The mission of Stephen Petronio Company (SPC) is to support the vision of choreographer Stephen Petronio, which includes the creation and presentation of his existing and new works, alongside legacy initiatives meant to preserve the history of postmodern dance lineage, while also advancing its future through new works that honor and extend the history and offer a platform for a greater inclusivity of artistic voices.
SPC was founded in 1984 to support the creative work of modern dance choreographer Stephen Petronio. The incredible milestone of the 25th anniversary of the Company in 2009 catalyzed Stephen to explore how SPC could expand from a single-choreographer model dance company to also honor the past, present, and future in the field of dance through new initiatives (residency programs and re-staging of important postmodern works) designed to amplify and complement Petronio’s original mission. In 2014 the Bloodlines initiative, which preserves a legacy of postmodern dance through restaging projects, was launched, and in 2017, the Petronio Residency Center (PRC) opened. The Company’s mission expanded to include the creation and presentation of Petronio’s works alongside legacy initiatives meant to secure the history and future of postmodern dance lineage: 1) Stephen Petronio continues to develop and present original choreography; 2) through the Bloodlines initiative, SPC has restaged and presented 12 postmodern dance projects, and commissioned two new solo works from young choreographers to date; and 3) PRC, located in the Hudson Valley, supports future choreographic invention in the field with artist residencies as well as education initiatives.
Considered a leading talent of his generation, SPC has produced more than 80 works since founding his company nearly 40 years ago, and Petronio and his dancers have performed before thousands of audience members nationally and internationally, including a regular New York City performance presence.
Petronio has collaborated with some of the most talented and provocative artists in the world, working across disciplines and genres, to build a multi-faceted repertoire of artistic work. He was greatly influenced by working with Steve Paxton and was the first male dancer of the Trisha Brown Dance Company (1979 to 1986). He has gone on to build a unique career, receiving numerous accolades, including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, an American Choreographer Award, a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award, and a 2015 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award.
Stephen Petronio Company / Petronio Residency Center has made a commitment to deepen our understanding of racial justice. We are grateful to all those we continue to learn from, including People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (PISAB), a valued resource and community of activists, and Heather Bruegl, Director of Cultural Affairs for the Stockbridge- Munsee Community, who are a vital part of our cultural competency learning. We are grateful for their time and expertise in our work together. As part of this ongoing commitment, it is SPC/PRC’s intention that people across race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, age and ability, feel seen, heard and valued within our organization. SPC is working towards being an anti-racist organization, through learning, un-learning, re-education, harm repair, harm reduction and harm prevention actions. We are working to name the practices and actions that harm our BIPOC artists and community members, and learning how to acknowledge these actions and hold ourselves accountable for past actions and to guard against future injustices.
It is with gratitude and humility that Stephen Petronio Company acknowledges that SPC and its associated artists work, perform and gather on the ancestral homelands of the Lenape people, on the Lenape island of Mannahatta (Manhattan) in Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland. We pay respect to Lenape peoples, past, present, and future and their continuing presence in the homeland and throughout the Lenape diaspora. We pay respect to the Lenape peoples, past, present and future and their continuing presence in the homeland. Today the Lenape are located throughout the United States and recognized as the Delaware Nation of Anadarko, Oklahoma, Delaware Tribe of Indians in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and the Stockbridge-Munsee Community in Bowler, Wisconsin.
It is also with gratitude and humility that SPC acknowledges that the Petronio Residency Center and its associated artists work, perform and gather on the ancestral homelands of the Muh he con ne ok people, who are the Indigenous peoples of the land where PRC is located. SPC honors and respects their ancestors past and present as the organization commits to building a more inclusive and equitable space for all. Despite tremendous hardship in being forced from here, today their community resides in Wisconsin, and is known as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community. We pay honor and respect to their ancestors past and present as we commit to building a more inclusive and equitable space for all.
The violence directed towards Indigenous, Native, Aboriginal, First Nation, and First Peoples is ongoing and exemplified when Indigenous people’s histories are erased, their cultures are trivialized, their resources are seized, their labor is exploited, their children are stolen, and their lives are taken. In order to fight against this violence, occupiers of this land must listen to and amplify Indigenous people’s voices, while fighting against their complicity.
We recognize that land acknowledgements are a small step towards ensuring a culture of respect, truth, and accountability in our community: we acknowledge the truth of violence perpetrated in the name of this country and we make a commitment to uncovering that truth.
Expanded section to also include on the web site:
We encourage you to get to know the Indigenous people of your area, and ask what you can do to lift and raise their voices, honor, and respect their sovereignty. In that spirit, these action items are offered:
- Support Indigenous Artists and Indigenous-owned businesses.
- Read about Indigenous Cultures. A list of essential reading for anyone interested in Native American experience compiled by the First National Development Institute can be found here.
- Teach children about Indigenous Cultures. A list of Children’s Books from the First Nations Development Institute can be found here. Read these with a child, share the list with a library, book store or school, Use the hashtag #NativeReads and share on social media. For teenage readers, we recommended The Mourning Road to Thanksgiving by Larry Spotted Crow Mann (Nipmuc Nation). For young children, we recommend The Tyler series of picture books by Katari Wilson (Sicangu Lakota Nation).
- Donate to Mohican Nation organizations and to the Lenape Center.
- Pay attention to language and names. Honor and make changes to the dominant narrative that glorifies colonization and genocide of indigenous peoples of this area. Problematic terms like “Pioneer Valley” are a reminder of that legacy of dispossession, removal and subsequent erasure, try shifting to “Connecticut River Valley”. // Mahicannituck (The River that flows both ways)
- Share resources and information:
- Honoring Native Land: A guide to land acknowledgement (U.S. Department of Arts and Culture)
- Native Knowledge 360 (National Museum of the American Indian)
- NARF, Tribal College organization
SPC is an equal opportunity employer, committed to promoting diversity in its board, staff, volunteers, programs and audiences to foster an environment of respect, dignity, fairness, caring, and equality. All qualified applicants receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status.