Events – Danspace Project
Photos courtesy of the artists

Tëmikèkw: An honor and welcome gathering hosted by the First Nations Dialogues with The Lenape Center

Online reservations are now full but we will welcome everyone who can attend!

Hosted by First Nations Dialogues with the Lenape Center; presented in partnership with Danspace Project.

First Nations Dialogues commences in Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland; through protocol and ceremony, welcoming global First Nations leaders, artists, and allies. The afternoon honors leaders and grandmothers of Indigenous theater: Muriel Miguel and Gloria Miguel of Spiderwoman Theater and Diane Fraher (Osage/Cherokee) of Amerinda. The SilverCloud Singers will be led by Kevin Tarrant of the Hopi and HoChunk Nations; with performances by Laura Ortman of the Apache Nation and fancy shawl dancer, Anatasia McAllister of the Colville Confederated Tribes and Hopi Nation.

All are welcome to join in this afternoon of exchange, performance offerings, and feast.

12:30PM SilverCloud Drummers, with lead drum by Kevin Tarrant
Fancy Shawl dance, Anastasia McAllister

12:50PM Welcome and Invocation, Joe Baker, Hadrien Coumans, Brent Michael Davids

1:05PM Lenape Seed Gifting Ceremony, Lenape Center and First Nations Dialogues
Music by Brent Michael Davids

1:40PM Honoring of Spiderwoman Theater and Amerinda
Speeches by Rachael Maza, David Bunn Martine

2:00PM Music by Laura Ortman

2:05PM First Nations Dialogues gratitude

2:10PM Protocol offerings from First Nations delegates

2:50PM Roundance led by George Stonefish

3:00PM Feasting. Food generously prepared by Anne Apparu.

First Nations Dialogues acknowledges with great gratitude the naming of this gathering, Tëmikèkw.

The First Nations Dialogues Lenapehoking New York, is a series of Indigenous led performances, discussions, workshops and ceremony. First Nations Dialogues 2019 kick-starts the development of the groundbreaking Global First Nations Performance Network (GFNPN). The GFNPN is a pilot initiative focused on cultural change through commissioning, touring and presenting Indigenous performance and capacity building for the presenting sector.

Running January 5 – 12, First Nations Dialogues is in partnership with The Lenape Center, Amerinda, American Indian Community House, Danspace Project, Abrons Art Center, Performance Space New York, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club through their Indigenous Initiative; Safe Harbors Indigenous Collective, American Realness, Under the Radar Festival, Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) and International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA).

First Nations Dialogues is organised by; Emily Johnson, Vallejo Gantner and BlakDance.

Spiderwoman Theater
Spiderwoman Theater was founded in 1975, when Muriel Miguel gathered together a diverse company of women, including both of her sisters. They were of varying ages, races, sexual orientation, and worldview. The collective sprang out of the feminist movement of the 1970s and the disillusionment with the treatment of women in radical political movements of the time. Spiderwoman questioned gender roles, cultural stereotypes, and sexual and economic oppression and took on issues of sexism, racism, classism, and the violence in women’s lives. The groups interweaving of humor with popular culture and personal histories along with their sometimes shocking style, excited the hearts and spirits of their audiences, in the U.S., Canada, and all over the world.

Spiderwoman Theater broke new ground in using storytelling and “storyweaving” as the basis for their theatrical pieces. Performers wrote and performed personal and traditional stories; with Muriel as the “outside eye,” pieces were organically layered with movement, text, sound, music, and visual images.

In the early 80’s, the company emerged as a leading force for Indigenous women, artists, and cultural artisans. Indigenous communities in New York, nationally, and internationally identified Spiderwoman Theater as a powerful voice for their concerns. Sisters and elders Lisa Mayo, and Gloria and Muriel Miguel, from the Kuna and Rappahannock nations, from that time, formed the core of the company.

Spiderwoman Theater bridges traditional cultural art forms of storytelling, dance, and music with contemporary Western theater practice. Born in Brooklyn, the sisters have created work that springs from their own experiences as “city Indians”. As grandmothers of the Indigenous theater movement in the United States and Canada, they are mentors to an upcoming generation of Indigenous performers, writers and educators. In addition to presenting their own work, they collaborate with and incorporate the work of these artists into the company. The women ( and men) of Spiderwoman continue to move forward in their ambition to create an artistic environment where Indigenous culture stands on its own as a vital element of the larger arts community.

