Events – Danspace Project
Josiah McElheny and Jodi Melnick. Photo: Judy Hussie-Taylor.
Josiah McElheny and Jodi Melnick. Photo: Judy Hussie-Taylor.

Josiah McElheny’s Prismatic Park: Jodi Melnick

Check our website, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for daily updates on Jodi Melnick’s residency schedule!

Danspace Project has been invited by artist and MacArthur Foundation Fellowship recipient, Josiah McElheny, to participate in Madison Square Park Conservancy’s thirty-fourth exhibition, Prismatic Park. Danspace Executive Director & Chief Curator, Judy Hussie-Taylor, has invited four dance artists to “inhabit” the Park to realize new commissions throughout the exhibition. The project features three large sculptures of painted wood and prismatic glass on view in Madison Square Park from June 13, 2017 through October 8, 2017. The resident artists will create ambitious new work that summons the potential for imagination, creativity, and performance inspired by spontaneous audiences and chance encounters.

Choreographer Jodi Melnick will inhabit Prismatic Park from Tuesday, September 12 through Sunday, September 24, 2017.

New York City-based Melnick is a choreographer, dancer, performer, and teacher. Her work engages with the continuous act of creating, driven by her physical expressiveness and investigation with movement and the body. For this residency, she explains, “the body continues to be my aesthetic material…During my two-week occupancy [at Madison Square Park] I will be working and looking at past, present, and developing new work with an array of bodies.”

“I am inviting other performers that I have recently worked with, artists that I have admired from near and afar, and collaborators. I will be generating new movement, destroying older material, waiting, waiting, waiting, running, walking, watching, interacting, listening, listening, listening. The green public space, the people in the park, sounds of the city, smell of Shake Shack, and Josiah McElheny’s Prismatic Park installation are my set designers and will provide the collaborative nature of this occupancy.”

Invited artists include: Jared Angle, Kyle Bukhari, Yoshiko Chuma, Shirley Dai, Kareem Alexande​r Hewitt, Natalie Jonas, Joseph Lennon, Pareena Lim, Sara Mearns, Sara Rudner, Vicky Shick, Gretchen Smith, Maya Lee-Parritz, Rochelle Wilbun, and Isadora Vandergaw Scott.

The schedule for week one is as follows. Danspace Project will update the schedule daily here on the website, and will post updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Week 1
Tuesday, September 12
10-11am: Jodi Melnick/Sara Rudner
3:30-6pm: Jodi Melnick/Kareem Alexander Hewitt/Maya Lee-Parritz/Rochelle Wilbun
6-6:30pm: Jodi Melnick

Wednesday, September 13
1:30-4:30pm: Jodi Melnick/Maya Lee-Parritz/Rochelle Wilbun/Kareem Alexander Hewitt

Thursday, September 14
2-4pm: Jodi Melnick/Maya Lee-Parritz /Clara Chapin Hess/Cauveri Suresh
4-5pm: Jodi Melnick

Friday, September 15
3:30-4:30pm: Jodi Melnick/Kareem Alexander Hewitt
4:30-6pm: Jodi Melnick/Maya Lee-Parritz/Isadora Vandergaw Scott
6-6:30pm: Jodi Melnick/Maya Lee-Parritz
6:15-6:45: Jodi Melnick/Joseph Lennon

Saturday, September 16
2-4pm: Jodi Melnick/Pareena Lim/Maya Lee-Parritz/Kareem Alexander Hewitt/Rochelle Wilbun
4-6pm: Yoshiko Chuma with guest artists

Sunday, September 17
2-4pm: Jodi Melnick/Kareem Alexander Hewitt/Pareena Lim
4:30-6pm: Yoshiko Chuma with guest artists Megumi Eda, Vicky Shick, Kathy Ray, Christine Bonansea Saulut, Emily Coates, Marilyn Maywald Yahel

Week 2

Tuesday, September 19
10-11am: Jodi Melnick/Sara Rudner/Vicky Shick
3-5pm: Jodi Melnick/Colleen Thomas/Asli Bulbul/Maya Lee-Parritz/Kareem Alexander Hewitt
5-6:30pm:  Jodi Melnick in collaboration with Jon Kinzel (Headdress by Jon Kinzel)

Wednesday, September 20
1-3pm: Jodi Melnick/Maya Lee-Parritz/Asli Bulbul
 Jodi Melnick/Rochelle Wilbun/Isadora Vandergaw Scott/Juli Brandano

Thursday, September 21
12:45-1:30pm:  Jodi Melnick/Emily Coates
2-3pm: Jodi Melnick/Rochelle Wilbun/Colleen Thomas
4:45-5:30pm: Jodi Melnick/Asli Bulbul/Nicky Paraiso/Iréne Hultman

