Every September 11, there are many memorial programs held all over the city, paying tribute to those who were lost on that tragic day while also honoring New York’s endless resiliency. One of the most powerful is Buglisi Dance Theatre’s “Table of Silence Project,” a multicultural public performance ritual for peace that annually features one hundred dancers on Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center. But it has to be reconfigured this year because of the pandemic lockdown; it will be shown virtually on Facebook and YouTube, as no audience is permitted on the plaza. On Friday morning from 7:55 to 8:46, the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center, BDT, Lincoln Center, and Dance/NYC will present a new, live prologue featuring two dozen socially distanced dancers from BDT, Ailey II, Alison Cook Beatty Dance, Ballet Hispánico's BHdos, the Juilliard School, Limón Dance Company, Martha Graham Dance Company, and other professional dancers circling Lincoln Center's Revson Fountain, with original music by electric violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain and spoken-word poetry by Marc Bamuthi Joseph (from the Kennedy Center in DC), with BDT cofounder and principal dancer Terese Capucilli serving as bell master; opening remarks by special guests; an excerpt from Buglisi's 2001 Requiem, which was choreographed as an immediate response to the attacks; the world premiere of the three-minute film Études by Nel Shelby Productions, highlighting 150 dancers from around the world who recorded their own “Table of Silence” pieces last month; a video of the full 2019 performance; and a call for peace in honor of the tenth anniversary of the work.
“This reimagining is a powerful message for healing as we struggle with the global pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice. We honor all those whose lives are impacted by the crises our country is facing," BDT artistic director Jacqulyn Buglisi said in a statement. “Expressing so much of what makes us human, the project’s message of peace and healing is far-reaching and holds great relevance today, in addition to the 9/11 commemoration. It strives to be a transformative experience that reveals the strength and resilience of our collective society.” This year also includes a meditation variation and live chat that took place on September 6 and can be viewed above. Admission is free but you can donate to the project here.