DanceNow 20th Anniversary Season

Chelsea Murphy and Magda San Millan Photo by Yi-Chun Wu

Chelsea Murphy and Magda San Millan Photo by Yi-Chun Wu

DANCENOWNYC celebrates 20 years with the 2015 Festival at Joe’s Pub. Continuing its focus on New York-based artists across generations, the 2015 Festival will feature short works by 50 emerging and established dance makers, all of whom DANCENOW has presented over the last twenty years. The Festival will take place at Joe’s Pub, Wednesday–Saturday, September 9–12, at 7pm, with an encore performance featuring a dozen producer picks on Thursday, September 24, at 7pm.

Each of the 2015 Festival programs will be hosted by a choreographic team representing DANCENOW’s past, present and future, including Raja Feather Kelly and B.S. Movement (Bryan Strimpel and Shaina Branfman); Nicole Wolcott and Larry Keigwin; Deborah Lohse and Mark Gindick; and Chelsea Murphy and Magda San Millan. Several artists will revive works for this special occasion. David Parker and Jeffrey Kazin will present Old Fashion Wedding, their endearing duet from their workShowDown, commissioned by DANCENOW in 2009. PearsonWidrig DanceTheater returns to the Festival with an excerpt from its acclaimed work Lot’s Wife, performed at the festival in 2001, and Heidi Latsky and Lawrence Goldhuber reunite as Goldhuber & Latsky for the first time in fifteen years, with a reimagined version of their Head Duet. New and recent works by other DANCENOW veterans such as Aszure Barton, Doug Elkins, Paul Matteson, and Ellis Wood will be presented alongside works by emerging choreographers Jordan Isadore, Cori Marquis, and Donnell Oakley, to name a few. Brian Brooks andNicholas Leichter will join the encore as special guests. The complete lineup follows some thoughts from founder and director Robin Staff.

Raja Feather Kelly Photo by Jurgen Knoth

Raja Feather Kelly Photo by Jurgen Knoth

Congratulations on the 20th Anniversary. DanceNow has served so many of us in so many different ways. It’s been alive for almost as long as I’ve been making work in NYC. I feel a particular kinship with its continued presence and the ways in which you’ve let it evolve to match the challenges of presenting and artistic survival. So, 20 years in… how does this season feel different to you?You know I have had an entire year to reflect back as we prepared for this season and that has been fun to dig through all the memories. What has become so clear to me is that the path we decided to take when we first stated this journey, to look for unconventional venues to bring dance into the places where we live, play and work, has led us to Joe’s and hence all the other components that we have put into place.  I feel that DANCE NOW is grounded in our mission and not that we will not continue to seek out new and other opportunities we have found such a gold mine in which to inspire both our artists and our audiences as well.  This season has also shed light on the real strong sense of community that DANCE NOW has generated over the years and the roster this year clearly reflects all the different generations of artists that we have produced.  I love that Raja and Bryan are hosting the opening that honors veteran DANCE NOWers like Mark Dendy, Jane Comfort, Paul Matteson and David Parker. There is a sense of calm and accomplishment, but mostly a sense of excitement that the possibilities — the magic of Joe’s –  offers us as we go forward.

13 years with Joe’s Pub. That’s been a great partnership. The energy of a cabaret style house, the proximity of the audience and limitation of time and stage space offers fruitful parameters for many artists. I remember the Basecamp days at Joyce Soho and that shift to the larger stage at DTW. In what ways have the different venues and homes for DanceNow informed your vision for the various seasons?  

The venues pushed us forward towards where we are today.  We just out grew Joyce SoHo, and while I loved the warmth of that space, DTW offered us the opportunity to present artists at their state of the art theater that had never performed on that stage. I have to say that it really was the huge success of producing Fraulein Maria at the pub that charted our future direction. Once we decided to challenge artists to create work for the tiny pub stage, it just made more sense to move all of our programming there — using The Festival as our testing ground to find new work to develop into full evening lengthn works for the pub.

DanceNow has grown with your SteelStacks Program and partnerships with DeSales University, Muhlenberg College and the Lehigh Valley Charter School in Pennsylvania, along with the Challenge/Contest winner residencies that have provided artists with more than just a one-off presentation. Have you observed the ways your support for particular artists over time has made a difference to the field?

It became very clear to us years ago that the artists needed more than a one time opportunity to present their work, and while we are a small presenting arts organization we are able to give our artists multiple performance opportunities through our PA programs as well as paid teaching and commissioning opportunities, along with invaluable creative time while in residence at Silo. Providing these resources has helped to advance the careers of artists like Bryan Strimpel, Adam Barruch, Deborah Lohse, Ruben Graciani as well as artists like David Parker and Mark Dendy who have spent a great deal of creative time out here in PA.


Deborah Lohse (aka TruDee) Photo by Whitney Browne

What is the shape of your Boston partnership? David Parker has been a staple of DanceNow seasons for many years. His work as a curator has also been deeply valuable in his Soaking WET series. How have the two of you shared insights and strategies for growth and survival?

