Fernadina Chan and Jessi Stegall Named Latest Boston Dancemakers Residents

Fernadina Chan and Jessi Stegall Named Latest Boston Dancemakers Residents

Fernadina Chan and Jessi Stegall have been named the 2022-2023 Boston Dancemakers Residents at Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) and the Boston Dance Alliance (BDA). Jessi Stegall and Fernadina Chan will both develop work during their year-long residencies at BCA inspired by, and in deep conversation with, other artists who inspire each of them.

In Jessi Stegall’s case the theremin virtuosa Clara Rockmore is the inspiration behind Stegall’s upcoming piece The Theremin Vignettes. For Fernadina Chan, Michael Alfano’s interactive sculpture Cubed is the starting point for Continuum Dance Project’s new work that will develop into an exploration of race and gender from a female perspective, contrasting and harmonizing with Alfano’s sculptural intention.

Accomplished educator and choreographer Fernadina Chan is the founding artistic dean and former chair of Boston Arts Academy (BAA). Fernadina Chan founded Continuum Dance Project (CDP) — together with her collaborator and co-director Adriane Brayton.

In a new evening-length work CDP will explore the multi-layered connection with Michael Alfano’s interactive sculpture Cubed. Built like a jigsaw puzzle, Cubed consists of nine moveable pieces. Each piece is pigmented with a different skin tone, representing individual diversity within a united community. Fitted together they form a four-foot by four-foot face, depicting a male image on one side and an inverted female on the other.

This new cross-disciplinary dance will challenge audiences to consider the nuances of race and the label of gender; while empowering them to interact with, touch, and take ownership of the work. This project will feature four female dancers, with backgrounds from The Dominican Republic, Haiti, South Korea, The U.S. Virgin Islands, and United States.

“We are so excited to have Boston Center for the Arts be our “home” for inspiration and creation in 2023. Through our Dancemakers Residency, we look forward to continuing the development of ideas generated during our initial exploration of Michael Alfano’s Cubed at our AiR Residency in 2022,” said Chan.

Jessi Stegall is a dance-theatre artist, applied ethicist, and arts educator based in Boston. Jessi currently approaches performance as an act of ode: expressing curiosity and homage toward worlds built by others. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Harvard ArtLab, National Parks Service, Windhover Performing Arts Center, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

Jessi Stegall’s upcoming work The Theremin Vignettes is an evening-length dance production made up of a series of choreographic vignettes within the musical world of thereminist Clara Rockmore. The Theremin Vignettes is, first and foremost, an ode to Clara. More broadly, this piece will pay homage to the theremin. The only instrument to be played without physical contact, the theremin produces a warbly and eerie tone made from thin air, often associated with science fiction films. Rockmore’s theremin arrangements of classical works elevated the instrument above novelty status, bringing precision and composition to an otherwise seemingly random and crude instrument. By choreographically illuminating Rockmore’s unique use of the theremin, The Theremin Vignettes aims to choreographically highlight the music’s soulful charm through idiosyncratic narratives of departure, grief, and remembrance.

“I am extremely excited to spend this year deepening my practice of ode-making with an interdisciplinary team. With the support of the Dancemakers Residency, I am looking forward to experimenting, prototyping, and reflecting — not only in building choreography, but all the moving parts of developing a performance production,” said Stegall.

The Boston Dancemakers Residency supports Boston-area dance artists who are striving to develop, adapt or reinvent their creative process. Produced through a partnership between Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) and Boston Dance Alliance (BDA), the residency serves as a laboratory for ideas that are in the exploratory phase and need dedicated time and space to be fully realized.

To learn more about becoming a Boston Dancemakers Resident, click here.