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


(photo by Julieta Cervantes)

Jack Ferver and Marc Swanson’s CHAMBRE is nominated for a Bessie Award for Outstanding Production (photo by Julieta Cervantes)

Brooklyn Academy of Music
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Pl. & St. Felix St.
Tuesday, October 18, $20-$30, 7:30

The thirty-second annual Bessie Awards are returning to their early home at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House, where on October 18 they will celebrate the best in dance. Since 1984, the awards, named after dancer, choreographer, and teacher Bessie Schönberg, who passed away in 1997 at the age of ninety, have honored such performers, designers, composers, and choreographers as Pina Bausch, Bill T. Jones, Trisha Brown, Paul Taylor, Wendy Whelan, Martin Puryear, Annie-B Parson, Mark Morris, Faye Driscoll, Nari Ward, Ohad Naharin, Alexei Ratamansky, Movement Research, John Jasperse, and Linda Celeste Sims. Among this year’s nominees are Nicholas Bruder, Molly Lieber, Aaron Mattocks, Gillian Murphy, and Jamar Roberts for Outstanding Performer, Ralph Lemon, Eamonn Farrell, Holly Batt, and DD Dorvillier and Thomas Dunn for Outstanding Visual Design, and Admanda Kobilka and Ustatshakirt Plus for Outstanding Music Composition / Sound Design. The twelve nominees for Outstanding Production include Jack Ferver and Marc Swanson’s Chambre, Maria Hassabi’s PLASTIC, Heather Kravas’s dead, disappears, Lemon’s Scaffold Room, and Justin Peck’s Heatscape, in addition to works by luciana achugar, Souleymane Badolo, Camille A. Brown, Pat Graney, Dada Masilo, Liz Santoro and Pierre Godard, and Safi A. Thomas with H+ | the Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory.

(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Maraia Hassabi’s site-specific MoMA presentation PLASTIC is competing for Outstanding Production at the 2016 Bessie Awards (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s presentation of Donald McKayle’s Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder has already been named Outstanding Revived Work, with Joya Powell grabbing the coveted Outstanding Emerging Choreographer award; the October 18 show, hosted by Adrienne Truscott, will feature performances by those winners as well as an all-star tap tribute to Lifetime Achievement in Dance awardee Brenda Bufalino. In addition, Pam Tanowitz won the Juried Bessie Award, and Outstanding Service to the Field went to the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center executive chairman Alex Smith; Eiko Otake will receive a Special Bessie Award from Meredith Monk. Other presenters include Ayodele Casel, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Judy Hussie-Taylor, Judith Jamison, Alastair Macaulay, and Alice Sheppard. The show will be preceded by the Bessie Awards Angel Party at the Mark Morris Dance Center ($100-$6,000), honoring Marilynn Donini, Stephanie French, Karen Brosius, and Jennifer Goodale, and will be followed by a free dance party at BRIC with complimentary pizza from Two Boots.


Maria Hassabi presented an informal preview of her latest work this summer on the High Line (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Maria Hassabi presented an informal preview of her latest work this summer on the High Line (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

The Kitchen
512 West 19th St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
October 4-8, $20, 8:00
Crossing the Line festival continues through November 3
212-255-5793 ext11

This past June, Cyprus-born, New York City–based dancer and choreographer Maria Hassabi presented an informal preview on the High Line of a new work that she called Movement #2, another slow, deliberate, meditative piece that displayed the impressive strength and skill of her dancers — Simon Courchel, Molly Lieber, Hristoula Harakas, Oisín Monaghan — while furthering her ongoing investigation into the relationship between performer and audience. One at a time, the dancers inched toward a central space at the 30th St. Rail Yards section of the aboveground park, then came together in a kind of living sculpture as tourists and New Yorkers passed by, many wondering what was going on. Hassabi’s two previous works at the Kitchen, PREMIERE and SHOW, also experimented with the boundaries that generally separate dancer and viewer, a concept that was beautifully laid bare for her site-specific Plastic presentation at MoMA earlier this year. The High Line sneak peek is now making its way down to the Kitchen, expanded into STAGED, part of FIAF’s annual multidisciplinary Crossing the Line festival. Running October 4-8, the piece features Courchel, Harakas, Monaghan, and Jessie Gold, with music by Marina Rosenfeld. “With the decelerated velocity of my work, nuances that are usually dismissed become the center of the work,” Hassabi says about the piece. For more on the Crossing the Line festival, go here.



