The Joyce Theater Foundation to Present Eight Edition of American Dance Platform

Three companies will each perform twice at The Joyce Theater from January 9-14. 

By: Dec. 15, 2023
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The Joyce Theater Foundation to Present Eight Edition of American Dance Platform The Joyce Theater Foundation is continuing its mission to bring the best in dance to its New York City stage in the eighth iteration of American Dance Platform. Hand-picked by educator, dramaturg, choreographer, scholar and Jacob’s Pillow Associate Curator Melanie George, three companies will each perform twice at The Joyce Theater from January 9-14. Tickets, ranging in price from $12-$72 (including fees), can be purchased at www.Joyce.org, or by calling JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800. Please note: ticket prices are subject to change. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue at West 19th Street. For more information, please visit www.Joyce.org

The Joyce Theater’s American Dance Platform is dedicated to the memory of Theodore S. Bartwink of The Harkness Foundation for Dance, a Joyce Theater Foundation trustee from 1993-2004. The eighth edition of this celebration, curated by dramaturg, scholar, and Jacob’s Pillow Associate Curator Melanie George, will feature one company per program, with each performing twice throughout the week. 

Home to some of the country’s most thrilling and critically-lauded tap performances, The Joyce celebrates the art form once more during the 2024 edition of American Dance Platform with Jazz at The Joyce. No stranger to the Joyce stage, Dormeshia Tap Collective and Josette Wiggan join forces with celebrated artist Michelle N. Gibson, bringing her signature embodiment of jazz and New Orleans Second Line aesthetic to life for two thrilling performances. Reaching into New York City’s own backyard, George has also tapped Soles of Duende for a pair of performances. The trio, comprised of Amanda Castro, Arielle Rosales, and Brinda Guha, celebrate the connections and differences of their seemingly disparate disciplines of dance, resulting in a beautiful collaboration and elevated joy in every program. Rounding out this year’s invited artists and companies is Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the oldest, continuously operating professional dance company in Dallas and the fourth largest black dance company in the nation. The virtuosic collective of 14 dancers have mesmerized audiences the world over with their extraordinary artistic excellence in modern dance, and will no doubt wow audiences once more in their return to the Joyce stage and American Dance Platform.

The schedule for American Dance Platform is as follows:

Jazz at The Joyce

Featuring Dormeshia Tap Collective, 

Michelle N. Gibson, and Josette Wiggan Presents

Tuesday, January 9 at 7:30pm

Wednesday, January 10 at 7:30pm

Soles of Duende

Thursday, January 11 at 8pm

Sunday, January 14 at 2pm

Dallas Black Dance Theatre

Friday, January 12 at 8pm

Saturday, January 13 at 8pm

*     *     *

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Melanie George is an educator, dramaturg, choreographer, scholar, and certified movement analyst. Named one of Dance Magazine’s “30 Over 30” in 2021, she is the founder of Jazz Is… Dance Project and Associate Curator and Director of Artist Initiatives at Jacob’s Pillow. As a dramaturg, she has contributed to projects by David Neumann and Marcella Murray (on the Obie Award-winning Distances Smaller Than This Are Not Confirmed), Kimberly Bartosik/daela, Raja Feather Kelly, Susan Marshall & Company, Urban Bush Women, Machine Dazzle, and Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light, among others. Current projects include new works by Helen Simoneau Danse, Ephrat Asherie Dance, and Caleb Teicher & Company. An in-demand teacher and choreographer of the neo-jazz aesthetic, her jazz choreography is regularly commissioned by colleges throughout the United States. George is a featured contributor and consultant for the documentary UpRooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance, and she founded the global jazz dance advocacy website jazzdancedirect.com. Publications include chapters in Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches and the forthcoming Rooted Jazz Dance: Africanist Aesthetics and Equity in the Twenty-First Century (University Press of Florida). George has worked as a consultant in the arts for over a decade, applying her expertise in scholarship and education to assist artists and arts organizations in articulating language and facilitating the development of creative work. In addition to her work with independent choreographers and dance educators, George has provided professional services for The Joyce Theater, The Guggenheim Museum, BAM, Gibney, and Dance/NYC among others. She is the former Dance Program Director at American University, and has guest lectured at Harvard University, The Juilliard School, and The Yale School of Drama. George is the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Leadership Award from the National Dance Education Organization. 

