CUNY Announces First Round of Residencies as Part of the New CUNY Dance Initiative

The City University of New York has awarded 20 dance companies/choreographers residencies as part of the 2014 CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI).

The CUNY Dance Initiative is a new residency program providing rehearsal and performance space to New York City choreographers and dance companies. CDI was developed in response to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s 2010 report “We Make Do,” which cited the critical need for affordable dance rehearsal space in New York City, and mentioned available performing arts centers and other spaces on CUNY campuses. A successful pilot project in 2013 supporting choreographic residencies and performances on four CUNY campuses prompted CDI to expand its scope.

In CDI’s 2014 season, 11 CUNY colleges in all five boroughs will host a total of 20 residencies. The residency projects, which represent a diversity of ideas, approaches, and styles, will take place between July and December 2014. In addition to providing space for artists to create work and rehearse, all of the CDI projects include programs for students ― master classes, open rehearsals, etc.― and in most cases, public events such as lecture-demonstrations and performances. Complete information about the residency projects follows.

The choreographers/companies selected for 2014 residencies are Kathryn Alter & Dancers, Ephrat Asherie Dance, BalletNext, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, BARE Dance Company, Maria Bauman/MBDance, Robin Becker Dance, Dance To The People, Decadancetheatre, ELSCO Dance, Full Circle Productions, Kawamura the 3rd/Mana Kawamura, Keigwin + Company, Loni Landon Dance Projects, Nia Love, Malcolm Low/Formal Structure, Tiffany Mills Company, Elisa Monte Dance, Renegade Performance Group/André M. Zachery, and Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies.

“The CUNY Dance Initiative is an important new partnership that will enrich campus and community life and expand opportunities for local artists. We are pleased to welcome so many talented dancers and choreographers to CUNY campuses and very much appreciate the support of the New York Community Trust and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation,” said Chancellor James B. Milliken.

CUNY colleges and performance centers participating in 2014 include: Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College; City College Center for the Arts at The City College of New York; College of Staten Island Department of Creative and Performing Arts; Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture at Hostos Community College; Hunter College Dance Department; Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College; On Stage at Kingsborough Community College; LaGuardia Performing Arts Center at LaGuardia Community College; Lehman College Department of Dance and Theatre; Queensborough Community College Department of Health, Physical Education and Dance; and Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College.

Artists were selected through an open application process. In this first round, CDI received 178 applications. Each campus selected its residency companies. CDI is providing subsidies to the participating colleges to assist with artist fees, rehearsal expenses, marketing efforts, and other costs.

CDI is supported by a lead two-year grant from the New York Community Trust, with additional two-year funding from the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.

The Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College is serving as the administrator of CDI, and has appointed Alyssa Alpine, who brings over thirteen years of experience as an arts administrator, dancer, and writer in New York’s non-profit world, to manage the project.


2014 CUNY Dance Initiative Residency Projects


Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College will host two residencies:

Maria Bauman/MBDance and Renegade Performance Group/André M. Zachery


Maria Bauman/MBDance

September 4–October 10

Open Rehearsal and Lecture-Demonstration: Thursday, September 18 (10:30am–2:30pm)

Radical Love Fest Interactive Workshop: Thursday, October 9 (6:30–8:30pm)


Information and reservations: 718-951-4600

During its residency, MBDance will develop its latest project Attend Me, inspired by a blessing by feminist writer Audre Lorde. The piece is a visual storytelling of radical self-acceptance and self-love, of romantic love, and defiant queerness. The company’s lecture-demonstration will look into MBDance’s creative process, including a preview of movement phrases that will be part of the finished piece, followed by a Q&A. Bauman will also facilitate what she dubs a “Radical Love Fest,” calling upon her extensive experience with arts-based community engagement projects. This participatory session is open to all and will include movement, discussion, free writing, aromatherapy, and other rejuvenating practices.

Maria Bauman founded MBDance in 2007 and has since been showcased at Harlem Stage E-Moves, 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center, Dixon Place, Kumble Theater, Central Park SummerStage, BAAD!, BRIC, and New York Live Arts. Bauman’s choreography is influenced by her extensive study of capoeira and her eight years with Urban Bush Women, where she is now associate artistic director.

