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The Dance Enthusiast's Summer Must See for Free in NYC

The Dance Enthusiast's Summer Must See for Free in NYC

Published on June 19, 2015
Trisha Brown Dance Co photo by Kat Schleicher

River to River 15, SILENT at The Metropolitan Museum, 2nd Annual ITE Bryant Park Dance Festival, Elastic City

Free Dancey Things to See and Do This Summer.

The summer is a tremendous and "budget friendly" time to #GetEnthused and experience moving art.  So much inspiring, mostly free, summer dance/theater happening in our artistic city.  I've listed some events that stand out in my mind. 

Many of you can get a chance for a fresh look at works you may have seen years ago, like Twyla Tharp's The One Hundreds or John Kelly's Love of a Poet which he has reconceived from its 1990 Obie Award winning iteration for performances running from June 25th through the 28th on Governors Island (for more deets look below).  Maybe you missed a canari torsi this past season at Danspace Project or Michel Boule's White?  Now you can see these companies and artists opening up their original ideas site specifically  as part of the expansive River to River 15 Festival.

If you are intriguted by the Metropolitan Museum's China: Through The Looking Glass there is an opportunity for you to be immersed in a dancer's reponse to the exhibit. Choreographer and dancer Dai Jian ( known for his work with Trisha Brown and Shen Wei Dance Arts) has created an immersive, performative response to the show. Trained in contemporary dance, classical dance, and Wushu Art( a form of contemporary Chinese martial art that blends elements of performance and martial application)  his performance is part of the MetFriday series and is on June 26th from 5-8pm.

The young, dynamic Inception to Exhibition team is sponsoring their 2nd Annual Dance Festival at Bryant Park, with a  line up of diverse and extremely compelling dance companies. During four Fridays from June 19 through July 10th witness the power of  Loni Landon, The Renegade Performance Group, Francesa Harper, Carolyn Dorfman, Earl Mosely, 10 Hairy Legs, Jennifer Muller The Works and more!

If you are bored by the same old, same old when it comes to artist talks or lectures, Elastic City hears you. During their July through August 2015 Festival the group decided that it is important to bring you into the world of an artist whether by collecting sea glass with the performance artist Karen Finley and her video artist daughter, Violet Overn, or by exploring aural experiences with the luminous actress, performer, singer, improviser, K.J. Holmes. ( There are many more experiences available log on to the website for more Elastic info)

I am sure there is more going on that I don't know about.  Please share anything you think may be missing by listing with the The Dance Enthusiast's Dance Listings. AND As always, if you love what you see or even if you don't, please share your thoughts with us in our Audience Review Section. The Dance Enthusiast is committed to keeping the conversation about dance alive and you, the audience, are a crucial partner in the discussion.  Happy Summer - Christine Jowers- The Dance Enthusiast

River to River


JUNE 18–28 Events are 100% FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC (though for space reasons some require RSVPs)


