Don’t miss your chance to see DanceBrazil
Captivating audiences with his mastery of capoeira, Jelon Vieira, Artistic Director of DanceBrazil, bases his aesthetic on this art form and works with capoeiristas who have learned their technique in the urban setting of Bahia, Brazil. “What matters here above all,” says The New York Times about Vieira’s choreography, “is the gorgeously full physicality of movement, allied to music.” The spirited Joyce program includes Malungos, a new piece named for a slang word used among enslaved Africans traveling on ships to Brazil that indicated their commitment to each other. A similar sense of friendship and unity that exists within capoeira communities is a model, Vieira believes, for addressing social concerns in Brazil today.
The mission of The Joyce Theater Foundation is to serve and support the art of dance and choreography, promote the richness and variety of the art form in its fullest expression, and enhance the public interest in, and appreciation of, dance and the allied arts of music, design, and theater. Its programs embrace the entire spectrum of movement styles and traditions, from the time-honored to the untried, and are designed to encourage, sustain, and educate a diverse audience.
Founded in 1982, The Joyce Theater was created by dancers for dance. Today, The Joyce is considered one of the premiere performance venues for dance and attracts an annual audience of more than 140,000. Since its inception, The Joyce has welcomed over 270 New York City-based, national and international dance companies to its stage. It would be difficult to imagine the dance world today without The Joyce Theater. In addition, The Joyce now oversees DANY (Dance Art New York) Studios, eleven affordable studios, located at 38th Street and Eighth Avenue, that are appropriate for rehearsals, auditions, classes and workshops.
The Joyce Theater was formerly the Elgin Theater, a 1941 movie house. Under the direction of founders Cora Cahan and Eliot Feld, Ballet Tech Foundation, Inc. acquired and The Joyce Theater renovated the building to create an elegant, intimate home for dance in New York City. The Elgin was originally a revival movie house that was closed by the community when it became a pornographic movie theater. The renovation took two years to complete and was guided by architect Hugh Hardy who preserved and expanded the patterned brick facade of the art-deco building. The entire interior was gutted to create a 472-seat theater with the technical specifications to serve the needs of small and medium-sized dance companies.
The Joyce owes its existence to many dedicated, visionary and courageous individuals. Foremost among them is LuEsther T. Mertz whose leadership support from the outset and her sustained commitment made the Theater and its programs on behalf of the non-profit dance community possible. In appreciation of her generosity, the Theater was named after her daughter, Joyce.
In 2007, as a special commissioning initiative to celebrate The Joyce Theater’s 25th anniversary, The Joyce awarded 25 New York City-based, national and international dance companies with grants of $25,000 each to support the development of a new work. Among the recipients were Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Eiko & Koma, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, John Jasperse Company, Nrityagram Dance Ensemble, Molissa Fenley and Pacific Northwest Ballet.