Events – Danspace Project
Rainer&Jonas collage_Avillez

Danspace Project Gala 2016 Honoring Joan Jonas & Yvonne Rainer


Joan Jonas and Yvonne Rainer

Joan Jonas for her pioneering video and multi-media performance work spanning over five decades

Yvonne Rainer for her defining contributions to postmodern dance from the founding of the Judson Dance Theater in 1962 to today

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

at Danspace Project
St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery
131 East 10th Street

6:00P.M. Garden Reception

in the West Garden

7:00P.M. Welcome & Dinner
in the Sanctuary

8:30P.M. Performances and Films:
Charles Atlas’ “Rainer Variations” (Excerpt)
Delusional Downtown Divas’ (Joana Avillez and Lena Dunham) “The Jonas Mother”
Song written by Sung Hwan Kim and David Michael DiGregorio
sung by David Michael DiGregorio and special guest Elizabeth Jane Dudley Baker
Okwui Okpokwasili
The Raindears
Melissa Toogood in work by Pam Tanowitz

Paddle8 Silent Art Auction
featuring works by Joana Avillez, Paul Chan, Joan Jonas, Babette Mangolte, Ryan McNamara & Jen Rosenblit, Peter Moore, Yvonne Rainer, Xaviera Simmons, and Pat Steir. Click here to view the auction on

Individual Dinner Tickets at $300/$500
Performance Tickets at $75

Tables for 10 people are available starting at $5,000. Please contact Peggy Cheng at for more information.


Artwork by Joana Avillez.

Photo: David Gonsier
Photo: David Gonsier

Juliette Mapp: Luxury Rentals

Thursday, May 12 – Saturday, May 14 , 8pm
& Thursday, May 19 – Saturday, May 21, 8pm

Danspace Project presents a six-show run of the premiere of Juliette Mapp’s latest dance, Luxury Rentals featuring dancers Levi Gonzalez, Jimena Paz, Kayvon Pourazar, and Mapp. With set designed by John Jesurun, and lighting designed by Joe Levasseur.

Luxury Rentals is created from a dancer’s perspective. The work weaves together the relationships that are built through—and around—dancing with stories that reflect the effects of New York City’s changing landscape, including physical and economic displacement. Dance requires space—often more so than any other art form. Space has become harder to find and afford to live and dance in. As a result, the challenges that dancers face inside and outside the studio have changed. The stories of Luxury Rentals are culled from life outside the studio, and the dancing is an expression of what lives inside the studio—in movement and in the stillness of watching, listening, reading, and resting. Luxury Rentals celebrates the fleeting luxury of life and dance—a luxury that can live and die in a moment.


Choreography by Juliette Mapp
 Levi Gonzalez, Juliette Mapp, Jimena Paz, Kayvon Pourazar
Lights: Joe Levasseur
Set: John Jesurun
Alex Rodabaugh
Johnnie Cruise Mercer

DraftWork: Johnnie Cruise Mercer / Alex Rodabaugh

Curated by Ishmael Houston-Jones, the DraftWork series hosts informal 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 during which artists and audiences share perspectives about the works-in-progress.

DraftWork is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and City Council Member Rosie Mendez.


Abigail Sebaly: Esprit de tour: A conversation on retracing the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s 1964 world tour

This event is co-presented by Danspace Project, the Merce Cunningham Trust, and the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) at Wesleyan University.

In 1964, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company embarked on a 6-month world tour throughout Europe and Asia, a series of events that fundamentally altered both the company and the many artistic communities whom they encountered during their journey. A half-century later, researcher Abigail Sebaly is pursuing the first comprehensive retracing of the original itinerary, crossing the globe to map the diverse artistic and cultural contexts that characterized each port of call, and collecting unique firsthand accounts from many who interacted with the company.

This ongoing project was conceived by Sebaly, whose longtime affiliation with Cunningham includes serving as a staff member for the Cunningham Dance Foundation (2003-2008) and, more recently, as a research consultant to the Merce Cunningham Trust. She initially developed the foundations of her project while completing the Graduate Certificate Program at Wesleyan University’s Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (2013).

Sebaly will present project updates as she shares her travelogue-in-progress and moderates a conversation with special guests: Carolyn Brown, Petr Kotik, Lewis Lloyd, and David Vaughan.