Jérôme Bel’s THE SHOW MUST GO ON will go on at the Joyce as part of FIAF’s tenth annual Crossing the Line festival

French Institute Alliance Française and other locations
Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
FIAF Gallery, 22 East 60th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
September 22 - November 3, free - $55

We can’t help but get excited for FIAF’s annual multidisciplinary fall festival, Crossing the Line, now celebrating its tenth anniversary. Every summer, we eagerly await the advance announcement of what they’ll be presenting, then scour the lineup for the most unusual events to make sure we see them. This year is another stellar collection of cutting-edge international dance and theater, beginning September 22 and 24 with screenings of concluding episodes seven, eight, and nine of Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s epic Life and Times at Anthology Film Archives ($11), along with a Thursday night party in FIAF’s Florence Gould Hall ($10) that begins with a screening of the eighth chapter of Kristin Worrall’s rather ordinary life, with the artists themselves serving up PB&Js. The festival features a special focus on French choreographer Jérôme Bel, who will be involved in four programs, beginning October 17 (free with RSVP) with a screening of his short biographical film on Paris Opera dancer Véronique Doisneau, followed by a discussion with Bel and Ana Janevski. Bel’s award-winning The Show Must Go On will go on at the Joyce October 20-22 ($36-$46), with Bel hanging around for a Curtain Chat after the 2:00 show on October 22. Bel will present the New York premiere of his controversial eponymous 1995 signature work at the Kitchen October 27-29 ($20) while also moving over to the Museum of Modern Art October 27-31 (free with museum admission) for Artist’s Choice: MoMA Dance Company, a site-specific piece for MoMA’s Marron Atrium that will be performed by members of the MoMA staff.

Tenth annual Crossing the Line festival features special focus on breakdance world champion Anne Nguyen, including AUTARCIE (….): A SEARCH FOR SELF-SUFFICIENCY

Tenth annual Crossing the Line festival features special focus on breakdance world champion Anne Nguyen, including U.S. premiere of AUTARCIE (….): A SEARCH FOR SELF-SUFFICIENCY

Breakdance world champion Anne Nguyen is making her U.S. debut with a pair of works: the free Graphic Cyphers will take place September 23 at Roberto Clemente Plaza in the Bronx at 2:00 and in Times Square September 25 at 2:30 and 4:30, while Autarcie (....): a search for self-sufficiency has its American debut September 29 to October 1 ($20) at Gibney Dance. “I seek to reconcile the peculiarities of hip-hop with demanding theatrical performance to question the place of human beings in the modern-day world,” Nguyen says; you can hear more from her at the October 1 artist talk “Towards Cultural Equity: The Artist’s Perspective” (free with RSVP) with fellow panelists David Thomson, Mohamed El Khatib, and Rokafella, moderated by George Emilio Sanchez. The UK’s Forced Entertainment, which is “interested in confusion as well as laughter,” will likely dish out a healthy portion of both at the New York premiere of Tomorrow’s Parties in Florence Gould Hall September 28 and 30 and October 1 ($20). From September 30 to October 2 ($35-$55), Venice Biennale lifetime achievement award winner Romeo Castellucci will deliver the one-man show Julius Caesar. Spared Parts, making the most of Federal Hall’s marble columns. This past June, dancer-choreographer Maria Hassabi gave an informal preview of her latest work, Staged, on the High Line; she will now bring the final piece down to the Kitchen, below the High Line, where it will be performed by Simon Courchel, Jessie Gold, Hristoula Harakas, and Oisín Monaghan October 4-8 ($20).

Romeo Castellucci

Romeo Castellucci will make his New York City debut channeling Julius Caesar at Federal Hall

On October 6-8 and 13-15 ($35), drag fabulist Dickie Beau will conjure up Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, and Richard Meryman at Abrons Arts Center for Blackouts. [Ed. note: All performances of Blackouts have been canceled because of unexpected travel circumstances.] Also on October 13-15 ($20), Lora Juodkaite and Annie Hanaeur will perform the U.S. premiere of Rachid Ouramdane’s Tordre (Wrought) at Baryshnikov Arts Center; CTL veteran Ouramdane will take part in the October 15 artist talk “Towards Cultural Equity: The Institutional Perspective” (free with RSVP) with keynote speaker Patrick Weil, panelists Firoz Ladak and Zeyba Rahman, and moderator Thomas Lax. On October 25 (free with RSVP), Aaron Landsman will host Perfect City, in which a group of young people from the Lower East Side will gather at Abrons Arts Center and discuss what the future holds in store for them, particularly in their neighborhood. The festival ends on November 3 with My Barbarian’s Post-Party Dream State Caucus at the New Museum (free with RSVP), held in conjunction with the exhibition “The Audience Is Always Right.” Throughout the festival, you can check out Mathieu Bernard-Reymond’s “Transform” art exhibit in the FIAF Gallery, and Tim Etchells’s multichannel video installation “Eyes Looking” will be projected at 11:59 each night in Times Square as October’s Midnight Moment.


