Abby Zbikowski & The New Utility at The Emelin Theater/Dance Off The Grid

Abby Zbikowski. Photo by Effy Falck

Year: 2018-2019
DanceForce Member: Ivan Sygoda
Artist: Abby Zbikowski
Community Partner: Emelin Theater, Mamaroneck NY
Audience: 124
County: Westchester

The project supported the participation of 2017 juried Bessie artist Abby Zbikowski and her New Utility dance company in the spring 2019 edition of The Emelin Theater’s annual Dance Off The Grid series in Mamaroneck, NY. Specifically, Abby and three other company members occupied the middle third of the April program. DOTG Curator Andrea Snyder summarizes and provides a mini-review: “Abby Z and the New Utility performed a 20-minute work in progress – Radioactive Practice – to resounding applause and appreciation for the dancers’ extraordinary physical abilities and the stimulating choreography. The audience was ‘wowed’ by the work. Unintentionally and serendipitously, Abby’s choreography and the company’s performance aligned with the other two artists on the program – Caleb Teicher and Malini Srinivasan – through the association of rhythm, which turned out to be the noted ‘theme’ of the evening.”

The endeavor sustains the commitment the DanceForce made several years ago to support touring beyond New York City by each year’s juried Bessie artist, selected by a rotating panel of distinguished dance-makers convened by Bessie Director Lucy Sexton. Bessie artists who have toured with Dance Force support include Pam Tanowitz, Pavel Zustiak (Palissimo), Beth Gill, Gerard & Kelly and Darrell Jones. This project continued in particular the Dance Force’s fruitful collaboration with The Emelin Theater in Westchester and with Andrea Snyder, who curates their Dance Off The Grid Series.

Each DOTG program presents three different dance artists/companies and culminates in an informal audience-performer dialogue moderated by Andrea. She has built a faithful audience for the series, one comprised mainly of adults, who have developed an appetite for the eclectic nature of the dance on display and a willingness to be surprised and even challenged by unexpected idioms. The houses (the theater seats 265) are usually gratifying—between 150-200 patrons. The participating artists appreciate the evident curiosity and attention of the public and the liveliness of the post-performance discussion. With the exception of Fall for Dance, an eclectic dance sampler of this sort is simply not to be found in New York City. It thus offers participating artists the experience of sharing their work with a truly “new” audience. They value this.

Providing an Upstate Residency to the Bessies Juried Award Winner

Abby Zbikowski. Photo by Effy Falck

Year: 2018-2019
DanceForce Member: Toni Smith
Artist: Abby Zbikowski
Community Partners: The Egg, Albany; UAlbany Foundation & Auxiliary Services; UAlbany Performing Arts Center; University Auxiliary Services, UAlbany
Audience: 155
County: Albany
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Figures in the Field III

Work by JoAnna Mendl-Shaw at Texas Hillside, Aubrey Texas, 2008. Photo by Janet Johns

Year: 2018-2019
DanceForce Member: Jim Self
Artists: D. Chase Angier, Rik Daniels, Jeanne Goddard, Norm Johnson, Patricia Lent, JoAnna Mendl-Shaw, Julie Nathanielsz, Jim Self
Community Partners: Cayuga Dressage and Training Association; CherryArts Theater; Cinemapolis/Ithaca; Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County; Ithaca Porch Fest; Medicine Tree Farm; Spring Writes Literary Fest; Triphammer Arts
Audience: 1,944
County: Tompkins
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Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana in Western New York

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana. Photo by Angelica Escoto

Year: 2018-2019
DanceForce Member: Elaine Gardner
Artists: Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana
Community Partners: Buffalo Parkinsons Dance; Buffalo State College; Burchfield Penney Art Center; Nichols School, Buffalo; Pick of the Crop Dance; SUNY Fredonia Dept of Theatre & Dance; Tapestry Charter School, Buffalo
Audience: 1,222
Counties: Chautauqua, Erie
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Johnnie Cruise Mercer: Residency at Petronio Residency Center

Johnnie Cruise Mercer in Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from A LIFE and other works by John Bernd, part of Danspace Project’s Platform 2016 Lost & Found, 2016. Photo by Ian Douglas

Year: 2018-2019
DanceForce Member: Judy Hussie-Taylor
Artist: Johnnie Cruise Mercer
Community Partner: Petronio Residency Center, Cairo NY
Audience: 384
County: Greene
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