Dance News: Performance Space New York Announces The "No Series"

Dance News: Performance Space New York Announces The "No Series"

Published on November 27, 2018
Photo © niv Acosta and Fannie Sosa

The Series Features niv Acosta, Paola Balla, Hannah Black, Genevieve Grieves, Emily Johnson, Ligia Lewis, Muriel Miguel, S.J Norman, Joshua Pether, Mariaa Randall, Fannie Sosa, Gillian Walsh, a Festival from Arika, and More

Performance Space New York presents the No Series (January-May, 2019), unleashing the powerful artistic and political tool of refusal. The institution’s third themed series under Executive Artistic Director Jenny Schlenzka (following the 2018’s Posthuman and East Village Series) foregrounds projects that reflect on oppression and the task of building worlds from modes of survival outside the dominant culture, which seeks to dehumanize, destroy, erase, and exploit. Often reflecting the community and care fostered in the margins of colonial, ableist, hetero-patriarchal, and capitalist societies, the artists in the No Series engage modes of being beyond the individualism and alienation on which these structures thrive. Hopelessness and invisibility can provide the foundations for vibrant, self-determined worlds.

Jenny Schlenzka says, “Performance Space feels very inspired by the creativity, power, and love for community the artists bring to their works in the No Series. We believe there is a lot to draw from for anyone who is fed up with the status quo.”

The series will begin with the organization’s participation in the citywide First Nations Dialogues with KIN, curated by Performance Space New York Associate Artist Emily Johnson—an artist of Yup’ik descent who creates body-based work, and offers provocations and dialogue on Indigenizing the performing arts and the world at large. KIN (January 5-10) centers radical forms of care, consent, reciprocity, and love. For KIN, Johnson invites five First Nation Australian artists and local NYC-based elder Muriel Miguel from the Kuna and Rappahannock Nations to share performance works and related conversations, engaging practices of kinship and power. These artists and their Indigenous knowledge systems work through generosity and acknowledgment of present and past to transmute injustice and grief. They offer a commitment and ask for participation toward a shared, healing future. The KIN Conversations will take place January 6, 8, and 10 between JohnsonPaola Balla (a Wemba-Wemna and Gunditjimara artist, curator, story teller, academic, and consultant based in Melbourne, who returns to Performance Space New York after presenting in the final COIL Festival in 2018), and Genevieve Grieves, a Worimi artist, filmmaker, educator, curator, and content creator from Southeast Australia currently based in Melbourne. 

KIN’s series of performances will kick off with dancer/choreographer Joshua Pether, who is of Kalkadoon heritage but lives on Noongar country in Western Australia, and his work Jupiter Orbiting (January 5 & 6), an immersive exploration of personal identity via science fiction narrative and a visceral combination of movement, sound, and video. On January 8, non-binary Koori live artist and writer S.J Norman will perform Cicatrix I (that which is taken/that which remains), anew live installation work referencing their ancestral cicatrisation practices, seeking a queer ceremonial language for the containment of political grief with their new live installation work. In Footwork/Technique (January 10), Mariaa Randall, who belongs to the Bundjalung and Yaegl people of the Far North Coast of New South Wales, Australia presents contemporary Aboriginal footwork and dance legacies as a reference to time and a comment on attempted colonization.

As part of KIN, Spiderwoman Theater Artistic Director and founding member Muriel Miguel will bring the company’s Pulling Threads Fabric Workshop to Performance Space New York (January 7). The workshop allows women to address their experiences with violence, healing, and ultimately, renewal in the collaborative creation of a quilt.

Black Power Naps. Photo © niv Acosta and Fannie Sosa.

Amidst New York’s APAP-oriented overflow of performance, niv Acosta and Fannie Sosa will take over the institution’s largest space with Black Power Naps, an installation (January 9-31) that relishes the antithesis of performative exertion. Noting how American society requires people of color to over-perform to be granted space in the public sphere—and how rest itself is an American privilege of which there is a statistically proven racial gap—Black Power Naps creates a powerfully idle, comforting, restful environment for people of color within the institution’s immense main theater. Surrounding the beginning of the installation, Acosta and Sosa will present a capsule version Choir of the Slain, their Black opera of idleness, performed lying down, soothingly activating the bedded surfaces of Black Power Naps (January 9 & 11).

