Vanessa Anspaugh on Kickstarter

On January 18th Vanessa Anspaugh’s Kickstarter Project for her upcoming Live Arts premiere, Armed Guard Garden, successfully reached its funding goal.  With the support of 167 backers, the project gained momentum and visibility via facebook, surpassing its $10,000 goal by $25 in its final hours.  In light of her recent crowd-funding success, we asked Vanessa if we could pick her brain about the experience…


One night, two voices: Vanessa Anspaugh and Jen Rosenblit

Vanessa Anspaugh and Jen Rosenblit share a program at New York Live Arts Feb 15-18. Read the Time Out New York preview about their World Premiere performances, Armed Guard Garden (Anspaugh) and In Mouth (Rosenblit).

Photograph: Christy Pessagno

Photograph: Ian Douglas


New York Live Arts presents Vanessa Anspaugh and Jen Rosenblit: Feb 15-18

Vanessa Anspaugh’s Armed Guard Garden
Jen Rosenblit’s In Mouth
February 15-18 at 7:30pm

New York, NY, January 18, 2012 – New York Live Arts presents two World Premieres in a shared evening featuring Vanessa Anspaugh’s Armed Guard Garden and Jen Rosenblit’s In Mouth, on February 15-18 at 7:30pm. (more…)

Context Notes: Fresh Tracks

The Incubator and the Escalator

To thrive, a dance community must develop its raw materials: the dancers, the choreographers, and the managers who grease the wheels. Fresh Tracks, and its antecedent programs at Dance Theater Workshop, have long been an early step on the career escalator.

Any young choreographer with the ego, the gumption and the resources can put on a show. The challenge, after assembling those resources, is to be noticed, to have one’s work vetted by critics, presenters, and curators of every stripe. The career trajectory of artists is like an escalator: if the right people notice you, and like what you do, you can move on up until you land onstage at BAM, at the Rose Theater, or in the Park Avenue Armory. Or chairing a university dance department. You win awards and fellowships, tour nationally and internationally, get invited to teach and perform at festivals. You can make a life doing what you love.

Keeping track of new arrivals on the New York City scene is a perpetual problem for dance writers and presenters. There are as many as 25 separate dance productions a week within the five boroughs, and it’s next to impossible for a journalist or arts manager to attend more than four or five. We have obligations to the work of established artists in major theaters, but critics treasure programs like Fresh Tracks, which auditions dozens of hopefuls, lavishes major curatorial attention on selected beginners, and skillfully produces their performances—no more than 15 minutes long—in its comfortable, fully equipped theater.

Forty-eight years ago Jeff Duncan, one of the founders of DTW, started making space for emerging choreographers in his West 20th Street loft, where 50 people could watch dances in the studio nestled between his kitchen and his bedroom. Since then more than 500 artists have moved through this incubator program, which has undergone changes of name and venue.

Many alumni have moved quite far; one, Bill T. Jones, actually runs New York Live Arts, as well as his own company and the occasional Broadway musical, 35 years after his initial audition. Others are or were chairing dance departments in universities (Ze’eva Cohen, Linda Tarnay, Ara Fitzgerald, Stephan Koplowitz,  David Dorfman, Gay Delange, Mary-Jean Cowell, Cherylyn Lavignino); many more teach all over the country.

Many Fresh Tracks alumni (Tere O’Connor, Luciana Achugar and Levi Gonzalez, Daniel Linehan, Juliana May, Tina Croll, Billy Siegenfeld, Maida Withers, Diane Jacobowitz, Donald Byrd, Catherine Turocy, Bebe Miller, Molissa Fenley, Doug Varone, David Parsons, Bridgman/Packer, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Doug Elkins, Dean Moss, Ron Brown, Shapiro & Smith, Pearson/Widrig, Reggie Wilson, David Parker, Keely Garfield, RoseAnne Spradlin, Christopher Caines, Joanna Mendl Shaw, Lucy Guerin, Ellis Wood, Yasmeen Godder, Yanira Castro , Shannon Hummel, Yasuko Yokoshi, Ivy Baldwin, Monica Bill Barnes, Ann Liv Young, Jonah Bokaer, Deganit Shemy, Jen Rosenblit, Vanessa Anspaugh and others) run companies of their own.  Others continue to produce solo and duet work on a project basis. Some (like Deborah Jowitt, Gus Solomons jr, and Wendy Perron) have become dance writers and teachers while continuing to perform. Some serve the dance community as publicists (John Wyszniewski) and arts managers (Laurie Uprichard, Elise Long, Liz Thompson, Paz Tanjuaquio, Martha Bowers, Karen Bernard, Ursula Eagly). Several (like Bill T. Jones, Meredith Monk, and Elizabeth Streb) received MacArthur “genius” awards. Too many (including all three of DTW’s founders, Duncan, Jack Moore and Art Bauman) have died.

Not all Fresh Tracks artists live locally; high spots have included work by Providence-based choreographer Dorothy Jungels,  Argentina’s Susana Szperling, Seattle’s Pat Graney,  and Philadelphia’s Headlong.

