New Year, New Dances: Premieres to Catch in 2014

Happy New Year readers! 2014 already looks like a promising year for dance, so to start things off on the right foot (pun intended), read on for more information about exciting premieres and commissions to look forward to this year. This list only covers the first few months of the year, so be sure to check back frequently for the latest performance updates.

Live Artery at NYLA
An annual mini-festival hosted by New York Live Arts during the APAP Conference, the Live Artery program allows several choreographers to showcase their creations, many of which are new works or works-in-progress. This year’s choreographers are a mixture of emerging and established artists, and many fan favorites will be taking the stage (Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion and Molissa Fenley and Company both make appearances on Jan. 10, and Kimberly Bartosik has a turn on Jan. 11).

Many of the Live Artery artists have or will be involved in solo shows during NYLA’s regular season, including Beth Gill, whose hyperarticulate yet still casual style has been catching viewers’ attention both in NYC and around the world. Her latest work, New Work for the Desert, can be seen in a work-in-progress state on both Jan. 10 and Jan. 12, and the finished work will premiere at NYLA later this season, running March 20–22.

Three More Premieres for NYCB
Though New York City Ballet will probably always be known as Mr. Balanchine’s company, it’s also making quite a name for itself in the contemporary scene. And if premiering new works by Justin Peck, Benjamin Millepied, and Angelin Preljocaj during their Fall Season wasn’t enough proof, the company will be following this up with three more works during its Winter (Jan. 21-March 2) and Spring (April 29-June 8) seasons. The Royal Ballet’s Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett will show his first piece for NYCB during the Winter Season, followed by the latest from NYCB’s Artistic Director, Peter Martins. In the Spring, Justin Peck brings his fourth creation for NYCB to the stage, another collaboration with musical cool kid Sufjan Stevens.

*Note: NYCB offers $20 Student Rush tickets for most performances, and up to two may be purchased with a valid student ID. For more information, click here.

Lots to See in LIC
In a discussion of New York City’s dance venues, the Chocolate Factory Theater resides in a category all its own. Tucked away on a Long Island City side street, the nondescript front is hardly an indication of the magic the is consistently produced inside. Though Artistic Director Brian Rogers has organized a pretty solid season line-up, two events in particular definitely make this year’s must-see list.

In the beginning of May, French artists Annie Vigier and Franck Apertet (who go by the name les gens d’Uterpan) bring their Topologie project to the streets of LIC. Over the course of ten days, five dancers will walk around the neighborhood, cataloging the movements they see and compiling them into a score, one that will be carefully repeated and developed as the project continues. As one might guess, the “location” of this event is yet to be determined, but the end result is the same, in that the public space as revealed to serve also as performance space. This event is free and open to the public.

Later in the season, Minneapolis dancemaker Morgan Thorson returns to NYC with her latest collaborative work, The Thing Of It Is, running June 18-21. The work requires the dancers to work together to, most basically, discover what it is to make a dance, and the intimate setting is sure to make the audience question their role in the performance as well. And on the subject of intimate settings, be sure to buy tickets in advance, because seating is quite limited.

Brand new dances, with help from the Guggenheim
The Guggenheim’s Works & Process program has for years been an industry leader in supporting performing artists. This year, dance takes center stage in the W&P programming, with six of the nine projects focused on innovations in dance. A few of the highlights are listed below; click here for the full W&P season calendar.

The season begins on January 27th with 2wice Arts Foundation and a discussion of their latest creation new “choreography app” called Dot Dot Dot that helps users make up new dances. On March 9th and 10th, famed Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato unveils his latest creation for the Martha Graham Dance Company, a week and a half before the work officially premieres during the MGDC season at City Center. Later in March (23 & 24), New York-based choreographer Emery LeCrone explores Bach’s Violin Partita in C minor with two new pieces set to the same music.

Other dance events include Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Petipa Exotique” program (February 23 & 24), Wayne McGregor and Random Dance (March 12), and excerpts from Justin Peck’s new work for NYCB, with music by Sufjan Stevens (April 13 & 14, more info above).

Watch the Guggenheim’s season preview video here.

$5 Fridays at 92Y
For almost 30 years, the 92Y’s Fridays at Noon program at the Harkness Dance Center

(E 92nd St & Lexington Ave) has been making dance accessible to new audiences through inexpensive (ticket prices start at just $5), relatively informal showings of work from both emerging and established dance artists. Though the works showed aren’t always new, the setting encourages audiences to look at the work with fresh eyes and open minds.

This season, curated by Catherine Therin, brings choreographers from all over the world to this Upper East Side mainstay for community dance events. Starting off the season, a number of Israeli choreographers present their work on January 10th in a program entitled Out of Israel; later on in the season, ABT’s Studio Company makes an appearance, and Martha Graham dancer Christine Dakin screens her new film, La Voz del Cuerpo (The Body Speaks), about Mexican dancers in the folklorico tradition, with live music and dancing to follow. 

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