  • June 19–20, a canary torsi presents Court/Garden inside historic Federal Hall. The three-act spectacle of dance and live music performance is inspired by the imperial ballets of Louis XIV’s French Court
a canari torsi
a canari torsi photo by Jose Espaillat
  • June 19, 21, 22 Souleymane Badolo Dance My Life, on Pier 15.
  • June 19–20, 22 and 24–25 Rachel Tess presents the newest iteration of her ongoing dance project Souvenir Undone, a site-specific piece performed with Luis Rodriguez. Then, twice on June 24 Tess and Benoît Lachambre perform These are bodies, These are motions, This is the place. Performances happening at Fort Jay Magazine on Governors Island.
  • June 20, Twyla Tharp’s ensemble— celebrating 50 years of Tharp’s choreography—will perform her seminal 1970 work The One Hundreds in Rockefeller Park. This truly participatory event will feature 100 “community member” dancers joining the professional dancers to repeat the 100 11-second phrases of movement.
  • June 21 Trisha Brown Dance Company makes its triumphant return to River To River on with site-specific work, Trisha Brown: In Plain Site. Specifically adapted for this performance at Wagner Park, the performance provides a new lens to look at Brown’s vast repertoire.
  • June 24–26 The Set Up- The sixth installment of Wally Cardona and Jennifer Lacey’s eight-part dance series, with 70-year-old master Saya Lei (aka U Than Aung) as its focus and inspiration, and an original sound score by Jonathan Bepler.
Wally Cardona, Jennifer Lacey "The Set Up" photo by Whitney Browne
  •  June 22–24, Eiko Otake presents the next iteration of her ongoing solo project, A Body in Places, which began as part of River To River 2014 and continued inside Philadelphia’s 30th Street Train Station later in the year. The location for River To River 2015 is the new Fulton Center transit and retail hub.
    Michelle Boulé Photo by Ian Douglas
  • June 24, 26, 27  WHITE -Michelle Boulé’s quantum-physics-inspired piece adapted for the South Street Seaport’s Peck Slip Park.
  • June 26–28 The tenth installment of Catherine Galasso’s Fall of the Rebel Angels series of site-specific performance “studies”, Fall of the Rebel Angels: X comes to a house in Nolan Park on Governors Island. The piece is an evening-length interdisciplinary work loosely inspired by the Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens.
    Catherine Galasso's "Rebel Angels" photo by Victoria Sendra
  • June 26–28 i Emmanuelle Huynh—Company Mua’s Cribles/Wild Governors, a May Pole performed by NYC-based dancers to Inannis Xenakis’ Persephassa for six percussionists at the Parade Ground on Governors Island.
  • June 25th Open dress rehearsal,June 26–28 John Kelly’s Re-Conceived Love of a Poet  For River To River 2015, Kelly will re-conceive is 1990 Obie Award  acclaimed work in the lower level of the Arts Center at Governors Island, debuting the new edition on June 25 with an open dress rehearsal to give audiences insight into his creative process. The work will then be performed with the original 1990 black-and-white 16mm film sequences by Anthony Chase and a completely new set/installation by artist Jarrod Beck
    John Kelly "Love of a Poet" photo by Billy Erb

AT THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM (Free with Museum admission)

SILENT dialogue Friday, June 26, 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. (World Premiere) in select galleries

For tickets, visit or call 212-570-3949.Tickets include admission to the Museum on day of performance.

Choreographer and dancer Dai Jian has created an immersive performative response to the exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass. Trained in contemporary dance, classical dance, and Wushu Art, Dai Jian has danced with the Trisha Brown Dance Company and Shen Wei Dance Arts, and has created improvisations, performance installations, and visual art.  Moved by the specific energy and the emotional narrative of a selection of galleries, he has choreographed several new dance works for numerous dancers that will be staged in the spaces from which they drew inspiration.  This performance is part of MetFridays.

Dai Jian and Austin Seldon. Photo: Ian Douglas.

Inception to Exhibition (ITE) Second Outdoor Dance Festival, Bryant Park Presents Modern Dance.

Presented in collaboration with Bryant Park.

The four-week festival has been curated to present a well-rounded view into the modern dance scene of New York.

  • Friday, June 19, 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. Featuring Steps Repertory Ensemble: Versatile dancers perform acclaimed works by brilliant choreographers. Loni Landon Projects: Sophisticated, highly physical movement, executed with beelike agility. Francesca Harper Project: Classical forms combine with fierce energy in dance inspired by imperfection, love, politics and identity.  
Loni Landon Photo by Paula Weiss
  • Friday, June 26, 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. Featuring Renegade Performance Group: Investigating dance and performance through Afrofutursim. Carolyn Dorfman Dance: Acclaimed company builds dramatic narratives with its exhilarating movement and bold imagery. Cornfield Dance: Lush movements frame everyday life with wit, playfulness, passion and beauty.
  • Friday, July 3, 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. Featuring Earl Mosley's Diversity of Dance: A diverse rep company with funky moves and strong technique, matched with outrageous spirit and intensity. BARE Dance: Shape-shifting and vernacular blending with a prescient focus on the world, epitomizing dance of this millennium. 10 Hairy Legs: Exploring the extraordinary emotional and technical range of male dancers.
Renegade Performance Group /Photo by Rachel Neville
  • Friday, July 10, 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. Featuring Manuel Vignoulle Dance: Athletic and sensuous, thrilling works connected by unbridled possibility. Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company: Remarkable virtuosity, musicality, innovation and vibrant humor with highly charismatic performers. Jennifer Muller/The Works: Powerhouse dance that is engaging, inspirational and evocative, illuminating the human spirit.
Jennifer Muller The Works/ Photo Carol Rosegg

Bryant Park is situated behind the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan, between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The park is accessible by B, D, F, or M train to 42nd Street/Bryant Park or the 7 to 5th Avenue.

