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DANCE NEWS: Abrons Arts Center Announces its 2021 Winter/Spring Season Line-Up

DANCE NEWS: Abrons Arts Center Announces its 2021 Winter/Spring Season Line-Up

Published on January 5, 2021
mayfield brooks presents "Whale Fall" © Johanna K. Wilson

Lower East Side Arts Institution To Present Blend of Virtual and In-Person Offerings Across Disciplines

Abrons Arts Center, the Lower East Side arts institution that has long been a nexus of communities and cultures, today shares its Spring 2021 lineup, which offers a mix of  online programming and in-person programming --presented in Abrons’ amphitheater, historic theater, and indoor galleries-- reflecting the organization's focus on supporting artists and social justice causes. Curated by Artistic Director Craig Peterson and Director of Programming Ali Rosa-Salas, along with organizational partners, the ambitious roster underscores the critical role of the arts in times of social distancing, disruption, and disenfranchised populations.

“As this pandemic continues, so do Abrons Arts Center's efforts to serve and support the community via the arts and our other programs,” says Craig T. Peterson, Artistic Director, Abrons Arts Center. “Our most important role is supporting artists who engage with urgent social and civic issues, providing platforms that bring their ideas to broader audiences. This is demonstrated in our Spring 2021 line-up as much as it is in the resources we offer artists and our Lower East Side neighbors to weather this storm --including emergency relief funds, providing physical and virtual spaces for artists to continue their work, mutual aid efforts, and our ever-growing food bank-- which is operated out of our historic theater by artists and arts workers.”

“As we begin to imagine what a future beyond the challenges of 2020 would look like, we organized programming and presentations that give voice and platform to artists who are exploring the paradigm changing issues,” says Ali Rosa-Salas, Director of Programming, Abrons Arts Center. “The temporary closing of theaters and dearth of in-person performance made this past year even more difficult. Now, with 2021 in our sights, we are excited to safely resume our live, in-person programming, adding  to the important dialogue around social justice, equity, and empowerment.”

The Spring 2021 line-up is included below and will be posted online at  





Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter by Emily Johnson and Karyn Recollet

Emily Johnson and Karyn Recollet: Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter
Monthly: January 14, February 18, March 25, April 22, May TBD, June 17, 2021 
Presented in the Abrons Arts Center’s  Amphitheater

Kinstillatory Mappings in Light and Dark Matter, monthly ceremonial fires on the Lower East Side of Mannahatta in Lenapehoking, facilitated by Emily Johnson and Karyn Recollet. Part communal gathering, part performance, this ongoing presentation will take place in the Abrons amphitheater or digitally, in alignment with public health protocols.  

* * *

Aaron Landsman, Clarinda Mac Low, Ogemdi Ude: Language Reversal: Move Past What We Know
February 1, March 8, April 12
Sliding Scale Admission : $,0 $5, $10, $15, $20, or $100

Language Reversal: Move Past What We Know is part of a collaborative process about power, translation, and the toolkits for survival. Artists  Aaron Landsman, Clarinda Mac Low, Ogemdi Ude will be in dialogue with guests from communities that span from the Lower East Side to Serbia, Nigeria, Australia and beyond, all of whom have  been subject to political authoritarianism.  (Interdisciplinary/Talks)

* * *


Sibyl Kempson/7 Daughters of Eve Thtr. & Perf. Co.:  THE SECURELY CONFERRED, VOUCHSAFED KEEPSAKES OF MAERY S. 
January 25 @ 7PM ET
Sliding Scale Admission : $5, $10, $15, $20 for all MAERY S. experiences from Radio Play and digital“theatrical miniseries”
Co-Presented with The Chocolate Factory Theater

By combining literary and dramatic narrative with eye-witness accounts of Sasquatch encounters culled from the internet, THE SECURELY CONFERRED, VOUCHSAFED KEEPSAKES OF MAERY S. reinvents as many versions of the Frankenstein author Mary Shelley as there are definitions of the word “Gothic.” In this work, a string of financial, maternal, and familial misfortunes causes Shelley—referred to in this production as Maery S.—to spawn a monstrous creative expression, which takes on its own life and violent history. Maery cannot help but fall  in love with her Monster, only to see it “collected” and imprisoned by charitable funding at a mandatory artists’ residency.  

MAERY S. will begin as an episodic radio play on January 25, followed by a series of experimental digital “theatrical miniseries,” which will be available in the Spring.  (Interdisciplinary)

* * *

Elysia Crampton Chuquimia/Embaci & Dasychira
Jan 28, @ 8PM ET
Co-presented with ISSUE Project Room

Abrons Arts Center and ISSUE Project Room are pleased to present the premiere of two new video works by Elysia Crampton Chuquimia, Embaci, and Dasychira. 