Maria Hassabi and Hristoula Harakas head back outdoors for three free performances on the High Line this week (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Who: Maria Hassabi
What: High Line Performances
Where: The High Line, West 30th St. & Twelfth Ave.
When: June 28-30, free, 7:00
Why: We’d follow Cyprus-born, New York City–based dancer and choreographer Maria Hassabi just about anywhere to see her unique, intense performances. We’ve seen her crawl across cobblestones on Broad St., slither up and down stairs at MoMA, wrestle with a carpet at PS122, and wind her way through the audience on the floor of the Kitchen. On June 26, 27, and 28 at 7:00, Hassabi will be on the High Line at the Rail Yards at West Thirtieth St., presenting the site-specific Movement #2. The beautiful elevated park is in full bloom now, so it should provide a splendid backdrop for Hassabi’s thirty-minute show, an informal preview of her next full-length piece, Staged, which will have its world premiere at the Kitchen October 4-8 as part of FIAF’s annual Crossing the Line Festival. Movement #2 features Simon Courchel, Hristoula Harakas, Molly Lieber, and Oisín Monaghan in separate parts of the park; viewers must move around in order to see them all, which is of course part of the fun. (Admission is free; no advance RSVP is required.)


(photo by Julieta Cervantes / (c) Museum of Modern Art)

Maria Hassabi rehearses PLASTIC at MoMA on October 30, 2015 (photo by Julieta Cervantes / © Museum of Modern Art)

Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
February 21 - March 20, free with museum admission ($14-$25)

In a 2011 twi-ny talk, Cyprus-born, New York City–based dancer and choreographer Maria Hassabi declared, “I was born flexible!” That statement is true not only of the remarkable things she can do with her body but also of where she performs her impressive, often painfully slow movement. We’ve seen her wrestle with a carpet at PS122, maneuver through a packed house seated on the floor at the Kitchen, and crawl down the cobblestoned path of Broad St. Ever investigating the relationship between performer and audience as well as dance and object — in 2012, Hassabi collaborated with Lutz Bacher and Tony Conrad on “Chandeliers,” in which more than a dozen light fixtures descended from floor to ceiling over the course of the day at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève — Hassabi next will set up shop at the Museum of Modern Art, where she will present Plastic for one month. Every day from February 21 to March 20, Hassabi and her team of dancers will be at several locations in MoMA, moving among the visitors, so watch out where you walk, because there will be no barriers separating them from you. You’ll find Simon Courchel, Jessie Gold, Neil Greenberg, Elizabeth Hart, Kennis Hawkins, Niall Jones, Shelley Senter, RoseAnne Spradlin, and David Thomson in the Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium, Hassabi, Hristoula Harakas, Molly Lieber, Paige Martin, and Oisín Monaghan on the Marron Atrium and Agnes Gund Garden Lobby staircase, and Jones, Michael Helland, Tara Lorenzen, and Mickey Mahar on the staircase between the fourth- and fifth-floor galleries. The sound design is by Morten Norbye Halvorsen, with song fragments by Marina Rosenfeld. “Taking place underfoot in the transitional spaces of a museum known for its crowds, the work can be seen from multiple vantage points and inverts the typical relationship between performer and viewer so that it is the dancer who appears static and the onlooker who moves,” writes MoMA associate curator Thomas J. Lax in the brochure for the living installation, which was co-commissioned by MoMA, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. On February 24 at 7:00 ($8-$12) in the atrium, Hassabi will discuss the work with Philip Bither of the Walker Art Center.


(photo by William Johnston)

Eiko Otake and Tomoe Aihara will perform site-specific TWO WOMEN on Governors Island June 20 & 22 (photo by William Johnston)

