Dancer-choreographer-teacher Onye Ozuzu, Dean of the Columbia College Chicago School of Fine and Performing Arts and former Chair of the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, has received a 2017/18 Creation & Development Fund award from the National Performance Network. The award will support Ozuzu’s new work Project Tool, developed in association with two commissioning organizations — Links Hall in Chicago and Dancing Grounds in New Orleans. Project Tool is a durational performance installation that uses hand held tools and legacy processes. Ozuzu will collaborate with designer Steve Silbe to build a modular dance “object” that can be arranged and configured to transform many different types of spaces. Project Tool explores the interrelationships between body, task and tool as an improvisational landscape to isolate and identify the actions, techniques, qualities, and capacities of the body involved in the act of building and working with tools.
The National Performance Network’s Creation & Development Fund directly awards $500,000 and leverages an additional $1,500,000 in resources to support the commissioning, development, and touring of 20 new performance works across disciplines, geographies and cultures. The awards are given to a diverse group of artists that reflect NPN’s commitments to equity and access through the arts. The Creation & Development Fund allows NPN and its partners and colleagues across the field to collaborate with performing artists and artist companies by contributing resources to the development of new works, providing valuable presentation and touring opportunities.
The National Performance Network seeks to provide risk-taking artists with the resources needed to develop and tour new work, to ensure arts leaders have the skills and opportunities to be change-makers in the arts presenting field, and to influence cultural policy for more just and artist-centered practices.
As reported previously in this blog, Ozuzu was appointed Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts in 2016 after serving a one-year term as Interim Dean. She arrived at Columbia College in 2011 as a professor and Chair of the Dance Department. Previously she was the Associate Chair, Director of Dance, and a tenured professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she taught for 11 years and was involved in curriculum development and revision. Consistently active in her field, Ozuzu focuses her research on better understanding the body in relationship to our perceptions of lived experience — physical, temporal, individual, communal, cultural, political, spiritual, and so on. An ongoing practice of ethnographic dance research informs her work in the classroom as well as her creative endeavors outside the classroom.