Mission & History
As catalyst for creativity, it is the mission of the Performance Garage to create an environment that nurtures dance artists and facilitates the building of a broader audience for dance in Philadelphia.
It is the vision of the Performance Garage to be a nationally-recognized dance organization, creating a sustainable home for artistic excellence and providing diverse programming for Philadelphia audiences.
In executing its mission and in pursuit of its vision, the Performance Garage believes that:
dance artists require access to affordable and professional spaces;
dance artists need additional support and resources to create work;
dance artists deserve an affirming, inclusive, and nurturing space to explore their practices;
dance audiences should have access to dance performances and dance programs throughout the year; and
the dance community will be strengthened through a robust and well-funded home for dance in Philadelphia.
Founded in 2000 by Jeanne Ruddy and Victor Keen, the Performance Garage is a 501 (c)(3) organization located in the Spring Garden area of Philadelphia. The Performance Garage is housed in a historic 19th century building that was originally a horse stable later converted into an auto repair garage. In 2002 the historic faceade was renovated, and the space was transformed into a versatile dance studio and theater with accompanying offices.
For twelve years the Performance Garage served as a home for Jeanne Ruddy Dance, a non-profit modern dance company under the artistic leadership of former Martha Graham Company Principal Dancer Jeanne Ruddy. The final season for Jeanne Ruddy Dance was held in 2012, launching a Legacy Plan to preserve the company’s repertory and shifting focus to the Performance Garage. For more information about the former Jeanne Ruddy Dance, visit ruddydance.org.
The Performance Garage continues to serve Philadelphia’s performing arts communities through its rental and outreach programs, acting as a catalyst for creativity.
© Bob Emmott
Since opening in 2000, the Performance Garage has proudly hosted hundreds of artists, including:
From 2012-2013, Ronald K. Brown completed a yearlong residency with KuluMele African Dance & Drum Ensemble with multiple workshops and events held at the Performance Garage. This vibrant collaboration, funded by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage's Dance Advance Initiative, brought these artists together in an exploration of preserving African traditions through a blending with modern and urban styles.
In 2012, the Performance Garage was proud to host the former Merce Cunningham Dance Company as they rehearsed for their performances in the exhibition Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg, and Duchamp which ran from October 30, 2012 - January 21, 2013 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
From 2010-2013, the Performance Garage was honored to welcome renowned choreographer Lucinda Childs as she completed her residency through the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage's Dance Advance Initiative. Offerings included master classes with Childs and dancer Ty Boomershine, and rehearsals and reconstructions of works for Work(s) on View and Radial Courses, with performances in our theater.