Multiple locations
June 19-29, free

The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s annual summer arts festival, River to River, is shorter than ever this year, running only eleven days, but they are packing a whole lot into that time, especially when it comes to dance, which features several choreographers who have participated in twi-ny talks over the last few years; in fact, it feels like we could have curated this exciting lineup. On June 20 and 22 at 2:00, the New York–based Eiko Otake, half of the longtime dance duo Eiko & Koma, will perform the site-specific Two Women with Japan-based dancer Tomoe Aihara on Governors Island, exploring their differences in age and geography. On June 20 at 3:00 and June 21 at 1:00 and 3:00, dance fans who missed Vanessa Anspaugh’s We Were an Island earlier this year at Danspace will get another chance to see the work, inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s book The Faraway Nearby, about creating stories and making connections; Anspaugh will perform the piece with Addys Gonzalez and Bessie McDonough-Thayer at Building 10A in Nolan Park on Governors Island. On June 21 at 9:00, “R2R Living Room: Everyday I’m Hustlin’” brings together food and drink with a Hustle-inspired piece from Ephrat Asherie Dance and DJ Hector Arce-Espasas at Nelson Blue at the South Street Seaport. On June 22 at 4:30, “In Conversation: Susan Rosenberg on Trisha Brown” takes place at LMCC’s Arts Center on Governors Island, with art historian Rosenberg and Trisha Brown dancer Tamara Riewe sharing their thoughts on the legendary choreographer, in conjunction with the multimedia exhibition “Trisha Brown: Embodied Practice and Site-Specificity,” which continues through September 28. Tere O’Connor will present a new, site-specific duet for Michael Ingle and Silas Riender at the Elevated Acre June 23-25 at 1:00. Souleyman Badolo’s , of history (Virgule de l’histoire) examines transformation and acceptance, June 24 at 3:00 and June 25 at 3:00 & 5:00 in the John Street United Methodist Church courtyard.

(photo courtesy of the artist)

Reggie Wilson’s . . . MOSES(ES) is part of exciting River to River dance lineup this month (photo courtesy of the artist)

On June 25 at 2:45 and June 26 at 1:45 and 3:45 at St. Cornelius Chapel on Governors Island, Reggie Wilson’s . . . Moses(es) explores the concept of leadership. On June 25 at 7:00 on Pier 15, the Trisha Brown Dance Company will hold a public dress rehearsal of the choreographer’s final piece, “I’m going to toss my arms — if you catch them they’re yours,” followed the next afternoon at 4:00 by the official performance. On June 26 at 5:00 and June 27-28 at 120 Wall St., Wally Cardona and Jennifer Lacey continue their eight-part collaboration with the fifth installment, The Set Up: I Nyoman Catra, creating a new work with Topeng master Nyoman Catra. And on June 27 at 3:00 and June 28 at 3:00 and 5:00 in Bowling Green, Maria Hassabi will restage her grippingly original Premiere, which takes another unusual look at the relationship between audience and performer; Hassabi will also participate in the panel discussion “In Conversation: Maria Hassabi, Paolo Javier, and Kaneza Schaal” June 27 at 7:00 at Poets House. River to River and LMCC have put together one helluva dance lineup that actually has us salivating; be sure to catch at least one of these fab events, which are all free.


(photo © Paula Court)

Choreographer Maria Hassabi is joined by four other dancers as they redefine the relationship between audience and performer in PREMIERE (photo © Paula Court)

The Kitchen
512 West 19th St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
November 6-9, $12-$15, 8:00
Performa 13 continues through November 24

In the November 2011 premiere of Maria Hassabi’s Show at the Kitchen, the audience stood or sat on the black floor as the Cyprus-born, New York–based choreographer and regular cohort Hristoula Harakas weaved ever so slowly through the crowd to a soundtrack that incorporated the audience’s preshow chatter. Hassabi has redefined the relationship between performer and audience once again in Premiere, which premiered at the Kitchen on November 6 and continues through Saturday. When the doors open, Hassabi, Harakas, Robert Steijn, Biba Bell, and Andros Zins-Browne are already carefully positioned on the floor, three sitting, two standing, facing the empty seats as ticket holders enter and walk around them to sit down. Blazing lights on either side illuminate the stock-still performers, who are soon bracketed by semicircles of fresh shoe prints. Once everyone is seated, the doors are closed, and for the next eighty minutes, the five performers, wearing different-colored denim pants, tucked-in button-down shirts with minute but strange extra details, and black shoes or boots, eventually begin moving nearly imperceptibly, slow enough to make Butoh look like the Indy 500. The only sounds are the squeaks made by hands and feet pressing against the floor, except for occasional electronic noise coming out of the speakers (as well as every stomach grumble, cough, and shift from the audience). Never making contact with one another, Hassabi, Harakas, Steijn, Bell, and Zins-Browne perform deeply pensive and carefully choreographed simultaneous solos, fiercely focused, never smiling or breaking concentration, creating a nervous energy between audience and dancer, filled with both trepidation and anticipation. Once you figure out how the performance will end, sheer elation takes over. And then, indeed, it comes to a close, and the audience exits much as it entered. A copresentation of Performa 13, Premiere is another fabulously creative, involving, and challenging piece by Hassabi in her continuing exploration of movement, expectation, personal connection, the nature of performance itself, and the endless intricacies of the human mind and body.