CUNY Dance Initiative Announces Its Fall 2016 Events

CUNY Dance Initiative Announces Its Fall 2016 Events

Published on July 26, 2016
Image copyright: Choreographer Gabrielle Lamb

Seven Choreographers/Companies Will Present World Premieres

The CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI), a City University of New York-wide residency program now in its third year, announces its fall 2016 public events.

CDI is a new model for collaboration. By facilitating residencies for New York City choreographers and dance companies on CUNY campuses, CDI aims to support local dance artists, enhance college students’ cultural life and education, and build new audiences for dance at CUNY performing arts centers –– which will ultimately expand audiences for dance across New York.

Since January 2016 twelve CUNY colleges in all five boroughs have been hosting 23 residencies. The residency artists and their projects represent a wide range of ideas and styles that reflect the diversity of dance in New York City. The artists have been engaging with the CUNY communities through open rehearsals, classes, and discussions, and will be presenting in-progress showings as well as premieres this fall.

Seven choreographers/companies will present world premieres. Bessie Award-winning performer Caleb Teicher will premiere his full-length Variations, set to Glenn Gould’s iconic recording of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.” Gabrielle Lamb will present a new group work inspired by artist Soghra Khurasani’s woodblock prints, Chloe Arnold’s Apartment 33 debuts, and Dzul Dance’s new work, presented during Hispanic Heritage Month, explores the idea of ritual as a transformative experience via pre-Hispanic rites of passage. The fall season also includes premieres and performances by CDI artists Azul Dance Theatre, Lauren Cox/Humans Collective and MAWU, and showings by mwest dances, luciana achugar, and Urban Bush Women.

See the Program details and schedules below!




Dzul Dance. Image courtesy of the company.


Dzul Dance: Rites of Passage (world premiere)
Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College
FREE preview of excerpts: Friday, September 23, 11:00am (includes Q&A)
Performance: Saturday, September 24, 8:00pm

Dzul Dance, known for fusing dance with aerial and circus arts, celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with the premiere of Rites of Passage. Choreographed by Javier Dzul, who grew up immersed in Mayan culture and later trained and performed with the Martha Graham Dance Company, this new work will focus on pre-Hispanic rites of passage to explore the idea of ritual as a transformative experience. 

Lauren Cox/Humans Collective in ALONEology.

Lauren Cox/Humans Collective: Symbioh (world premiere)
LaGuardia Performing Arts Center at LaGuardia Community College
Sunday, September 25, 8:00pm
$20 at the door / $15 advance tickets / $10 students / (718) 482-5151

In Symbioh, Humans Collective creates a thought-provoking journey inspired by symbiotic relationships and medieval architecture. Artistic Director and choreographer Lauren Cox draws upon an eclectic blend of dance and storytelling with roots in modern, contemporary jazz, African dance, and improvisation to create a rich visual landscape that is playful and meditative by turns, as well as a joyous celebration of life. Symbioh features original music by napago, lighting by micOlucO, and costumes by BonelesBones.

Caleb Teicher & Company's Variations (Excerpt). Photo by Amanda Gentile

Caleb Teicher & Company: Variations (world premiere)
Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College
FREE preview of excerpts: Wednesday, September 28, 12:30pm (includes Q&A)
Performance: Thursday, September 29, 7:30pm
$15 / $10 seniors / $5 students / (718) 793-8080

Bessie Award-winning performer Caleb Teicher has been making a name for himself as a choreographer, and this program features the premiere of his full-length Variations, set to Glenn Gould’s iconic 1955 recording of Bach’s “Goldberg Variations.” Dancers Elizabeth Burke, Gabe Winns Ortiz, and Byron Tittle join Teicher onstage for this captivating new interpretation of a classic. A witty and whimsical duet –– Small & Tall  –– explores Teicher’s wide-ranging interest in contemporary dance beyond tap.

Chloe Arnold's Apartment 33.

