Bryant Park Picnic Performances will present a contemporary dance series featuring EMERGE125, Ayodele Casel and more
Bryant Park Picnic Performances presented by Bank of America this summer’s free live performance season will continue with eight esteemed New York-based dance companies showcasing their work on the Bryant Park stage. The series kicks off June 3 with choreographer Alrick Thomas’ modern contemporary dance company AThomasProject and street and social dance company Ephrat Asherie Dance; on June 4, the all-female contemporary dance company Ariel Rivka Dance and the beatbox and street dance fusion of The Missing Element; June 10, contemporary modern dance from black-led dance center EMERGE125 and Tap from award-winning dancer and choreographer Ayodele Casel; and, on June 11, Ballet Hispánico’s social Latin dance class and Afro-diasporic-rooted tap dancing from Music From The Sole and post-modern dance from Dance Heginbotham.
Attendees can bring their own food or purchase from on-site food and drink vendors near the lawn. At most performances, attendees can purchase food from a rotating list of local New York vendors organized by Hester Street Fair. At all performances, Stout NYC offers cheese and charcuterie boards along with a selection of beers, wines, frosés and soft drinks for purchase. Vaccinations and COVID-19 masks are not currently required, but Bryant Park will continue to monitor and follow updated New York City and New York State COVID-19 guidelines throughout the year. was so necessary.
Additional performance information follows below. For the most up-to-date information, please visit bryantpark.org/picnics.
Friday, June 3 at 7 p.m.
With AThomasProject (modern contemporary) and Ephrat Asherie Dance (hip-hop)
AThomasProject offers artists a space to explore ideas, movement and process under the choreography and direction of Alrick Thomas. AThomasProject received The Fund for New Work 2015 award from Harlem Stage and was organized by ITE Arts and Sound Business INC. This project has performed at venues such as Battery Dance Festival, Dumbo Dance Festival, Hofstra College Earl Mosley Diversity of Dance, and Suite. Ephrat Asherie Dance (EAD) is a dance company rooted in African American and Latin American street and social dances. Dedicated to revealing the complexities inherent in these forms, EAD explores the broad narrative qualities of various street and club styles – including breaking, hip-hop, house and vogue – as a means of telling stories, developing innovative imagery and finding new modes of expression. EAD’s first one-night work, A Single Ride, garnered two Bessie nominations in 2013 for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer and Outstanding Sound Design by Marty Beller. The company has presented work at The Apollo Theatre, Celebrity Series, Columbia College, Dixon Place, FiraTarrega, Guggenheim Works & Process, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, La MaMa, River to River Festival, Mass MoCA, New York Live Arts, SummerStage and The Court, among others.
Saturday June 4 at 7 p.m.
With Ariel Rivka Dance (Contemporary Modern) and Works & Process at Guggenheim’s The Missing Element (Beat-Boxing and Street Dance)
Ariel Rivka Dance (ARD) is an all-female contemporary dance company based in New Jersey and led by Artistic Director Ariel Grossman. ARD’s mission is to champion creative women through original choreography, commissioned music, and curated family and educational programs. Through movement, ARD creates a community of vulnerability and acceptance, providing opportunities for hope and connection. Commissioned by Works & Process, the performing arts series at the Guggenheim, The Missing Element fuses beatbox musical creation with street dance. Creative directors Chris Celiz, a world champion beatboxer, and b-boy Anthony Vito “Invertebrate” Rodriguez assemble a formidable cast including members of The Beatbox House, including Amit Bhowmick, Celiz, Neil Meadows “NaPoM”, Gene Shinozaki and Kenny Urban, and dancers including flexor Joseph Carella “Klassic”, Krumper Brian “HallowDreamz” Henry, and circuit breakers Graham Reese and Rodriguez “Invertebrate”. Created at the height of the pandemic in two Works & Process bubble residencies, The Missing Element is an immersive experience exploring the universal elements of earth, wind, fire, water and space. The performance will be a music and dance adventure, where all the sounds presented are 100% human generated.
Friday, June 10 at 7 p.m.
