This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001


Who: Ayodele Casel, Billy Griffin, Ricky Ubeda, Stephen Petronio, Lloyd Knight, Nicholas Sciscione, Jamar Roberts, Caleb Teicher, Catherine Hurlin, Peter Walker, Daniel Applebaum, Christopher D’Ariano, Adam Weinert
What: Virtual Hudson Valley Dance Festival
Where: Dancers Responding to AIDS
When: Saturday, October 10, free (donations accepted), 7:00 (available for four days)
Why: The Hudson Valley Dance Festival can’t take place in its beautiful Catskill environs, so instead it is happening online, presenting an hour of special works on October 10 at 7:00. “We’ll miss gathering on the banks of the Hudson River and amid the gorgeous fall foliage, but we’re happy to continue the tradition of sharing breathtaking dance that gives back to and celebrates the Hudson Valley community,” Dancers Responding to AIDS founding director Denise Roberts Hurlin said in a statement. “In these unprecedented times, we’re thrilled to come together virtually and provide immediate help to those affected by Covid-19, HIV/AIDS, and other life crises in the area and across the country.” The program includes tap dancer Ayodele Casel’s Oscar Joy, filmed in his home studio; Billy Griffin’s Is That All There Is? with Ricky Ubeda; Stephen Petronio’s Are You Lonesome Tonight, filmed at the Petronio Residency Center, with Lloyd Knight and Nicholas Sciscione; Jamar Roberts’s WPA commission, Cooped, the most explosive dance made during the pandemic lockdown; Caleb Teicher’s Tee Time, an outdoor solo performed by Catherine Hurlin; Peter Walker’s Words in the Fire, with Daniel Applebaum and Christopher D’Ariano; and an excerpt from Adam Weinert’s Monument.

You can watch for free, but donations will go to Broadway Cares in support of the following Hudson Valley organizations: the Albany Damien Center, Alliance for Positive Health, Animalkind, Columbia-Greene Community Foundation, Hudson Valley SPCA, Matthew 25 Food Pantry, Community Hospice, Hudson Valley Community Services, Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center, Rock Steady Farm, Roe Jan Food Pantry, TOUCH (Together Our Unity Can Heal), and Troy Area United Ministries.


Andrew Jordan’s rotoscoped animations are part of sneak preview of Christopher Williams work at New York Live Arts

Who: Christopher Williams Dance
What: Live performance and virtual presentation
Where: New York Live Arts lobby, 219 West Nineteenth St., and online
When: Tuesday, October 6, free in person, $5, $15, or $25 online, 7:00 and 7:30
Why: Choreographer Christopher Williams’s evening-length dance, Narcissus, was scheduled to make its world premiere at New York Live Arts, but that has been postponed indefinitely because of the pandemic lockdown. However, Williams will be offering a taste of the work both live in person and online with “A Glimpse into the World of Narcissus,” a pair of ten-minute activations taking place in NYLA’s glassed-in lobby on October 6 at 7:00 and 7:30. Set to Nikolai Tcherepnin’s 1911 score “Narcisse et Echo” for the Ballets Russes, the piece explores the classical myth through a contemporary queer perspective. The sneak peek features projected rotoscoped animations by longtime Williams collaborator Andrew Jordan, hand-painted drawings, and what Williams calls a “live, socially distanced tableau vivant” performed by Cemiyon Barber and Logan Pedon. If you want to experience the activation from the sidewalk outside NYLA, it is free and first-come, first-served, with masks and social distancing required; you can also watch it live online for $5, $15, or $25, depending on what you can afford.


