The Yard begins its 40th summer season on Friday, June 22, at the Patricia N. Nanon Theatre in Chilmark with a performance of new works in progress by the members of the 2012 Bessie Schonberg Individual Choreographers Residency.
The residency, named after renowned dance teacher who made an occasional appearance at The Yard, is a three-week long program during which four independent choreographers from around the country have the opportunity to develop new work and learn techniques from Yard artists.
“The goal of the program is about the mentorship of up-and-coming artists,” Associate Director Alison Manning said. “It is about trying to give opportunities to people who are successful but haven’t made a big splash yet, but who we believe can.”
The residency provides artists with housing, workspace, stipends, technical and administrative support, artistic mentoring, and time to explore their craft without outside interruption.
Led by veteran Yard artist and choreographer Marta Renzi, the project is supported by the family of founder Patricia Nanon. Ms. Renzi will mentor the choreographers, working with them as they develop their works over the three-week period.
This year’s choreographers were chosen by David White, the Yard’s executive and artistic director. They are Adam Barruch, Jon Kinzel, Jimena Paz, and Marya Wethers. They have been working in the residency since June 4.
While for some the residency is a first-time opportunity to stay on the Island, Mr. Kinzel knows the Vineyard through summer work and visits to his mother, Gail Tipton of West Tisbury. He worked as a live-in support provider for people with disabilities in Vineyard Haven in the early 2000s.
“[The residency] is an enormous opportunity for me to be able to reconnect with folks I’ve worked with,” Mr. Kinzel said. “And I have been able to bridge my work as a performing artist with what I was doing before.” Through performing therapy as a home health aide, he learned about how to work with body movement.
Each of the artists brings something different to the stage: some are abstract artists, some have been classically trained in modern dance, and some bring with them collaborators to perform with.
“This year’s show is a spectrum of what’s going on in the post modern dance world,” said Ms. Manning. The show’s theme is “1+1=__” and consists of dance and theatrical single-person and duet performances.
When the performances are finished the choreographers will return to their respective homes, but their place at The Yard will remain. Said Ms. Manning, “They are always on our radar screen and will hopefully return to perform here again sometime in the future.”
Dance: Bessie Schonberg Mentorship Residency 8 pm, Friday and Saturday, June 22, 23, The Yard, Middle Road, Chilmark. $25; $15 seniors and students. 508-645-9662; dancetheyard.org.