LA Times Spotlights CalArtian-Founded Dance Residency Created During Lockdown

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When theaters across the nation were shuttered due to COVID-19 lockdowns, Kevin Zambrano (Dance BFA 18) envisioned a new opportunity for artists whose livelihoods were placed on pause. Los Angeles Times reporter Steven Vargas recently featured the Ghost Light Residency, Zambrano’s solution to breathing life back into performing arts spaces vacated during the pandemic while keeping dancers safe.

In 2021, Zambrano and Bret Easterling, founder and artistic director of the nonprofit BeMoving, created the residency in collaboration with venues operated by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. The residency’s name refers to the “single electric light left on in unoccupied theaters.” In this vein, the resident artists (selected by lottery) are granted carte blanche to create as they please by using the entirety of the space, to which they are assigned for the five allotted days.

“We’re trying to allow these artists to come in and disrupt these spaces,” Zambrano was quoted in the article. 

Initially organized to place one solo dance artist in a venue, Ghost Light Residency has grown to accommodate more dancers per cycle as COVID restrictions have lessened. Zambrano’s fellow CalArtian dancers Mak Thornquest (Dance BFA 22) and Lena Martin (Dance BFA 23) are among the 2023 resident artists; they were placed at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre to develop an experimental work exploring the convergence between “viewership, audiences and surveillance.”

“I think that we’re interested in bringing in our toolbox of things that we’ve been collecting for a long time like our poetry practice, our feather boas, our investigations around the theater and what it means to be people who have made a home out of the theater,” said Martin.

Read the full article in the Los Angeles Times

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PUBLISHED BY Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

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