lets dance!

  The CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI) is an unprecedented model for collaboration between the City University of New York (CUNY) — the nation’s largest public urban university system — and the NYC dance field. A residency program that opens the doors of CUNY campuses to professional choreographers and dance companies, CDI supports local artists, enhances the cultural life and education of college students, and builds new dance audiences at CUNY performing arts centers. Since its official launch in 2014, CDI has subsidized and facilitated a total of 82 residencies — from emerging choreographers to established dance companies — at 13 CUNY colleges in all five boroughs.

The CUNY Dance Initiative receives major support from The Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the SHS Foundation, the Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, and the Harkness Foundation for Dance. CDI is spearheaded and administered by The Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College. www.cuny.edu/danceinitiative

Friday May 11 7:30

CDI: Matthew Westerby Company



Matthew  Westerby Company is motivated to create projects that foster community,  building works that are accessible to all as participants and audience.  Westerby’s choreographic approach is inclusive yet challenging by  nature, asking each performer for unique contributions to the process, ensuring the work has the imprint of each participant.

Letters to the End  is  a full length contemporary dance work created by choreographer Matthew  Westerby with composers Rick Smith and Bryan Senti. The work explores  self-identity, physical trauma, repressed memory and personal and family  connections and relationships. The work asks questions about who we are  and how our past can often shape our present and future selves. This  full company work for seven dancers is characterized by the athletic  movement vocabulary of Matthew Westerby and the classical and electronic  sounds of Bryan Senti, marking their third collaboration.  


CDI: Johnnie Cruise Mercer /TheRedProjectNYC



Johnnie  Cruise Mercer/TheREDprojectNYC is a community of artistic dare devils  that choreographically and conceptually concentrate on the thorough  excavation of the human subconscious through movement. Using  conversation and difference as an inspiration for creation, the  collective of artists are devoted to acknowledging the connection  between performance and human understanding.

on the action of black&white  is  a reflective performative practice that spills from the stage into  reality. Inspired by political images, audience expectation, and  personal moments of soliloquy, Mercer guides an ensemble through various  familair environments/modes as he comments on, surrenders to, and  constructs a world based on dual opinion, influence, artistic demand,  proposition, and instinct. 

This is the second  process-memoir of eight, the practice shared is a part of a 8-part  creation process towards "and to the decades of hell", a two part work  documenting and questioning the development of the millennial generation  and its metamorphosis into post-contemporary ideas.
This work was made possible with support from Abrons Arts Center through  the AIRspace Grant Residency Program, the Cuny Dance Initiative as  resident artists at York College,  as well as with support from  RestorationARTS as Choreoquest AIRS 2018. 


Queensboro Dance Festival

 The  Queensboro Dance Festival is an annual 6-month season of community  events + performances throughout Queens neighborhoods, featuring only  Queens-based cultural and contemporary dance companies. QDF offers  participating companies free master dance classes, rehearsal space,  networking events, teaching opportunities, and special access to Queens  arts institutions. QDF presents a tour of evening-length performances  across unique Queens public spaces and theaters, and includes audience  dance engagement activities & dancer talkbacks. 


FRIDAY May 11, 7:30PM 

QDF: Sheep Meadow Dance Theatre

SMDT was founded in 2016 by Billy Blanken as a launchpad for exploring movement. With his exposure to wide range of styles in his career, his experience provides an access point to creating classical works with a uniquely modern aesthetic. He teaches open class Ballet in New York City. @birryb @sheepmeadowdancetheatre @SMDTNYC


Choreographer: Billy Blanken

Piece Title: VESUVIUS

Length: 6 minutes

from Long Island City, Queens  

QDF: Rastro Dance Company

Rastro is a contemporary dance company founded in New York (1998) by Julieta Valero, Venezuelan dancer. Valero moved to NY in 1996. Two years later she produced the show, "Andar el Comienzo" which marks the birth of Rastro. The company has performed at Joyce SoHo, ICA, London; Brazil; CPR Brooklyn, NY, among others. Valero was invited to DanzaExtrema Festival Internacional in México and this winter performed at Theater for the New City and Dixon Place. 


Choreographer: Julieta Valero

Piece Title: Venezuela

Length: 12 minutes

 from Long Island City, Queens 

QDF: Vissi Dance Theater

Vissi made its international debut in Sardinia, ITALY in the summer of 2008 and then again in 2009, performing at the Gran Gala della Danza in Porto Rotondo. Most recently, Vissi opened the Fall Season at York College Performing Arts Center.


Choreographer: Courtney Ffrench

Piece Title: Busting Out

Length: 11:45 minutes

from Jamaica, Queens