Stacy Matthew Spence – Danspace Project


Stacy Matthew Spence
I am, here; Here with us; Where we find ourselves

Thursday, March 21 | 7:30PM
Friday, March 22 | 7:30PM
Saturday, March 23 | 7:30PM
Choreography: Stacy Matthew Spence
Created and performed in collaboration with Tim Bendernagel, Joanna Kotze, 
Hsiao-jou Tang and Stacy Matthew Spence
Music: composed and performed by Charlotte Jacobs and Raf Vertessen
Costumer: Athena Kokoronis
Archival Surface: Myssi Robinson
Lighting: Carol Mullins
Technical Direction: Niko Tsocanos
Production support: Rosaly Ruiz, Seta Morton, Lily Cohen


This project was supported, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, and with support from Gibney’s Dance in Process Residency Program with generous support from the Mellon Foundation and support from the A M Foundation.
Black and White logo with an outline of the state of New York: New York State of Opportunity, Trade Mark. Council on the Arts.


I would like to thank, Michael for his support to lean on and love to lift, Alexis for helping me see outside of myself, to Martha for being my ultimate icon. Thank you to the amazing artists I was so fortunate to create with, Joanna the kinship is felt, Hsiao-jou the artistry is witnessed, Tim the spirit is rich, Charlotte the voice comes through clearly and Raf the jam is moving. To my collaborators in the visual and spiritual, Athena thank you for listening and beautifully wrapping us in care, Myssi your witnessing is threaded with us and is a feast of remembrance. A special thank you to Bria Bacon and Nouhoum Koita for being with us in the early development of the work, ghosts of you linger. For support and guidance, a big thank you to Judy Hussie-Taylor for the ongoing support and cherished relationship with Danspace, Seta Morton and Lily Cohen for the conversation and asking about the beyond, Carol for the additional environment to move through and another collaboration together, Niko for keeping an eye on the creating and us working in it, and to all the house and administrative staff who keep Danspace running. Applause and thank you to Monica Nyenkan and the Gibney DiP Residency, to the amazing Molly Davies and Polly Motley, all of who made residency work a place to build upon. Lastly, a thank you to the audience who come to experience and share creative ideas.


Stacy Matthew Spence is a New York City based choreographer, dancer, and teacher. He was born in Lake Charles, LA. and received an M.F.A. from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Stacy’s choreography has been commissioned by The High Line, Vega as North Star (El Norte es Sur) 2019 collaborating with visual artist Ronny Quevedo; The New School, This is how we got here 2017; Danspace Project, This home is us 2017, and Eden as we recall 2012; Tisch School of the Arts, among the scapes and fields 2009; Edge at London Contemporary Dance School, I just wanted to be close to you 2006; The University of New Mexico, Adjusted Space 2007; and the OtherShore Dance Company, small earthquakes along the way 2008. His work has been included in Ishmael Houston-Jones’s Platform 2012: Parallels for Danspace Project, and in co/motion directed by Margeret Peak as part of Jason Moran’s Whitney Biennial: Bleed. As well Stacy has performed with Joanna Kotze’s Big Beats 2021, at The Museum of Modern Art, NY in Deborah Hay’s Blues, as part of Ralph Lemon’s One Fine Day; and in Polly Motley and Molly Davies’ Critical State at The Helen Day Arts Center, VT. Stacy has received grants and residencies that include Gibney Dance in Process Residency (DIP) 2022-23, Movement Research Artist Parent Residency; Workspace Artist-in-Residence, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council NY; Manhattan Community Fund, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, NY; New York Live Arts Studio Series Residency; Artist Residency at Centre National de Danse Contemporaine in Angers, France; Movement Research Artist-in-Residence. Stacy danced with The Trisha Brown Dance Company from 1997-2006, joined as a Board Member in 2024, was Education Director 2018-2021 and he continues to be involved with the company through teaching and the re-staging of Trisha's work. He has also taught nationally and internationally at institutions such as The New School, Juilliard, Barnard College, Tisch School of the Arts, Manhattan Marymount College, London Contemporary Dance School, Centre National de Danse Contemporaine, and Movement Research. Stacy is currently an instructor at The New School in New York City.

