DANCENOWNYC to Present Mark Dendy's NEWYORKnewyork@AstorPlace, 5/6-9 at Joe's Pub
DANCENOWNYC kicks off its 20th anniversary season with the world premiere of NEWYORKnewyork@AstorPlace, a new dance-theater work by Obie and Bessie Award-winning choreographer Mark Dendy. Performances will take place Wednesday-Friday, May 6-8 at 7pm, and Saturday, May 9 at 7pm and 9pm, at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater.
NEWYORKnewyork@AstorPlace mines the rich history of the Public Theater building, the original Astor Library, whose collection eventually made up the lion's share of The New York Public Library's holdings. The stage at Joe's Pub in the Public Theater becomes a portal through which we meet a shape-shifting cast of time travelers, habitués from past and present Astor Place and the surrounding area. The piece looks at gentrification through the specifics of one New York neighborhood and asks: What is change? Does history merely repeat itself? The piece explores race relations and violence, the never-ending conflict between the 99 percent and the 1 percent, the role of tabloid news now and then, and is a meditation on the book and its place in our ever-changing culture through dance and text.
Dendy hosts the evening as William B. Astor, Jr., heir to John Jacob Astor, one of America's first millionaires. Along the way we meet a writer, a reporter, a real estate agent and her clients, a male stripper, an East Village '80s punk, a disgruntled Irishman, and two Shakespearean actors whose fierce rivalry spurred the Astor Place Riots in 1849.
NEWYORKnewyork@AstorPlace is written and directed by Mark Dendy. The work is choreographed and performed by Dendy in collaboration with Christopher Bell, Dante Brown, Leslie Cuyjet, Stephen Donovan, Abigail Levine, Alice Klugherz, and Mei Yamanaka. Lighting design is by Lauren Parrish. Video, costumes, and props by Stephen Donovan.
Tickets for NEWYORKnewyork@AstorPlace are $15 in advance / $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased by calling 212-967-7555, online at www.joespub.com, and in person at The Public Theater box office from 1pm to 6pm. Joe's Pub at the Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street (between East 4th Street and Astor Place).
About Mark Dendy Projects - Mark Dendy Projects was formed in 2008, with longtime collaborator Stephen Donovan, to create socially conscious dance-theater work. Works include Golden Belt, set in an abandoned tobacco-processing factory in North Carolina (premiere 2009, American Dance Festival); Ritual Cyclical, an epic site-specific work for 80 dancers at Lincoln Center Out of Doors (premiere 2013); Dystopian Distractions! at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara (premiere 2014); Labyrinth at Abrons Arts Center (premiere 2014); NEWYORKnewyork@AstorPlace at Joe's Pub; and a new project, DD2: Whistleblower, to be presented at Dixon Place in fall 2015.
Throughout his career, Mark Dendy has steadily defied the expectation to work in defined categories. He has traveled from experimental dance, and edgy East Village drag to high-end Broadway productions, prominent ballet companies and opera to large-scale site-specific works, refusing to capitulate to the dance hegemony that often dictates artists' choices.
From 1983 to 2008, Mark Dendy Dance & Theatre was presented at PS 122, the American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, The Joyce Theater, Jacob's Pillow, Lincoln Center, Central Park SummerStage, and Dance Theater Workshop, as well as numerous national and international venues. Dendy has been commissioned by both modern and ballet companies worldwide, most notably Pacific Northwest Ballet. In 1990 Dendy started producing work that encompasses text, gesture, and nonlinear narrative.
In 2000 Dendy ventured into the theater and opera world. He has collaborated with directors Julie Taymor, Tina Landau, Gabriel Barre, Ellen Hemphill, Rebecca Taichman, and Timothy Sheader; writers Neil Simon and Charles Busch; and composers Boy George, Heather Christian, Don Byron, Andrew Lippa, Jim Steinman, and Stephen Schwartz. His commercial theater credits include choreography for Taboo, The Pirate Queen (Broadway); The Wild Party, The Miracle Brothers, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well... (Off-Broadway); Pippin, Camille Claudel, Hair (regional and national tours); The Magic Flute (Metropolitan Opera); Orpheus (NYC Opera); and Rappacini's Daughter (Gotham Chamber Opera).
He has received a wide variety of awards and honors, most notably a 1997 Bessie Award, a 2000 Obie Award for his choreography for The Wild Party, the National Society of Arts and Letters Sustained Achievement Award (1990), the Herb Alpert Award and the Joe A. Calloway Award (both in 2000), as well as numerous grants.
About DANCENOWNYC - DANCENOWNYC is produced by directors Robin Staff, Sydney Skybetter, and Tamara Greenfield.
For twenty years, DANCENOW has bent the rules to offer all-inclusive destination events that reveal the bustling energy and innovation of NYC dance makers. Created in 1995 as a program of the Downtown Arts Festival, DANCENOW launched in 1997 as an independent festival. Without a performance venue, DANCENOW learned to embrace limitation as a powerful source for creativity. Seeking creative ways to bring dance and community together, DANCENOW developed partnerships to connect new audiences to innovative dance makers. Presenting dance in venues, both traditional and not, DANCENOW designed all-inclusive destination events for drained swimming pools, firehouses, galleries, and Joe's Pub, where in 2003 DANCENOW introduced the Dancemopolitan series. In 2005, DANCENOW created a "challenge initiative" to encourage work marked by brevity, clarity and effect. This inspired the commissioning of full-evening works specifically for the Pub, and the merging of all DANCENOWNYC programs to the Pub in 2011.
DANCENOW's programming at Joe's Pub has defied the standard, encouraging artists to think outside the box and utilize the unique space, creating an inspiring new platform for dance. In the last decade, DANCENOW has produced numerous critically acclaimed works at Joe's Pub including Doug Elkins' Fräulein Maria; David Parker's ShowDown, Misters and Sisters, and Head Over Heels; Nicholas Leichter's The Whiz and 20/20; Kyle Abraham's Heartbreaks and Homies; Nicole Wolcott and Vanessa Walters' Alley of the Dolls; Camille Brown's One Second Past the Future; Monica Bill Barnes' Snow Globes; Takehiro Ueyama's Somewhere Familiar Melodies; and Claire Porter's Sent-ence.
From a small festival series to four distinct programs, from NYC to Pennsylvania, DANCENOW presents young innovators and emerging and maturing artists side by side, building relationships at varying stages of development and providing comprehensive assistance to advance creativity and new career paths. DANCENOW Joe's Pub challenges artists to investigate new directions. DANCENOW Raw funnels new artists into its programs. DANCENOW Silo and DANCENOW SteelStacks provide paid teaching, residencies, and commissioning and performing opportunities through partnerships with DeSales University, Muhlenberg College, Lehigh Valley Charter School, and ArtsQuest at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA.
DANCENOWNYC is supported, in part, with funds from the Barbara Bell Cumming Foundation, Jerome Robbins Foundation, Harkness Foundation for Dance, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency, and The National Endowment for the Arts.
Pictured: Mei Yamanaka in NewYorknewyork@AstorPlace. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.