So before I get down to the nitty gritty let me give you a bit of background info about Chez Bushwick. According to Gabriels, Jonah Bokaer, Founding Director of Chez Bushwick started out in Bushwick in 1999 then left for a brief period to come back in 2002 with a composer, Loren Dempster and Jeremy Wade. According to Chez Bushwick’s website the founding artists also include: Alex Escalante, Brennan Gerard, Meredith Glisson, Miguel Gutierrez, Ryan Kelly, Technopia and Ryan Tracy. As a collective they formed the space and did all of the construction within like building the walls that partition the space and make it both office space and dance space. Once opened they immediately began hosting performances. Gabriels actually recalls coming to a few of these shows back when Chez Bushwick first popped onto the scene. She remembers it taking a long time to get to Bushwick from Manhattan; however, once she arrived she was always surprised at the large turnout of people at the shows. The space was always packed with over 100 observers most times. She also remembers the high quality and uniqueness of the work.
Chez Bushwick is dedicated to presenting choreography that is edgy, new, and interdisciplinary. It has also become well known for garnering some pretty awesome relationships with international artists. Chez Bushwick boasts an 1176 sq. ft. studio that acts as a space for rehearsals, dance classes and performances. The space also has an abundance of natural light, hardwood floors and 12 ft. ceilings. The organization’s rental program is heavily subsidized by individual, government and foundation support in order to offer a rental rate of $5 an hour (pretty frickin' sweet!). Since February of this year performers and choreographers have been able to rent the studio at anytime; they have a key system set up with the Brooklyn Natural that allows the space to be available to renters 24 hours.
Bokaer recently completed a massive project with choreographer John Jasperse called, Center for Performance Research. Center for Performance Research is a newly constructed space located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn which is the first green/L.E.E.D. certified building of its kind in the borough. The bottom floor houses a small studio gallery space, a theater, office and community center; the top floors have been sold for use as condominiums. Bokaer and Jasperse worked with a developer to make it completely artist friendly (more importantly dance friendly there are no columns in the space to obstruct movement rehearsals…yay!). Bokaer adds to his amazing resume with yet another development called, CAPITAL B: Coalition of Art and Performance Initiatives Towards a Livable Bushwick. Basically, Capital B is just what its name describes it as. Chez Bushwick is partnering with several organizations in the community: non-profit, small business, arts-based as well as with local residents to create economic development solutions for urban revitalization. And yes this is where Arts in Bushwick comes in—Arts in Bushwick is one of the coalition organizers for Capital B. The Capital B project is funded by a generous grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.
So now for the juice…
During the weekend of Bushwick Open Studios the Austrian Cultural Forum (NYC) in partnership with Movement Research and Tanzquartier Wien will be presenting, “Re-Imagining Utopia in New York City/Austria-NYC Dialogue.” The production consists of eight artist groups and two theorists from both NYC and Austria, who have come together to exchange and share movement ideas about the future of the arts in relation to the global economic crisis. These groups of artists will be performing in several locations throughout Bushwick with Chez Bushwick being the starting location. Folks interested in viewing this amazing-sounding performance should arrive at Chez Bushwick on Saturday, June 6 at 12:00pm. Showings of the work will continue until 8pm at various locations throughout Bushwick including: The Border, BRAZIL and outdoor sites. “Re-Imagining Utopia in New York City/Austria-NYC Dialogue” began in 2008 as part of the Transversality Lab (TVL).
Re-Imagining Utopia Schedule Details: 12:00pm Melinda Ring and Ann Liv Young @ Chez Bushwick. 1:30 Doris Uhlich & Andrea Salzmann and Cabula6 (Jeremy Xido and Claudia Heu) @ outdoor sites. Audience meets in front of Chez Bushwick and will be guided to the outdoor sites in Bushwick. 4:00pm Jill Sigman, Jenn Joy and Anette Baldauf @ The Border. 6:00pm Philipp Gehmacher & Vladimir Miller installation and Eagle Ager & united sorry (Frans Poelstra & Robert Steijn) @ BRAZIL. For more information about the project follow this link
My next interview will be with Jill Sigman from Think Dance who will also be a participating artist of “Re-Imagining Utopia in New York City/Austria-NYC Dialogue.” I’m excited!