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The new National Center for Choreography located at The University of Akron (NCCAkron) took a major step forward today with the hiring of veteran dance administrator Christy Bolingbroke as the first Executive/Artistic Director. Launched last year with lead funding from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the center will provide the country's dance makers with the time, space, production technology, and financial resources to create new work.
The center's Board of Directors announced the hiring after a national search for the position. Kristy Edmunds, a former member of the NCCAkron board and chair of the search committee, says that Bolingbroke stood out for her infectious enthusiasm and thoughtful strategies for how the center will advance the field of dance and the work of dance makers. "Her multifaceted professional experiences, regional awareness and vision for carving a bold path for the center to fulfill its vision and potential made her the ideal person for the job," said Edmunds, Executive and Artistic Director, Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA.
The center's Board President and search committee member Pamela Young, Executive Director of DANCECleveland and early proponent of the new center, says that Bolingbroke's credentials are an excellent fit for the center and its mission. "We had an amazing slate of highly qualified candidates but, in the end, Christy's intelligence and experience bubbled up to a unanimous endorsement by the committee."
Bolingbroke, who will provide both artistic and administrative leadership for this new creative center, says she is honored by the opportunity. "I'm excited that I'll be on the ground in Akron this September to open our office on the UA campus. The first of our residencies will be in 2017. In the meantime, I look forward to learning more about the Northeast Ohio community and digging deeper into the needs of dance makers across the country. Ultimately, we have an opportunity to impact the future of dance and make creative residencies transformational for the artist and the art form."
The center, a stand-alone non-profit organization established with $5 million from Knight Foundation, is expected to conduct approximately six choreographic research and development-based residencies in dance annually. Participants for each project will be selected through a competitive curatorial process.
Housed at The University of Akron's School of Dance, Theater and Arts Administration, each project will have prioritized access to studio, theater and performance spaces, including E.J. Thomas Hall, as well as office space. When fully launched, the Center is expected to operate with a staff of three and an annual budget of approximately $500,000.
Bolingbroke most recently was the Deputy Director for Advancement at San Francisco-based ODC (founded at Oberlin College in Ohio in 1971 as the Oberlin Dance Collective). In that position she oversaw curation and performance programming, managed marketing and development campus-wide, directed a unique three-year artist in residence program for dance artists, and mentored emerging arts administrators.
She was formerly the director of marketing for the Mark Morris Dance Group in Brooklyn where she increased touring ticket sales worldwide and activated Access/MMDG events in major hub cities nationally. The Access/MMDG program uses custom-tailored arts and humanities-based activities to deepen and enhance the audience experience.