Dormeshia has been a part of almost every major tap movie or show since the 1980s. Accolades include an Astaire Award for Best Performance in After Midnight on Broadway; Bessie Awards for Outstanding Performance (Jason Samuels Smith at The Joyce Theater) and Outstanding Choreography (The Blues Project); The Hoofer Award; the Princess Grace Award; and the cover of Dance Magazine. In addition to opening the Harlem Tap Studio, Dormeshia continues to appear as a special guest in performances and festivals around the world. She was elected to the advisory board as Tap Advisor for Dance Magazine and served as the official Tap Spokesperson for Capezio, along with her family. She was also the private tap instructor to the legendary Michael Jackson over the course of 11 years. Dormeshia’s career includes acclaimed runs on and off-Broadway in Black and Blue, the Tony Award-winning Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, and Imagine Tap!, as well as national tours of Wild Woman Blue and Debbie Allen’s SAMMY, and the Freedom Sounds Festival that launched the Smithsonian African-American Museum. Her film credits include TAP with Gregory Hines, Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, and The Rodgers and Hart Story: Thou Swell, Thou Witty. Choreography credits include Michael Jackson’s music video “Rock My World,” Apollo Club Harlem, and the Sophisticated Ladies, which is featured weekly at the world-famous Cotton Club.

Michelle N. Gibson is a consummate storyteller, employing body and mind to build a bridge between the arts and academia. On stage and in the classroom, Gibson’s dance, choreography, and associated scholarship evoke the social, political, economic and spiritual understandings central to building bonds within and across cultures. Employing pedagogical practices deeply rooted in both her New Orleans upbringing and the Black church, Gibson provides cultural narratives and historical context for Diaspora and African American dance forms, music, and communal gatherings. Her embodiment of jazz music, traditional funeral processions, Congo Square gatherings, the Black church, and Second Line parades celebrating community, deeply informs her understanding and instruction of African American vernacular dance forms. Also affectionately known as Mz. G, Gibson received her B.F.A. in Dance from Tulane University and her M.F.A. from Hollins University/American Dance Festival at Duke University. Gibson’s teaching and choreographic practice comprises all genres of the African Diaspora, Contemporary Afro Modern, Afro Funk, Jazz, and her own New Orleans Second Line Aesthetic. Her current projects involve sharing her aesthetic and New Orleans culture through a series of workshops she’s coined The New Orleans Original BuckShop LLC. Gibson has created a number of original works, including Takin’ it To The Roots, a work supported by the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network’s Creation Fund; Displaced Yet Rebirth performed by Dallas Black Dance Theatre; Origins of Life on Earth with the Ashé Cultural Arts Center; and Voices of Congo Square, a work focused on the rich culture and history of the Black New Orleans Mardi Gras Indians.

