Events – Danspace Project
Photo: Richard Termine

New York Theatre Ballet

Community ACCESS provides subsidized off-season rental opportunities for Danspace Project community members.

New York Theatre Ballet returns to Danspace Project for their fifth season with:


Richard Alston’s The Seasons, one of the Best Dance Picks of 2018 by The New York Times critics;


Matthew Nash’s The Elements of Stylebased on Strunk and White’s classic guide to writing;


Merce Cunningham’s Scramble (1967) with decor by Frank Stella, music by Toshi Ichiyanagi. NYTB’s Scramble production is part of the Merce Cunningham Centennial Celebration.

ABOUT NEW YORK THEATRE BALLET Diana Byer (Founder and Artistic Director)

With its ever-expanding repertory, New York Theatre Ballet’s cutting-edge programming brings fresh insight to classic revivals paired with the modern sensibilities of both established and up-and-coming choreographers. Going strong after 40 years, New York Theatre Ballet’s diversity in repertory explores the past while boldly taking risks on the future.

(L): Brendan Drake by Whitney Browne; (R): Marion Spencer by Whitney Browne.

DraftWork: Brendan Drake / Marion Spencer

Curated by Ishmael Houston-Jones, the DraftWork series hosts informal Saturday afternoon performances that offer choreographers an opportunity to show their work in various stages of development.

Performances are followed by discussion and a reception with the artists.

DraftWork is free and open to the public. All are welcome!

Brendan Drake is a Brooklyn based interdisciplinary artist who uses theatricality and disparate dance forms to create performance spectacles. He was a 2017/18 Fresh Tracks Artist through New York Live Arts and the recipient of a 2015 CUNY Dance Initiative Grant through Baruch College. His recent work has been presented at Brooklyn Studios for Dance,​ ​HERE, La MaMa, Gowanus Loft, the CURRENT SESSIONS, Industry City Distillery, Joe’s Pub, Museum for the Moving Image and No Theme Festival (Poughkeepsie, NY). In addition to his work for the stage, Brendan choreographed the fall 2014 “Equality = Love” campaign for Adidas Originals/Pharrell Williams and served as movement coordinator on editorial shoots for Vogue and Elle Magazines. Brendan received his BFA in Dance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Marion Spencer is a New York- based dance artist. Her work has been presented by Gibney’s WORK UP 4.0, Triskelion Arts, Movement Research at the Judson Church, and the Domestic Performance Agency. Since moving to New York, Marion has collaborated and performed with Athena Kokoronis, Kinesis Project Dance Theatre, Stephan Koplowitz, Annie Kloppenberg, Carte Blanche Performance, Shaun Irons & Lauren Petty, Vanessa Justice, and apprenticed and performed with David Dorfman Dance. In addition to performing and making, she also teaches dance at Gibney, Dancewave, Greenwich Country Day School, and Girls Preparatory Charter Middle School.

Ishmael Houston-Jones (curator): choreographer, author, performer, teacher, and curator. His​ ​improvised dance and text work has been performed in New York, across the US, and in Europe,​ ​Canada, Australia, and Latin America. He and Fred Holland shared a New York Dance and​ ​Performance “Bessie” Award for Cowboys, Dreams and Ladders. He was awarded his second​ ​“Bessie” Award for the revival of THEM, his 1985/86 collaboration with writer Dennis Cooper​ ​and​ ​composer Chris Cochrane. He curated Platform 2012: Parallels and Platform 2016:​ ​Lost & Found,​ ​both at Danspace Project. He has received a 2016 Herb Alpert, a 2015 Doris Duke Impact and a​ ​2013 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Artists Awards. In 2017 he received a third “Bessie” for​ ​Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other Works by John Bernd.

DraftWork is presented, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Photo: Ian Douglas.

Ni’Ja Whitson | The NWA Project: Oba Qween Baba King Baba

Co-commissioned by Danspace Project and Abrons Arts Center.

Ni’Ja Whitson’s Oba Qween Baba King Baba engages spiritual multiplicity and the role of Queerness in the Divine. The work’s title is based on the Yorùbá word “Oba,” which is a genderless term that has come to be known as a king.

This interdisciplinary work, performed by The NWA Project, is informed by personal narratives of queer and trans children of preachers and designed to be witnessed from above. Through movement, poetry, jazz, textile and video art, Oba Qween Baba King Baba uncovers architectures of the body, space, and sexuality to interrogate power and ways masculinity influences the perceived histories of religion.

An iteration of this work was presented during Dancing Platform Praying Grounds: Blackness, Churches, and Downtown Dance (Platform 2018) curated by Reggie Wilson.

Created/Directed by: Ni’Ja Whitson
Performers: The NWA Project: Kirsten Davis, Shayla-Vie Jenkins, Paloma McGregor, Ni’Ja Whitson. Featuring Djola Branner.
Process/Rehearsal Archivist: Kirsten Davis
Musician/Composer: Douglas R. Ewart
Sound Design: A.J. McClenon, Jeremy Toussaint Baptiste, and Ni’Ja Whitson
Lighting Design: Tuçe Yasak
Video Design: Gil Sperling
Costume Design: Jeanne Medina
Text & Vocal Arrangements: Ni’Ja Whitson
Objects: Ni’Ja Whitson
Dramaturgy: Sharon Bridgforth & Katherine Profeta

Free preview showing, March 23, 7pm:
On Saturday, March 23 at 7pm, there will be a free preview showing of Oba Qween Baba King Baba for QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) identified people. Please RSVP to  by 5pm on March 22.

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