92Y’s Harkness Dance Festival celebrates its 25th season celebrating Merce Cunningham’s centennial. For five weekends from March 1-30, HDF presents performances of Merce Cunningham’s own choreography including Cross Currents, Doubles, Landrover, Loose Time, Scenario, Septet, and Trails, danced by New York Theatre Ballet, Melissa Toogood, Calvin Royal III and New World School of the Arts. The Festival continues with four weekends of world premieres representing four generations of Cunningham dancers who established companies of their own - Douglas Dunn (Douglas Dunn + Dancers), Dylan Crossman (Dylan Crossman Dans(c)e), Johan Bokaer (Jonah Bokaer Choreography) and Ellen Cornfield (Cornfield Dance).
Merce Cunningham had a long history with 92Y. He appeared here 11 times, beginning with his first performances in 1943 as a dancer with Martha Graham and Company. He also participated in literary events and lectures, including his final 92Y appearance in 1994 in conversation with Deborah Jowitt as part of the “Breaking Ground” lecture series that also included such guests as Erick Hawkins, Judith Jamison, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Bill T. Jones, and Jerome Robbins.
- THE HARKNESS DANCE FESTIVAL -
March 1 - 30
A FEAST OF CUNNINGHAM
New York Theatre Ballet, New World School of the Arts, Melissa Toogood, and Calvin Royal III
Fri, Mar 1, 8 pm; Sat, Mar 2, 4 and 8 pm, from $35
The festival’s opening weekend features dances by the master, himself. New York Theatre Ballet performs Cunningham’s Septet and Cross Currents. Melissa Toogood performs Cunningham solos from Doubles, Landrover and Loose Time. Melissa Toogood and Calvin Royal III perform duets from Scenario and Trails. MinEvent performed by New World School of the Arts, staged by Melissa Toogood.
DOUGLAS DUNN + DANCERS: WORLD PREMIERE
Fri, Mar 8, 8 pm; Sat, Mar 9, 4 and 8 pm, from $35
Douglas Dunn, who danced with Merce from 1969-1973, presents a world premiere with his company, Douglas Dunn + Dancers. Dunn’s choreography has been likened to ‘an explorer of the impossible,’ and is rooted in intuition and the moving body that reveals the organic formations of movement mixed with the playful and witty.
DYLAN CROSSMAN DANS(C)E: WORLD PREMIERE
Fri, Mar 15, 8 pm; Sat, Mar 16, 4 and 8 pm, from $35
Dylan Crossman, who joined Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 2009 and worked with the company through its Legacy Tour, presents a world premiere for his company, Dylan Crossman Dans(c)e. Crossman, an active and acclaimed dancer, as a compelling choreographer looks at human behavior within formalism and has been noted for his “freshness of experimentalism” (New York Times).
JONAH BOKAER CHOREOGRAPHY: WORLD PREMIERE
Fri, Mar 22, 8 pm; Sat, Mar 23, 4 and 8 pm, from $35
Jonah Bokaer, who danced with Merce Cunningham from 2000-2007, presents a world premiere for his company, Jonah Bokaer Choreography. Bokaer cultivates a multi-disciplinary approach to choreography that merges with art and design by enlarging the role of contemporary performance to enhance its contribution to society. “Conceptual, precise, breathtaking”, Bokaer is the author of 60 choreographic works.
ELLEN CORNFIELD/CORNFIELD DANCE: WORLD PREMIERE
Fri, Mar 29, 8 pm; Sat, Mar 30, 4 and 8 pm, from $35
Ellen Cornfield/Cornfield Dance exemplifies the exhilarating combination of heart and intellect, performed by dancers who “are among the most proficient technical and kinetically expressive dancers around” (Gus Solomons, 2014) and reveling in a mix of the elegant, robust and quirky.