Friday, September 22
5-6pm:  Jodi Melnick/Rashaun Mitchell
5:45-6:30pm: Jodi Melnick/Nicky Paraiso
6:30-7:15pm: Jodi Melnick in collaboration with Jon Kinzel (Headdress by Jon Kinzel)

Saturday, September 23
2-5pm: Jodi Melnick/Juli Brandano/Shirley Dai/Nathalie Jonas/Pareena Lim/Maya Lee-Parritz/Kareem Alexander Hewitt/Isadora Vandergaw Scott/Rochelle Wilbun

Sunday, September 24
4:30-5:15pm: Jodi Melnick/Sara Mearns/Jared Angle
5:15-6pm: Jodi Melnick/Maya Lee-Parritz/Kareem Alexander Hewitt/Asli Bulbul/Isadora Scott/Rochelle Wilbun/Nathalie Jonas/Shirley Dai/Juli Brandano/Cauveri Suresh
6-6:45pm: Jodi Melnick in collaboration with Jon Kinzel (Headdress by Jon Kinzel)

More information:

Other performances

Photo by Richard Louissaint
Photo by Richard Louissaint

André M. Zachery/Renegade Performance Group: Untamed Space

Half hour long pre-show discussions will take place each night at 7pm! Facilitators for the discussions include:
Rosamond S. King (Thursday, September 28)
Dr. Nadine George-Graves (Friday, September 29)
Dr. Layla Zami with André Zachery (Saturday, September 30)

*Please note: there is no late seating for these performances.*

In Untamed Space, Renegade Performance Group artistic director and choreographer André M. Zachery calls upon his familial lineage in the Southern United States and Haiti and his upbringing on the south side of Chicago to construct an interdisciplinary performance about “marooning” in the 21st Century.

Historically, maroon colonies were liberated communities of Africans who escaped to hills, mountains, and forests upon their arrival to the Americas in the 17th and 18th centuries. Untamed Space considers the spiritual dimensions of maro​on colonies and, in Zachery’s own words,​ “how the creation of those impassible spaces has influenced contemporary identities of African-blooded people in the Americas.​”

This is Zachery’s latest foray under his AFROFUTURISM series, an ongoing artistic investigation exploring and reinterpreting Black signifiers and culture through technology with a contemporary perspective. Untamed Space covers the trajectory of marooning across time and space: starting in Haiti, moving to Mississippi, and, as Zachery explains, “arriving at my point of departure in Chicago, and into the Afrofuture.”

Performers: Kentoria EarleCandace Thompson, Nehemoyia Young, and André M. Zachery.
Artistic Director/Choreographer/Visual Media Designer: André M. Zachery
Composer/Sound Artist: Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste
Lighting Designer: Carol Mullins
Costume/Visual Designer: Joy Havens
Dramaturge: Rosamond S. King
Musical Contributor: King Britt


Watch a trailer for Untamed Space below:

Photo by Natalie Fionl; courtesy of Jessie Young.
Photo by Natalie Fionl; courtesy of Jessie Young.

DraftWork: Jonathan Gonzalez / Jessie Young

Curated by Ishmael Houston-Jones, the DraftWork series hosts informal, free Saturday afternoon performances that offer choreographers an opportunity to show their work in various stages of development. Performances are followed by discussion and a reception with the artists and curator.

DraftWork is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Jasmine Hearn. Photo by Paul Kruse.
Mariana Valencia. Photo by Lidija Antonović.

Shared Evening: Jasmine Hearn / Mariana Valencia

A shared evening of new commissions by choreographers Jasmine Hearn and Mariana Valencia, both of whom work with choreography as a radical vehicle for memory and archive.

Jasmine Hearn is a Bronx-based choreographer, performer, and dancer. Currently, she is a collaborating performer with Alisha Wormsley, David Dorfman Dance, Helen Simoneau Danse, and Tara Willis. shook is a new work consisting of three duets with Hearn and collaborators Maria Bauman, Kayla FarrishDominica Greene, Catherine Kirk, Angie Pittman, and Alisha Wormsley. This “collaborative calling” is paired with an original soundscape created by Hearn.

Mariana Valencia is a dance artist and co-editor of Movement Research’s Critical Correspondence and a founding member of the No Total reading group. Her new performance work, Yugoslavia, encompasses ethnography, memoir, and observations of her own cross-cultural identifiers. “In Yugoslavia, I intersect the First World, the Second World, the countryside, the imaginary plane and vampires. Factual, humorous, and grave observations depict my herstorical frame,” writes Valencia. With Yugoslavia, “I’m in search of the spiritual, in observation of the physical, and in awe of the artificial.”

