Part of a collaborative effort sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts to introduce new audiences to contemporary dance, DANCING THROUGH THE BRONX is a site-specific dance festival in three green spaces of varying size and topography. The programs, some choreographed by Bronx artists, follow a format of three consecutive 12-minute dances and conclude with a cipher (a free-style dance circle with audience participation). The program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Con Edison, the Metz Gilmore Foundation, and Bronx Pro Real Estate Management.
Performed on all three evenings, with nuances varying by location, are works byJames “Cricket” Colter, featuring five hip hop dancers who will adapt a broad vocabulary of hip hop styles to each park’s terrain; and by Larry Keigwin, featuring 30 performers—six KEIGWIN + COMPANY members and 24 community members of all ages and abilities.
In addition, three artists will showcase their work on one evening each. Ni’Ja Whitson Adebanjo created and will perform a duet with a sound artist, integrating ritual performance with the contours and textures of one of Wave Hill’s exquisite gardens. At Hayden Lord Park, Toni Renee Johnson explores the relationship between passivity and aggression in a work that guides the audience to follow a trio of dancers through different sections of the intimate park. Arthur Aviles resurrects his popular Ritual Dance with 15 dancers who will spread out through Owen Dolen Park, performing simultaneous solos to the same beat, which they will create by clapping their hands and an occasional shout.
Wednesday, August 13, 6:30pm
Choreographers: Ni’Ja Whitson Adebanjo, James "Cricket" Colter, and Larry Keigwin
Location: Wave Hill, 675 West 252nd Street, Bronx (Riverdale)
Wave Hill, one of 33 New York City-owned cultural institutions, is a 28-acre public garden and cultural center in the Bronx overlooking the Hudson River. Historic Wave Hill House was built as a country home in 1843 by William Lewis Morris and has since been home to Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and Arturo Toscanini, among others. Its spectacular grounds include lush lawns; aquatic, herb and wild gardens; vine-covered pergolas; woodland trails and a broad variety of perennial and annual flowers.
Admission: The performance is free to all attendees. But if you’d like to visit Wave Hill starting at 4pm to enjoy the green space, a pre-performance picnic, or just chill, there is a small entrance fee of $10 for adults, $6 for students and seniors, and $4 for children 6-18 is required.
Thursday, August 14, 4:30pm
Choreographers: James "Cricket" Colter, Toni Renee Johnson, andLarry Keigwin
Location: Hayden Lord Park, 1667 Andrews Avenue, Bronx (University Heights)
Hayden Lord Park is a small park that was inspired by Gaudi’s artwork in Barcelona’s Park Güell. Opened in September 2013, and located between two Bronx Pro buildings, the park has transformed a formerly under-utilized urban space into a colorful oasis for community gatherings, art making, and quiet contemplation.
Saturday, August 16, 2pm
Choreographers: Arthur Aviles, James "Cricket" Colter, and Larry Keigwin
Location: Owen Dolen Park, 2551 Westchester Avenue, Bronx (Westchester Square)
Owen Dolen Park is the hub of Westchester Square. It is located on the site of the historic Village Green, which was the center of the thriving 17th-century Westchester Village. Rehabilitation of the park began in September 2011.
- James “Cricket” Colter is a world-known, respected professional street dancer. He is a founding member of Rennie Harris Pure Movement, and he performs, choreographs, and teaches at dance festivals worldwide. Cricket danced in the film Step Up 2 the Streets and in music videos with Will Smith, Boys II Men, and KRS-1 among others. He recently formed his own company Crazy-Natives with the goal of pushing the limits of hip hop dance and integrating it with other contemporary dance forms.
- Larry Keigwin is a native New Yorker and choreographer who has danced his way from the Metropolitan Opera to downtown clubs to Broadway and back. He founded KEIGWIN + COMPANY in 2003; and has since created dozens of works for K+C, as well as for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, The Martha Graham Dance Company, Vail International Dance Festival, Dancing in the Streets, and the Broadway musical If/Then.
- Arthur Aviles is a Bessie Award-winning dance pioneer who rose to international acclaim when he danced with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. Among his many awards, Aviles received the NYC Mayor’s Arts Award for his artistic leadership of BAAD! Bronx Arts Academy for Art and Dance.
- Toni Renee Johnson is a performer, choreographer, educator and director. She is the Artistic Director of the Bronx-based Maverick Dance Experience and is currently the Program Director at Marquis Studios. Johnson creates bold work rooted in social commentary, blood memory and interpersonal relationships.
- Ni’Ja Whitson Adebanjo is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and full-time lecturer at Lehman College who has performed and conducted research, residencies, and master classes in Africa, Brazil, Canada and the USA, including at the Apollo, Roulette, and at the Art Institute of Chicago. Whitson Adebanjo is a Movement Research Artist in Residence and a performer in the national tour of River See written and conducted by Sharon Bridgforth.
Hungry? Make your way to Arthur Avenue for a selection of wonderful Italian restaurants or the Arthur Avenue Retail Market where you can put together your own Italian picnic. Read here for some help in planning your meals.