Elysia Crampton Chuquimia presents a new video work created with her brother Joshua Chuquimia Crampton that is set to her song “Secret Ravine (Chakana En General).”  This song, which is featured on her latest album OCORARA 2010, follows intergenerational trauma and Indigenous fugitives of Christian violence. 

* * *

Christopher Gregory-Rivera: Las Carpetas
Jan 14-March 14, M-S @ 10am - 7pm - Appointment Recommended
Presented onsite in Abrons Arts Center Main Gallery
Curated by Natalia Viera Salgado

Las Carpetas looks at the bureaucratic residue of a 40-year-long secret surveillance program by the Puerto Rican Police Department and the FBI that aimed to destroy the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. Through still-lives, archival appropriation, and investigation, Christopher Gregory-Rivera provides a counterhistory to the way many understand this period of time and its aftermath.  By rescuing, displaying, and photographing the contents of the FBI files, Las Carpetas questions what forces have control over what and how we remember. (Visual Arts)

* * *


Celebrate the year of the Metal Ox with the launch of the first edition of Lunar New Year Calendar

Lunar New Year Chinatown Calendar
Calendar available at participating businesses beginning on February 6
Onsite and around Lower East Side
Co-presented with Abrons Arts Center,  The W.O.W. Project, Welcome to Chinatown

Abrons Arts Center, Wing on Wo’s the W.O.W. Project, and grassroots initiative Welcome to Chinatown come together to celebrate the year of the Metal Ox with the launch of the first edition of a Lunar New Year Calendar. Designed by photographer Mischelle Moy, this 12-month photo calendar will feature products from 18 Chinatown businesses that evoke celebration of the new year and explore the deep meaning Manhattan’s Chinatown holds for so many in the Asian American community. Beginning on February 6, patrons who spend $20 or more at participating businesses will receive a free calendar (while supplies last). All of the businesses included in the calendar will be featured in a Lunar New Year Holiday Gift Guide that will be available online and for a pick up throughout Chinatown. 

A limited run of calendars will also be on sale at Wing out Wo and Abrons Arts Center.  A percentage of  proceeds from calendar sales will be donated to the Welcome to Chinatown’s Longevity Fund, its small business relief fund that supports small businesses in Chinatown.

* * *


mayfield brooks: Whale Fall  - 2020-2021 Performance AIRspace Resident
April 15, 16, 17 @ 7:30PM
Presented in Abrons Arts Center’s Amphitheater
Sliding Scale Admission : $5, $10, $15, $20

Whale Fall is a movement and sonic exploration of solo and collective grief. A “whale fall” also describes the process of a whale's decomposition after it dies and falls to the ocean floor, where it provides vital nutrients for deep sea creatures. Informed by decomposition processes, the grieving traditions of whales, the stories Moby Dick and Jonah and the Whale, and the Black lives lost to the middle passage and COVID-19  Whale Fall considers how grief can be processed and transformed. (Performing arts/dance)

mayfield brooks improvises while black, and is currently based in brooklyn, new york on lenapehoking land, the homeland of the lenape people. mayfield is a movement-based performance artist, vocalist, urban farmer, writer, and wanderer. they are currently an artist in residence at the center for performance research (cpr) and abrons arts center in new york city/lenapehoking, is faculty at movement research nyc and the editor-in-chief of the movement research performance journal. mayfield teaches and performs practices that arise from their life/art/movement work, improvising while black (iwb).

* * *


CCS BARD 2021: Access as Creative Methodology
May 1-16
Abrons Arts Center’s Culpepper and Main Galleries 
Co-presented with the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College 

Access as Creative Methodology is an inaugural partnership with the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and Abrons Arts Center. This initiative, which grew out of a study group led by artists Jordan Lord and Cori Olinghouse , invites second-year curatorial graduate students from CCS Bard to consider how disability access can be integrated in curatorial practice. This Spring, collaborative project co-organized by CCS Bard students Krista Alba, Natasha Matteson, Bernardo Mosqueira, Georgie Payne, Allie / A.L. Rickard, and Candice Strongwater who will present a project at Abrons Arts Center that considers these dimensions. In addition, the project will be accompanied by a digital publication Temporary Dwellings, published by The Portal, which was founded in 2017 by artist, archivist, and curator Cori Olinghouse. (Visual arts)

Initiated in 1990, The graduate program at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College (CCS Bard) is based in Annandale-on-Hudson. It offers a two year intensive course of study in the history of contemporary art, the institutions and practices of exhibition making, and the theory and criticism of contemporary art since the 1960s.

