The Catskills are returning as a cultural mecca, not so much for the popular Jewish comedians which were their stock in trade for decades, but for the fine arts like theatre and dance. As 2017 approaches, Bridge Street Theatre has just completed the construction of its new theatre, and now in an act that will provide a creative home for dance, Stephen Petronio Company has purchased Crows Nest, a 175-acre property in Round Top, New York, just outside the town of Cairo in Greene County. The $1.3M property includes two modern buildings, built in 2003, which offer 9,000 sq. ft. of year-round residential and studio space, and an 1800’s caretaker’s cottage.
There will be a wait as all the pieces come together. Crows Nest will house and fully support the recently launched Petronio Residency Initiative, which will open in the summer of 2018. The Initiative will focus on the beginning stages of the artistic process and provide dance companies, invited by a rotating selection panel, with multi-week creative residencies, in addition to room and board and a healthy stipend. With stunning views of four states, Crows Nest will offer artists in residency a bucolic retreat from commercial marketplace pressures.
“After years of searching for the right property, I found heaven at Crows Nest,” says choreographer Stephen Petronio, 60. “When I began this search, it seemed only natural to secure a home where the next generation of work could be made. With Crows Nest, I’m hoping to leave the world an intimate place where dance can be made, where history happens, and where the dance community can feel at home.”
In January 2016, Stephen Petronio Company began the first phase of a $3M capital campaign to cover the cost of a permanent home and residency program. This new undertaking continues the expansion of the Company’s mission, which began in 2015 with Bloodlines, an autobiographical project that honors the lineage of American postmodern dance. The purchase of Crows Nest strengthens this new approach to history and lays the groundwork for a creative and secure future for contemporary dance. Initial funds for the campaign have come from visual art sales, including a lead gift from renowned London-based sculptor Anish Kapoor, along with work by Cecily Brown, Teresita Fernandez, Jasper Johns, Judy Pfaff, and Matt Saunders, among others.
One of the foremost choreographers of his generation, Stephen Petronio’s groundbreaking work includes multidisciplinary collaborations with some of today’s most innovative visual artists, designers, and composers. This collaborative spirit is in the DNA of the Petronio Residency Initiative. Petronio has also recently made a commitment to steward works of his American postmodern predecessors in a project called Bloodlines. Founding a space to support his ongoing creative investigations as well as those of other dance makers, both established and emerging artists, has been one of Petronio’s longtime dreams. The impetus for building a residency also stems from the desire to relax dependence on the weakening producer/presenter-driven system that has more commonly funded creative activity in past decades.
Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, Stephen Petronio is widely regarded as one of the leading dance makers of his generation. New music, visual art and fashion collide in his dances, producing powerfully modern landscapes for the senses. His unique movement language speaks to the intuitive possibilities of the body within the shifting cultural moment. For more than 30 years, he has created a haven for dancers with a keen interest in history and an appetite for the unknown. His most recent project Bloodlines, which embraces works by postmodern masters who have inspired him,is a natural extension of this impulse.Stephen Petronio was born in Newark, NJ, and received a B.A. from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, where he began dancing in 1974. He was the first male dancer of the Trisha Brown Company (1979-1986). He formed Stephen Petronio Company in 1984, and has created over 40 works for his Company. Petronio has received numerous honors, including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Award, an American Choreographer Award, a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award, and a 2015 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Petronio published his first memoir, Confessions of a Motion Addict, in 2014.
Petronio has built a body of work with some of the most talented and provocative artists in the world, including composers Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Atticus Ross, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Nico Muhly, Fischerspooner, Son Lux, James Lavelle, Michael Nyman, Sheila Chandra, Diamanda Galás, Andy Teirstein, Wire, Peter Gordon, Lenny Pickett and David Linton; visual artists Janine Antoni, Cindy Sherman, Anish Kapoor, Donald Baechler, Stephen Hannock, Tal Yarden, Arnaldo Ferrara and Justin Terzi III; fashion designers Narciso Rodriguez, John Bartlett, Jillian Lewis, Adam Kimmel, Benjamin Cho, Michael Angel, Tony Cohen, Rachel Roy, Tara Subkoff, Tanya Sarne/Ghost, Leigh Bowery, Paul Compitus, Manolo, Yonson Pak and H. Petal; and Resident Lighting Designer Ken Tabachnick.
Founded in 1984, Stephen Petronio Company has performed in 26 countries throughout the world, including over 35 New York City engagements with 22 seasons at The Joyce Theater. The Company has been commissioned by Dance Umbrella Festival/London, Hebbel Theater/Berlin, Scène National de Sceaux, Festival d’Automne à Paris, CNDC Angers/ France, The Holland Festival, Festival Montpellier Danse, Danceworks UK Ltd and Festival de Danse-Cannes, and in the U.S. by San Francisco Performances, The Joyce Theater, UCSB Arts & Lectures, Wexner Center for the Arts, Walker Art Center and White Bird, among others.
The Company was recently selected by the US Department of State and Brooklyn Academy Of Music as one of three American dance companies to participate in the sixth season of DanceMotion USA.
For more information about the company, visit http://www.petron.io.