75 years, the 92nd Street Y

75 years, the 92nd Street Y   "The veritable cradle of the modern dance movement" - Agnes de Mille

"[The 92nd Street Y] is a beautiful city unto itself, in a way, how it services so many different factions of the community, delves into so many aspects of the arts and humanities and it kind of embraces and brings all that together." - Doug Varone

For 75 years, the 92nd Street Y has supported, presented and taught dance, creating a home for everyone from Martha Graham to your daughter. Our legendary past, starting with a commitment to modern dance in 1935, rubs shoulders with our future and our present, as avant-garde choreographers and high-school dance students create and show work in the same studio where Graham taught. That's why the theme of 92Y's 75th anniversary year is Past-Future-Now. To celebrate, over 200 dancers and choreographers will perform at 92Y over the next year, shining a light on our illustrious history with classic works by Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Alvin Ailey and many others; our vibrant present, with dances by Doug Varone, Molissa Fenley and other contemporary choreographers; and our future, with our teen performing group dancing at the fall Gala, and the Harkness Dance Festival showing new, exciting creations by emerging artists curated by dance greats and veterans of the festival.

Renata Celichowska, the Director of the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center, says, "What's important is not just that dance has had a place at the 92nd Street Y for 75 years. It's that we continue to embody the vision and meet the high standards we set for dance in the 1930s by being an unparalleled resource for everyone who cares about dance - from professionals to kids to teachers to audiences." The Dance Center is part of the 92nd Street Y School of the Arts (Robert Gilson, director), which offers programs in visual arts (fine arts, jewelry, ceramics and more) and music (classical and popular; classes, lessons and ensembles) in addition to dance.

Highlights of the upcoming season, as well as an overview of the 92nd Street Y's dance past and present are below.

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October 10-11 [ ] MARATHON 75 [ ] Over 40 Sundays at Three artists return to share new and reconstructed works, including performances in memory of Bertram Ross and Eleo Pomare. Contributing choreographers include: Peter Pucci, Patti Bradshaw, Ellen Cornfield, Douglas Dunn, Robin Becker, Randy James, Suki John and over 30 other NYC artists.

October 22 - December 10 [ ] ARCHIVAL EXHIBITION [ ] Historical material from the 92nd Street Y's dance archives - rare photographs and artifacts as well as audio and video clips, letters, and programs - will be on display in the Weill Art Gallery, adjacent to the main concert hall on the ground floor.

December 11-13 [ ] WOMEN IN DANCE AT THE 92ND STREET Y: History in the Making Three separate performances commemorate Pearl Lang, Anna Sokolow, Sophie Maslow and other women who shaped modern dance at the 92nd Street Y. Heidi Latsky, Ze'eva Cohen, Wendy Osserman, Risa Jaroslow and many more celebrate creativity, the Jewish roots of modern and contemporary dance and their own history at 92Y.

Throughout the Season [ ] LEGACY PERFORMANCES [ ] The 92nd Street Y's two season-long performance series, "Fridays at Noon" and "Sundays at Three," feature works by 92Y-connected artists including Agnes De Mille, Charles Weidman, Erick Hawkins, Anna Sokolow and Jean Erdman.

May 25 [ ] WRAP PARTY [ ] On the exact anniversary of the first Dance Symposium at the Y (May 25, 1935, Kaufmann Concert Hall), we celebrate with 92Y's very own Dance-a-raoke maven, Miss Fortune, NYC's favorite dance DJs, and a host of surprising guest performances, including Richard Move as Martha Graham.



Throughout our anniversary season, we will be collecting 92nd Street Y dance stories and anecdotes, and posting them on our website.

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No other institution offers such a breadth and depth of dance activity or provides as many different possibilities for people from all walks of life, at all levels of engagement, to experience dance.

Ten Major Programs Comprise the 92Y Harkness Dance Center

Classes for adults Classes for kids (including a scholarship program and a pre-professional track)

Classes and workshops for professionals, including study with artist-in-residence Doug Varone

Dance Education Laboratory - professional development for teachers of dance Fridays at Noon free dance performances and discussions with choreographers Sundays at Three dance performances [ ] 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Festival [ ] Social dance parties - hustle, swing, tango, salsa and more [ ] Outreach to public schools [ ] Space grants for choreographers

Fast Facts About the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center

7,000+ people a year watch or participate in dance at 92Y each year

100+ classes offered each week

Approximately 300 children and 1,000 adults register to study dance at 92Y each semester

50 faculty members work in the 92Y Harkness Dance Center (plus guest artists and Dance Education Laboratory instructors)

24 musical accompanists play for 92Y dance classes

40+ dance performances a year are presented by 92Y

150 artists a year receive space grants

135 public-school dance teachers attend workshops and training classes each year

35 social dance parties are held each year

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The dance program at the 92nd Street Y today is the product of a grand and still-unfolding history that has provided an exceptional foundation for the study, development and appreciation of dance. Here are a few highlights of that history:

Anna Sokolow, Hanya Holm, Martha Graham, Charles Weidman, Doris Humphrey and

Bonnie Bird - towering legends of modern dance - all taught dance at 92Y (starting in 1935).

Lincoln Kirstein's Ballet Caravan offered its first New York performances (1936).

Katherine Dunham first appeared on a New York stage (1937).

Pearl Primus was discovered (1943).

Limón's The Moor's Pavane had its New York premiere (1947).


Jerome Robbins performed and presented his early choreography (1946-1956).

Robert Joffrey's company made its debut (1954).

The first National Conference on Teaching Dance to Children was held (1955).

Paul Taylor presented the first full evening of his own choreography (1957).

Alvin Ailey's company made its debut (1958), and later premiered the landmark Revelations (1960).

Pearl Lang premiered The Possessed (1974).

David Parsons began choreographing his own work (1988-1990).

The Breaking Ground series, in which Deborah Jowitt interviews leading dance artists, begins (1993). Guests include Mark Morris, Peter Martins, Trisha Brown, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, Arthur Mitchell. Doug Varone choreographed his recent work, Alchemy (2008). 92Y Harkness Dance Center wins a $40,000 NEA award for the reconstruction of classic works (2009).

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I've attached a programming overview, with details on our plans for next year. More information is available on our website:

75th Anniversary Homepage: www.92Y.org/Dance75 (slide show, links to event calendar, history and more) [ ] Dance Center Homepage (ongoing classes, performances and other programs) www.92Y.org/Harkness [ ] Share your 92Y Dance Stories: [ ]http://www.92y.org/content/75th_Dance_Share_Memories.asp

To see an excerpt of Channel 13's SundayArts documentary "The Spirit of 92nd Street: The Harkness Dance Center at 75," please visit: http://www.Thirteen.org/SundayArts/Spirit-of-92nd-Street-The-Harkness-Dance-Center-at-75/238. If you would like a viewing copy of the complete documentary, let us know.

For additional background information, photographs or interviews, please contact Sarah Morton by email or 212.415.5435.