Current Fresh Tracks guidelines prohibit “repeaters,” unless they were participants before 2006, when a residency component was added to the program.  A surprising number of artists had more than one appearance in the series, including Claire Porter, whose four shots spanned more than a decade between 1983 and 1994. One repeater, Alice Teirstein, recently received a Bessie award for her lifelong services to the field of dance.

This year’s crop, Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie, Franklin Diaz, Megan Kendzior, Molly Poerstel-Taylor, Michal Samama and Parul Shah, were chosen from a field of 48 hopefuls, half of whom were selected by lottery after sending in applications and the rest invited to audition based on recommendations by scouts in the field. The chosen artists receive, in addition to the three-night run in New York Live Arts’ 184-seat Bessie Schonberg Theater, a performance stipend, nine hours of rehearsal space, and a commission to make a new work in the spring, along with 50 hours of studio space and additional workshop opportunities. They also get the occasional invitation to a performance at New York Live Arts, no small matter as the average young choreographer has trouble affording tickets to shows.

The 2012 “class” includes Diaz, a nationally renowned salsa teacher; Kendzior, a Floridian already deeply steeped in New York’s downtown dance culture; Asherie,
a classically trained dancer working in popular and  “street” forms; Poerstal-Taylor, a southerner with long experience in several companies; Samama, born in Israel and working here as a dancer, choreographer and curator since 2010; and Shah, who has spent years revitalizing the South Asian Kathak form for contemporary audiences. All are currently New York City residents.

Fresh Tracks is not a “quick and dirty” operation. What distinguishes it from similar programs is the support and follow-up offered to participating artists.  They learn professional skills useful at every level of their careers: how to follow directions, meet deadlines, prepare evidence of their accomplishments, and cut to the essence of the creative ideas they’re eager to express. These six artists have done their time in the incubator, here and around the world. Witnessing their first steps onto the escalator at Live Arts, you’ll be able to say you punched their ticket to ride.

– Elizabeth Zimmer

Elizabeth Zimmer writes about dance, theater, and books for Ballet Review, Dance
Magazine, Metro, and other publications. She served as dance editor of The Village
Voice from 1992 until 2006, and reviewed ballet for the Philadelphia Inquirer from
1997 through 2005. She has reviewed dance in cities across North America, and
taught writing and dance history at several universities. From 1979 to 1980 she was
the Executive Director of the American Dance Guild, and since 1993 she has taught
the Kamikaze dance writing workshop at schools and at annual conferences of
the Dance Critics Association and ACDFA. Having earned a B.A. in Literature from
Bennington College and an M.A. in English from SUNY Stony Brook, she has also
studied many forms of dance, especially contact improvisation with its founders.
She edited Body Against Body: The Dance and other Collaborations of Bill T. Jones
and Arnie Zane
(Station Hill Press, 1989) and Envisioning Dance for Film and Video

(Routledge, 2002), and developed a dance history curriculum for teachers in urban
schools. Her one-woman show, “North Wing,” played at two off-off-Broadway
theaters, and she has appeared in the work of Christopher Williams and Kriota

Cassie Peterson, Olivia Jane Smith and Zimmer are New York Live Arts’ 2012-2013
commissioned writers, contributing ‘Context Notes’ for each season artist and for the
New York Live Arts Blog. Knowledgeable about the practice of art making, they all
work as writers and educators. They were invited to write these notes less because
they know every artist’s work intimately but, because they like to frame questions,
spark discussion, and find meaning for themselves and others within the experience
of seeing live work. Like our audience members, each writer is deeply curious about
what contemporary artists are trying to say. Their writings–commissioned works in
their own right–aim to spur a deeper dialogue with our artists, the content of their
work, and each work’s relationship to a larger cultural environment.

Announcing the 12 – 13 Presenting Season and Programs


World Premiere of BELL by Inaugural Resident Commissioned Artist Yasuko Yokoshi

Season Features Eight World Premiere Commissions

Launch of Shared Practice: New Classes and Workshops    

Season Tickets on Sale July 2nd, 2012

New York, NY, June 7, 2012 – New York Live Arts – the organization founded in 2011 by a merger of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and Dance Theater Workshop to support movement-based artists at all stages of their careers through new approaches to producing, presenting and educating – announces the 2012-2013 presenting season, beginning September 18, 2012 at 219 West 19th Street in Chelsea.