* * *

Rena Anakwe: The Cosmology of Water [iter.02] - 2020-2021 Performance AIRspace Resident
May 6 (Amphitheater), 7(Digital), 8 (Amphitheater)
Online and in person
Sliding Scale Admission : $5, $10, $15, $20

The Cosmology of Water [iter.02] is an immersive, water-based sound bath experience that incorporates sound, light, and scent. This activation of space and time, which will take the form of both live performance and an online video work, is part of Rena Anakwe's ongoing exploration of a diasporic healing arts practice that incorporates a hybrid of analog and digital creative technologies to bring awareness to the mind and body while exploring the materiality of water within Igbo Cosmology. Anakwe, who is also a healer and plant medicine maker, will distribute herbal care packages to audiences who attend the live performances. (Interdisciplinary/Performing Arts) 

* * *

Gloria is an explicit testimony of women about resistance and the glory of survival

Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith: Gloria  - 2020-2021 Performance AIRspace Resident
May 20, 21, 22
Presented onsite at Abrons Arts Center Amphitheater 
Sliding Scale Admission : $5, $10, $15, $20

Gloria is a feminist work that marks the continuation of Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith’s fifteen-year choreographic partnership. Together, they use dance to break down patriarchal constructs of female degradation by directly engaging with physical objectification. Lieber and Smith portray recognizable tropes of female objectification, only to deconstruct and represent these forms to offer a different narrative, one that is sculpted by their bodies, a deeply understood femininity, and friendship. In an age of grief, Gloria is an explicit testimony of women about resistance and the glory of survival. Sound design by James Lo and Lighting Design by Thomas Dunn.

* * *


Tess Dworman: Carl Soprano 
2020-2021 Performance AIRspace Resident
June 10, 11, 12 @ 7:30PM
Sliding Scale Admission : $5, $10, $15, $20

Carl Soprano, created in collaboration with Tess Dworman and  filmmaker Daniele Sarti, is a video work that considers structure and meaning within nonsensical relationships. The piece is modeled after the format of public access talk show and prompted by questions about embodiment and gender expression in improvisational performance.  Dworman, who plays the talk show host, looks at the nuances of masculinity by “becoming” various famous white male artists and fictional characters. In this act of impersonation on screen, Dworman asks: how does one reveal who they are in both their desires and abilities to act like other people? (Performing arts/interdisciplinary)

* * *

June 24 - August 22, 2021
Presented as part of La Residencia 
Abrons Arts Center Main Gallery
Curated by Natalia Viera Salgado

Counterflags reflects on relationships to place, identities, and borders. This exhibition examines the practice of creating, raising, and flying flags, and how these practices can serve as counteracts to colonial violences. 

La Residencia is a co-located residency program in partnership with Pública. A cultural space in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Pública aims to provide a platform for local and international artists to strengthen relationships between Puerto Rico and a global audience. Over the course of eighteen months, Pública Co-Director Natalia Viera Salgado will serve as Abrons’ 2020-21 Curatorial AIRspace Resident and will support the development of projects at Abrons and Pública.

* * *

Autumn Knight: M_ _ _ER
June 25, 26, 27 @ 7:30PM
Presented onsite in Abrons Arts Center Amphitheater 
Sliding Scale Admission : $5, $10, $15, $20

M _ _ _ ER is a solo work by interdisciplinary artist Autumn Knight that considers how the concepts of “mother,” “murder,” and “matter” shape experiences of intimacy. Knight utilizes non-linear improvisation, sculpture, and manipulation of scenic elements like light and sound as tools for deeper inquiry. (Theater/Performance)

Edra Soto: Plaza Pública 
June 6-August 8
Presented as part of La Residencia 
Abrons Arts Center Amphitheater
Curated by Curatorial AIRspace Resident Natalia Viera Salgado

For her La Residencia residency at Abrons, Chicago-based, Puerto Rican interdisciplinary artist Edra Soto will present architectural interventions at Plaza Pública, a site-specific modular table for multiple usage, including playing dominoes in a physically distanced reality. The table will be installed at the Abrons Arts Center Amphitheater. In addition, Soto will create a decorative fence for Abrons balcony window. Both of these projects are an extension of her ongoing project GRAFT representative of vernacular architectural interventions  that take the form of immersive installations. Citing structures known as quiebrasoles and rejas found prominently in Puerto Rico, GRAFT physically interconnects this existing architecture to a site specific place while conceptually representing an imaginary transplant or migratory gesture

La Residencia is a co-located residency program in partnership with Pública. A cultural space in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Pública aims to provide a platform for local and international artists to strengthen relationships between Puerto Rico and a global audience. Over the course of eighteen months, Pública Co-Director Natalia Viera Salgado will serve as Abrons’ 2020-21 Curatorial AIRspace Resident and will support the development of projects at Abrons and Pública.

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