Photo by Tori Brown Rice; courtesy of J'Sun Howard.
Brother(hood) Dance! by Ian Douglas.

Shared Evening: Brother(hood) Dance! / J’Sun Howard

*Please note the second half of the evening by Brother(hood) Dance! includes aromatherapy by Nicole Wilkins as part of the performance. Nicole recommends arriving hydrated for the best possible experience; water will also be available during the show. If you have any questions or concerns please call the Danspace Project office at (212) 674.8112.*

Demonstrations, marches, sit-ins/die-ins/love-ins, rallies, prayer: are there alternatives to these forms of protest that we can employ to generate positive change? J’Sun Howard’s Working On Better Versions of Prayers is a poetic testimony in which miracles can erupt at any moment. “My aim is to make a dreamscape that can be a possibility for a future world,” writes Howard, a Chicago-based dancemaker and poet who most recently performed at Danspace in the Bessie Award-winning work of Darrell Jones. Howard is inspired by​ “radical hope,” a concept articulated by author Jonathan Lear who was influenced by ideas from ​the last hereditary Chief of the Crow Nation, Plenty Coups (1848-1932). Howard and performers/collaborators D. Banks and Damon Green create a charismatic space for joy, exploring the intimacy between queer men of color, flirting with notions of divine radical presence and how it “holyficates.” Director: J’Sun Howard; Dramaturge: Raquel Monroe.

An early version of Brother(hood) Dance!’s how to survive a plague was seen during Danspace’s Platform 2016: Lost & Found. In this interdisciplinary meditation on the artistic generational gap between those lost in the global AIDS epidemic, Orlando Zane Hunter, Jr and Ricarrdo Valentine investigate who survives and whose stories are told during and after life, and explore methods of healing, care-giving, and living testimonies in a ritualistic setting of movement, sound designed by Hunter, and aromatherapy by Nicole Wilkins. In a “reverential gesture to lost ancestral artistic dreams,” Hunter and Valentine seek to venerate the Black African bodies that were exiled from the urgency of care and shunned by their communities and government. Costumes by Emmy Award-winning designer Shane Ballard.

Lighting Design: Carol Mullins


Simone Forti's Body Mind World workshop, December 14-15, 2016. Photo: Ian Douglas.

Simone Forti Workshop: Body Mind World

*Participant tickets for both workshops are sold out. Observer tickets will be available at the door and are cash only.

If you are interested in joining the waitlist for a workshop, please arrive 1/2 hour prior to the start time.*

No movement experience is necessary! Wear comfortable clothes and bring a notebook. Observation-only tickets are available!

In 2016, Danspace Project and Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Media and Performance Art collaborated to organize an unprecedented research residency on the occasion of MoMA’s acquisition of Simone Forti’s Dance Constructions (1961). During the weeklong residency, Forti engaged in discussions and workshops to ensure that this work is brought to the art and dance community and the new generations who will carry it forward. Forti describes the Body Mind World workshop:

Do our words have access to what we know in our bones? In our daily lives we spontaneously weave together body language and spoken words to help us understand and communicate. In this Body Mind World workshop we will cultivate this synergetic process to help us engage with subject matter that interests us. The class will include warm-ups to awaken our kinetic juices, and focused stream of consciousness writing to put us in touch with our wild thoughts, questions and observations. We will learn the “Dance Construction Huddle” and work with improvisational movement scores, as well as in ways that can help us develop a natural and intuitive flow between our moving and our speaking, with surprise and delight. By letting our body intelligence and our verbal mind interact, we will access a fuller view of our world, both personal and collective.

Steve Paxton, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer. Photos by Ian Douglas.

Simone Forti, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer: Tea for Three

Three nights of performance, improvisation, and interaction between three singular and influential artists, Simone Forti, Steve Paxton, and Yvonne Rainer. Writes Paxton, “Tea for Three is the recent interplay by Forti, Paxton, and Rainer, three veteran dancers who admired each other’s work forty-five years before performing together. They each bring their doughty selves to the stage, making dance and performance conversation. No tea is served, but food for thought.”

Trisha Brown (c) Marc Ginot.
Trisha Brown (c) Lois Greenfield.

A Community Memorial Honoring the Life and Work of Trisha Brown

Danspace Project and the dance community at large celebrate the legacy of choreographer Trisha Brown (1936-2017), who altered how we perceive, create, and understand dance since forming her company in 1970. Over five hours, Brown’s company alums, colleagues, and admirers will speak, dance, reminisce, and pay tribute to one of our history’s greatest influencers.

This event is free and open to the public and guests may come and go throughout the day. All are welcome to join in paying homage to Brown and her legacy in transforming our worldwide artistic community.

Details and schedule to be announced.