Merce Cunningham Trust

CONSULTANTS

Davison Scandrett, Design and Production Consultant

Benjamin Houtman, Audiovisual Archivist

Abigail Sebaly, Researcher

 

 

DAVISON SCANDRETT, DESIGN AND PRODUCTION CONSULTANT

Davison Scandrett served as Director of Production for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 2008 - 2012. Notable projects during his tenure include the Legacy World Tour, premieres of Nearly Ninety & Nearly 902, revivals of Antic Meet, Roaratorio, Rainforest & Squaregame, the Dia Beacon Events, and MCDC's final performances at the Park Avenue Armory. He also oversaw the documentation of production materials & information for inclusion in Dance Capsules and transfer to the Walker Art Center & New York Public Library. Since leaving MCDC, Davison has created lighting designs for Rashaun Mitchell & Silas Riener (Nox, Veal, Interface, Taste, Performance, Way In, Light Years, Blue Name), Pam Tanowitz (The Spectators, PASSAGEN, Heaven on One's Head, Broken Story, The Story Progresses, Once with Me), Rebecca Lazier (Coming Together/ Attica, There Might Be Others), Mike Birbiglia (Thank God For Jokes), Neal Brennan (3 Mics), and Paris Opera Ballet (Cunningham's Un jour ou deux). Production management credits include Wendy Whelan's Restless Creature, Marina Abramovic's Goldberg, Jennifer Monson's Live Dancing Archive, Denis O'Hare & Lisa Peterson's An Iliad, and production supervision of the Koch Theater for Lincoln Center Festival. Before joining MCDC Davison was the Head Electrician for the World Tour of Rent & the 1st National Tour of The Drowsy Chaperone, as well as the recipient of a 2007 Bessie Award for his collaboration with Sarah Michelson and Parker Lutz on the visual design of DOGS. He is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts.


BENJAMIN HOUTMAN, AUDIOVISUAL ARCHIVIST

Benjamin Houtman is the Audiovisual Archivist for the Merce Cunningham Trust, where he provides reference assistance, facilitates access, and participates in the digital preservation of the Trust’s performance legacy. A musician, writer, and archivist interested in the locus where art, identity, and cultural memory meet, Ben is also Project Archivist for the Trisha Brown Dance Company, where he oversees the preservation of their audiovisual assets as they begin to digitize the company’s substantial analog media holdings. He is an alumnus of the WNYC Archives, where he worked on their 2015 National Endowment of the Humanities grant project preserving New York City’s broadcast media heritage, The University of Texas at Austin, where he received an M.S. in Information Studies from the School of Information in 2015 and a B.A. in Sociology from the College of Library Arts in 2008, graduating with Highest Honors, and of Austin, Texas' thriving, cooperative and competitive music scene, performing with The Gloria Record, A. Sinclair, and many, many others. He currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Recorded Sound Roundtable for the Society of American Archivists. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Julie.


Abigail sebaly, researchER

Abigail Sebaly is currently undertaking a major independent research project on the Merce Cunningham Dance Company's 1964 World Tour, initially supported in part by the Merce Cunningham Trust, the Getty Research Institute, the John Cage Research Grant from the Northwestern University Library, and a Mabel Dodge Luhan House's writers residency in Taos, New Mexico. From 2011 - 2014, she was the Merce Cunningham Research Fellow at the Walker Art Center, where she researched and cataloged the museum's comprehensive Merce Cunningham Dance Company Collection. In addition to processing over 3,500 set and costume pieces, she conducted extensive archival research on the collection, including undertaking over 50 oral history interviews in Europe, Japan, and the United States. From 2003 - 2008, she worked in various capacities for the Cunningham Dance Foundation in New York, including serving as director of special projects and an administrative assistant to Merce Cunningham. She earned a M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago (2010), with a thesis focused on performance curation, a Graduate Certificate in Performance from the Institute for Curatorial Practice at Wesleyan University (2013); and a B.F.A. in Dance and B.A. in English from the University of Michigan (2003). From 2008 - 2009, she was a Fulbright postgraduate scholar in Melbourne, Australia, where she participated in a professional mentorship at the Melbourne International Arts Festival with artistic director Kristy Edmunds, founded the draft work series First Run with Lucy Guerin Inc, and performed her own choreography in Melbourne and at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, China.