Founded in 1987 by Diane Fraher, an Osage/Cherokee filmmaker, American Indian Artists, Inc. (AMERINDA) is the only Native American multi- arts programming and services organization of its kind for contemporary Native American artists in the United States.  These artists comprise an unknown, organic, highly diverse Native American art movement, based in New York City – a movement that encompasses the founding of contemporary Native American theater and film in the United States as well as the strongest contemporary Native visual arts movement outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Native visual artists who were directly influenced by abstract expressionists, developed Native modernism and post- modernism in the visual arts. The innovative, sophisticated visceral language and provocative paradigm shifting work of Native performing, media and literary artists established contemporary Native theater and film and were some of the first Native writers and poets to be published and widely recognized. Three generations later they continue to create important work through Amerinda that advances the construct of contemporary Native American art. Amerinda’s mission is to promote the indigenous perspective in the arts to a broad audience through the creation of new work in contemporary art forms—visual, performing, literary and media. In pursuit of that mission Amerinda has launched the careers of the famous and resurrected the work of previous generations that were ignored, thus changing the landscape for Native artists working and presenting in New York City.

The First Nations Dialogues
The First Nations Dialogues has been initiated and led by Indigenous artists and organizers from the US, Canada and Australia in order to support Indigenous performance work. It is designed to create new opportunities for production and dissemination of work internationally, to overcome the historic under-representation of such work in the US and a dearth of support for artistic exchange between Indigenous communities globally.

We build on four years of convenings and conversation within formal and informal networks in the Indigenous and non-indigenous performance sectors. We build on forty years of vibrant dialogue between Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and First Nations North American contemporary theatre and dance leaders.

The First Nations Dialogues is led by the tri-nation consortium of Blakdance, Ilbijerri Theater Company, Blackfulla Performing Arts Alliance, Emily Johnson/Catalyst, Vallejo Gantner, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance and is creating the Global First Nations Performance Network (GFNPN), a transnational, Indigenous led infrastructure and resource that will increase the amount of and capacity for Indigenous performance works.

The Lenape Center
The Lenape Center’s mission is to continue Lenapehoking, the Lenape cultural presence in New York City by promoting Lenape language and the creation, development, distribution and exhibition of Lenape arts and culture.

Photo by Ian Douglas; edited by Raja Feather Kelly
Photo by Ian Douglas; edited by Raja Feather Kelly

Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group: …they stood shaking while others began to shout

Monday, January 7, 8pm
Tuesday, January 8, 8pm
Thursday, January 10, 8pm
Friday, January 11, 8pm
Saturday, January 12, 8pm
Each performance is followed by a conversation with Reggie Wilson.

Co-presented by Danspace Project and Gibney as part of American Realness 2019.

Commissioned and premiered on the occasion of Reggie Wilson-curated Dancing Platform Praying Grounds: Blackness, Churches, and Downtown Dance (Platform 2018) …they stood shaking while others began to shout is a dynamic tapestry that recalls the past into the present moment.

This work is influenced by Wilson’s ongoing research related to Ring Shouts and traditional American Baptist, Trinidad and Tobagonian Spiritual Baptist, and Shaker praise songs. Major inspirations are the Black Shakers, particularly prominent Shaker Eldress, Mother Rebecca Cox Jackson; the Ibeji, an orisha (god) of the Yoruba religion that is represented by twins; the challenges of duets and pairing; and the 1995 work, The Littlest Baptist – Wilson’s first attempt at incorporating his field research of Black shout traditions into contemporary experimental performative theater.

Performed by Fist & Heel Performance Group: Hadar Ahuvia, Yeman Brown, Paul Hamilton, Raja Feather Kelly, Clement Mensah, Gabi Silva, Annie Wang and Michelle Yard
Live vocals by Rhetta Aleong and Lawrence Harding

(L): Arthur Avilés by Francis Giacobetti; (R) iele paloumpis by Adrien Weibgen

Food for Thought: curated by Arthur Avilés and iele paloumpis

Danspace Project’s Food for Thought series presents two unique evenings of performance selected by a different guest artist curator each night. Curators for this season are Arthur Avilés (January 25, 8pm) and iele paloumpis (January 26, 8pm)

Admission for each night of Food for Thought is $5 with 2 cans of food, or $10 with no cans!

Friday, January 25, 8pm
curated by Arthur Avilés
featuring artists:
Arthur Avilés
Alethea Pace 
Matthew Perez/ColemanCollective
Richard Rivera / PHYSUAL 

Saturday, January 26, 8pm
Pulling Back the Shroud: uncovering and reimagining our relationships
curated by iele paloumpis
featuring artists:
mayfield brooks
Marielys Burgos Meléndez
Kayvon Pourazar
Ita Segev

Canned goods collected through Food for Thought are donated to The Momentum Project. The Momentum Project fosters health and wellness by providing nutritious communal meals and supportive services to any person in need in New York City, especially those living with HIV/AIDS or other chronic illness.