HERE and LEIMAY bring Correspondences to Astor Place Plaza October 1-4 (photo by Shige Moriya)

Who: HERE and LEIMAY Ensemble
What: Sculptural performance art installation
Where: Astor Place Plaza
When: October 1-4, free
Why: In an April 2012 twi-ny talk, multidisciplinary HERE resident artists Ximena Garnica and Shige Moriya, the founders of LEIMAY Ensemble, explained, “It seems to us like we all see life and performances and things with our own frame. Through our work we challenge ourselves and our audiences to make these frames as malleable as possible so we can expand our understanding of the body and our experience and understanding of daily life. Consequently, we enlarge the realms of perception and creation and discover the possibilities for interaction therein.” Colombia-born Garnica and Japanese native Moriya reach for a new level with the sculptural performance art installation Correspondences. Part of HERE Arts Center’s #stillHERE: IRL initiative, which takes the innovative downtown institution outdoors during the Covid-19 crisis, presenting works in real life, Correspondences runs October 1-4, providing an intervention in one of Manhattan’s usually busiest locations, Astor Place Plaza, an area that bursts with life and energy in nonpandemic times. Correspondences features LEIMAY’s Masanori Asahara, Krystel Copper, and Garnica, along with Ricardo Bustamante and Brandon Perdomo — in vertical transparent chambers partly filled with sand. The performers, wearing only gas masks, move around the confined space, hampered by the several feet of sand, which occasionally erupts like an extreme weather event; the soundscape was designed by Jeremy D. Slater, with costume fabrication by Irena Romendik. The thirty-five-minute activations — scheduled for October 1 at 8:00, October 2 and 3 at noon, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00, and 8:00, and October 4 at noon, 2:00, and 4:00 — serve as a beautiful yet harsh reminder of what each of us, and the world as a whole, faces as we deal with isolation, masks, social distancing, the lockdown of theaters, climate change, and interacting with other human bodies.

In conjunction with the installation, HERE and LEIMAY, whose previous work includes Furnace, Trace of Purple Sadness, Becoming, borders, Frantic Beauty, and Floating Point Waves, are also hosting special related programs. For Correspondences — the Audience Files, people are encouraged to participate in online conversations, addressing such questions as “How do you cope with uncertainty?,” “What happens to your body when you encounter the unknown?,” and “Why are existential questions of being, interdependence, and coexistence vital in these times of readjustment of powers and values?” From October 1 to November 30, you can view a twenty-minute film of Correspondences from its summer 2019 iteration at Watermill Center. From October 6 to 10, you can register for “Dancing for the Environment” online LEIMAY encore classes, with one hundred percent of the proceeds benefiting Organización Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas de la Amazonia Colombiana, Green Worker Cooperatives, El Puente, and the Loisaida Center. And on October 29, “Correspondences Talks” will bring together activists, scholars, designers, and scientists to discuss the idea of “decentering the human.”

Update: Even though Correspondences was created before the pandemic, it is a dramatic and timely look at what life has become for every one us. In Astor Place Plaza, there are three vertical booths with two transparent sides. A trio of performers, wearing skintight costumes that cover specific parts of their body and gas masks with purple filter cartridges, are led inside the booths, where, trapped, they move slowly in several feet of sand. Every few minutes, black-and-white blowers connected to the booths — resembling a mix between Star Wars stormtrooper uniforms and Darth Vader’s helmet — suddenly, without warning, pour air in, causing the sand to whip up like a mini-tornado and forcing the dancers to lose their balance and fall. As they get up, sand oozes from them as the blower threatens to knock them down again. But they keep on getting up, because that’s what we do when faced with a crisis, be it global warming, a pandemic, a struggling economy, political shenanigans, or the lockdown of indoor performance spaces. Be sure to wear your mask and respect the white chalk boxes on the ground that are there to maintain social distancing. For a slideshow of the 2:00 performance on October 3, go here.