Renegade Performance Group/André M. Zachery

October 24–December 19

Open Rehearsals, Dance Technique Lecture-Demonstrations: Friday, November 14, and Friday, December 19 (10:00am–4:00pm)

Artist Forum: Thursday, December 11 (6:30–8:30pm)


Information and reservations: 718-951-4600

Renegade Performance Group will use the residency to continue developing The Inscription Project, an evening-length multidisciplinary work of dance, sound, and media scheduled to premiere in 2015. The piece explores graffiti and street art as tenants of Afrofuturism and how it informs African-American identity in “a technologically and prosthetically enhanced future.” Zachery will work with collaborators to film movement sequences, develop costume ideas, and construct the scenic elements to integrate with the performers and video projection. The company’s dance technique lecture-demonstrationswill focus on a class based in “flying low” work created by David Zambrano, engaging the cranial-sacral connection for seamless floor vocabulary, intelligent shifts of body weight, and fierce aerial movement. The Artist Forum will address Afrofuturism in social and artistic thought, especially its role in the sphere of dance, performance, and the body, and its relevance to current street art and technology in defining a Black identity.

Renegade Performance Group is a Brooklyn-based company that explores urban artistic aesthetics and expressions. Started in 2007 by André M. Zachery, it works collaboratively with artists in various genres. Zachery recently completed an MFA in performance & interactive media arts at Brooklyn College.

City College Center for the Arts at The City College of New York will host two residencies:

Elisa Monte Dance and Robin Becker Dance


Elisa Monte Dance

October 20–23, 2014

Master Class / Open Rehearsal – Dates TBA

Performance: Thursday, October 23 at 7:00pm

Aaron Davis Hall, Marian Anderson Theatre

Box Office: 212-650-6900

While at City College, Elisa Monte Dance will remount Feu Follet, a modern dance set to Cajun music. Choreographers Elisa Monte and David Brown framed Feu Follet around the history and culture of the Acadian people in their travels from France to Canada to Louisiana. The title, Feu Follet, means “crazy fire,” referring to the strange marsh lights seen on the Louisiana bayous. In addition to the performance, which will include Feu Follet and other repertory, Elisa Monte Dance will offer master classes to CCNY students and open rehearsals to the college community.

Elisa Monte Dance, founded in 1981, has performed in more than 40 countries on five continents. Appearances at major festivals include Jacob’s Pillow, Spoleto (U.S. and Italy), and Lincoln Center Out of Doors, among others. The company has been featured on television networks throughout Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean, and was highlighted on Metro Arts on PBS Channel 13 as part of the station’s Dance Month celebrating accomplished New York City-based choreographers.


Robin Becker Dance

October 27–December 8, 2014

Informal Showing: Monday, December 8 at 3:30pm


Aaron Davis Hall, Marian Anderson Theatre

Information and reservations:

During its fall residency, Robin Becker Dance will develop a new evening-length work, Sharing the Breath (working title), as a companion piece to Into Sunlight. An inquiry into the roots of violence in modern time, Sharing the Breath signifies our common humanity and will explore our need for physical relationships and community by experimenting with human interactions ranging from playfulness to conflict, fear to contentment, to kindness and indifference. Robin Becker Dance will engage the CCNY community through open rehearsals and an informal showing.

Robin Becker Dance was founded in 1987 and has performed at The Joyce Theater’s Altogether Different Series, 92nd Street Y’s Harkness Playhouse 91 Series, Florence Gould Hall, Joyce SoHo, the Fiorello Festival, among many other venues.

College of Staten Island, Department of Creative and Performing Arts will host a residency by Dance To The People.


Dance To The People

September 21–December 20

Master Class and Open Rehearsal: Dates TBA

Under the leadership of Geneva Manley and Maira Duarte, Dance To The People is designing a program that bridges two facets of the dance world: education and performance. While in residence at the College of Staten Island, the collective will experiment with themes, composition, and the thinking body within the context of a laboratory for movement research. They will present a work-in-progress showing at the conclusion of the semester.

Maira Duarte is a Mexican dancer, choreographer, and dance educator based in New York since 2008. She holds a B.A. in social communication from the Metropolitan Autonomous University of Mexico and a M.A. in dance education from NYU/Steinhardt. Her choreography has been presented in Barcelona, Uganda, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Puebla, New York, and New Jersey. She has taught in more than 20 schools in the NYC area and New Jersey.


Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture at Hostos Community College will host two residencies: Malcolm Low/Formal Structure and Full Circle Productions


Malcolm Low/Formal Structure

September 28–November 15

Master Class: Saturday, November 1 (12:00–3:00pm)

Performance: Saturday, November 15 at 7:30pm

Tickets: $20 / $10 for students

Information and reservations: 718-518-4455 /

Malcolm Low will continue developing a new work In The Thrust Towards The Future…I Want To Leave Something Of Use, while in residence. This multidisciplinary work is inspired by the Great Migration of African Americans in the United States from 1916 to 1970. Drawing on insights from writer James Baldwin and from Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, it uses two very different physicalities ― African-American church and black social dance scenes, and the learned techniques of ballet and modern dance. Low will give a master class, open to an audience, in collaboration with the Bronx Dance Coalition.

