Seven artists selected for year-long residency at BAM

Brooklyn Academy of Music's artists in residence
(top left to right) Michelle Rodriguez, Black Diaspora, Postell Pringle, Heather Robles/The Bessies, Christopher Myers, Christopher Rudd, and Pioneers Go East Collective

The Brooklyn Academy of Music has announced the 2023 cohort for its year-long artist in residence program, selecting four artists and three artistic collectives.

All spanning multiple genres and disciplines, the selected artists include The Bessies, Black Diaspora, Christopher Myers, Pioneers Go East Collective, Postell Pringle, Michelle Rodriguez, and Christopher Rudd.

Now in its third year, BAM’s artist residency program supports artists as they create new work and develop their practices, encouraging them to create freely with no obligation to present their work at BAM.

Throughout the residency, selected artists will receive honorarium payments and the use of BAM’s rehearsal rooms and theaters, including the Hillman Studio/the Fishman Space, as well as access to The BAM Hamm Archives Center.

BAM said it selected this year’s artists through a “cross-collaborative and transparent process, ensuring a diverse range of perspectives and genres”.

“The 2023 cohort is an exciting and dynamic group with exceptionally strong artistic vision and voices. We’re thrilled to collaborate with them and be a part of this much-needed support system for these artists to explore and develop work without the pressures of production,” said BAM Artistic Director David Binder. “BAM continues its commitment to nurturing a wide range of artists forefronting the resources, time, and space artists need to wrestle with their ideas and create a community around shared values.”

Artists in Residence 

Brooklyn-based performance artist, playwright, composer and director Postell Pringle said he was “pinching myself” at the opportunity of being selected for BAM’s third cohort of artists.

“To put it simply, no other institution in the world produces the level of work and supports the quality of groundbreaking artists that BAM does every single darn season. There’s a palpable sense of magic and wonder that fills up every nook, cranny, corner and paints every wall in the place. I can’t wait for some of that good juju to fall over me,” said Postell Pringle.

Visual artist and writer, Christopher Myers said the opportunity to access BAM’s archive and to be in dialogue with communities was “a gift” and “a way to concretize the essence of theater, that it is always done with an eye toward memory, and a projection toward the future”.

“The first time I walked across a stage at BAM, as a designer and a theater maker, I was struck with the idea that I was walking across years of history. All the performances, all the performers, all the applause, all the rehearsals, all the audiences gathered together in this space to share in one long ritual of sharing ourselves with each other; of talking about what it means to be artists and storytellers and humans,” said Myers.

Likewise, vocalist, songwriter, musical theater artist, and actor Michelle J. Rodriguez said she was grateful for the grant of space to draft and weave her music together with fellow musicians.

“Bringing the music of my musical Presencia outside of myself is a living process. I channel the music, I sing the music out loud to myself, I work up and often co-orchestrate the music with musicians, and then, only then, I figure out what the music is trying to say through me,” said Rodriguez.

“I learn exponentially about stories by singing the songs, juxtaposing them, with the previously unseen pathways between ideas that emerge when improvising with musicians.”

Christopher Rudd, Heather Robles ( Executive Director of The Bessies)

Jamaican-born choreographer Christopher Rudd, known producing the first work for the American Ballet Theatre featuring an all-Black cast, said he created his dance company, RudduR Dance, in 2015 to create works of high artistic merit and “to better the world through dance”.

“At RudduR Dance, we are committed to using dance to reflect, transform, and repair society. Its mission is to use contemporary ballet and theatricality to create performances reflective of society,” said Rudd. “Artistic pursuits, next generation development, and community engagements are the three areas of the Company’s focus. I sincerely hope that audiences see the merit in my works. Moreover, I hope they see the bigger picture of what I hope RudduR Dance could be.”

Fellow selected collective, The Bessies, is the city’s premier dance awards honoring outstanding creative work which recognizes the artistry of choreography, performance, sound design/music composition, visual design, legacy, and service to the field of dance.

“Abundance is possible within community, and this partnership will support The Bessies serving the field into the future,” said Heather Robles, Executive Director of The Bessies.

Members of Black Diaspora’s Third Year cohortBAM

Pioneers Go East Collective Philip Treviño, Joey Kipp, Daniel Diaz, Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte
Pioneers Go East Collective Philip Treviño, Joey Kipp, Daniel Diaz, Gian Marco Riccardo Lo ForteBAM

Black Diaspora – a three-year residency program for Black and Afro-Latinx-identified dance and performance artists – started on Zoom as a peer support program for up-and-coming, Black-identified dance and performance artists.

Curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa, the nine-member collective now stages numerous peer group discussions and workshops led by notable guest artists.

“We’re honored and excited to have been selected as a part of the 2023 Resident Artist cohort, especially in this time of transition and transformation for Black Diaspora,” said Eva Yaa Asantewaa.”I send big thanks to BAM for believing in the power of the Black community and creativity.”

The third artist collective selected for the program, Pioneers Go East Collective, is a radical Queer laboratory collective dedicated to dance-theater and video art that empowers the LGBTQ experience.

A spokesperson for the collective said that by reflecting on identity and self-preservation its creative practice “seeks to unfold this individual social experience from this emergence and invite more community members to share our practice and build more inclusive support structures.”