Abigail Sebaly is currently pursuing an independent research project on the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s 1964 world tour, initially supported in part by the Merce Cunningham Trust, the Getty Research Institute, the John Cage Research Grant from the Northwestern University Library, and a Mabel Dodge Luhan House’s writers residency in Taos, New Mexico. From 2011–2014, she researched and cataloged the Walker Art Center’s Merce Cunningham Dance Company Collection. Prior to this, she completed a Fulbright grant in Melbourne, Australia, and worked in various capacities for Cunningham Dance Foundation in New York, including as director of special projects and an administrative assistant to Merce Cunningham. She holds an M.A. in the Humanities from the University of Chicago, a Graduate Certificate from the Institute for Curatorial Practice at Wesleyan University, and a B.F.A. in Dance and B.A. in English from the University of Michigan.

Carolyn Brown is the author of Chance and Circumstance: Twenty Years with Cage and Cunningham, Knopf 2009.  Born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts she first studied dance with her mother, Marion Rice, a student of the Denishawn School.  She graduated with a degree in Philosophy from Wheaton College in 1950. After attending a masterclass with Cunningham in Denver in 1951, she decided to pursue dance full-time and moved to New York to continue her studies at the Juilliard School where she trained with Antony Tudor, and with Margaret Craske – with whom she continued to study throughout her performing years and beyond. She also studied with Cunningham and became one of the founding members of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company (MCDC), formed at Black Mountain College in the summer of 1953. She performed in Cunningham’s company for twenty years and danced in 40 of his works. She also performed in Robert Rauschenberg’s performance piece Pelican (1963) and developed her own choreography including Car Lot (1968), As I Remember It, a solo in homage to Ted Shawn, Bunkered for a Bogey (1973), House Party (1974), Circles (1975), and Balloon II (Ballet-Théâtre Contemporain, 1976). She produced and directed Dune Dance, a forty minute film featuring Sara Rudner, filmed on Cape Cod by James Klosty. After leaving MCDC in 1973 she became a freelance choreographer, writer, lecturer, and teacher, and continues to work with the Merce Cunningham Trust as an artistic consultant. From 1995-2009 served as a member of the Cunningham Dance Foundation Board of Directors. She has been awarded the Dance Magazine Award, five National Endowment for the Arts grants, and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, Dance Perspectives, Ballet Review, and the Dance Research Journal. She lives in Millbrook, New York.

Petr Kotik (born Prague, Czech Republic, 1942), studied music in Prague and Vienna and has lived in the United States since 1969. Throughout his career, he has divided his time between composing, performing (solo flute, chamber music and conducting), and organizing concerts. In Vienna,1964, Kotik met John Cage and was asked to participate in the performance of Merce Cunningham’s Museum Event No. 1. Subsequently, he and his own ensemble, Musica Viva Pragensis, performed with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, John Cage, and David Tudor in Prague and Warsaw. Among other compositions, they performed Cage’s Concert for Piano and Orchestra. For Kotik, it was the start of a relationship with Cage that continued until 1992. Upon his arrival in the U.S., Kotik founded the S.E.M. Ensemble, which expanded to The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble in 1992. At its Carnegie Hall debut, the Ensemble premiered the complete version of Cage’s Atlas Eclipticalis, including an 86-piece orchestra, with David Tudor as the soloist (performing Winter Music). In 2001, Kotik founded the Biennial Summer Institute and Festival Ostrava Days, in Ostrava, Czech Republic. In 2005, he founded the International Chamber Orchestra Ostravská Banda and in 2012 participated in the creation of the Festival for New Opera (NODO). The opening production of NODO in 2012 was Cage’s Europera 5, performed for the first time ever in a traditional opera house setting. Among Kotik’s major works are Many Many Women (1975-78) –a 6-hour composition on text by Gertrude Stein, Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking (1982) – a 4-hour composition on text by R. Buckminster Fuller, Letters to Olga (1991) on text by Václav Havel, Music in Two Movements (1998) for large orchestra, Variations for 3 Orchestras (2005) and the chamber opera Master-Pieces (2014) with libretto by Gertrude Stein. Kotik has just completed a dance-opera, William William (2016) inspired by Isaac Babel and William Shakespeare, to be performed at the NODO festival in June 2016.

