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Dance Residency Case Studies | Collaboration

“[We are] creating a structure where the line between development and presentation of work can productively blur.”

In response to the need for more comprehensive support for dancemakers that spans several stages of the development of new work, a cohort of organizations is in the planning phase of a collaborative residency project. The project brings together three organizations in three different cities – The Chocolate Factory, Live Arts Brewery | Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, and Vermont Performance Lab – to create a robust model of support for artists and organizations. With a shared dedication to artistic process, each partner brings unique attributes and strengths to the collective, which can vastly deepen an artist’s residency experience, expose an artist to multiple markets, and sustain the creative process over an extended period of time.

The cohort of residency sites will provide artists with financial support, access to various creative spaces and technical support, housing, and project management to assist in the creation, dissemination, and promotion of their work. Artists will have opportunities to explore their work with audiences at critical stages of development and will have at least one formal presentation of their work following the residency period. Throughout the process, the partners will function as a learning community to reflect upon and enhance their practice and, over time, to build a sustainable model to share with the residency field.


The Chocolate Factory values the process of creation and the spirit of experimentation. Artists invited to work at The Chocolate Factory receive dedicated rehearsal and performance residencies and are encouraged to put the space and technical resources to use in imaginative ways, with very few practical limitations.

From Brian Rogers, Artistic Director
“I am excited for the opportunity to work closely with a select group of partners to support the work of artists in a targeted, long-range, and flexible way – creating a structure where the line between development and presentation of work can productively blur.”


  • Location: Long Island City, New York
  • Residency length: 10 - 12 months (in 4- to 6-week segments)
  • Average number of artists in-residence at a time: 1
  • Residency season: year-round
  • Approximate % of residents that are dancemakers: 75%
  • Disciplines supported: theater, dance, music, and multimedia arts
  • Facilities: The Chocolate Factory is a 5,000-square-foot two-story renovated commercial garage, with two performance spaces designed for flexible use.
  • Public access: The Chocolate Factory supports performances in a variety of settings including early works-in-progress, full engagements of 1 - 4 weeks, and festivals of new work. Resident artists’ work is given numerous public showings in various stages of development prior to its official opening. These showings provide artists with direct audience feedback on the progress of the piece, which is then incorporated as rehearsals and development continue.


A laboratory for research and development, the Live Arts Brewery (LAB) supports artistic research, experimentation, and exploration of contemporary theater, dance, and cross-genre live performance work through a variety of initiatives designed for local and visiting artists. The LAB Fellowship program provides up to eight local artists with one-year residencies and an integrated curriculum designed to actively engage the artists in experimentation and development. The LAB also provides production residencies, allowing an artist to explore the technical issues of a piece and show their work in front of invited audiences throughout the creative process.

From Craig Peterson, Director, Live Arts Brewery
“While networks and structures exist for the presentation of artists’ work, there is limited access for collaborative, organizational artist support in the creation of work. This collaborative model is an integrated and comprehensive way to support artists over a sustained period of time. Having the support of three organizations will nourish the process in a way that rarely exists for artists.”


  • Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Residency length: local artists, ongoing for 1+ year; visiting artists, 1 - 4 weeks at a time
  • Average number of artists in-residence at a time: local artists, up to 10; visiting artists, 1 - 2
  • Residency season: year-round
  • Approximate % of residents that are dancemakers: 50%
  • Disciplines supported: theater, dance, and multidisciplinary performance work
  • Facilities: The LAB provides artists with a state-of-the-art theater facility at the Live Arts Studio, a 2,400-square-foot space housed in a former brewery adjacent to the Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe administrative offices. The theater is equipped with professional sound equipment and a lighting grid. An additional 4,000-square-foot space houses a studio dedicated to research and development activity.
  • Public access: The LAB provides opportunities for works-in-progress showings, informal performances, and full production of new work. The LAB is particularly invested in engaging audiences in the creative process and actively encourages artists to share work at various stages of development.



The Lab Program is at the heart of Vermont Performance Lab’s (VPL) mission to support the creation and development of new work by contemporary performing artists. Each year VPL selects three to four artists to participate in the Lab Program – a creative residency where artists have access to various kinds of creative space in a small rural Vermont community. In this retreat-like setting, artists can concentrate on research and experimentation and test performance ideas with small audiences.

By pooling resources with local partners, VPL can offer artists top-rate creative space, comfortable housing, and opportunities for artists to engage with scholars, students, artists, and the community at large. As the program grows, VPL plans to develop on-site housing in Guilford and expand its reach to include collaborations with other regional and national arts organizations to provide more comprehensive support for the artists VPL serves.

From Sara Coffey, Director
“Our primary focus in Vermont is on supporting artists in the research and development of new work and re-thinking how artists can engage with communities. We tailor each residency to the needs of the artists. By joining forces with other like-minded organizations that value the artist-centered approach we can collectively develop inventive models for supporting artists and our various communities.”


  • Location: Guilford, Vermont
  • Residency length: 3 days to 2 weeks
  • Average number of artists in-residence at a time: 1 company/ensemble
  • Residency season: year-round
  • Approximate % of residents that are dancemakers: 80%
  • Disciplines supported: theater, dance, music, and puppetry
  • Facilities: VPL partners with Guilford Sound, Marlboro College, and other local community organizations to leverage space and resources for artists.
  • Public access: As part of every residency, VPL engages the local community in the artist’s research and development process through open rehearsals, artist talks, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, community involvement in the making of work, and performances. A typical residency includes multiple creative periods over an 18-month period. VPL often partners with local organizations to host such residencies and create meaningful connections between artists and communities.