Chloe Arnold: Apartment 33 (world premiere)
Marian Anderson Theater at Aaron Davis Hall
City College Center for the Arts
Friday, September 30, 7:30pm
$15 / $10 students  / (212) 650-6900

Founded by Artistic Director Chloe Arnold, Apartment 33 is a haven for tap dancers who have moved to NYC from all around the world to pursue their dreams. This new show by Arnold (Director of The Syncopated Ladies and known for capturing the pulse of pop culture via tap) shares the personal stories of this talented collective of performers through song and dance.

MAWU. Photo by Laurie Markiewicz.

Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture at Hostos Community College
Repertory Theater
Friday, November 4, 7:30 PM
$10 general admission / free to students /  (718) 518-4455

MAWU, an all-female dance crew born out of New York’s underground house scene and dedicated to embodying strong images of women in the urban dance community, presents a new work dedicated to their friend and mentor, the late Marjory Smarth. Smarth was an iconic figure in the New York underground house scene and passed away in 2015. She was a warrior in life, a pioneer in dance, and she touched many lives around the world while spreading her message of love: Live True, Dance Free. This work is a celebration of her life and a reflection on her legacy on what would have been her 47th birthday. Followed by a post-show event with a DJ in the Longwood Art Gallery at Hostos.

Azul Dance Theatre. Image courtesy of the company.

Azul Dance Theatre: Vision (world premiere)
Tribeca Performing Arts Center at BMCC
FREE Contemporary Dance Improvisation Workshop: Saturday, October 29, 10:00am
Performances: Friday and Saturday, November 11 and 12, 7:30pm
$30 / $20 students & seniors / (212) 220-1460

Founded by Artistic Director Yuki Hasegawa, Azul Dance Theatre creates dances that convey the invisible flow of energy — chi in Eastern philosophy — to express the sensitive relationship between the individual and cosmic forces. Azul has been recognized for creating works that are influenced by traditional Japanese culture yet remain “vividly contemporary in feel” (Oberon’s Grove). Vision investigates the internal fight against fear and insecurity by projecting psychological images and ghostly illusions into contemporary dance.

Image copyright: Gabrielle Lamb.

Gabrielle Lamb: Untitled World Premiere
Baruch Performing Arts Center
Friday, November 18, 7:00pm
$15 / $10 students/free for Baruch students

Gabrielle Lamb, winner of a 2014–15 Princess Grace Award for Choreography, has garnered critical praise for her commissions from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Austin, Ballet Memphis, and Ballet X. At Baruch, she will premiere a new work for seven dancers inspired by artist Soghra Khurasani’s woodblock prints. A female Muslim artist living in India, Khurasani creates striking landscapes dominated by crimson rivers and erupting volcanoes. Lamb is drawn to the dualities of these images: the calm that exists alongside violence and the destruction that clears paths for new life. 

Image copyright: mwest dances/Melissa West.

Dance in the Making: mwest dances + luciana achugar
Williams Theater at the College of Staten Island
FREE Open Rehearsal: Thursday, November 3, 2:30-3:30pm
Performance: Friday, November 18, 7:30pm
$10 / $5 students

A shared program by the College of Staten Island’s two CUNY Dance Initiative resident artists. Melissa West is a dancer/choreographer based in Staten Island whose work investigates the body’s relationship to spatial and sonic environments. luciana achugar is a Brooklyn-based choreographer from Uruguay whose work is concerned with the post-colonial world, searching for an undoing of current power structures from the inside out.

Urban Bush Women. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Urban Bush Women
Baruch Performing Arts Center
Work-in-progress showing: Friday, December 9, 6:30pm

Jawole Zollar and Urban Bush Women, along with director Raelle Myrick Hodges and comedic writer Keisha Zollar, will be developing HairStories 3.3 while in residence at Baruch. This multidisciplinary, evening-length work addresses matters of race, gender identity, and economic inequality through the lens of hair, primarily that of African-American women.

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