Pew Fellows Nichole Canuso (2017) and Jennifer Kidwell (2016) have been awarded artist residencies to cultivate in-progress works during the summer of 2020. Provided through a longstanding partnership with the Alliance of Artists Communities, Center-supported residencies provide Fellows with time and space for artistic development and the opportunity to expand their networks of creative professionals outside of Philadelphia.
Canuso, a choreographer and performer, will undertake a residency at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California. Theater artist Jennifer Kidwell will travel to northeastern Wyoming to participate in the Ucross Foundation Residency Program.
Canuso is the founder of Nichole Canuso Dance Company, which creates performances through collaboration across genres and disciplines, including theater, music, dance, and design. She plans to spend her time at Headlands researching and developing Being/With, a Center-funded project she describes as “a performance installation that connects two strangers at a time, separated across geography, in an embodied experience.” United by video and audio technology and guided by prompts via headphones, participants will share stories, dance, meet strangers, and co-create an intimate “duet” in a participatory movement and storytelling experience that fuses live performance with virtual technology and blurs the conventional roles of audience and performer.
Named for the Marin Headlands—a section of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area with nearly 60 miles of bay and ocean shoreline—the Headlands Center for the Arts is a peaceful natural retreat only 15 minutes from San Francisco. Canuso notes that “the coastal setting is an ideal space to contemplate the themes at the heart” of Being/With. “I’m also looking forward to how the interactions with the other resident artists will influence my thinking in ways both tangible and ineffable,” she says.
Kidwell is the co-artistic director of theater company Lightning Rod Special and a theater artist whose work is performer-driven and rooted in character. She will dedicate her residency at Ucross to a currently untitled project that is equal parts music and “bouffon,” a parodic performance genre. She hopes to return to Philadelphia with “developed characters who will create the spine of the piece,” material that can be shared with her collaborators to develop the music and visual design for the work.
On her creative process, Kidwell notes that she develops her characters through research and play, and she intends to divide her residency time accordingly between reading and studio experimentation. Kidwell observes that her in-progress work is “so centered on human-made crises” that “immersion in a natural environment will be a helpful foil” to the content of the piece. The Ucross Foundation occupies a 20,000-acre working ranch set on the High Plains of Wyoming, near the easternmost stretch of the Rocky Mountains. Kidwell expects that this remote setting will facilitate creative focus. “I hope my time feels stretched like the horizon,” she says.