Nexus, n. 1: the means of connection between things linked in series. True to its name, the Williamsburg Arts neXus has provided more than just a coveted uncurated performance space for the dance community since its opening in 2000. For the past five years co-founders Marisa Beatty, Brian Brooks, Melissa Rodnon, and David Tirosh have contributed their vision, time—and their own cash when necessary—to the city’s emerging-artist population. Their 3,500-square-foot factory-turned-theater has been defined not by the very reasonable $12-an-hour rehearsal rate, but by the support and hand-holding that the 100 percent volunteer staff provides.
So, when the directors of the fully booked 60-seat space announced a few weeks ago that their lease would expire on November 30, and that they had no immediate relocation plans, crisis was the word on everyone’s mind. Executive director Beatty, who will lead the organization through what has been named “WAX: Phase II,” maintains this was a proactive decision. She confirmed that their precious space is being taken to build apartments for the flocks of Manhattanites relocating to trendy Williamsburg, but quickly asserted that she does not plan to sit on one of the comfortable wooden pews that serve as audience seating and mourn her loss. WAX plans a full season up through closing day, including a one-night special on August 31 focusing on the theme of “justice,” during the RNC, as part of the Imagine Festival.
“There was a real estate crisis,” she explains, “but what ended up happening was that [it] led us as a group to look at the organization as a whole and to ask what is it about us as an organization, separate from the facility, that’s really valuable. It’s not a sorrowful, ‘We got cheated’ sort of thing. I have a really high level of commitment to the artists and I knew it would be taking something away from them, but it got to the point where we had to say ‘We have to make the organization strong in its own right in order to support these artists.’ ”
What does she hope for in a new space, when and if WAX: Phase II relocates? “In my perfect world there’s a dressing room and an office separate from each other.”