Multidisciplinary artist and writer Hannah Black will do a new commission for the No Series, and between February 28-April 20, Performance Space New York will screen her film Beginning, End, None—digging into and taking off from the high school bio analogy of the cell as a factory. As Black describes in AQNB, “I wanted to look at this skeptically, as it compares a historical and social entity—the factory—with a transhistorical, natural one—the cell. In doing so, it makes an ideological claim: naturalizes the factory, commodifies the cell.” From this, Beginning, End, None notes cell’s evocation of a prison, and draws on the multiplicity of malignant structures wrought by human life, linked by association to the structure from which we’re all built.

From April 11-14, the No Series will feature a collaboration between political arts organization Arika, Performance Space New York, and the Whitney Museum of American Art—the festival I wanna be with you everywhere. Organized by Arika, Amalle Dublon, Jerron Herman, Cyrée Jarelle Johnson, Carolyn Lazard, Park McArthur, Alice Sheppard, and Constantina Zavitsanos, the cross-disciplinary festival serves as a gathering and refuge—a space in which to survive and thrive, and a space for coalition building and sociality—organized by, for, and with disabled artists and writers.

Gillian Walsh, a Performance Space New York Associate Artist, will present the world premiere of Fame Notions (May 17-19), her pessimist anthropology of the American Dancer and the alienation that comes from centering dance within one’s life. In its critique of the mainstream dance economy, Walsh’s work exists at its core in the state of refusal sought within the No Series. As Walsh describes, her dances work “underneath expectations of extroversion and theatrical affect, leaning into an infinite and dense emptiness”; they are “abstract, anti-didactic, and anti-narrative.”

The No Series will close with two performances from Ligia Lewisminor matter(May 21 & 22), a consideration of blackness and spectacle, in which a black box space’s parts become entangled with three performers; and Water Will (In Melody) (May 28 & 29), a dystopic choreographic fantasy of desire, imagination, and feelings of an encroaching end. In 4 Columns, Hannah Black writes of how Lewis’ work “offers a kind of oblique blueprint for how joy, hope, anger, and despair are all always the case, using the paradigmatic fact of blackness” and notes its expression of how “in black collective being, apocalyptic hurt and utopian community are folded together.”

The No Series Events, Dates, and Times  

First Nations Dialogues: KIN
Curator: Emily Johnson
January 5-10

With Joshua Pether, S.J Norman, Mariaa Randall, Genevieve Grieves, Paola Balla, Muriel Miguel.

KIN is part of First Nations Dialogues, a series of Indigenous led performances, discussions, workshops, meetings, and ceremony taking place across New York City in January 2019. Kicking off the No Series, KIN features three performances, one workshop, and three conversations by five First Nations artists from Australia and local NYC-based elder Muriel Miguel from the Kuna and Rappahannock Nations. These artists are in dialogue with one another and share specific Indigenous experiences through their work such as kinship, care, and the transmutation of grief through movement, process, ceremony, and language.

Refusing imposed colonial structures, the artists in KIN celebrate a radical Indigenous sociality (Recollect & Johnson, forthcoming), which has allowed for both survival and futurity over centuries. Practicing care and kinship within wide networks of human and more-than-human beings (e.g. water and land) is fundamental to this sociality and celebrated in KIN.

Produced by Performance Space New York, in partnership with First Nations Dialogues, Global First Nations Performance Network, and American Realness.

Paola Balla, Genevieve Grieves, Emily Johnson
KIN Conversations

January 6 | 5pm
January 8, 10 | 4pm
Free with RSVP

1: Center of Center of Center
2: Uqamaltaciq, the weight of something
3: Qailluqtarr, to act, change or deal with things in various ways - some ways in which are hard to explain

Guided by First Nations artists and scholars – Paola Balla, a Wemba-Wemba and Gunditjimara woman based in Melbourne; Genevieve Grieves, a Worimi woman from Southeast Australia based in Melbourne; and Emily Johnson, a Yup'ik woman from Alaska based in New York City – this series of conversations threads through KIN and like KIN, it weaves through trauma, violence, and history with a generous resolve for the present and future – a commitment to generosity, positive motion, and the kind of deep love that moves forward like the undercurrent of the East River, the Birrarung, the Mnisose. Audiences are encouraged to attend all three conversations if possible, as they are accumulative.