In March 2013, inaugural Resident Commissioned Artist, Yasuko Yokoshi, will premiere BELL, a dance-theater work that continues Yokoshi’s in-depth research of the parallel aesthetics of traditional and contemporary forms and the authenticity and ownership of culture. Working with her long-time collaborator Masumi Seyama, 82-year old successor of Kabuki choreographer Kanjyuro Fujima VI, BELL reimagines the classical Japanese dance Kyoganoko Musume-Dojyoji (A Woman and a Bell at the Dojyoji Temple), reputed to be the most important and difficult work in the Kabuki theater repertoire. Yokoshi’s last work, Tyler Tyler (2010), was commissioned by and premiered at Dance Theater Workshop. The Resident Commissioned Artist program is one of Live Arts’ signature initiatives offering unparalleled support for select mid-career artists. Each year, Executive Artistic Director Bill T. Jones and Artistic Director Carla Peterson choose one artist to receive a competitive salary, health benefits, a two-year creative residency and a commission for a new work to be produced by and premiere at Live Arts. The 2012-2014 Resident Commissioned Artist will be announced in fall 2012.

“As a presenting and producing organization, New York Live Arts is strongly committed to deepening the support we provide to movement-based artists,” said Jean Davidson, CEO & Executive Director. “Building on our inaugural season, we are enhancing the commissioning and presenting infrastructure Live Arts provides artists at every stage of their careers. In our ‘12-‘13 season, with the support of generous funders such as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and our new individual donor group focused on underwriting new commissions, we are supporting an exciting range of new and established artistic voices.”

Dedicated to participating in the artistic and social fabric of New York and the world beyond, New York Live Arts’ presenting season, curated by Artistic Director Carla Peterson, will span ten months, bringing the work of more than 50 artists from around the globe to New York audiences.

“This season we feature a global range of artists, whose distinctive voices engage with some of the most compelling ideas and challenges of our time. The emergent global movements, women as social provocateurs and innovators, connections across science, technology, art and mythology, raucous indie culture along with more personal explorations are contemporary themes that have been worked into a rich artistic fodder for our season,” said Carla Peterson, Artistic Director of New York Live Arts. “New and commissioned works along with exhilarating remounts from recent and past decades offer up an evocative mix that deepens Live Arts’ commitment to smart ideas, excitement and abundant creativity that brings together an engaged, participatory community on all sides of the creative process.”  (more…)

New York Live Arts’ Studio Series presents devynnemory/beastproductions: Feb 24-25

two Studio Series work-in-process showings by
this horse is not a home
February 24 & 25 at 6:00PM

New York, NY, February 17, 2012 – New York Live Arts’ 2011-2012 Studio Series presents devynnemory/beastproductions in this horse is not a home, two work-in-process showings on February 24 & 25 at 6:00PM.

A transgender artist, emory presents a work-in-process titled this horse is not a home, investigating the consequence of action initiated or applied to the weighted body. Throughout the process, emory asks, “If I push down hard enough, will you rise up to meet me? Trust. If you are going to do something, do it.” Performed by emory with Margot Bassett, Jaamil Kosoko, and Meghan Milam. (more…)

Queer Linguistics

Live Arts’ shared evening of premieres from Jen Rosenblit (In Mouth) and Vanessa Anspaugh (Armed Guard Garden) opens tonight, and we couldn’t be more excited!  Over the last week we’ve been thrilled to see great previews and listings for their show.  One listing in particular in the most recent New Yorker raised some questions among the artists and their collaborators.

On her tumblr Self and Other Cassie Peterson (conceptual collaborator to Vanessa Anspaugh and moderator of tonight’s Pre-Show Talk) addresses the Editors of The New Yorker, writing:

This morning, Vanessa and I noticed that in your brief preview of the show, you have changed the phrase “queer body” (from the original press release), to perhaps a more socially acceptable signifier, “gay body.”


New York Live Arts presents Lobby Talks: Transgender in Dance

Lobby Talks
Transgender in Dance
October 18 at 7:30pm

New York, NY, October 10, 2011 – New York Live Arts announces the first installment of the 2011-2012 Lobby Talks series on Tuesday, October 18 at 7:30pm. The Lobby Talks series is coordinated by Chase Granoff, this year in collaboration with an invited guest curator for each talk. This conversation, co-coordinated with panelist Yve Laris Cohen, will focus on Transgender in Dance and surrounding issues in contemporary performance and dance with additional panelists niv Acosta and devynn emory, moderated by Jeanne Vaccaro. (more…)

New York Live Arts announces the 2011-2012 Fresh Tracks Performance & Residency Program

announces the
niv Acosta, Hadar Ahuvia, Aretha Aoki, Lorene Bouboushian,
Yanghee Lee, and Saúl Ulerio
December 7 – 10 at 7:30pm

New York, NY, October 4, 2011 – New York Live Arts announces the artists for the 2011-2012 Fresh Tracks Performance and Residency Program featuring niv Acosta, Hadar Ahuvia, Aretha Aoki, Lorene Bouboushian, Yanghee Lee, and Saúl Ulerio. Fresh Tracks artists are selected through open auditions and by a panel of artists, peer presenters, and New York Live Arts staff, including Chloë Z. Brown (New York Live Arts), Yve Laris Cohen (artist), Leah Cox (New York Live Arts), Simone Eccleston (Harlem Stage), Thomas Lax (Studio Museum Harlem), Lar Lubovitch (artist), Carla Peterson (New York Live Arts), and Larissa Velez-Jackson (artist). (more…)