Leader in dance world named new director of choreography center

Carla Peterson, director of MANCC at Florida State University

A leader in the world of dance with more than 20 years of service in the New York performance community has been named director of Florida State University’s Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), the only national center for choreography in the world located in a major research institution.

Carla Peterson begins her appointment on May 7. She is currently the artistic director of New York Live Arts, which commissions, produces and presents performances and serves as the home base for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. She has served as artistic director of Dance Theater Workshop and as executive director of Movement Research, both also in New York City.

Peterson’s appointment at Florida State aligns with the 10th anniversary season of MANCC and a time of great opportunity for future growth.

“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,” Peterson said.

“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,” she said.

Peterson has had a long relationship with the MANCC. 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/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.

“Peterson brings a wide range of experience that will ensure our next decade of programmatic initiatives is as impactful as our first,” said Peter Weishar, dean of the FSU College of Visual Arts, Theatre and Dance.

Peterson has a master’s degree in fine arts from the Ohio State University and a bachelor’s from the University of Illinois.

Jennifer Calienes, the founding director of MANCC, is stepping down after relocating to Boston with her family. Calienes will work with Peterson and MANCC as an adviser through the transition.
“MANCC’s partnership with Dance Theater Workshop was a turning point for the center in formalizing our mutual interest in making longer-term collaborative commitments to artists and projects,” Calienes said. “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.”

Since its inception, the choreography center has produced multi-week research and development residencies for more than 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.

Embedded within Florida State’s School of Dance, MANCC offers unparalleled opportunities for contemporary choreographers to hone their artistic practice and develop new work inside a creative community.

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’s “Moses(es),” both at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (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.