Lewis Lloyd (born 1938) graduated with a B.A. from Yale University in 1960. In 1974, he earned his master’s in public administration from Harvard University’s JFK School of Government.  From 1962-1974, Lloyd was the owner and operator of The Pocket Theater, a 191 seat Off-Broadway theater. During that same period, Lloyd was also manager for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s tours abroad. In addition, from 1968-1972 Lloyd was employed as General Manager for the Brooklyn Academy of Music. From 1972-1974 Lloyd was the Program Director for the Performing Arts, New York State Council for the Arts.  Lloyd was employed as the Manager of Finance and Administration for WGBH from 1975-1980. In addition to the financial and personnel responsibilities in this position, Lloyd initiated a line of book publishing which included Crockett’s Victory Garden and Julia Child and Company, oversaw the construction of a new wing, and worked on educational materials to supplement PBS TV Programs. Lloyd also served as executive in charge of production for the PBS mini-series,The Scarlet Letter.  Working as an independent consultant from 1980-1985, Lloyd was involved in projects with: The Entertainment Channel (NYC); Planning and Programming Executive (now A&E on cable); BBI Productions, Channel 5 (Boston); Geneva Productions (Boston); Skidmore Owings & Merrill and the Boston Redevelopment Authority.  He served as the CEO for Metro Net/Vermont, Inc, the owner/operator of the radio station WXXX-FM in Burlington, VT.  In addition, Lloyd sat on the boards of the Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation (1978-82), Boston Ballet (1982-1996), and the Cunningham Dance Foundation (1996-2001).

David Vaughan (born London, England, May 17, 1924) has danced, sung, acted, and choreographed in London, Paris, on and off Broadway, in American regional theaters, in film, television, ballet and modern dance companies, and cabaret. He was the archivist of the Cunningham Dance Foundation. He is the author of Merce Cunningham: 50 Years (Aperture, 1997; as an app for iPad, as Merce Cunningham: 65 Years) and of Frederick Ashton and his Ballets (revised edition, Dance Books, 1999). He was a member of the editorial board of the International Encyclopedia of Dance (Oxford, 1998). At the Dancing in the Millennium Conference in Washington DC in July 2000, he received the 2000 CORD (Congress on Research in Dance) Award for Outstanding Leadership in Dance Research; in September 2001 he received a New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”) for sustained achievement; in December 2015 a Dance Magazine Award. He returned to the stage in 2015, when Co.Venture, his collaboration with Pepper Fajans, won prizes at the Montreal Fringe Festival, returning in January to the Wild Side Theatre Festival in Montreal.

Photo: Lauren Bakst and Yuri Masnyj
Justin Cabrillos. Photo: Nicholas Steindorf

Shared Evening: Justin Cabrillos / Lauren Bakst & Yuri Masnyj

Please note: There is no late seating for this show. Please arrive on time!

A shared evening of two new Danspace commissions by emerging artists.

Lauren Bakst makes performances and Yuri Masnyj makes drawings and sculptures. Since 2014, they have been combining their practices to make new work together. Re: Nude in a Landscape considers the construction and perception of the body in theatrical and exhibitionary contexts. Using a limited palette of actions, images, and materials, the work repeatedly establishes and distorts the framing of the figure in order to animate the interplay between recognition, visibility, and representation.

Justin CabrillosHoldings is a shifting constellation of images and behaviors generated by a beige carpet and a single body. The body travels through fits of discovery and ecstasy, reveling in the space between object and organism. From living room to mountain range, the body continuously arrives at a new space, a new context, and a new awareness.

Photo: EP Falck/Effyography
Photo: EP Falck/Effyography

Raja Feather Kelly | The Feath3r Theory: Andy Warhol’s Tropico

Andy Warhol’s Tropico is choreographed and directed by Raja Feather Kelly and performed by Kelly his dance theater company, The Feath3r Theory.

Andy Warhol said, “It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it.” In Tropico, Kelly questions if this is true.

Loosely-inspired by Lana Del Rey’s short film of a similar name, Tropico explores Kelly’s relationship to pop-culture as he attempts to demystify pop-culture’s relationship to humanity. The performers find themselves lost in a surreal, cartoonist landscape. The characters, each constellations of archetypes from television, movies, and children’s stories, seek refuge from the same Warhol-inspired pop-art-world they created.

