Dance History

#tbt: How Molissa Fenley Took the First BAM Next Wave Festival By Storm

Molissa Fenley (left) and her dancers in 1985. Photo by Chris Callis, Courtesy DM Archives

In the October 1983 issue of Dance Magazine, we explored the work of then-breakout contemporary artist Molissa Fenley. Having spent the late '70s sending shockwaves through the New York City arts community with her experimental works, she was tapped by Brooklyn Academy of Music to create a new commission for its first-ever Next Wave Festival. She told us, "I don't know if New York was ready for me, but the audiences were ready for some change, for some energy, and for some dancing!" Her voracious yet analytical fusion of cultures, traditions and movement caught the eye of our editors then, and still captivates today. Now 63, Fenley continues to create and perform with the same explosive energy that marked her early career.

Molissa Fenley (left) was commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music for its first-ever Next Wave Festival in 1983. Photo by Chris Callis, Courtesy DM Archives

The Conversation
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I was on my favorite treadmill when it happened.

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I caught a bug that's going around and have a runny nose, cough, sore throat and no energy. Is this a cold or the flu? I want to dance but wonder if performing is a smart idea. Any advice?

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