Malcolm Low has performed with Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Ronald K. Brown, Stephen Petronio, Complexions, Reggie Wilson, and Bill T. Jones, among others. He currently works with Ralph Lemon and David Thomson. He has been choreographing since 1999 and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2014 MAP Fund grant for In The Thrust Towards The Future…I Want To Leave Something Of Use.

Full Circle Productions

November 1–24

Work-in-Progress Showing: Thursday, November 13 (3:30–5:00pm)


Information and reservations: 718-518-4455 /

During its residency, Full Circle Productions will expand its short piece, Kickin’ it to the Classix, into a full evening work entitled Outside the Bachx. Set to a Bach concerto played by renowned concert pianist Cristina Altamura, and featuring internationally acclaimed vocal percussionist/beat boxer Baba Israel, the expanded work showcases five dancers performing choreography by Bessie Award-winner Kwikstep. Full Circle will present a work-in-progress showing of Outside the Bachx for the community during the residency.

Full Circle is a hip-hop/dance/theater company. Founded in 1997 by veteran hip-hop performers Rokafella (A. Garcia) and Kwikstep (G.Dionisio), Full Circle Productions performs widely and engages in educational programming. Its members and students have been featured in music videos, tours, commercials and films.


Hunter College Dance Department will host two residencies: Nia Love and Decadancetheatre


Nia Love

October 4–December 14

Master Class: Monday, October 20 (9:30–11:00am)

Hunter Dance Studio


Nia Love’s residency will focus on her newest work, which investigates the intersections of agriculture and dance. It is part of a four-phase project based on the premise that societies are a complex of actions, tensions, and interchanging systems that permit “sister systems,” like dance and agriculture, to use similar methods and tools for productivity. Love’s process will draw upon documentary footage from her work in Africa and the New Directions Choreography Laboratory, and interviews with farmers via Skype to examine agricultural practices that are not only culturally and creatively affirming, but also take into account economic, social, and environmental sustainability. Love will teach a class in ‘Modern Roots” for Hunter dance students, focusing on the power of the African presence in modern movement.

Nia Love, co-founder/co-artistic director of Love|Forté a Collective, is a Fulbright Fellow and recipient of multiple Suitcase Fund awards (an initiative of New York Live Arts). She has performed her work internationally and at various New York City venues, including Lincoln Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Harlem Stage, among others.



November 15–December 7

Master Class: Monday, October 20 (1:10–2:25pm)

Thomas Hunter Hall, 6th Floor Studios



During its residency the company will finish developing its new work, Hip-Hop Nutcracker, which will premiere in December 2014 at the United Palace Theatre in Washington Heights. The company is reimagining the Tchaikovsky score and classic holiday narrative through an old-school hip-hop dance vocabulary to create a new holiday tradition for a contemporary, urban audience. Artistic Director Jen Weber will teach a hip-hop master class for Hunter College students.

Decadancetheatre has been redefining the image of women in hip-hop since 2004, taking female dancers out of the background of music videos and into the forefront of theatrical performance. Through performances, workshops, and creative commissions, the company represents a global vision of hip-hop with an international roster of dancers.

Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College will host two residencies: Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies and Ephrat Asherie Dance


Ephrat Asherie Dance

September 18–October 1

Master Class: Thursday, September 23 (1:45–3:00pm)

Performance: Thursday, October 2 at 7:00pm


Box Office: 212-237-8220


During her residency, Ephrat Asherie will expand and redraft the company’s evening-length show A Single Ride, as well as create new material. In addition to the free performance, the company will offer a master class to John Jay College students and the community.

Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie has trained extensively in ballet and modern dance but found her artistic home in breaking, hip-hop, and house. She has performed and taught throughout the U.S. and Europe, as well as in Peru, South Africa and Israel. She has appeared on MTV and Comedy Central and at City Center, Carnegie Hall, and Madison Square Garden. Asherie has received commissions from Dixon Place, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and a Travel and Study grant from the Jerome Foundation.


Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies

October 27–November 8

Master class: Thursday, October 30 (1:45pm–3:00pm)

Performance: Saturday, November 8 at 7:00pm


Box Office: 212-237-8220


The all-female tap dance crew theSyncopated Ladieswilldevelop an evening-length, narrative-driven piece with live music. In addition to the free performance, they will offer a master class to John Jay College students that will be open to all levels of dancers. Tap shoes are not required.