Concept, Choreography and Direction Raja Feather Kelly

Lighting Design Tuce Yasak

Music Bryan Strimpel with Raja Feather Kelly

Performers Raja Feather Kelly, Shaina Branfman, Amy Gernux, Beth Graczyk, Sara Gurevich, John Gutierrez, Lindsay Head, Rebecca Hite Teicheira, Nik Owens, Rachel Pritzlaff, Collin Ranf, Aaron Moses Robin

Video Aitor Mendilibar +  Laura Snow

Production Louise Dodet, Rebecca Schulman

Costumes Melody Eggen


Catherine Gallant/DANCE and Dances by Isadora: Retrograde Universe

Community ACCESS provides subsidized off-season rental opportunities for Danspace Project community members.

Retrograde Universe is the title of a new work and this evening by Catherine Gallant/DANCE and Dances by Isadora, both led by Artistic Director and Choreographer Catherine Gallant.

New works by Catherine Gallant on this program include Finally with music by Rome prize winning composer, Lisa Bielawa and text from Franz Kafka; the premiere of Retrograde Universe, a work using indeterminate structures to investigate the nearly lost sensate world of skin and paper; and Meeting #12, which is danced by Michelle Cohen and Alvaro Gonzalez.

Isadora Duncan’s dances of wind, sea, darkness and light will be performed by the members of Dances by Isadora. The Allegretto from Isadora Duncan’s 1908 untitled work to Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 Op.92, which has not been performed since 1979 will be reanimated by enlivening the extant fragments from the Maria Theresa lineage and expanding and re-imagining the choreography of the Allegretto and Presto sections as group works. The program also includes Valse Brillante and Duncan’s last works to Scriabin etudes played live by concert pianist, Yegor Shetsov.

Catherine Gallant, has been creating for dance in traditional venues and alternative sites for more than 30 years. Ms. Gallant has received funding for her choreography from the Harkness Foundation for Dance, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Trust, among others. She holds a BFA in Dance from The Boston Conservatory and an MFA from Temple University. Catherine leads workshops for the Dance Education Laboratory and is a NYCDOE Dance Educator.

Dances by Isadora‘s mission is to share the history of dance as an art form with a contemporary audience through the presentation and teaching of the work of modern dance pioneer, Isadora Duncan (1877-1927). The company is also dedicated to the growth of new work which comments on history and culture while making connections from past to present with an eye to future innovation. Dances by Isadora is committed to educating audiences/students of all ages through touring its educational programs and performances.

Dances by Isadora is a non-profit, tax exempt organization dedicated to the preservation of the repertoire and technique of Isadora Duncan while creating programming which includes historic and contemporary dance. The group received its name in 1986 when arts administrator, Alan Casso produced the companies first public performance in Boston. Since then Dances by Isadora has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards including the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MIT Council on the Arts, Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Bossak/Heilbron Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts and City Parks Foundation. In performanceDances by Isadora honors Duncan’s original choreography while retaining the vitality and vibrant physicality of the movement. As no films or notation of Isadora’s dances were made until long after her death in 1927, Duncan’s choreography has been preserved through the teaching of one generation of Duncan dancers to the next.  Since 1986 Dances by Isadora has reached out to diverse audiences through the medium of performance and educational workshops informing and inspiring future generations.

"Nobody's Dance" at Macao in Milan, Italy. Photo by Eleanor Bauer.
"Nobody's Dance" at Macao in Milan, Italy. Photo by Eleanor Bauer.

The Oracle Dance via Eleanor Bauer

The Oracle Dance is a score for a dance that answers questions, or tells the future. The dance follows a simple set of rules and roles, whereby a handful of dancers act as an Oracle answering an audience member or visitor’s question. Their danced answer to the question is interpreted and orated by an external reader of the dance. The roles of reader and dancer can shift from question to question, or over a duration of performing several question-answers. Come by and have your questions answered by a dance!

The Oracle Dance plays with meaning production in movement, the “usefulness” of a dance to serve a specific purpose, the contemporary invention of rituals, the use of improvisation to address unknowns, and a practice of receptivity to unexpected insights from anywhere.

The Oracle Dance originated in the TTT sessions (Teachers Teaching Teachers) at Impulstanz festival in Vienna in 2014 with and by Jennifer Lacey, Alice Chauchat, Valentina Desideri, Alix Eyunaudi, Keith Hennessy, Anne Juren, Mark Lorimer, Raimundas Malašauskas, Philippe Riéra and Mårten Spångberg. It has been passed on to others since then, and belongs to nobody and anybody.