This Dance Festival is the Best-Kept Secret in New York

August 14, 2017

Performance Spaces for the 21st Century (aka PS21) is possibly the best-kept secret on the route from New York City to Jacob’s Pillow. In Chatham, New York, PS21 has quietly built an annual dance festival with a diverse array of excellent groups. A small but adventurous center dedicated to presenting dance, theater, music and film, it is currently in the midst of its 12th annual Chatham Dance Festival.

This weekend Monica Bill Barnes and her trusty sidekick Anna Bass indulge in their new work One Night Only. It promises to fill the evening with “everything they’ve ever learned how to do.” With these two, that cram session is bound to be uproarious.

Ephrat Asherie Dance, PC Courtesy EAD

Next week Ephrat Asherie Dance brings a stimulating mix of dance forms: break dance, swing, funk, hip hop, salsa and sometimes even voguing. Her go-get-em dancers include Omar Mizrahi, a 2017 “25 to Watch.”

Christopher K. Morgan in Pohaku, PC Brian S. Allard

Christopher K. Morgan, who has danced with both Liz Lerman and David Gordon, concludes the festival with Pōhaku (the Hawaiian word for stone). In this solo, he tells stories about the struggles of Hawaii’s native people, incorporating hula, modern dance, classical music and projection design. Morgan, who has been leading a choreographers’ residency in nearby Ghent, NY, has just been named the new director of Dance Place in Washington, DC.

Saddlespan tent of Chatham Dance Festival

PS21, which earlier this summer featured David Parsons and Caleb Teicher, announced that this year is the last in its cozy “saddlespan” tent. Next year, it will have a 99-seat black-box theater in the winter that converts to a 300-seat open-air theater in summer.

Student tickets are only $18, even less if you spring for multiple performances. For complete info, including workshops, click here.