Joanna Kotze is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, dancer and educator who has been part of the New York dance community since 1998. She creates highly physical dance performances through a collaborative, multi-disciplinary process, presenting ways to look at effort, labor, humor, violence, unpredictability, and beauty through movement as well as the body’s relationship to sound, light, physical materials and space. Joanna recently received a 2024 Grant to Artists from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. Her 2018 evening-length work, What will we be like when we get there, was nominated for a Bessie Award for Outstanding Music Composition and Sound Design by collaborator Ryan Seaton and she received the Bessie Award for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer in 2013. Her work has also been supported by the Nathan M. Clark Foundation, City Artist Corps, New Music USA, the Jerome Foundation, Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, Harkness Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts BUILD, Brooklyn Arts Council, Yellowhouse, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant. Her choreography has been presented by UtahPresents, the American Dance Festival, Wanås Konst Sculpture Park in Sweden, The Irondale Center, The Yard, Bates Dance Festival, Stonington Opera House, New York Live Arts, The Wexner Center, Velocity Dance Center, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Danspace Project, American Dance Institute, Bard College, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, Dance New Amsterdam, Roulette, Dixon Place, 92nd Street Y, WAXworks, Movement Research at the Judson Church, and other venues and galleries. Joanna has had residency support from the Milvus Artistic Research Center (Sweden), Wanås Konst (Sweden), Dance Program Malmö (Sweden), The Bogliasco Foundation (Italy), The Camargo Foundation (France), Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), the Alan M. Kriegsmann Creative Residency, Exploring the Metropolis, Loghaven, The Yard, New York Live Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), Movement Research, The 92nd Street Y, Jacob’s Pillow, Bennington College, Sedona Arts Center, Marble House Project, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and Djerassi. She has had commissions to create new works on Gibney Dance Company, Toronto Dance Theatre, Ririe-Woodbury, Zenon Dance, and the James Sewell Ballet and has created original works on students at The Ailey School, University of the Arts, Barnard, The New School, Purchase, Long Island University, Ohio University, Southern Utah University and Miami University. Joanna currently dances for Kimberly Bartosik/daela (2009- present), Stacy Spence, and Donna Uchizono, and has worked with Annie-B Parson, Tendayi Kuumba, Wally Cardona, Kota Yamazaki, Netta Yerushalmy, Sam Kim, Sarah Skaggs, Christopher Williams, the Metropolitan Opera ballet, Daniel Charon, Nina Winthrop and others. She is on teaching faculty at Movement Research and has taught at Amherst College, Melbourne University, Toronto Dance Theatre, The Ailey School, Gibney Dance, Sarah Lawrence College, University of the Arts, Barnard College, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, The New School, LIU, Southern Utah University, Ohio University, Miami University, The Field Center, Salt Dance Fest, Bates Dance Festival, and the American Dance Festival. She is originally from South Africa and has a BA in Architecture from Miami University.

Hsiao-Jou Tang was born and raised in Taiwan, where she studied ballet, modern, traditional
Chinese dance and Tai Chi. In 2008, she graduated summa cum laude from SUNY
Purchase with a BFA in Dance. As a freelance dancer, Hsiao-Jou has had the pleasure of working with Trisha Brown Dance Company, John Jasperse, Annie-B Parson, Donna Uchizono, Tendayi Kuumba, MonicaBill Barnes & co., Netta Yerushalmy, Joanna Kotze, 2nd Best Dance Company, Shen Wei Dance Arts, The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Xan Burley+Alex Springer and Luke Murphy- Attic Projects (Ireland), among others. Hsiao-Jou was also a company member of Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion (2010- 2012) and Doug Varone and Dancers (2012-2019), where she also acted as the rehearsal director (2017-2019). Hsiao-Jou has taught at many colleges, universities and schools both domestically and internationally. She has also re-staged several of Varone's works at various universities. Hsiao-Jou is honored to be here sharing the space with these amazing artists and you.

Tim Bendernagel grew up in Brooklyn, New York where he continues to live and dance. Most recently, he has collaborated with the choreographers Stacy Spence, Maya Lee Parritz, Sharleen Chidiac, and John Jasperse, among others. Tim began his dance training at Dancewave in Park Slope, Brooklyn under the direction of Diane Jacobowitz. He then graduated from The Ohio State University in 2017 where he earned his BFA. 