Chloé Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies are a fierce crew of world-renowned dancers who more than hold their own in this male-dominated art form. They have appeared on the television shows So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With the Stars, and Glee; Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Toyota national commercials; the films Idlewild and GI Joe, as well as stages in more than 25 countries.

On Stage at Kingsborough at Kingsborough Community College will host a residency by BalletNext



July 21–August 7

Open Rehearsal: Thursday, October 23 at 7:00pm

The Leon M. Goldstein Performing Arts Center


Information and reservations: 718-368-5596


During its residency at Kingsborough, BalletNext will create and rehearse a new work in collaboration with baroque violinist Liv Heym. During the open rehearsal, Michele Wiles will present excerpts from the work along with other selections from the BalletNext repertoire. She will also discuss her goals and strategies for continuing to develop the work, followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Under the artistic direction of Michele Wiles, BalletNext pairs classically trained dancers and live musicians in a collaborative setting that encourages risk taking and a focus on the process of creating high-quality work. Known for her career with American Ballet Theatre (1998–2011), Wiles founded BalletNext in 2011 with Charles Askegard and assumed full responsibility of the company in 2013.


LaGuardia Performing Arts Center at LaGuardia Community College will host two residencies: BARE Dance Company and Loni Landon Dance Projects


BARE Dance Company

August 1–November 16

Master Class / Open Rehearsal: Dates TBA

Performances: Saturday, November 15 at 8pm, Sunday, November 16 at 2:00 and 8:00pm

Tickets: $19 general / $15 students and seniors

Box office: 718-482-5151

BARE director Mike Esperanza will develop a new work entitled Venemous while in residence. The piece dives into the edge of a person’s darkest being; the moment that triggers the impulse to attack or defend against a predator, and the consequences of choice. In addition to performances, Esperanza will teach a mater class and host an open rehearsal.

Born in Manila, Philippines, and raised in Southern California, BARE choreographer Mike Esperanza has established himself as a sought after teacher and choreographer. With a BFA in graphic design, his approach to visual construction influences a unique movement orchestration on stage. In 2005, he was awarded a Dance: Creation for Performance grant from Dance/USA and the Irvine Foundation.


Loni Landon Dance Projects

October 4–28

Master Class: Saturday, October 25 (11:00am–3:00pm)


Information: 718-482-5151 /

While in residence, Loni Landon will focus on completing a new work that will premiere in 2015 at the American Dance Institute. The work asks the question “What is a role?” This encompasses gender and relationships, as well as the trope of wearing “different hats.” This idea of one person with many heads translates literally and figuratively into the movement of the piece. Landon will present a work-in-progress showing during her residency.

Loni Landon, born and raised in New York City, received her BFA from The Juilliard School in 2005, then joined Ballet Theater Munich and Tanz Munich Theater. Landon’s awards include a 2013 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship, a BodyTraffic Commission, and 2013 National Choreographic Competition for Hubbard Street 2. Her work has been commissioned by Northwest Dance Project, CityDance Ensemble, Ballet X, SUNY Purchase, and the New American Talent Commission from Ballet Austin.


Lehman College Department of Dance and Theatre will host two residencies:

ELSCO Dance and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo



June 23–August 21

Lecture-Demonstration: Monday, October 20 at 3:30pm

Studio M 18 in the APEX


Information and reservations:

ELSCO Dance combines the ideals of both commercial and concert dance. During the residency, the company will be developing a new piece for its upcoming fall season at Spoke the Hub in Brooklyn. The company will live-stream its rehearsals and offer a lecture-demonstration that includes a showing of selections of its new piece, followed by a conversation about the use of technology in dance.

ELSCO Dance was established by Ellenore Scott in 2012 to redefine the dialogue of dance. Scott was a finalist and “All-Star” on So You Think You Can Dance and has been a featured dancer on Smash, Glee, and Dancing With the Stars. ELSCO takes pride in not only performing in live shows but producing dances for films and engaging with audiences outside of the standard concert performance.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

August 14–18 and December 10–15

Open Rehearsal: Thursday, August 14 (1:00–7:00pm)

Master Class: Monday, September 8 (3:30–5:30pm)

Information and reservations:

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlowill use the residency to rehearse for its upcoming winter season at The Joyce Theater. The company will offer a master class to Lehman students comparing the way other companies perform classic ballets with the way that Ballet Trockadero performs them. Observers can drop by anytime during the class.

The world-renowned Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlois a company of professional male dancers performing the full range of the ballet and modern dance repertoire, including classical and original works in faithful renditions of the manners and conceits of those dance styles.

