They’ll be slippered, sneakered, sometimes well-heeled, more often bare, or covered by shiny shoes that snap and tap upon the stage floor. For 47 weeks, September 19, 1995 thru August 17, 1996, The Joyce Theater stage–the most danced upon stage in the world–will be alive with the sound of hundreds of dancing feet.
The season begins with a French twist when France’s Compagnie Maguy Marin opens September 19. Marking its Joyce Theater debut, the Marin company’s two week engagement features two dramatically different full-evening productions: the New York premiere of Marin’s 1993 hit, “Waterzooi,” and “May B,” her 1981 homage to Samuel Beckett.
ANNIVERSARY WALTZES: Returns by home front stars include engagements by over twenty major American dance companies, many of whom are celebrating significant birthdays during their Joyce runs. The Ralph Lemon Company is about to turn 10, the Limon Dance Company is planning a retrospective to call attention to the 100th anniversary of the birth of dance pioneer Doris Humphrey, while Garth Fagan will present a world premiere, plus a series of reconstructions to celebrate his company’s 25th anniversary. Likewise Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco, Ballet Hispanico and ODC/Dance San Francisco will celebrate a quarter century of dancing during their seasons; and like Fagan, they will present new works as well as the stellar dances that recall their pasts. Then, off in the future–next summer to be exact–will be the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Pilobolus Dance Theatre.
OTHER FOREIGN ACCENTS: In addition to Compagnie Maguy Marin, other border-crossers include a trio of Canadian troupes: Montreal’s Compagnie Marie Chouinard which will present Chouinard’s radically new look at “The Rite of Spring” and “Afternoon of the Faun,” October 31-November 5, followed by the return of Toronto Dance Theatre, November 7-12, which promises four premieres by its artistic director, Christopher House, and Toronto’s Dancemakers, April 2-7, which will present the New York premiere of Serge Bennathan’s full-evening work, “Chronicles of a Simple Life.” Holland will be represented when Nederlands Dans Theater 3 makes its Joyce Theater debut, May 14-19, and Brazil will be represented when Bale Teatro Castro Alves returns to The Joyce Theater, July 29-August 3.
DAREDEVILS: A three week season by Streb/Ringside will display another and unexpected dimension of dance when the troupe of wild spirited movers presents Elizabeth Streb’s newly staged program called PopAction that includes the New York premiere of “Up” performed on trampoline and elevated platforms.
DRAMATIC DEBUT AND A DRAMATIC RETURN: John Kelly, maker of dance theater works of compelling power, will present the New York premiere of “Constant Stranger,” a full evening solo that uses voice, movement, and dialogue to examine issues of fate and immortality. The week marks Kelly’s Joyce Theater debut. Equally dramatic, but in a decidedly different way, Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco will present a startlingly new production of Manuel de Falla’s 1915 opera, “El Amor Brujo,” as well as a series of classic flamenco works when the company returns to The Joyce.
LOOK WHO’S ALTOGETHER DIFFERENT THIS YEAR: This year’s Altogether Different roster will showcase seven young companies including Buglisi/Foreman Dance, Doug Elkins Dance Company, Irene Hultman Dance, the Kevin Wynn Dance Collection, Paula Josa-Jones Performance Works, Sungsoo Ahn Pick-Up Group, and Tere O’Connor Dance. At least seven premieres are promised.
JANUARY AND BEYOND: The Washington Ballet will celebrate its Joyce debut with performances of classic dances by Choo-San Goh and Nils Christe, while Doug Varone and Dancers will present the premiere of Varone’s “Lost in Thine Eyes” when the company has its first full week season at the theater. February promises return performances by Merce Cunningham Dance Company, which will present a week of historic Events, followedby Erick Hawkins Dance Company and by a five week engagement by Feld Ballets/NY. Also on the boards for the year will be return engagements by Stephen Petronio Company, Bebe Miller Company, Jennifer Muller/The Works, Lines Contemporary Ballet, Parsons Dance Company, and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, which promises at least five new dances.
One of the few theaters designed for dance, The Joyce opened its doors in 1982 only to rapidly become the most active dance house in the world. Over 150 dance companies have performed on its stage since that time. The 1994/95 season played to 90% capacity.