Photo: Anjola Toro
Photo: Anjola Toro

Vicky Shick and Dancers: Next to the Sink

*There is no late seating for this performance. Please arrive on time!*

After over 25 years of making dances with various collaborators and performers, Vicky Shick is committed to revealing the soul, passion, and fragility of performers. “My flat-out belief is that they are at the heart of all work. I am equally intrigued by spilling unexpected intimacies into these collaborative dances and thus sharing that sense of stray tenderness with the audience,” she writes.

With Next to the Sink, Shick examines how to uncover these essences in relationship to movement, to a space, to sound and to our fraught times. With visual artist, Seline Baumgartner, Shick accentuates possibilities for connectedness and warmth within the architecture of Danspace Project’s sacred sanctuary space through the smattering of tableaus, portraits, gently odd-ball incongruities, and highly detailed, vivid movement passages.

Writes Shick, “All I want to do is deliver our distinctive efforts at presenting our quintessential selves inside the rigor of form and curious meanderings.”

Performers: Jodi Bender, Jennifer Lafferty, Mina Nishimura, Jimena Paz, and Shick
Set Design: Seline Baumgartner
Lighting Design: Carol Mullins
Sound Design: Jon Kinzel
Costume Design: Naoko Nagata

(L): Camilo Godoy, Rehearsal documentation at the Leslie-Lohman Project Space, 2018. Courtesy of the artist. (R): Christopher Núñez by Roger Ruiz.

DraftWork: Camilo Godoy / Christopher Núñez

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 with the artists.

DraftWork is free and open to the public. All are welcome!

Camilo Godoy is an artist whose practice is concerned with the construction of political meanings and histories. He was born in Bogotá, Colombia and is based in New York, United States. He is a graduate of The New School with a BFA from Parsons School of Design, 2012; and a BA from Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, 2013. Godoy was a 2017 Artist-in-Residence, International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP); 2015-2017 Artist-in-Residence, Movement Research. His work has been presented in public space as a billboard in New York and at venues such as Recess, New York; Movement Research at the Judson Church, New York; La MaMa Galleria, New York; Donaufestival, Krems; and Mousonturm, Frankfurt, among others.

Christopher “Unpezverde” Núñez is a Costa Rican born, Brooklyn based choreographer. He holds a BFA in Science in Performing Arts from the National University of Costa Rica. He creates performative playgrounds using elements of folk art, queer culture, technology and anthropomorphism of objects.He has performed internationally in Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, Costa Rica and New York City. Most recently, his work has been presented at Movement Research at The Judson Church, Battery Dance Festival, The Leslie Lohman Museum for Gay and Lesbian Art, BAM Fisher and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Ishmael Houston-Jones (curator): choreographer, author, performer, teacher, and curator. His​ ​improvised dance and text work has been performed in New York, across the US, and in Europe,​ ​Canada, Australia, and Latin America. He and Fred Holland shared a New York Dance and​ ​Performance “Bessie” Award for Cowboys, Dreams and Ladders. He was awarded his second​ ​“Bessie” Award for the revival of THEM, his 1985/86 collaboration with writer Dennis Cooper​ ​and​ ​composer Chris Cochrane. He curated Platform 2012: Parallels and Platform 2016:Lost & Found,​ ​both at Danspace Project. He has received a 2016 Herb Alpert, a 2015 Doris Duke Impact and a​ ​2013 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Artists Awards. In 2017 he received a third “Bessie” for​ ​Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other Works by John Bernd.

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

Johnnie Cruise Mercer by Torian Ugworji; Angie Pittman courtesy of the artist.

Johnnie Cruise Mercer/Angie Pittman: A Shared Evening of New Work

Friday night’s performance will be followed by a discussion moderated by Jonathan González.

Johnnie Cruise Mercer is a maker, performer, educator, and artistic entrepreneur, and Director of TheREDprojectNYC based in NYC. Mercer’s process memoir 4: The word, the spirit, and Little Rock is an active generational collaboration/conversation that incites the practice of simultaneous deconstruction and reconstruction of gospel music, black spiritual imagery/idols, and physicalized otherhood through trance.

Music direction/re-innovation by Monstah Black, conceptual/choreographic direction by Johnnie Cruise Mercer, and costume curation directed by Trebian Pollard.

Through her work, NYC-based Bessie award-winning dance artist, dance maker, and dance educator, Angie Pittman, investigates how her body moves through ballad, groove, sparkle, spirit, spirituals, ancestry, vulnerability, and power.

Came Up in a Lonely Castle is created with collaborator and friend Anita Mullin. This solo, performed by Mullin, emerges from Pittman’s interest in Black quiet, Black nuance, and Black subtlety in performance as an act of resistance.

Performer: Anita Mullin
Costume collaborator: Athena Kokoronis of The Domestic Performance Agency
Lighting designer: Carol Mullins