Elastic City
Elastic City 2015 Festival - July 7th- August 18th-  At various locations in New York City 

All events are free with RSVP  Go to website to RSVP and for more info and to

This summer, Elastic City, the New York-based pioneer of artist-led participatory walks --in effort to undo the hierarchy of conventional artist talks and better situate the audience inside of an artist's work-- will present a free festival in which a diverse lineup of poets, performing artists and visual artists who will lead walks, talks and experimental workshops called “ways”—all exploring various planes of human sensory and aesthetic experience.

Among the luminaries leading walks are writer Wayne Koestenbaum; performance artists Karen Finley and her daughter, video artist Violet Overn; comedic singer/performer Erin Markey; set designer Mimi Lien; and walk artist/Elastic City Founder Todd Shalom & theater director Niegel Smith.

Singer-producer Julian Fleisher and his father, the legendary pianist Leon Fleisher; performance curator and producer Caleb Hammons; free-form radio DJ Vin Scelsa, his novelist daughter Kate Scelsa, and supportive mother-wife Freddie Scelsa; and Todd Shalom & Niegel Smith will lead talks, each lasting approximately 60-90 minutes.

Of Particular Interest to Dance Artists:

1. SEA GLASS MERMAID / Karen Finley & Violet Overn ( a walk)

  • Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 6:30pm
  • Fri, Jul 24, 2015,  6:30pm--Duration 90 minutes

Starting Point: Flatbush Ave/Ryan Visitors Center Brooklyn, NY. Language: English. For Ages 16+

Mother Daughter Duo- Karen Finley and Violet Overn Lead Sea Glass Mermaid Walks 

 This walk will meet at the "Flatbush Ave/Ryan Visitors Center" bus stop on the Q35  bus near Dead Horse Bay, Brooklyn. Please plan your travel time accordingly, as the walk will start promptly at 6:30pm. Please wear boots, as we will be collecting sea glass. SEA GLASS MERMAID holds 18 people and is co-presented with The Flea Theater.  TO RSVP GO TO SITE

The mother-daughter duo, Karen Finley and Violet Overn, aims to escape time and the city. “Walking along the shore, we forget where and when we are. Washed up sea glass, fifty year-old notes in bottles, leather shoe soles and rusty toys. The city wasn’t always hundred story skyscrapers and gum-stained sidewalks. In Dead Horse Bay, we are taken into a different history deep in the heart of the Rockaways, hidden under nature’s cove to celebrate the breeze and the roving sun. Join us to create living tableaus from nature's flora and fauna and the discarded objects the sea has returned. Perhaps we'll make mobile chimes or a castle of sand and shells. Let’s be castaways for a day.”

2. VISIBLE ACOUSTICS/ K.J. HOLMES ( a way or experimental workshop)

Sat, Jul 11, 2015, 6:00am. Sunday July 12th at 10pm. Duration: 2 hours a day; 2 Days Total
Starting Point: Ocean Avenue and Lincoln Road Brooklyn, NY 11225.  Language: English. Age 16+

This way holds 12 people and is presented in partnership with Gibney Dance.

      Dance Artist, Actor, Singer, Teacher,  K.J. Holmes           

Please note that this is a two-session way. We ask those who sign up to please attend both consecutive sessions (Saturday, July 11th at 6 a.m. and Sunday, July 12th at 10 p.m.), as night two will build on day one. Your registration for July 11th assumes your attendance on July 12th. This way will meet on the corner of Ocean Avenue and Lincoln Road in Brooklyn, at the entrance to Prospect Park. RSVP GO TO SITE

Sound is vibration. It is considered to be an aural experience, though we encounter it through all of our senses. This vibration underlies all of our movement yet it is primarily invisible. Join dance artist K.J. Holmes in this night+day way that will explore making these vibrations more visible by bringing out our shared evolutionary movement patterns, such as sitting, crawling, standing and walking. Additionally, participants will translate their perception of light into movement and sound as we respond to various locations in Prospect Park.


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