David is growing the genre of cabaret dance, and it is a natural for The Bang Group as they excel in this type of venue — they present so well in an intimate and upclose setting. I was thrilled that he wanted to develop this new program and honored to lend the DANCE NOW name to this project.  Now that this anniversary season is almost behind us, I am looking forward to be able to focus more energy on this.

Jeff Kazin and David Parker Photo by Nicholas Burnham

Jeff Kazin and David Parker Photo by Nicholas Burnham

When you think about the large community of artists who have come across DanceNow programs, are their highlights for you?

That’s hard, like asking which is your favorite child ….  I think that when I started to look back and think about who has passed through our doors, I was most thrilled that artists like Kyle, Camille, Larry K, Brian Brooks, John Heginbotham are all at the top of their game —most of these artists are actually at the Joyce this year, and Aszure has a stunning career that takes her all around the world, and Adam Barruch just got a huge commission at Dance Works. It is the results of giving these artists a little push and encouragement that are among only a few of the highlights …

What do you think DanceNow uniquely offers the dance field? How has that changed over time?

An opportunity to play, to think out of the back, do something totally different … it is still that unconventional challenge that we have always offered our artist base, and I am so grateful to the more than 1000 artists that have come through DANCE NOW for their willingness to take a chance.

Where do you see DanceNow heading in the future?

We will continue to use the Festival as our testing ground and to inspire artists to create new work for Joe’s — there is a whole new generation of emerging talent coming through our programming right now and we want to be sure to give them all the encouragement, opportunities and resources that they need — to make sure that they become household names … we will continue to look for new ways to give them support … this year I am working with ArtsQuest at Steel Stacks to significantly advance DANCE NOW Steel Stacks by seeking new funding sources to be able to grow the performance as well as educational component of this program.

Any parts of this year’s season that folks should be especially attuned to?

There is always a hidden gem or two or three in each program ( Amber, Satoshi, Aszure, Bryan and Shaina, Deb Lohse)  — It is special to have Sara back to perform Lot’s Wife ( Kind of like when art predicts life — we presented this after 9/11 at Joyce SoHo, and it was created and presented before 9/11), Bubble Wrap was first performed at OK Harris Gallery to bag pipe music, Heidi and Larry are back together for this run, as are the Happy Hour kids, and of course it is great fun to have Larry and Nicole back on our stage — revising the mattress piece a decade later, as well as presenting two beautiful new solos.

2015 DANCENOW Joe’s Pub Festival Schedule

Date indicates the first time the artist(s) performed as part of the DANCENOW Festival. 

Wednesday, September 9 at 7pm

Hosted by Raja Feather Kelly/feath3r theory (2014) and B.S. MOVEMENT: Bryan Strimpel and

Shaina Branfman (2011)

The Bang Group (1996)

Aszure Barton & Artists (2003)

Jane Comfort & Company (1999)

Mark Dendy Projects (1999)

Jordan Isadore (2011)

Paul Matteson (2000)

PearsonWidrig DanceTheater (1999)

Jessy Smith and Sydney Skybetter (2005) 

Thursday, September 10 at 7pm

Hosted by Deborah Lohse/a.k.a. TruDee (2004) and Mark Gindick (2005)

binbinFACTORY/Satoshi Haga & Rei Fukuzawa (1998)

Li Chiao-Ping Dance (1998)

Goldhuber & Latsky (1996)

Lawrence Goldhuber/BIGMANARTS (1997)

Happy Hour Clowns (2005)

Sara Hook (1996)

Heidi Latsky (1996)

Lohse + Marquis + Oakley (2014)

Donnell Oakley  (2012)

Yin Yue Dance (2007)

Friday, September 11 at 7pm

Hosted by Larry Keigwin (1999) and Nicole Wolcott (2002)

Tricia Brouk (1997)

Jamal Jackson Dance Company (2009)

Ali Kenner Brodsky (1999)

Cleo Mack Dance Project (2001)

Cori Marquis + The Nines [IX] (2011)

Gus Solomons Jr. (1997)

TAKE Dance (2010)

Megan Williams (2005)

Kathy Wildberger Dances (1996)

ZviDance (1996)

Saturday, September 12 at 7pm

Hosted by Chelsea & Magda: Chelsea Murphy and Magda San Millan (2013)

Banana Peel Dance (2005)

Doug Elkins Choreography (1997)

Christopher K. Morgan & Artists  (2003)

Pengelly: Projects (1999)

Claire Porter/PORTABLES (1996)

Erin Reck Dances (1998)

RG Dance Projects – Rubén Graciani (2012)

Amber Sloan (2002)

Ellis Wood Dance (2000)

WKcollective/Wanjiru Kamuyu (2005)

Festival tickets are $20 in advance / $25 at the door. Encore tickets are $25 in advance / $30 at door. Tickets can  be purchased by calling 212-967-7555, online at, and in person at The Public Theater box office from 2pm to 6pm. Joe’s Pub at the Public is located at 425 Lafayette Street (between East 4th Street and Astor Place).

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