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Project Springboard Announces 2019 Residencies, A NATION GROOVES: A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF HIP-HOP And THE QUIET WORLD

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Mara Isaacs, Director of Project Springboard: Developing Dance Musicals, today announced the recipients of the third annual residency awards: A Nation Grooves: A People's History of Hip-Hop, led by Kambi Gathesha (creator, director, choreographer), and Sinan Zafar (sound design, sonic dramaturgy); and The Quiet World, led by Charles Sutton (director, choreographer), Will Van Dyke (composer), and Matthew Greene (book). Both projects will be in residence June 10-28, 2019 in New York City.

A Nation Grooves: A People's History of Hip-Hop draws inspiration from the origins of hip-hop and those who birthed it, specifically youth in the New York and Bay areas. A Nation Grooves is a response piece to Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk - through freestyle dance, this piece follows black history from the 1970s to the present, as a new discourse on the staying power of the beat.

The Quiet World, based on Jefferey McDaniel's poem of the same name, considers a world in which the government allows its citizens a maximum of 167 words per day, "in an effort to get people to look into each other's eyes more." Two young lovers' inability to connect through language causes them to challenge the world in which they live.

Launched in 2017 and designed to encourage collaborations in which choreography plays an integral part in the conception and creation of new musical projects, Project Springboard: Developing Dance Musicals provides a fully-supported, multi-week development residency for two creative teams in the early conceptual stages of a new dance musical.

"Kambi Gathesha and Charles Sutton are each developing singular musical theater works in which dance is an essential component of the narrative, "said Isaacs. "Although the movement vocabulary and method of storytelling couldn't be more different, both artists are asking probing questions about the human condition and how we connect."

Ellen Sorrin, a director of the Jerome Robbins Foundation, explained, "Jerome Robbins made choreography central to the narrative of the shows he choreographed by being part of the creative process from the earliest stage of its development. The Jerome Robbins Foundation initiated Project Springboard: Developing Dance Musicals to support creative teams in giving choreography a central role in the crafting of new musicals."

Project Springboard: Developing Dance Musicals was born out of an extensive inquiry, led by Director Mara Isaacs and the Jerome Robbins Foundation, into the role that choreographers play in the conception and development of new musicals. Overwhelmingly, in the two-year study, they heard from directors, choreographers, composers, lyricists, and book writers that while there is a genuine appetite for developing dance-driven musicals, there are limited avenues available to independent artists to develop these labor-intensive collaborations. It was out of these conversations that Project Springboard: Developing Dance Musicals was created to 1) encourage collaborations that incorporate choreographic and directorial ideas at conception, 2) develop the work with dance fully integrated into the story-telling, and 3) address the existing financial and practical obstacles to developing those ideas in early stages of development.

Project Springboard: Developing Dance Musicals aims to foster the continued development of the selected projects, in partnership with not-for-profit theaters, with the eventual goal of mainstage production. With additional support from the Jerome Robbins Foundation, Project Springboard: Developing Dance Musicals will continue to nurture projects in their early stages to create a pipeline of new dance-driven musicals into the not-for-profit theater community. Previously awarded projects include: 2018 residencies Bhangin' It, led by Rehana Mirza (co-book writer), Mike Lew (co-book writer), Sam Wilmott (composer/lyricist), Rujuta Vaidya (choreographer), and Amy Anders Corcoran (director); and The Night Falls, led by Troy Schumacher (director/choreographer), Ellis Ludwig-Leone (composer/co-lyricist), and Karen Russell (book writer/co-lyricist); and 2017 residencies Untitled created by Camille A. Brown, and Here In the Bright Colorado Sun created by Susan Misner and Jonathan Bernstein.

In addition to leadership support from the Jerome Robbins Foundation, Project Springboard: Developing Dance Musicals is made possible with the generous funding of the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Frederick Loewe Foundation, and the Geraldine Stutz Trust.


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