Featuring EMERGE125 (Contemporary Modern) and Ayodele Casel (Tap)
EMERGE125 is a black women-led center for dance performance, creation and education. The organization operates semi-detached residences in Harlem and Lake Placid, New York, while serving local and global audiences. EMERGE125 has established itself as a leader in setting new standards for dancer care; create innovative and interdisciplinary collaborations with leading artists; and using movement as a catalyst for community development: expanding the reach, purpose and impact of the art of dance. Ayodele Casel, an “extraordinarily deep tap dancer and choreographer” (The New York Times) and one of The New York Times’ “Biggest Breakout Stars of 2019,” recently served as tap choreographer for the recent revival from Broadway’s Funny Girl. She also created and choreographed Chasing Magic, a dance film and concert encapsulating the wonder of collaboration and artistry. Ayodele was also a 2019-2020 Fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and Artist-in-Residence at Harvard University. Ayodele is privileged to be a featured tap dancer honoring the art form of tap dancing on a 2021 U.S. Postal Service Forever stamp.
Saturday June 11 at 7 p.m.
With Ballet Hispánico Social Latin Dance Class (Public Class), Sole Music (Tap Dance) and Heginbotham Dance (Post-Modern)
Ballet Hispánico brings communities together to celebrate and explore Latin American cultures through innovative dance productions, transformative dance training and community engagement. For fifty years, Ballet Hispánico has been the leading voice between artistic excellence and advocacy, and is now the largest Latinx cultural organization in the United States and one of America’s cultural treasures. Ballet Hispánico brings communities together to celebrate and explore Latin American cultures through innovative dance productions, transformative dance training, and lasting experiences of community engagement. Music From The Sole is a tap and live music company that celebrates the Afro-diasporic roots of tap dancing, particularly its ties to Afro-Brazilian dance and music, and its lineage with forms like house dance and passinho (Brazilian funk). Led by Brazilian choreographer Leonardo Sandoval and composer Gregory Richardson, their work embraces the unique nature of tap dancing as a blend of sound and movement, incorporating varied influences such as samba, passinho, Afro-Cuban, jazz and house. The mission of Dance Heginbotham (DH) is to move people through dance. Dance Heginbotham is a New York-based contemporary dance company committed to supporting, producing and sustaining the work of choreographer John Heginbotham. With a focus on collaboration, DH enriches national and international communities with its unique blend of inventive, thoughtful, and rigorous dance theater work. Founded in 2011, DH has quickly established itself as one of the most adventurous and exciting new companies on the contemporary dance scene, and is celebrated for its dynamic athleticism, humor and theatrics, as well as its commitment to collaboration. DH shared the stage with music icons including Alarm Will Sound, Brooklyn Rider, Gabriel Kahane and Shara Nova, as well as members of The Knights Orchestra. Well known for his 14 years as a dancer with the Mark Morris Dance Group, artistic director John Heginbotham creates work known for its “tight formal structure and inventive movement, enhanced by a disarming wit and strangeness” (The New Yorker) .
Complete the Bryant Park Picnic Performance
May 27: New York City Opera: The Barber of Seville
June 3: Contemporary dance: AThomasProject and Ephrat Asherie Dance
June 4: Contemporary dance: Ariel Rivka Dance and The Missing Element
June 10: Contemporary dance: EMERGE125 and Ayodele Casel
June 11: Contemporary Dance: Ballet Hispánico Social Latin Dance Class, Music of the Sole and Heginbotham Dance
June 17: New York City Opera: Pride in the Park
June 24: Emerging Music Festival organized by AdHoc
June 25: Emerging Music Festival organized by AdHoc
July 1: Carnegie Hall Citywide: Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble
July 8: Carnegie Hall Citywide: The Baylor Project
July 15: Carnegie Hall Citywide: Squirrel Nut Zippers
July 22: Carnegie Hall Citywide: The Broadway Sinfonietta
July 23: Jazzmobile: Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band
July 28: artists to be determined
July 29: Carnegie Hall Citywide: TBA Performers
August 5: Performers to be determined
August 12: New York Opera: La traviata
August 19: Asian American Arts Alliance: Rafiq Bhatia and Ian Chang
August 26: Habibi Festival: Esraa Warda & The Châab Lab, Firas Zreik, Yacine Boularès, and AJOYO
August 29: City Hall: Eighth Blackbird Celebrates John Cage
September 2: New York City Opera: Lucia di Lammermoor
September 8: Steinway artists Aaron Diehl and Orrin Evans
September 9: Harlem Classic Theater
September 16: Accordion Festival: Heart of Afghanistan and more
September 17: American Symphony Orchestra
Photo credit: Andrew Fassbender