Queensborough Community College Department of Health, Physical Education, and Dance will host two residencies: Kawamura the 3rd/Mana Kawamura and Tiffany Mills Company

Kawamura the 3rd/Mana Kawamura

August 4–18 and October 11–November 15

Master Class: Monday, October 20 (12:10–1:50pm)

Showing/Lecture-Demonstration: Tuesday, November 11 at 12:10pm


Information and reservations:

During her residency, Mana Kawamura will create a piece about a quiet room, combining dance and human-generated sound to explore what is inside of the quiet. Inspired by an article about how people left alone in a room that completely blocked outside sounds started hallucinating within 45 minutes, Kawamura will explore fear, anxiety, and dream states inside of the quiet. While on campus, she will offer a master class to the Queensborough Community College dance majors. Students will be invited to observe final rehearsals and Kawamura will also present an informal showing of the work she has developed during the residency.

Mana Kawamura established Kawamura the 3rd in 2008. Her work focuses on creating original movement language and exploring the limits of the abilities of the body when manipulated and affected by imaginary things. She also creates the music for her work.

Tiffany Mills Company

September 24–November 16

Master Class: Thursday, October 23 (10:10-11:50am)

Lecture Demonstration: Thursday, October 23 at 12:10pm

Information and reservations:

Tiffany Mills Companywill focus its residency on the final stages of creating The Feast, an evening-length project that will premiere in 2015 to celebrate the company’s 15th anniversary. With her company of six, Mills is developing a sensorial work that capitalizes on the feeling of urgency, a dire situation, a looming seismic shift. It features music by Jonathan Pratt and visual design by Ian Trask. Mills will teach a master class to Queensborough Community College dance majors and offer an open rehearsal to the Queensborough campus.

Tiffany Mills formed the Tiffany Mills Company in 1995. She collaborates with contemporary composers, writers, theater directors, designers, and filmmakers, not only to blur lines between mediums, but also to find innovative ways to push form and content. She has created more than 20 works that have been presented nationally and internationally.

Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College will host two residencies:

Kathryn Alter & Dancers and Keigwin + Company


Kathryn Alter & Dancers

September 27–November 15

Master Class: Monday, September 29 (10:45am-12:45pm)

Open Rehearsal: Friday, November 21 at 2:00pm

Rathaus Hall Dance Studio 101A


Information: 718-544-2996


Kathryn Alter & Dancers will be in residence at Queens College to finish and refine Cantata and develop a new work. Cantata, a quintet Alter started in 2013, uses an apocryphal cantata to explore the qualities of women through stories of female saints. The new work, conceived as a companion piece to Cantata, will be a collaboration with composer/percussionist John Hadfield, who will play with tonalities and textures in his music to evoke the concept of a journey. Alter will teach a master class for Queens College dance students and conclude the residency with an informal showing.

Kathryn Alter has been a member of the Limón Dance Company since 2003 and is on faculty at the Limón Institute. She has presented works in Boston, Mexico City, Arizona, and Missouri, working with Nemian Dance Company, Instinct Dance Corps, students at Escuela Nacional de Danza Gloria y Nelli Campobello, and Stephens College. She teaches internationally.

Keigwin + Company

November 3–21

Open Rehearsal: Monday, November 10 (12:15–1:30pm)

Performance: Monday, November 24 at 12:30pm

Colden Auditorium


Information and reservations: 718-544-2996

While in residence at the Kupferberg Center, Larry Keigwin will begin to develop a new work examining the quest for identity amid the density and diversity of the metropolis. The work will be created with his company of six dancers, a singer, and a musician. Keigwin will also begin investigating the movement vocabulary for his first solo in a decade, titled Panic. Kewigin + Company will share its creative process with the Queens College community during the open rehearsal, and the hour-long performance on November 24 will feature current repertory.

Critically acclaimed choreographer Larry Keigwinhas danced his way from the Metropolitan Opera to downtown clubs to Broadway and back. He founded Keigwin + Company in 2003 and has been presented at venues such as The Kennedy Center, The Joyce Theater, and Works & Process at the Guggenheim, among many others. His work in musical theater includes choreography for Tales of the City at ACT, the Off-Broadway production of Rent, and most recently, the Broadway musical If/Then.

For more information about the CUNY Dance Initiative, including complete biographical information on artists, visit

The guidelines and application for 2015 residencies will be available on the CDI website in September 2014.


About The City University of New York:

The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University comprises 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health.   The University serves more than 270,000 degree-credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree. Nearly three million unique visitors and 10 million page views are served each month via, the University’s website.


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