Charlotte Jacobs, a Belgian vocalist, composer and recording artist now residing in Brooklyn, New York, is celebrated for her avant-pop creations that blend visual art, poetry, and contemporary dance influences. Her unique voice manipulations, involving sampling and loops, produce a distinct fusion of warm melodies and glitched pitches. Her latest EP The Shape of Wandering received critical acclaim, with NPR Music calling it "a sonic adventure", a "musical headfake"on WNYC and Atwood Magazine likening it to "a book of shadows." Charlotte has collaborated with various artists, including Hannah Epperson, Zubin Hensler, Joanna Kotze, Željka Blakšić, Raf Vertessen, Charlotte Greve and Rosanne Cash. She recently released a spoken word album with poet Alex Deforce on the renowned underground label Stroom. She's toured extensively and is currently working with choreographer Stacy Spence for his new piece “I am, here; Here with us; Where we find ourselves” premiering at Danspace in March 2024 Furthermore, the release of her new album on the prestigious New Amsterdam Records is anticipated for autumn of 2024.

Raf Vertessen is a Belgian drummer, percussion player and composer based in Brooklyn. He’s involved in New York’s avant-garde and improvised music scene. Vertessen has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Charlotte Jacobs, Ingrid Laubrock, Joe Morris, Joe McPhee, Ches Smith, Anna Webber, Nick Dunston, Will Greene, Elias Stemeseder, Dan Pencer, Jesse Heasly. Shortly after his move to Brooklyn in 2016 he founded the Raf Vertessen Quartet with Anna Webber, Adam O’ Farrill and Nick Dunston. Their next release is scheduled for ‘25 on Clean Feed Records. This quartet uses Vertessen’s graphic scores, characteristics and modules as a means of structuring improvised music. Vertessen is also active as a solo artist where he focuses on his own projections/figures, no input mixing, contact mics, and objects.

Athena Kokoronis is an interdisciplinary artist whose work expands across art, food, dance, pedagogical engagements, and design. Born out of motherhood, her art brand, Domestic Performance Agency (DPA) is a creative protective container for process, hospitality, and experimentation. She was recently awarded a Cynthia Hazen and Leon Ponsky Rome Prize with Jasmine Hearn for their design collaborations. DPA garments are currently part of Lydia Rodrigues Collection, LRC Salon no.17 thru Mar 31 @LRCNYC.ONLINE. Upcoming DPA 24 hr diner performance will take place in May 2024.  

Myssi Robinson (she/her) is a multi-disciplinary maker, Bessie award winning performer and caregiver from Powhatan lands / Richmond, VA. She has interpreted many dances and is thankful to be in her second year on the care team of a special person who is navigating dementia. Her art practice currently involves creative archiving and mixed-media marking beside experiments in listening, ritual and spatial design. Intuition and empathy play with maximalist instinct to give life to what comes. Myssi’s choices as a creative are directed by her vessel and spirit’s navigations of chronic illness and mood disorder management. This complicated inheritance influences her desire to enshrine the overcomings of others and to move within rhythms that are rooted in our embodied realities as opposed to wider cycles of production and destruction. Gratitude to Carolyn Johnson and Darrin Robinson for her life and abilities to create freely within it . . . to care deeply from it.

Carol Mullins first designed lighting at Danspace for Andy deGroat in 1978. She has received 3 Bessies (Dance and Performance Awards) and one Obie. She designed lighting for Stacy Spence's This home is us at Danspace Project in 2017, which also featured Joanna Kotze.
Danspace Project pays respect to Lenape peoples. We acknowledge that this work is situated on the Lenape island of Manhattan (Mannahatta) in Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland. We pay respect to Lenape land, water, and ancestors past, present and future.


Danspace Project presents new work in dance, supports a diverse range of choreographers in developing their work, encourages experimentation, and connects artists to audiences.

For 50 years, Danspace Project has supported a vital community of contemporary dance artists in an environment unlike any other in the United States. Located in the historic St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, Danspace shares its facility with the Church, The Poetry Project, and New York Theatre Ballet. Danspace Project’s Commissioning Initiative has commissioned nearly 600 new works since its inception in 1994.

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