NCCAkron Shares New Creative Admin Research Cohort

NCCAkron Shares New Creative Admin Research Cohort

The National Center for Choreography – Akron (NCCAkron) welcomes the fifth cohort of their Creative Administration Research (CAR) program. NCCAkron recently announced $1 million in renewed funding for this program, supported by the Mellon Foundation. The artists of this new cohort are Marina Magalhães (Santa Cruz, CA), Kara Jenelle Wade (Atlanta, GA), and taylor knight & anna thompson of slowdanger (Pittsburgh, PA).

The Creative Administration Research program supports U.S. dance artists and challenges the field to think beyond the boundaries of known, traditional models and “best practices.” For the past three years, NCCAkron has built a think tank of Artists and Thought Partners across 16 states to do this work. With the continued support from the Mellon Foundation, NCCAkron welcomes these three new teams to the program this year.  

Since 2020, the program has initiated five cohorts across the U.S. CAR Artists and Thought Partners participate in intensive virtual Investigative Retreats designed to reflect on their body of work, examine chronic pain points across operations, and imagine multiple ways forward. This new cohort will make 22 Artist Teams to date. 

Marina Magalhães (Santa Cruz, CA) is a border-crosser, bridge-builder, and dance-maker from Brazil; her long-term collaborative project, Body as Crossroads, seeks to generate and share listening practices of body, spirit, and land so as to mobilize dance as change-making praxis.  slowdanger (Pittsburgh, PA) is a multidisciplinary performance entity that makes live and digital works at the intersection of movement, sound, technology, physiological centering, and ontological examination. Kara Jenelle Wade (Atlanta, GA) is a multi-faceted movement artist; through dance, spoken word, and audience engagement, she utilizes oral histories and personal experiences to cultivate visuals and performances that she calls “Melanin Rich Projects.”

“We were thrilled by the entire applicant pool,” says NCCAkron Executive/Artistic Director Christy Bolingbroke. “Making this opportunity an open application continues to affirm the interest and demand for what Creative Administration Research has to offer — to better understand and interrogate how the business of dance gets done while also writing the next chapter for dancemaking.”

New CAR Artist slowdanger remarks, “Creative Administration Research means imagining new systems for emergent artistic entities that support one’s ability to dream. CAR creates a scaffolding for resonance, for the artist, their team, and current/possible audiences.”

Marina Magalhães expands, “Often the very things we see as inconveniences or obstacles to our creative work are unique opportunities for us to practice the very core values that drive it. CAR is about developing mutual care between creation and administration that is aligned in shared values and dissolves the binary of art and business.” 

And Kara Jenelle Wade explains, “To me, Creative Administrative Research means meeting an artist where they are and handling business in a way that feels authentic to their journey and for their needs.”

All Artists will be paired with a Thought Partner — an artist, administrator, or other thinker, identified from NCCAkron’s national community and curated based on their background and skill sets. Thought Partners are identified through the CAR Work-in-Process: a series of small group discussions by nomination and invitation with arts administrators, artists, funders, and presenters to discuss current dance business models and the potential around the program. Since 2020, NCCAkron has brought together 80 thinkers and leaders across the arts sector. 

Over the next year, Artists and Thought Partners will engage in Investigative Retreats (intensive periods of exploration) to identify administrative experiments that support their artistic practices. 

In addition to growing the program, NCCAkron continues to seek opportunities to share program learnings with the wider performing arts field. A book on creative administration edited by Tonya Lockyer (WA) and a collaboration between NCCAkron and the University of Akron Press is expected later this year. 

The National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron supports the research and development of new work in dance by exploring the full potential of the creative process. In addition to offering studio and technical residencies to make new work, activities focus on catalyzing dialogue and experimentation; creating proximity among artists and dance thinkers; and aggregating resources around dance making. For more information, visit