Public citizen number 1


By Brian McCormick

Dancenow Festival launches the fall season with dance around Manhattan

For the past ten years, Dancenow/NYC’s annual fall festival has delivered a stunningly full-range program of modern dance in New York City, in whatever venues they could muster. Under the leadership of Robin Staff and Tamara Greenfield, the festival has become more organized and its tenth anniversary season program illustrates a pinnacle of outstanding public-event planning that is truly informed by the dance public.

Kicking off on September 8 with a “Dancers’ Party,” a showcase of past festival highlights, at the Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, the 10-day festival events are categorized under the headings DanceMopolitan, Dance Harlem, Base Camp and Danza. With performance locations in the East Village, West Village, Soho, Harlem and Washington Heights, the outreach efforts are as obvious as the talent—some of New York’s finest young dance artists, up and coming choreographers and established entertainers.

The opening performance on September 8 at 7 p.m. with emcee Sybil Bruncheon features festival favorites Monica Bill Barnes, Brian Brooks, Nicholas Leichter, Doug Elkins, Larry Keigwin, Nicole Wolcott and others. Tickets are $25 at the door.

Dancemopolitan, a series running at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, begins with an evening hosted by Paul Matteson and Jennifer Nugent on September 9 at 9:30 p.m., with two shows on the 10th at 7 and 9:30 p.m. hosted by the Happy Hour Comedy Trio. Tickets are $15 and there is a $12 or two-drink minimum.

Dance Harlem on September 12 at 3 p.m. in Marcus Garvey Park (122nd and Mount Morris-Park West) is free and features some of the city’s finest independent African-American performing artists and companies.

Base Camp at Joyce Soho, running September 13 through 18, is the festival’s longest-running series, featuring 85 artists spread over nine showtimes. (September 13, 14, 16 and 17 at 7 and 9 p.m., September 18 at 1 p.m.).

Danza Washington Heights will be held in Highbridge Park at West 173rd Street and Amsterdam Ave. and is another free event with dances and dancemakers of Latin origin and influence.

The festival finale, a Dancemopolitan event hosted by David Neumann and Karinne Keithley, wraps it up September 18 at 9:30 p.m at Joe’s Pub. with performances by Alexander Gish, Julian Barnett, Keely Garfield, Sara Hook & Mary Cochran and others.

Moving beyond the Dancenow Festival, upcoming highlights of the autumn include:

Big Dance Theater

What do famous German wild-child Kaspar Hauser and the secret Nixon Watergate tapes have to do with each other? Find out in “PLAN B,” another magical and meaningful production by Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar. Dance Theater Workshop, 219 West 19th Street, September 23 – October 9 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit dtw.org.

Monica Bill Barnes

Whimsical and sublime as both performer and choreographer, Barnes presents “The Happy Dance (or what started out ok),” in which she and a twin-like character portrayed by Tami Stronach find themselves swept up and away into a life of pomp and circumstance. Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, 131 East 10th Street, October 21 – 24 at 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit danspaceproject.org.

Tanztheater Wuppertal by Pina Bausch

“Fur Die Kinder von Gestern, Heute und Morgen (For The Children Of Yesterday, Today, And Tomorrow)” is a multi-generational ode to dancers at each stage of their lives. The choreographer’s newest work, set on a bare stage divided by stark white walls features a series of solos, a mix of Latin beats, crooning and the welcome message that good always prevails.

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, November 16, 18 – 21. For more information, visit bam.org.

John Jasperse Dance Company

Cerebral and kinetic, Jasperse’s latest reflection, “California,” takes place within a space predominated by a massive, gleaming, segmented sculpture. On stage the dancers relate to it like characters out of a Beckett play. It is an artificial chrysalis they serve with futility, a shining symbol of their hopes and expectations, cold, unyielding and, in the end, impotent. BAM Harvey Theater, December 7 – 11 at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit bam.org.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company

No two shows will be the same when the company presents brand new, one-of-a-kind events—each with it own decor, music and choreography created just for the Joyce stage. The score will be performed live each night by a different combination of musicians and composers. Each performance also highlights the work of a different visual artist. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, December 14 – 19, 2004. For more information, visit joyce.org.

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