New Dance Theatre's ASYLUM Premieres Today

New Dance Theatre, in a co-production with Access Theater, makes its world premiere with ASYLUM, July 13 - 30, 2017 at Access Theatre. ASYLUM is an original dance-theatre piece about breaking through the barriers of isolation caused by the stigma of mental illness and the power of compassion under the direction of Ilan Ben-Yehuda and Shannon Stowe.

Asylum: ??s?l?m/ noun: haven, shelter. Those diagnosed with mental illness are often without a safe place, a haven, a shelter. The prevalent attitudes towards and stigma of mental illness can make those who need help less likely to seek it, feeling more and more isolated and alone. With ASYLUM, we seek to shift the perception and bear witness the power of compassion.

ASYLUM marks the culmination of NDT's 2016-17 participation in the Access Residency Program. After presenting part of ASYLUM in their Darkroom Series, NDT was accepted into the residency program to continue development of the piece. Devised by the company members of New Dance Theatre, ASYLUM features original choreography created by members of the company based their individual stories and impulses.

New Dance Theatre explores where the pedestrian and the profound meet, where what is unspoken is revealed through gesture and dance. As our doctor (Jim Anderson) reveals, "the first thing to depart in mental illness is the familiar. And what takes its place is bad news, because not only can you not understand it, you also cannot communicate it to other people." (Phillip K. Dick). This is our profound world that lives parallel to the pedestrian world of case-studies, clinical examination and therapy, expressed in a unique blend of dance, gesture, poetry.

New Dance Theatre was founded by Shannon Stowe with fellow New School for Drama alum in 2014. They formed as a company using Pina Bausch's quote, "you have to believe that dance is something other than technique. We forget where the movements come from. They are born from life. When you create a new work, the point of departure must be contemporary life -- not existing forms of dance" as their driving force. It was important for them, as a company, to find the how the impulsive, gestural response of an actor can supply physical vocabulary for choreography and create a unique form of expression that is something other than classical dance and outside the boundaries of traditional theatre. This is the foundation of their work. They presented STRICKEN at the Emerging Artists Theatre's New Works Series and was invited back to the BEST OF week, during which time they presented the first work-in-progress performance on ASYLUM. New Dance Theatre is: Jim Anderson, Jes Bedwinek, Ilan Ben-Yehuda, Amy Fulgham, Alexandra Gellner, Bethany Geraghty, Patrick T. Horn, Angie Tennant, and Artistic Director, Shannon Stowe.

Since 1992, ACCESS THEATER has served as a cost-effective rental alternative to New York's Off-Off and Independent Theater scene. Access seeks innovative, not-for-profit producing organizations devoted to the production of new works. Jacqueline Christy, Executive Director; Sarah Norris, Artistic Director; Michael Aguirre, Producing Director. When not producing its own work, Access serves as a cost-effective curated arts venue seeking innovative, not-for-profit producing organizations devoted to new works in the Off-Off Broadway community. Offering a well-maintained, subsidized and therefore affordable, downtown venue for the showcasing of emerging artists and their efforts, ACCESS has served as host to an impressive roster of theater artists.