News / Blog

Q&A with Wade Madsen | 1998 Fellowship, Performance

Artist Trust

Q: What are you currently working on?
A: So this question of what am I working on right now.. being a professor at a college is sort of the top of the list. I am teaching at Cornish full time and creating a new work for the students for the spring concert at the Cornish Play House.  The subject of this work is from the play Macbeth. I am going from story to idea to quality to finding ways to juxtapose what is going on in our own political race for president in 2017. I also teach at Velocity and that stimulates a whole other set of directives when teaching to that population, so different from a college environment. I am performing with long time partner-in-crime Nancy Cranbourne a work called Mandy and Bebe at Home, originally created in 1980. Throughout the years, subsequent episodes have been created, such as Mandy and Bebe on Christmas Eve, Mandy and Bebe during the Depression, and Mandy has a Dream… The next plan is to produce six or seven of these in a full evening showcase of Mandy and Bebe in the next year. Along with that I will be produced in the International Dance Festival this summer at the Broadway Performance Hall.  I am thinking of two different works: one that was set on a group in Bellingham, and the creation of a new work with dancers in Seattle. Also on the agenda and pending, is a trip to Mexico and setting work on a dance company in Puebla under the direction of Rip Parker.

Q: What did you do with the award?
A: Well, any artist knows that there is not one thing someone does, but there are many things. One thing is the prestige of getting an award and feeling honored to have gotten it and given the go ahead to strive for more.  I will have to also say that the year I received the award, I was also a guest teacher at Mt. Holyoke College in Massachusetts and all money that I received that year put me in a tax bracket that forced me to use most of the Artist Trust award for US taxes.

Q: How has your practice developed/changed since you received the award in 1998?
A: Since I received the award, I find that self-producing is such a struggle that I have not really been drawn to do the self-producing anymore.

Q: What was the impact of this award / Artist Trust on your career / artistic life?
A: The impact at the time was, as I said above, an honor. Not sure that my life has changed that much, except I have stepped to the side and watched others take over the slot of up-and-coming choreographers. I am sure anyone that receives an award of any sort does feel a sense of pressure to not only produce but to try and produce a more/better/surprising/stronger/tourable/aesthetic/challenging/performance work - all the elements that may push an artist to strive to represent something profound in society.

Wade Madsen has been teaching in the Seattle area for over 37 years. He has taught at Cornish College of the Arts for over 31 years and premiered nearly 33 dances for Cornish Dance Theater. Wade currently teaches community classes at Velocity Dance Center. He finds new growth and stamina as a teacher with various workshops and performances throughout the country. He has taught at the Boulder Jazz Dance Workshop since 1982. Wade has produced and performed his own work with his company, Wade Madsen and Dancers, in Seattle since 1977, and has premiered over 200 works on his own company. A former member of the Bill Evans Dance Company and Tandy Beal & Company, Wade has received choreographic grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington State, King County, Seattle Arts Commission, and Allied Arts. In 2012, Madsen was honored by Velocity Dance Center for his body of work as a choreographer and teacher. He has received the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award three times during his teaching career at Cornish. He has teaching ranges from all levels of modern technique, choreography, modern partnering, repertory, collaboration study and his work on the College Dance Company. His work has been produced internationally and in Seattle by the Allegro! Dance Festival, Seattle Dance Project, On the Boards, Bumbershoot, Rockhopper Dance, d-9 Dance Collective, Dance Gallery and Bellingham Repertory Dance, Spectrum Dance Theater, and Seattle Opera. Wade has been a touring company member with the Dayna Hanson Group since 2004, and was recently seen in The Improvement Club, a film based on the the 2012 touring production of Gloria’s Cause by Dayna Hanson.