Kalkadoon artist JOSHUA PETHER explores different realities in "Jupiter Orbiting."

    Joshua Pether
    Jupiter Orbiting

    Performance | U.S. Premiere
    January 5 | 7pm
    January 6 | 3pm

    The work of Joshua Pether, who is of Kalkadoon heritage but lives on Noongar country in Western Australia, is influenced by his two cultural histories, indigeneity and disability. His latest work, Jupiter Orbiting, involves an immersive sci-fi narrative, which invites the viewer into a powerful encounter with dissociation and trauma.

    Spiderwoman Theater: Muriel Miguel
    Pulling Threads Fabric Workshop

    January 7 | 3-9pm
    Free with RSVP

    Led by Muriel Miguel – one of the founders of the legendary Indigenous women’s theater company Spiderwoman Theater – the Pulling Threads Fabric Workshop invites participants to share stories and listen, to stitch together that which has been ripped apart, through storytelling and quilting and to engage with personal and community stories of violence, healing, and ultimately, renewal. All are welcome.

    S.J Norman
    Cicatrix 1 (that which is taken/that which remains)

    Performance | World Premiere
    January 8 | 7:30pm

S.J Norman is a non-binary Koori live artist and writer. Cicatrix 1 (that which is taken/that which remains), specially made for KIN, is a chain of actions, woven from the syncretic tissues of buried rites for mourning and remembrance. In particular, Cicatrix 1 considers the collision of Indigenous, queer and trans bodies with state power, specifically the abuse and obliteration of those bodies by the carceral state. A long-durational ritual unfolding over approximately 4 hours, Cicatrix 1 begins with the lighting of a medicinal fire and concludes with an outdoor, midnight procession.

Photo © Maria Randall.

Mariaa Randall

Performance | U.S. Premiere
January 10 | 2pm, 6pm, 8pm

Mariaa Randall belongs to the Bundjalung and Yaegl people of the Far North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Technique/Footwork is a movement piece of contemporary Aboriginal footwork and dance legacies. It is presented as an art in motion, as a form of Land Acknowledgment, as a reference to time and a comment on attempted colonization.

niv Acosta and Fannie Sosa
Black Power Naps

Jan 9-31
On View | 12pm-6pm
Closed Mondays

In our society, relaxation and rest is a luxury reserved for the privileged and rich. Recent studies have shown that the distribution of rest is determined by race, with people of color regularly getting less sleep than white people. niv Acosta and Fannie Sosa’s Black Power Naps is a direct response to the Sleep Gap, which the artists see as a continued form of state sanctioned punishment born from the ongoing legacy of slavery. Reclaiming idleness and play as sources of power and strength, this installation takes over Performance Space’s large theater and invites people of color to break with constant fatigue by slowing down, resting, and interacting with soft, comfortable surfaces.

Our culture has required that people of color present themselves as extraordinary performers, athletes, or entertainers in order to exist in the public realm, Black Power Naps refuses institutionalized exhaustion and demands the redistribution of idleness, down time and quality sleep.

Commissioned and produced by Performance Space New York.

niv Acosta and Fannie Sosa
Choir of the Slain (part X)

Performance | World Premiere
January 9, 11 | 9pm

Choir of the Slain (part X) is a capsule version of the eponymous evening length Black opera created by niv Acosta and Fannie Sosa. A two-night activation of Black Power Naps’ many surfaces, the performance plays with multiplicitous states of being idle. Protesting the necropolitics of the night, which deprive people of color rest, Sosa and Acosta sooth and still waters, animating lace front units, bedroom negligé, and other gender and sound technologies. Playing the structures of the installation as instruments the artists create a choir from the beds of Black Power Naps.

