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Kathleen O'Connell

Gibney Receives Grant to Transform Into a Repertory Company

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From the New York Times:

"The choreographer and entrepreneur Gina Gibney announced on Wednesday that her dance company is the recipient of a $2 million gift, which is to be used for its reinvention as a commission-based repertory group. The money, which comes from Andrew A. Davis, a trustee of the Shelby Cullom Davis Charitable Fund, makes it possible for her company to double in size, to 12 dancers from six. Gibney Company, formerly Gibney Dance Company, will make its official debut at the Joyce Theater in November 2021."

Two things strike me as particularly interesting about the new Gibney Company:

1) As the NYT points out, Cedar Lake, which closed down in 2015,  was the "last major contemporary repertory company in New York not grounded in the aesthetic of a founding choreographer," so the new Gibney Company will be filling a perceived vacuum in the NYC dance world. Per the NYT article, Gina Gibney "was inspired by troupes like Nederlands Dans Theater and Ballet BC in Canada, repertory groups that she views as having outstanding dancers and world-class repertory." 

2) But this paragraph from the press release really caught my eye: 

"By 2021, the expanded Gibney Company will offer 52-week contracts, health insurance, on-site physical therapy, an annual artistic sabbatical, and paid vacation to approximately 12 Artistic Associates*. Over the next year and half, Gibney Company will gradually grow, adding new Associates at annual auditions. Experienced dancers with strong technical and artistic abilities are invited to apply for the Company’s upcoming auditions, to be held February 29 through March 1, 2020." [emphasis mine]

* The company refers to its dancers as "Artistic Associates"

52-week contracts and health insurance! The number of US dancers with 52-week contracts must be vanishingly small - I'm not sure even the mighty Ailey company can make that kind of commitment to its dancers. 

Gina Gibney is probably most well-known for the two non-profit dance centers she operates in lower Manhattan that offer affordable class, rehearsal, and performance space as well as a number of artist and community services. I hope this new venture is successful, too.

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She is a super smart person, and is willing to take risks when the goal is right.  The studios have become incredible centers for the dance community in NYC.  Really hoping she can pull this one off as well.


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