Who: Honorees Gus Solomons jr., Robert Battle, Jane Comfort, Claire Porter, Satoshi Haga, David Parker/the Bang Group, many dance companies
What: Annual festival moves from Joe’s Pub to online for twenty-fifth anniversary
Where: Dance Now online
When: September 10 - May 20, performances $10, performance plus celebration $20,
Why: Dance Now is celebrating its silver anniversary by looking at the past and into the future with “The Dance Now Story,” a six-part virtual series that kicked off September 10 with new five-minute digital commissions from Ayodele Casel, Mike Esperanza, and LMnO3 in addition to archival works from HUMA, Tricia Brouk, and DN honoree Gus Solomons jr.; it will be followed by a live, virtual Artist-to-Audience Celebration on October 1 at 7:00 hosted by TruDee. Chapter two takes place October 8 with new digital commissions from Jamal Jackson and Nicole Wolcott & Katy Pyle, along with archival works from Wanjiru Kamuyu & Katherine Helen Fisher and DN honoree Robert Battle; the live celebration is set for October 22 with host Christal Brown. “The DN Story” continues November 12 with new digital commissions from Mariana Valencia and Nicole Vaughan-Diaz & Orlando Hernandez and archival works from Take Dance & Amber Sloan and DN honoree Jane Comfort, with the celebration set for December 3 with host Sara Juli. Chapter four launches on February 11 with new digital commissions by Kate Ladenheim, Alice Sheppard, Subject: Matter, and Maleek Washington and archival works from Adam Barruch and Mark Gindick, with a February 25 celebration honoring Claire Porter with host TruDee.

On March 11, chapter five features new digital commissions by Tsiambwom M. Akuchu, Brendan Drake, and Jasmine Hearn and archival works by Ruben Graciani and Megan Williams, with a March 25 party honoring Satoshi Haga, hosted by Germaul Barnes. And the series concludes May 6 with new digital commissions by Sarah Chien, Kayla Farrish, and Joshua L. Peugh and archival works by John Heginbotham and Paula Josa-Jones, along with the final live Artist-to-Audience Celebration, honoring David Parker/the Bang Group on May 20, hosted by Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott. The Dance Now festival usually takes place at Joe’s Pub, so maybe parts of the event will be allowed to move indoors by the time some of the later chapters come up. Virtual tickets are $10 for each chapter performance, which you can watch any time once it releases, and $20 for access to the chapter as well as the live party.


Who: Misty Copeland, Radhika Jones
What: Online discussion
Where: 92nd St. Y online
When: Wednesday, September 30, $10, 7:00
Why: “When Miss Bradley announced they’d be performing the ballet Coppélia for the recital, everyone in Misty’s class shouted excitedly and gathered around to hear their teacher tell the story of Coppélia. Misty didn’t know what Coppélia meant, and she was too shy to ask — especially since it was her first ballet class ever! So Misty took a spot on the floor, and before she knew it, she was completely entranced as Miss Bradley told the tale.” So begins Misty Copeland’s second children’s book, Bunheads (Putnam, September 29, $17.99), the follow-up to her debut, The Firebird. The start of a new series, Bunheads, illustrated by Setor Fiadzigbey, shares Copeland’s initial foray into the world of ballet as a child; she would grow up to become the first African American female principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre. On September 30 at 7:00, she will launch the book in a livestreamed conversation with Vanity Fair editor in chief Radhika Jones in a talk hosted by the 92nd St. online. You can listen to a clip of Copeland reading from the book here.


Martha Graham Dance Company concludes The Eve Project with livestream September 23 & 26 (photo copyright Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Inc.)

Who: Martha Graham Dance Company
What: Finale of The Eve Project
Where: Martha Graham Dance Company YouTube
When: Wednesday, September 23, and Saturday, September 26, free, 2:30
Why: Martha Graham Dance Company’s “Martha Matinees” series continues this week with the conclusion of The Eve Project, its celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, as well as honoring the current renewed focus on gender and power. On September 23 and 26 at 2:30, MGDC will stream Julien Bryan’s 1935 film of Martha Graham performing Frontier: American Perspective of the Plains, which pays tribute to the spirit of pioneer women; a recent performance of Errand into the Maze with Charlotte Landreau and Lloyd Mayor; and the premiere of 19 Poses for the 19th Amendment, an Instagram challenge that asked people to re-create any of nineteen photos of Graham performing such poses as “Prelude to Action,” “Masque,” and “Spectre 1914” from Chronicle, “Clytemnestra,” “Phaedra,” “Satyric Festival Song,” “American Document” and “Primitive Mysteries.”