Josette Wiggan, an internationally acclaimed and much sought after educator/ choreographer/ performer, is a Kennedy legacy holder and has dedicated her life to the perpetuation of African American Vernacular Jazz Dance. She began her dance adventure with Paul and Arlene Kennedy in Los Angeles at the age of 12. Her love for performing was fostered by the Kennedys and then refined as an adult while dancing with Jazz Tap Ensemble under the direction of Lynn Dally. A graduate of UCLA, Josette’s career highlights include, the 2001 Spotlight Award winner in non-classical dance, the first National Broadway Tour of 42nd Street, 2004 Bessie Award Nominee for Outstanding Performance with the Baker/Tarpaga Project, movies Idlewild and Princess and the Frog, and studying with Germaine Acogny at L’ecole les Sables in Toubab Dialaw, Senegal. Alongside her brother, Joseph Wiggan, she was part of two original casts of Cirque du Soleil’s Banana Shpeel and Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour from 2009-2013. The duo also performed in Tireless, a curated show by Michelle Dorrance that had its debut at Jacob’s Pillow in 2017. She was also a part of Dorrance’s all woman quartet that created works entitled, Until the Real Comes Along and All Good Things Must Come and End.In 2019, Josette co-created with Michelle Dorrance and Hannah Heller a Christmas work entitled, …The Nutcracker Suite… that debuted at The Joyce Theater and is currently on tour throughout the east coast. It had its tour debut performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. In 2021, Josette created her first evening length work, Praise: The Inevitable Fruit of Gratitude, in collaboration with Grammy nominated, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold and the cast of Dorrance Dance. Most currently, she founded her own tap company, Josette Wiggan Presents… and had its first performance, On Solid Ground: A Celebration of Black Joy and Freedom In Our America, at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. In addition, she is currently on faculty at USC’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, teaching Vernacular Jazz and Tap Dance and can also be seen teaching and performing at dance festivals around the world. Josette is honored to be sharing the stage with the esteemed artists of “Jazz at the Joyce” and is excited to be presenting her first solo work, Threshing Floor…at the American Dance Platform 2024!

Soles of Duende: A Brooklyn-born Puerto-Rican from New Haven, a Mexican Puerto-Rican Jew from the Lower East Side, and a Bengali Indian from Jersey walked on to the wooden floor & the rest? History. Bonded by their deep love of music, their crafts, and true connection, Soles of Duende is on a lifelong mission to elevate the joy and music of true collaboration across disciplines and the celebration of the forms they practice. Based in the sounds of Tap (Amanda Castro), Flamenco (Arielle Rosales) and Kathak (Brinda Guha), Soles of Duende is a Bessie-Nominated trio whose fire is the spirit that lives within each of these women to celebrate their connection given their beautiful differences and to uplift the forms that made them.

Amanda Castro is a Bessie-Winning Puerto Rican-American multidisciplinary artist rooted in rhythm. Most recently seen in Rhythm is Life by Dormeshia Sumbrey Edwards and Chasing Magic by Ayodele Casel, Castro is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts where she studied under Glen Eddy of Nederlands Dans Theatre and Andre Tyson from Ailey Company. Once a principal dancer of the renowned company Urban Bush Women, she’s gone on to star in musical theatre productions such as Singin’ In the Rain in the role of Kathy Seldon, Jared Grimes’ ensemble in 42nd Street, “atomic” performances as Anita in Glimmerglass Festival’s West Side Story (NYT ‘18) and Lyric Opera of Chicago, among others. Castro has worked for and collaborated on various projects with artists from around the country including Soles of Duende, Justin Peck, Julio Monge, Caleb Tiecher, Michael Heitz, Jared Grimes, Francesca Zambello, and many more. She’s been fortunate to work with innovative artists in the field and is constantly on the search to be a part of stories that help elevate our collective humanity.

Brinda Guha identifies as a non-disabled, caste-privileged, cisgender and queer South-Asian American, and is a trained Kathak dancer for over 20 years. During training and performing for years in the Kathak (Malabika Guha) & Manipuri (Kalavati+ Bimbavati Devi) dance disciplines, as well as Flamenco (Carmen de las Cuevas; Dionisia Garcia) and Contemporary Fusion vocabularies, she co-founded Kalamandir Dance Company in 2010.  She's choreographed for many national stages and self-produced original feature-length dance productions, which earned her artist residencies at Dixon Place (2018) and Dancewave (2019) to continue to develop work. Now, she is represented by CESD Talent Agency and is pursuing artistic direction, performance and arts education. She trains in Kathak, Manipuri, and Contemporary. Her dream of having art meet activism was realized when she created WISE FRUIT NYC, a seasonal live arts installment (est. 2017) dedicated to the feminine divine and honoring select women-led organizations. For her day job, she works as the Senior Producing Coordinator for a dance service organization based in the values of JEI: Dance/NYC.