Hannah Black
Beginning, End, None

Video Installation
February 28 - April 20
On View | Wednesday-Sunday | 12-6pm

Hannah Black’s video installation, Beginning, End, None, takes the cell, the building block of all living organisms, as its starting point. Questioning the classic analogy of the cell as “factory,” Black explores the ideological aura of this comparison, which implicitly naturalizes the factory and commodifies the cell. Meanwhile, biotech has now made the analogy real by treating cells as sites of production.

Using a mix of found, personal, and laboratory footage, Black explores the leakiness of metaphoric and real transmissions between concepts of biology and society. Across three screens, the video proposes that our understanding of the material substance of life is haunted by containment and force, connecting the cell with the prison, the slave ship, and industrial production. Past and present forced labor regimes provide the ground for the biological categorizations that appear here in purified form, as spectral technical images.

The artist will present a commissioned performance in conjunction with Beginning, End, None. More information coming soon. 

I wanna be with you everywhere
Organized by Arika, Amalle Dublon, Jerron Herman, Cyrée Jarelle Johnson, Carolyn Lazard, Park McArthur, Alice Sheppard and Constantina Zavitsanos.

April 11, 13, 14 at Performance Space New York
April 12 at the Whitney Museum of American Art
Pay What You Wish, Sliding Scale | Free-$25 per day

“People misunderstand… I was talking survival, and they were talking rights, independence, more abstract concepts. Community is survival.” - Nick Dupree

I wanna be with you everywhere is a gathering of, by, and for disabled artists and writers and anyone who wants to gather together for a series of crip meet-ups, performances, talks and other social spaces of surplus, abundance and joy. It refuses policies of individuation and inclusion in favor of (and in the flavor of) whatever disability aesthetics has in bodymind—which we won’t know ‘til it shows us. Programs and events will unfold across each day, but there’s also going to be a major sense of ease. As this festival is bridging coasts and working on crip time, the full program will be announced soon ;) 

Gillian Walsh at St. Mark’s Church. Photo credit: Rudolf Costin.

Gillian Walsh
Fame Notions

Dance | World Premiere
May 17-19 | 4pm

Emptiness, stillness, and refusal are sources of great creativity to the Brooklyn based artist, Gillian Walsh. At the core of her work is a love-hate relationship with the medium of dance, a friction that often translates into highly formalist performances, which can feel uninviting at first sight. Behind the seemingly hermetic surface of Walsh’s repetitive dances, however, lies a sincere attempt to carve out a new role for dance as an artistic medium to experiment with non-capitalist temporalities and create new spaces for collective experiences.

The title of Walsh’s new work, Fame Notions, is an anagram of Yvonne Rainer’s famous No Manifesto (1965), a historic reference to another artist’s attempt to expand the notion of what dance can do. Instead of just criticizing formalist conventions, however, Walsh takes her critique a step further and situates dance’s materialist foundations as inherently alienating.

Commissioned by Performance Space New York.

Ligia Lewis
minor matter

May 21-22 | 7pm

In her BLUE, RED, WHITE trilogy – of which the last two parts, minor matter and Water Will (in Melody), are included in the No Series – Ligia Lewis rejects what she calls “the tyranny of transparency and reason” in favor of opacity and privileging the state of not knowing as a necessary state that can allow something new to emerge. Giving sound, lighting, and physical movement equal importance, Lewis’s affective choreographies trouble the idea of a stable identity which can be represented on stage, or anywhere else for that matter. minor matter (2016) was conceived out of the artist’s fascination with the idea of making something from nothing.  In this work, Lewis pushes the borders of choreography, giving space to the poetics of the performative moment.

Ligia Lewis
Water Will (in Melody)

U.S. Premiere
May 28-29 | 7pm

Melodrama is a point of departure for Ligia Lewis’s newest choreographic work, Water Will (in Melody), the last part of Lewis’s BLUE, RED, WHITE trilogy. Set in a wet and cavernous landscape, four performers enact a dystopic fantasy negotiating desire, imagination, and feelings of an encroaching end. Through a state of hopelessness, darkness and unexamined emotion become a reserve for creativity and power.

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