Phil Sandström dresses for mobility and troubleshooting, for shinnying up scaffolds and fine-tuning lights. After 23 years as the technology mainstay of Dance Theater Workshop, and director of operations for the design and building of its new Chelsea space, he was laid off June 30. (Longtime executive director David White’s resignation was effective the same day.)
Village Voice: What happened?
Sandström: The official story? Monetary considerations. They’re trying to retrench, cut expenses. I worked every day for two and a half years to get the new building up and running. Now they’re farming out my building responsibilities to the facilities guys. I’m scouting for 2wice, scoping out choreographers for the magazine. In 23 years, you see a lot. It encourages me to go to the WAXes, the HEREs, and see what’s out there. I’m still looking for artists who want me to do lighting design. Lighting is more important than any other technical element. It’s about how you see the work.
VV: What would your dream job be?
Sandström: Working with an organization planning to build, to identify what kind of theater they need. At DTW I applied everything I know, about lighting, sound , and set design, to constructing the new space. Representing the owner to the architect and the general contractor, I’d take the artistic vision of the organization, ensure that the theater they build matches their mission.