director Adrienne Willis created the company's Performance Series and Incubator program. In under a year, ADI began presenting contemporary, post-modern and dance theatre works starting with Doug Elkins’ 'Fraulein Maria' in May 2011. Later that year, ADI presented its first full season, featuring Jane Comfort & Company, David Dorfman Dance, Sara Rudner and Dana Reitz, among others. Dedicated to meeting the needs of dance artists, in 2012 ADI hired renowned puppeteer and performance artist Dan Hurlin to serve as its artistic advisor. In this capacity, Hurlin helped design ADI's Incubator and in 2013 ADI put together an Artistic Advisory Board made up of some of today's most progressive choreographers. Advisory Board members include, Dan Hurlin serving as the board chair, Brian Brooks, Jane Comfort, David Dorfman, Doug Elkins, Jodi Melnick, David Neumann., and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar from Urban Bush Women.
While in Maryland, the company's facility was a 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) former warehouse behind Congressional Plaza in Rockville, MD, It housed the Solange Macarthur Theater, a 150-seat black-box theatre named after ADI's most ardent supporter; four large studios with sprung floors, sounds systems and pianos; and administrative offices.
In 2018, Lumberyard will open a new facility in Catskill, New York specially to support late-stage development of new work. Lumberyard will house the Incubator – a production residency program that helps new contemporary dance and performance work become premiere-ready by providing extended tech time for artists and their collaborators and presenting public premieres and work-in-progress showings. Since its creation in 2011, the Incubator has helped strengthen premieres of 19 new works and has seen increasing demand from artists seeking vital late-stage support and audiences hungry for new work.
Renovations to a former lumberyard on the Catskill Creek will create a 5,000-square-foot (460 m2) black box theater, artist housing, and community courtyard specially designed to serve the development of new work and build new audiences for contemporary dance.
The New York City season is an evolution of ADI's production residency program, which provides significant support to artists as they integrate design elements into new work. Each of the five works in the 2016 ADI/NYC season has received up to two weeks of production support, including: unrestricted use of a theater and ADI's production crew; meals; housing and transportation, as needed; photo and video documentation; and a presenting fee. The program's goal is to provide artists with the resources they need to fully realize the vision for their new work.
“Most of what Lumberyard presents in its performance series is work you might not otherwise see unless you trek to the niches of Lower Manhattan,” The Washington Post. This statement encapsulates the intention behind ADI's Performance Series. ADI purposely seeks out high-quality experimental dance by artists who may not be as well known to DC-area audiences as more conventional groups. Executive Director Adrienne Willis intentionally chose this type of programming because she firmly believed DC's intellectual audiences would respond positively to edgy, progressive dance. ADI's Performance Series runs from October through May each year, bringing to the DC area a diverse set of artists from across the U.S. and beyond. Current and past Performance Series companies by season include:
ADI's Incubator program, begun the same year as its Performance Series, is a late-stage residency program providing artists from outside the Washington, DC region with unrestricted use of ADI’s theater; unlimited support from ADI’s full-time production staff; housing; meals; local transportation; and a fee to help companies cover other expenses, such as dancer salaries . The program grew from a need within the dance community for late-stage dance residencies – residencies that enable artists to refine new works just before their premieres. Not only does the National Incubator provide area residents with a sneak peek at new works before anyone in the country, but ADI's National Incubator blog also provides insights from the artists about their artistic processes and more.
Future Artists Scholarship
Beginning in 2016, ADI will offer scholarships that support the development of the next generation of artists and address issues of diversity and equitable access to dance training. ADI Future Artists Project is scholarship initiative investing in talented young dancers from diverse backgrounds to increase racial diversity in the dance field. ADI will build a flexible scholarship program that offers targeted scholarships to deal with a broad set of needs, including tuition, transportation stipends, and dance clothing. The project will target racially diverse students from all over the country that want to pursue professional training in dance.
Prior to every Performance Series, National Incubator, ADI holds pre-show talks to provide insight into what audiences will see onstage – a unique component that has proven very successful. ADI also offers post-show receptions where patrons can interact with dance artists and each other. Catering to dance students age 16 and up, visiting artists often lead one-hour master dance classes to give DC-area dancers opportunities to learn from some of the most innovative choreographers working today.
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- "The Rockville Suite: How American Dance Institute Became the Area's Most Progressive Dance Venue". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
- "Mind the Gap: Artist Residencies + Dance - Alliance of Artists Communities". www.artistcommunities.org. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
- "Incubator - American Dance Institute". www.americandance.org. Retrieved 26 February 2019.