“Experimentation with technology has always been a significant part of how we make our work accessible to all audiences,” artistic director Janet Eilber, who hosts the “Martha Matinees” livestreams, explained in a statement. “Our use of media onstage and off, our interactive projects online, and our substantial presence on social media have prepared us to face the digital urgency of the Covid crisis. Our ninety-fifth season will be enhanced by the new, virtual journeys we are creating — coordinating our many online events and offering context to the depth and breadth of the Graham legacy and all we do to move into the future. Our dancers are not only nimble onstage but in the creation of online artistry.” Head over to the MGDC YouTube page to see such previous virtual presentations as Immediate Tragedy, Larry Keigwin’s Lamentation Variation, Justin Scholar’s Eve Forging, Landreau’s Opus One, and So Young An and Lloyd Knight in . . . Remember. . . .


The twelfth annual Erasing Borders Festival goes virtual this year

Who: Shambhu Nath Karmakar/Ashpara Care Club, Neha Mondal Chakravarty, Krishnakshi Kashyap, Ganesh Vasudeva, Divyaa Unni, Arun Mathai, Sandhya Raju, Damir Tasmagambetov, Barkha Patel, Mesma Belsaré, Vishwakiran Nambi, Nahid Siddiqui
What: Virtual borderless dance festival
Where: Facebook Live
When: September 20-27, free with RSVP, 8:30
Why: The twelfth annual Erasing Borders Dance Festival is truly erasing borders by going virtual this year. Presented by the Indo-American Arts Council, which is “passionately dedicated to promoting, showcasing, and building an awareness of the arts and artists whose heritage lies in the Indian subcontinent in the performing arts, visual arts, literary arts, and folk arts,” Erasing Borders is a weeklong celebration of storytelling through movement, with free performances by eleven artists as well as workshops, all focused on healing during this difficult time, with pieces dealing with Black Lives Matter, transgender issues, womanhood, the nourishment of water, ritual, and more. “Moving to a virtual format has its own artistic challenges, but we believe it opened up many possibilities. Our artists are from across the world, representing many of India’s dance forms. Bringing them together on an online platform was not only the most responsible and exciting way of showcasing their work but also displaying the virtuosity of diversity,” festival director Deepsikha Chatterjee said in a statement. Below is the schedule, with the title of the work and the type of dance listed in parentheses.

Sunday, September 20
Shambhu Nath Karmakar/Ashpara Care Club (Mahisasur Mardini, Purulia Chhau)

Monday, September 21
Neha Mondal Chakravarty (Sukriti, Kalakshetra Bharatanatyam)
Krishnakshi Kashyap (Rama Niranjana, Rojaghoria Saali, Sattriya)

Tuesday, September 22
Ganesh Vasudeva (Descent of the Ganges, Bharatanatyam)

Wednesday, September 23
Divyaa Unni (It’s a New Beginning, Bharatanatyam)
Arun Mathai (Shivoham, Bharatanatyam)

Thursday, September 24
Sandhya Raju (Govardhana Giri Dhara, Kuchipudi)

Friday, September 25
Damir Tasmagambetov (Invocation: Ganapathi Stuthi, Kumarasambhavam, Kalakshetra Bharatanatyam)
Barkha Patel (Aravani, Contemporary Kathak)

Saturday, September 26
Mesma Belsaré (The Dancing Sculptures, Shilpa Natana)

Sunday, September 27
Vishwakiran Nambi (Pyre, Contemporary)
Workshops by Nahid Siddiqui (Sufi Kathak)