Arielle Rosales is a Bessie-nominated Performing Artist who interweaves the worlds of Flamenco, Percussion, Theater, and Improvisation as a means to find connection through duende. She has been dubbed, “Excitingly rhythmic and undoubtedly seductive” by Dance Informa Magazine, and “A very intense and wonderful choreographic talent” by Broadway World. Her work has been featured on “The Today Show” (NBC), “Good Morning America” (ABC), and Mrs. Doubtfire on Broadway. As an Educator, Arielle is an active Teaching Artist with Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana and NY City Center, and is part of the 2023 cohort of The Hidden Voices Project creating an original Flamenco curriculum for the Social Studies Department of the NYCDOE. She is a Co-Founding Dancer with the all-women percussive dance trio @solesofduende and a Band Member & Conductor with the all-women Afro-Brazilian samba reggae band @batalanewyork. Follow @ariellerosales and visit www.ariellerosales.com for more info!

Dallas Black Dance Theatre is an internationally recognized professional dance company that presents performances from the African American experience through a mixed repertory of modern, jazz, ethnic and spiritual works by nationally and internationally renowned choreographers. The virtuosic dancers have mesmerized audiences across 15 countries, including two Olympic Cultural events and for the Queen of England, and they were the first Texas performing arts group to perform in South Africa for Nelson Mandela in 1998. Dallas Black Dance Theatre is the fourth largest black dance company in the nation. Founded in 1976 by Ann Williams, the mission of Dallas Black Dance Theatre is to create and produce contemporary modern dance at its highest level of artistic excellence through performances and educational programs that bridge cultures and reach diverse communities. With an ever-expanding national and global audience, the company employs a diverse, multi-ethnic troupe of dancers performing for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. Dallas Black Dance Theatre is the oldest, continuously operating professional dance company in Dallas. Under the direction of the Artistic Director, Melissa M. Young, the contemporary company, consists of 14 professional, full-time dancers performing a mixed repertory of modern, ballet, jazz, and ethnic works by nationally and internationally known choreographers. Over the course of its history, DBDT has performed for 4 million arts patrons and 2.6 million children worldwide (40,000 annually youth grades K–12). Dallas Black Dance Theatre was designated as an American Masterpiece Touring Artist in 2008 by the National Endowment for the Arts and is proud to be the recipient of the coveted 2017 Texas Medal of Arts award for opening doors for artistic & educational opportunity for Texans of all ages, from the Texas Cultural Trust, February 2017.

ABOUT The Joyce Theater

The Joyce Theater Foundation (“The Joyce,” Executive Director, Linda Shelton), a non-profit organization, has proudly served the dance community for more than four decades. Under the direction of founders Cora Cahan and Eliot Feld, Ballet Tech Foundation acquired and renovated the Elgin Theater in Chelsea. Opening as The Joyce Theater in 1982, it was named in honor of Joyce Mertz, beloved daughter of LuEsther T. Mertz. It was LuEsther’s clear, undaunted vision and abundant generosity that made it imaginable and ultimately possible to build the theater. Ownership was secured by The Joyce in 2015. The theater is one of the only theaters built by dancers for dance and has provided an intimate and elegant home for over 475 U.S.-based and international companies. The Joyce has also expanded its reach beyond its Chelsea home through off-site presentations at venues ranging in scope from Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, to Brooklyn’s Invisible Dog Art Center, and outdoor programming in spaces such as Hudson River Park. To further support the creation of new work, The Joyce maintains longstanding commissioning and residency programs. Local students and teachers (1st–12th grade) benefit from its school program, and family and adult audiences get closer to dance with access to artists. The Joyce’s annual season of about 48 weeks of dance includes over 300 performances for audiences of over 100,000.

The Joyce Theater presents the eighth edition of American Dance Platform from January 9-14. Tickets, ranging in price from $12-$72 (including fees), can be purchased at www.Joyce.org, or by calling JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800. Please note: ticket prices are subject to change. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue at West 19th Street. For more information, please visit www.Joyce.org




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