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92Y's Harkness Dance Festival Celebrates 25th Season

92Y's Harkness Dance Festival Celebrates 25th Season

92Y's Harkness Dance Festival celebrates its 25th season celebrating Merce Cunningham's centennial. For five weekends from March 1-30, HDF presents performances of Merce's own choreography for Cross Currents, Doubles, Landrover, Loose Time, Scenario and Septet, danced by New York Theatre Ballet, Melissa Toogood, Calvin Royal III and New World School of the Arts. The Festival continues with four weekends of world premieres representing four generations of Cunningham dancers who established companies of their own - Douglas Dunn, Dylan Crossman, Jonah Bokaer and Ellen Cornfield.

We're an organization that both honors the past and looks forward, and that's the unique stamp we're bringing to the Merce Cunningham Centennial in our own anniversary year, notes 92Y Harkness Dance Center Director John-Mario Sevilla. Merce's legacy lives on in his own groundbreaking choreography - which is now an important part of the dance canon and in the choreographers he inspired, whose work continues to innovate.

Merce Cunningham had a long history with 92Y. He appeared here 11 times, beginning with his first performances in 1943 as a dancer with Martha Graham and Company. He also participated in literary events and lectures, including his final 92Y appearance in 1994 in conversation with Deborah Jowitt as part of the Breaking Ground lecture series that also included such guests as Erick Hawkins, Judith Jamison, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Bill T. Jones, and Jerome Robbins.

Harkness Dance Festival known then as Harkness Dance Project - was started in 1994 by the Harkness Dance Center's then-director Joan Finkelstein. The inaugural 1994-95 season featured Bebe Miller Company, Robin Becker & Company, Peter Pucci Plus Dancers, Doug Varone and Dancers and a program tracing the legacy of Doris Humphrey, a towering figure in modern dance history, and the first director of 92Y's dance center

HDF has been a diverse, ever-evolving festival presenting a wide range of genres and formats over the years, and always with a curatorial eye focused on dance's legacy artists (The Lim n Dance Company, Martha Graham Company, The Erick Hawkins Dance Company), of-the-moment works (Pilobolus, Urban Bush Women, Molissa Fenley) and future forward choreographers (Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, Jessica Lang, John Heginbotham). What has remained constant is a commitment to support dancers at various stages of their careers and provide performance opportunities under the banner of the 92nd Street Y one of modern dance's most celebrated and historic homes.

March 1 - 30


New York Theatre Ballet, New World School of the Arts, Melissa Toogood, and Calvin Royal III

Fri, Mar 1, 8 pm; Sat, Mar 2, 4 and 8 pm, from $35

The festival's opening weekend features dances by the master, himself. New York Theatre Ballet performs Cunningham's Septet and Cross Currents. Melissa Toogood performs Cunningham solos Doubles, Landrover and Loose Time. Melissa Toogood and Calvin Royal III perform the duet from Scenario. MinEvent performed by New World School of the Arts, staged by Melissa Toogood.


Fri, Mar 8, 8 pm; Sat, Mar 9, 4 and 8 pm, from $35

Douglas Dunn, who danced with Merce from 1969-1973, presents a world premiere with his company, Douglas Dunn + Dancers. Dunn's choreography has been likened to 'an explorer of the impossible,' and is rooted in intuition and the moving body that reveals the organic formations of movement mixed with the playful and witty.


Fri, Mar 15, 8 pm; Sat, Mar 16, 4 and 8 pm, from $35

Dylan Crossman, who joined Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 2009 and worked with the company through its Legacy Tour, presents a world premiere for his company, Dylan Crossman Dans(c)e. Crossman, an active and acclaimed dancer, as a compelling choreographer looks at human behavior within formalism and has been noted for his freshness of experimentalism (New York Times).


Fri, Mar 22, 8 pm; Sat, Mar 23, 4 and 8 pm, from $35

Jonah Bokaer, who danced with Merce Cunningham from 2000-2007, presents a world premiere for his company, Jonah Bokaer Choreography. Bokaer cultivates a multi-disciplinary approach to choreography that merges with art and design by enlarging the role of contemporary performance to enhance its contribution to society. Conceptual, precise, breathtaking , Bokaer is the author of 60 choreographic works.


Fri, Mar 29, 8 pm; Sat, Mar 30, 4 and 8 pm, from $35

Ellen Cornfield/Cornfield Dance exemplifies the exhilarating combination of heart and intellect, performed by dancers who are among the most proficient technical and kinetically expressive dancers around (Gus Solomons, 2014) and reveling in a mix of the elegant, robust and quirky.

92nd Street Y is a world-class, nonprofit cultural and community center that fosters the mental, physical and spiritual health of people throughout their lives, offering: wide-ranging conversations with the world's best minds; an outstanding range of programming in the performing, visual and literary arts; fitness and sports programs; and activities for children and families. 92Y is reimagining what it means to be a community center in the digital age with initiatives like the award-winning #GivingTuesday, launched by 92Y in 2012 and now recognized across the US and in a growing number of regions worldwide as a day to celebrate and promote giving. These kinds of initiatives are transforming the way people share ideas and translate them into action both locally and around the world. More than 300,000 people visit 92Y annually; millions more participate in 92Y's digital and online initiatives. A proudly Jewish organization since its founding in 1874, 92Y embraces its heritage and welcomes people of all backgrounds and perspectives. For more information, visit

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