Florida State University (Tallahassee, Florida) has announced the new Director of the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography will be Carla Peterson. After a nationwide search, Peterson was selected to lead the prestigious (and only) national center for choreography in the United States forward into its second decade. Peterson begins her appointment on May 7th after more than twenty years of service and leadership in the New York dance and performance community. Peterson is currently the Artistic Director of New York Live Arts, a position she also held at Dance Theater Workshop (DTW); immediately prior to that she served as Executive Director of Movement Research.
“I am thrilled to be assuming the mantle of leadership at MANCC at this significant juncture in its evolutionary impact on the field of dance. It has been hugely rewarding to work as an artistic director and curator for the past eight years in New York City, but I have always championed the value of artistic research and experimentation. And I align with the value of artists charting their own, potentially unknown, courses, artists as explorers in helping us understand our complex humanity. It is exciting to begin working for an organization that has been at the vanguard of such supportive and important work,” states Carla Peterson.
Peterson’s appointment aligns with the tenth anniversary season of MANCC and a time of great opportunity for future growth. Since its inception, the Florida State University-based center has produced multiweek research and development residencies for over 75 dance makers and an additional 400 collaborating artists from across the country. MANCC programming reflects a wide range of aesthetic and artistic practices and has been purposefully supporting choreographers at all stages of their careers. Upcoming premieres of work developed at the center and taking place in New York City include Beth Gill’s New Work for the Desert at New York Live Arts, Miguel Gutierrez’s Age & Beauty Part 1 at the Whitney Biennial, and DD Dorvillier’s upcoming platform at Danspace Project. Additional work developed at MANCC that has premiered in the last six months includes Tere O’Connor’s Bleed and Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Moses(es), both at BAM (New York City), Dayna Hanson’s The Clay Duke Project at On the Boards (Seattle), Hijack’s redundant, ready, reading, radish, Red at the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and Okwui Okpokwasili’s, Bronx Gothic, which premiered at Danspace Project as part of PS 122’s COIL Festival.
Peterson has had a long relationship with the Center. She has served as a member of the MANCC National Resource Council and as a panelist for the MANCC Choreographic Fellowship program. She also served as partner and host of the Dance Theater Workshop (DTW)/MANCC commission and residency program from 2008 to 2012 which supported a diverse range of independent artists including DD Dorvillier, Koosil-ja, Juliette Mapp, Dean Moss, David Neumann, and Yasuko Yokoshi.
Founding Director Jennifer Calienes, who is stepping down after relocating to Boston with her family, will continue working with Peterson and MANCC as an advisor through the transition. She states, “MANCC’s partnership with DTW was a turning point for the center in formalizing our mutual interest in making longer-term collaborative commitments to artists and projects. As we begin to plan for our second decade, I can’t imagine a more perfect scenario than having Carla shift into a core leadership role.”
“Peterson brings a wide range of experience that will ensure our next decade of programmatic initiatives is as impactful as our first,” states Peter Weishar, Dean of the FSU College of Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance, an expansive College that also oversees the Ringling Museum and FSU/Asolo Repertory in Sarasota, Florida.
Carla Peterson was appointed Artistic Director of New York Live Arts in February 2011, after providing overall direction for the artistic mission of Dance Theater Workshop, serving in the same position from 2006 to 2011. From 2002 to 2006, she held the position of Executive Director of Movement Research, an internationally recognized dance laboratory. From 1993 to 1996, she served at Dance Theater Workshop as both Managing Director of the National Performance Network and Director of The Suitcase Fund, an international artists exchange program. From 1988 to 1993, she was the Assistant Performing Arts Director at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. She has held numerous positions in freelance arts consulting, fundraising and management working for national service organizations and for progressive artists, and for such foundations as the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Surdna Foundation. Peterson continues to serve on numerous national panels. In 2005, she was awarded a “Bessie” (New York Dance and Performance Award) in recognition of her leadership of Movement Research and her dedication to the dance community. She currently serves on the boards of two progressive arts organizations, Movement Research and Mount Tremper Arts, and on the Steering Committee of the NY Dance and Performance Awards, under the auspices of DanceNYC. She holds an M.F.A. from the Ohio State University and a B.S. from the University of Illinois. She was made a Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et Des Lettres in 2012 by the French government.
The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) is the only national center for choreography in the world located in a major research institution, and operates from one of the premier dance facilities in the United States. Embedded within The Florida State University School of Dance, the Center offers unparalleled opportunities for contemporary choreographers to hone their artistic practice and develop new work inside a creative community. The Center has made significant multi-year investments in such artists as Emily Johnson, Yanira Castro and Miguel Gutierrez, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Programs serve a range of artists from Eiko & Koma, Deborah Hay and Ralph Lemon, to Tere O’Connor and Morgan Thorson, to more emerging choreographers such as Shinichi Iova-Koga, Julia Rhoads and Darrell Jones. The program encourages resident artists to bring dancers, designers, dramaturges, composers, and other appropriate collaborators who will enhance their creative inquiry through physical, conceptual, experiential, or scientific means. MANCC has taken a leadership role in advancing the dialogue and practice of dance development residencies, while serving as an anchor model for the field. MANCC operates in partnership with presenters and funders to advance the form. MANCC is a founding member of the Hatchery Project, a major initiative and national consortium of presenters and residency sites including the Chocolate Factory, Vermont Performance Lab and RED Arts Philadelphia to provide multiyear commitments to choreographers with major funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.