Old Flames and New Names at APAP
In some ways, APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) makes the dance world go round. Without this annual meeting ground of presenters and small performing arts groups from all over the country, very few dance companies would get work. Yes, you can send your video to a potential presenter, but if they can see you perform live, they are more likely to know if your work is right for their audience.
APAP showcases are spread throughout NYC and they cover the gamut—muscular modern, chamber ballet, minimal conceptual, tap, urban dance, classical Indian and more. I attended only five of the hordes of showcases (40 groups were listed at the Ailey building alone in the last two days). It’s hard to keep track but even if you’re not a presenter, APAP provides a chance to catch up on your favorite artists’ current work and see groups new to you. It can be as thrilling to rediscover an old flame as to discover a new name.
Getting gigs through APAP means that the people who book you can see your offstage personality too. Cynthia Oliver showed BOOM! at the Live Artery series at New York Live Arts, and the crowd could see not only that she had created a gutsy, funny, harrowing duet, but also, in the brief talk afterward, that she speaks easily and eloquently about her work.
For me it was a chance to see out-of-town artists I hadn’t seen before, for instance San Francisco’s Keith Hennessy in his shamanistic Bear/Skin solo, as well as work by cherished New York artists that I can’t always keep up with. Tere O'Connor, Miguel Gutierrez (both part of American Realness) and John Jasperse (in Live Artery) always push the boundaries in ways that are stimulating.
Anyone who has a hankering for Israeli dance would have enjoyed Out of Israel, the showcase of five excerpts at the 92nd Street Y’s Harkness Dance Center. Zvi Gotheiner’s energized dancers threaded through his spirited Dabke. Idan Porges, a performer who blew me away in Barak Marshall's Rooster a few years ago, is now making his own work—very much his own. In Danielle Agami’s new piece, For Now, each dancer breaks out of a mask of diffidence to explode in their own way.
I was happy to see a new showcase titled Emerging Women of Color at the Ailey building, organized by dancer-turned-booker Francine Sheffield. I was impressed by strong work from Ananya Chatterjea’s fierce, Odissi-based women of Minneapolis and Christal Brown/Inspirit’s foray into the life of Muhammad Ali. I also discovered a new name, Danielle Russo, an NYU grad who paired two guys in a gripping battle between aggression and intimacy. Weird confrontations—chin to throat, crown of head to chest, violent crashing into confident strutting—locked these two in a sweaty, sexy world of their own.
There’s one more day to APAP and I am not done seeing things or taking workshops. Whether you’re on the giving or getting end, I hope you enjoy it.
Booking a gig on a cruise ship can feel like you're diving into the unknown—dropping everything to live in the middle of the ocean without family, friends or cell service. But cruise jobs can also offer incredible rewards, like traveling the world for free and delving into a new style.
Is ship life the right fit for you? Here are some elements to consider.
We knew that New York downtown dance darling Okwui Okpokwasili was a big deal. Critics and audiences have been raving about her dance-theater works for years, and the new documentary about her, Bronx Gothic, has attracted the attention of the larger arts community.
But never in our wildest dreams did we imagine she'd show up in a Jay Z video, along with flex dancer Storyboard P. Though we're slightly less surprised to see Storyboard in Jay Z's "4:44" video than we were to see Okpokwasili, we're jazzed that two of our favorites are featured on such a huge platform. (We're also feeling #blessed that we didn't have to subscribe to Tidal to watch this.)
Throughout the years, choreographer Seán Curran has worked with a diverse array of talented collaborators—from Kyrgyz music ensemble Ustatshakirt Plus to the the Grammy Award–winning King's Singers. But perhaps none are as meaningful as his most recent group of co-choreographers: At-risk teens from the after school program and nonprofit The Wooden Floor.
Curran has been in residence with The Wooden Floor since June, where he's worked with students to build choreography based on their lives and communities:
Their creation will be shown July 20-22 at The Wooden Floor Studio Theatre in Santa Ana, California.
"Besides the stage, baking is my other happy place," says New York City Ballet corps member Jenelle Manzi.
Four years ago, she thought her baking days were over when she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Manzi had been dealing with pain, frequent illness and joint inflammation for nearly 10 years. Once she cut out gluten, Manzi gradually started to feel better, noticing a transformation in how her body felt and functioned. She found her joints were less inflamed, and she got sick less often.
New York City Ballet soloist Unity Phelan and American Ballet Theatre soloist Cassandra Trenary spend every day making their hard work look effortless and graceful both in the studio and onstage. That's exactly what makes them the perfect spokesmodels for the dance-inspired activewear line, Belle Force.
To celebrate our 90th anniversary, we excavated some of our favorite hidden gems from the DM Archives—images that capture a few of the moments in time we've documented over the decades.
This image was captured during a 1978 New York City Ballet tour that took the company to Copenhagen—home turf for Adam Luders (right), who trained at the Royal Danish Ballet School and briefly danced with the company before joining NYCB as a principal dancer in 1975. Next to Luders is (of course) George Balanchine, in conversation with ballerina Suzanne Farrell. And looking on with a smile? NYCB's current ballet master in chief Peter Martins.
On March 8, 2016, Rami Shafi found himself inspired to film an impromptu dance video of his best friend, Aaron Moses Robin, improvising on Gay St. in New York City's Greenwich Village. Thus was born Pedestrian Wanderlust, a collection of dance videos that has grown to include a monthly improv jam.
Shafi works with anyone who wants to take part in the project, filming videos in locations chosen by the dancers and later adding music. The videos are shot on Shafi's iPhone in one take and, other than the starting and ending points, are entirely improvised. The editing afterwards—including the music choice—is minimal. "I don't like to edit too much. It's just what it is," says Shafi. "I usually can do the editing on the train ride home."