Santa Barbara Dance Theater; Photo by Brandon Whited
Santa Barbara Dance Theater; Photo by Brandon Whited

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Dance News: Announcing 2019-20 Cage Cunningham Fellow, Jennifer Tipton

Dance News: Announcing 2019-20 Cage Cunningham Fellow, Jennifer Tipton

Published on December 11, 2019
Jennifer Tipton. Photo © Lois Greenfield

Award to Support Development of a New Work by the Pioneering Stage Lighting Designer

Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2019—20 Cage Cunningham Fellow, lighting designer Jennifer Tipton. This is the fourth award of BAC’s distinguished fellowship established in 2015 to support artists who embody John Cage and Merce Cunningham’s commitment to artistic innovation.

Jennifer Tipton, considered one of the most versatile stage lighting designers for dance, theater, and opera, is known for her painterly and emotionally evocative lighting. Throughout her exceptional career, Ms. Tipton has pushed the boundaries of her art form through visual innovations that have reimagined the relationship between lighting and performance, and inspired a generation of designers.

Jennifer Tipton. Photo credit: Louis Greenfield

BAC Founder and Artistic Director Mikhail Baryshnikov said: “Throughout my life as an artist in the U.S. I have crossed paths with Jennifer Tipton, experiencing her defining innovations in theater and dance from both the stage and audience. I deeply admire Jennifer’s love of art, her boundless curiosity, and her extraordinary knowledge. All of us at BAC are thrilled that she accepts our award named for two other luminaries of their time.”

The Cage Cunningham Fellowship, awarded annually, includes $50,000 distributed over two years in support of the Fellow’s work. In addition, BAC provides use of the John Cage & Merce Cunningham Studio for up to eight weeks, as well as significant administrative support for project development.

During her fellowship, Ms. Tipton will collaborate with a set designer and a sound designer to develop an immersive installation centered on the disintegration of the planet's natural resources, through a series of images created with light.

Photo credit: AZ Quotes

“I am overwhelmed and truly honored to be given this award,” said Ms. Tipton. “I feel that it will inspire me to go beyond myself and to imagine something that hopefully can communicate to an audience exactly how I feel about our planet today.”

The inaugural 2016—17 Cage Cunningham Fellow was celebrated Russian pianist and creative visionary Alexei Lubimov, who applied his award to commission five composers at the forefront of music innovation: Anton Batagov, Bryce Dessner, Pavel Karmanov, Julia Wolfe, and Sergei Zagny. BAC presented premieres of all five commissions between Fall 2017 and Spring 2019. The 2017—18 Cage Cunningham Fellow, choreographer Pam Tanowitz, dedicated part of her fellowship to developing an interdisciplinary evening-length work, Four Quartets, which was hailed by The New York Times as “the greatest creation of dance theater so far this century.” In conjunction with the Merce Cunningham Centennial celebration in 2019, the 2018—19 Cage Cunningham Fellowship was expanded to extend support to five artists: filmmaker Charles Atlas, multimedia artist Tei Blow, composer / musician Phyllis Chen, and choreographers / dancers Liz Gerring and Silas Riener.


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