Displaying the work of 160 choreographers in a 10-day period (they’re taking 9-11 off), the organizers of the 10th annual Dancenow/NYC marathon celebrate their anniversary with a commitment to actually pay artists. They plan to do this is by attracting huge crowds to the opening Dancer’s Party on September 8, hosted by Sybil Bruncheon and including reprises of memorable work from the festival’s first decade by choreographers Brian Brooks, Nicholas Leichter, Laurie McLeod, David Neumann, Kara Teitelbaum, and many others. Scheduled for the LGBT Community Center at 208 West 13th Street, it welcomes all comers at 7 p.m.
Producing 16 separate events at five different sites are Robin Staff and Tamara Greenfield, founding artistic directors, and their partners Valerie Jo Bradley (who’s wrangling Marcus Garvey Park for a September 12 Dance Harlem performance), Bill Bragin (who’s made Joe’s Pub a site for effervescent, double-header “DancemOpolitan” events, coming up September 9, 10, and 18), and Carina Storrs and Marcy Auerback of Columbia University (who’ve organized Danza Washington Heights, scheduled for the drained Highbridge Park Pool on West 173rd Street on September 18). Andrea Sholler’s been managing director—unpaid—for the past three seasons.
The workaday heart of the festival is the series of nine shows, each highlighting up to a dozen groups and soloists, at its “base camp,” the Joyce Soho, 155 Mercer Street, from September 13 through 18. Next season Staff and Greenfield plan to relocate these overflowing performances to the much more commodious Dance Theater Workshop in Chelsea, so spectators who cherish waiting on Soho sidewalks, climbing tall stairways to use the john, and perching on café chairs should turn up for a few last rounds.
Because Dancenow events are first off the block in the 2004–2005 season, they tend to have that fizzy “back to school” feeling, and remind all comers—performers and audiences alike—why we put up with challenging conditions in the city. Our friends are here, the density of creative artists is phenomenal, and we’re habituated to leaving our cribs day after day, night after night, looking for excitement. Admission to all Dancenow shows is cheap or free and first-come, first-served, so hurry down—or up—for a taste of things historic and to come.