Van Cleef & Arpels’ Dance Reflections Festival Makes Its U.S. Debut in New York City

October 18, 2023

From October 19 to December 14, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels will fill stages throughout New York City with contemporary dance. This will be the third Dance Reflections festival and the first to be hosted in the U.S., following editions in London in 2022 and in Hong Kong earlier this year. 

“Dance Reflections is not just a festival, it is a sponsorship program for contemporary dance,” says Serge Laurent, director of Van Cleef & Arpels’ dance and culture programs. The initiative, founded in 2020, provides creative and production funding to contemporary dance companies, choreographers, theaters, and festivals to develop and present both new and existing dance works. Under its umbrella, Van Cleef & Arpels has worked with over 40 partner organizations in 13 countries. Support has been provided on a project-to-project basis, with no formal application process.

It is part of the Parisian jewelry institution’s long-standing support for the art form. During the 1920s, Louis Arpels, one of Van Cleef & Arpels’ founders, shared a love of dance with his nephew Claude Arpels. The pair attended ballets at Opéra Garnier; later, it was Claude’s connection with George Balanchine that famously blossomed into the creation of Jewels for New York City Ballet. 

The dance and culture program of today is built upon three pillars: creation, transmission, and education, with the touring festivals serving as a visible celebration of dance. In contrast to other established New York City dance festivals, Dance Reflections’ programming features predominantly European choreographers and dancers, who experienced restricted stateside touring during the pandemic. 

Over the course of two months, the festival offers over a dozen distinct works in seven separate venues, as well as public dance classes and lectures. “Dance is the art of movement and the art of space,” says Laurent, “so it is very exciting to discover new spaces and think about how each work reshapes the space.” He selected New York native Lucinda Childs’ iconic Dance, performed by France’s Lyon Opera Ballet, to kick off the events at New York City Center. The festival will conclude with the New York premiere of a highly anticipated double bill: Pina Bausch’s The Rite of Spring, performed by 36 African dancers, and common ground[s], created and performed by Germaine Acogny and Malou Airaudo, gets a two-week run in the vast setting of the Park Avenue Armory. In between will be both large-scale productions, like Rachid­ Ouramdane’s Corps extrêmes—an acrobatic and adventurous work performed by Chaillot–Théâtre National de la Danse on an enormous rock-climbing set at Brooklyn Academy of Music—and more intimate performances, like Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch director Boris Charmatz’s solo SOMNOLE, appearing­ at NYU Skirball. Many of them are U.S. or New York debuts. “It is often difficult for people to come to contemporary art, so we hope to give tools and ways to approach something totally new,” says Laurent. “People seem more open to discover new things during a festival setting.”

Dance Reflections Festival Calendar 

Oct. 19–21: Dance, by Lucinda Childs, performed by Lyon Opera Ballet, New York City Center 

Oct. 20–21: Room With A View, by (LA)HORDE and Rone, performed by Ballet National de Marseille, NYU Skirball

Oct. 21–23: L’Étang, by Gisèle Vienne, New York Live Arts 

Oct. 25–26: Mixed program by (LA)HORDE, Lucinda Childs, and Lasseindra Ninja, performed by Ballet National de Marseille, NYU Skirball 

Oct. 26–27: Mailles, by Dorothée Munyaneza, New York Live Arts

Oct. 27–29: Corps extrêmes, by Rachid Ouramdane, performed by Chaillot–Théâtre National de la Danse, Brooklyn Academy of Music

Oct. 28–29: SOMNOLE, by Boris Charmatz, NYU Skirball

Nov. 2–3: Bombyx Mori, by Ola Maciejewska, French Institute Alliance Française

Nov. 17–18: takemehome, by Dimitri Chamblas and Kim Gordon, NYU Skirball 

Nov. 28–Dec. 10: Dancing with Glass—The Piano Etudes,by Lucinda Childs, Chanon Judson, Justin Peck, Leonardo Sandoval, and Bobbi Jene Smith and Or Schraiber, The Joyce Theater

Nov. 29–Dec. 14: The Rite of Spring, by Pina Bausch, and common ground[s], by Germaine Acogny and Malou Airaudo, Park Avenue Armory