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CUNY Dance Initiative and Kinesis Project dance theatre present Breathing with Strangers

October 12, 2019 @ 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM

CUNY Dance Initiative and
Kinesis Project dance theatre
Breathing with Strangers
a site-specific, multidisciplinary performance
at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
October 12, 2019

The CUNY Dance Initiative and Kinesis Project dance theatre will present the site-specific dance performance Breathing with Strangers on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 2pm and 4pm, at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at https://snug-harbor.org/pass/.

Melissa Riker/Kinesis Project dance theatre’s newest large-scale, outdoor performance, Breathing with Strangers, is a ragged, sweeping and surprising love-song to New York City. Dancers appear and disappear as the choreography twists around and within the levels, buildings, and hillsides of Snug Harbor’s Shinbone Alley. This project invites the audience to witness, interact, and follow the performance — and consider how generous moments between strangers can occur.

Kinesis Project dance theatre is led by New York City-based choreographer Melissa Riker, who emerged as a strong performance and creative voice in the dance and circus worlds during the 1990’s. Through Kinesis Project, Riker is democratizing dance by placing large-scale dance theatre in public spaces. Kinesis Project often works with urban renewal organizations such as HighLine Network members, Friends of Waterfront Seattle, or institutions like the South Street Seaport or Queens Botanical Garden.

Kinesis Project’s performance is the culmination of a residency at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden in partnership with the CUNY Dance Initiative and the College of Staten Island.

“This season’s PASS performances at Snug Harbor explore the depths of time, memory, and ritual, opening up exciting spatial and sonic possibilities through movement and performance. Kinesis Project dance theatre, led by CUNY Dance Initiative artist-in-residence Melissa Riker, activates the richness of our historic campus by staging a site-specific performance in Shinbone Alley,” said Melissa West, Vice President of Curation, Visual & Performing Arts at Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden.

Breathing with Strangers is made possible in part with funding from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation and administered by LMCC.

For more information, visit https://www.kinesisproject.com.

“Large scale and transformative, Kinesis Project took on the space between an urban backdrop and the natural world beyond in Traces of Us. From their scattered shouts over the noise of the Alaskan Way Viaduct to their tight gathering at the waterfront edge, gesturing at the sunset, the dancers delighted and awed throughout.” – Seattle Dances

Gia Kourlas, The New York Times wrote about the company’s recent piece:
“Melissa Riker explores ideas about how vulnerability exists both in people and in structures; it comes to life within an immersive environment of movement and whispers.”

Melissa Riker is Artistic Director and Choreographer of Kinesis Project dance theatre. She is a New York City dancer and choreographer who emerged as a strong performance and creative voice as the NYC dance and circus worlds combined during the 90s. Riker’s dances and aesthetic layer her training as a classical dancer, martial artist, theatre choreographer and aerial performer. She creates dances on site – and in context. Riker invents large-scale outdoor performances and spontaneous moments of dance for individuals and corporate clients. Audiences and critics have called Riker’s work “a Marx Brothers’ routine with soul,” “A movable feast.” And from The New York Times, her choreography is: “comically acrobatic, gracefully classical, visually arresting.”

Kinesis Project is a dance organization that produces dance concerts, facilitates educational programs and creates site-specific performances with diverse communities. A company at the forefront of the international discussion of placemaking, art engagement and the cultural imperative of art in public space, Kinesis Project dance theatre invents large scale, space-changing, breath-taking experiences.

Since 2005, Kinesis Project’s work has been experienced in San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Vermont, Florida and in New York City at such venerable venues as Danspace Project, Judson Church, Joyce Soho, The Minskoff Theatre, The Cunningham Studio, West End Theatre and Dixon Place.  In 2019, the company’s work will be experienced in Seattle, Brooklyn, NY, Riverside Park, supported by New York City Parks, and in Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island. The company dances outside in sculpture gardens, universities, and annually since 2006 in Battery Park’s Bosque Gardens and The Cloisters Lawn as well as hosting more than 30 surprise performances all over New York City and the tri-state area as an element of the company’s earned income and outreach programming with volunteer populated flashmobs. Residencies include: Earthdance 2006, Omi International Arts Center 2008, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center 2011, TheaterLab 2014, Adelphi University 2014. Ms. Riker is a 2016, 2017 and 2019 CUNY Dance Initiative Residency Fellow, 2015 LMCC Community Arts Fund grantee, 2019 Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Grantee. She has been commissioned by The Brooklyn Botanic Garden for a surprise large-scale work and performances of her work Secrets and Seawalls at Omi International Arts Center, Long House Reserve, Gateway National Park in partnership with Rockaways Artist Alliance. Ms. Riker has received commissions from Carson Fox and the Ephemeral Festival in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 for large-scale outdoor events, NYU in 1998, for an outdoor work long before “flash mob” was coined, 2006 and 2008 grants from the Puffin Foundation for her work Community Movements, a dance work with community volunteers, Fellowships from the Dodge Foundation, Space Grant Residencies from 92nd St Y, The New 42nd St Studio, Gibney Dance Center, and The Joyce Theatre Foundation, and grants from The Bowick Family Trust and John C. Robinson to support the continued work of Kinesis Project dance theatre.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is the result of more than four decades of restoration and development to convert a 19th century charitable rest home for sailors to a regional arts center, botanical gardens, and public park. It is a place where history, architecture, gardens, agriculture, visual and performing arts, and education come together to provide a dynamic experience for all ages. Snug Harbor consists of 28 buildings, fourteen distinctive botanical gardens, a two acre urban farm, wetlands and park land on a unique, free, open campus. Six of Snug Harbor’s original structures were the first designated landmarks for New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1965, including the majestic Main Hall (built in 1833) and Music Hall (built in 1892), one of the oldest concert halls in New York City. Fourteen distinctive gardens spread across the campus and include the celebrated New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden and the Richmond County Savings Foundation Tuscan Garden. Snug Harbor offers programs and attractions to benefit the residents of Staten Island and of New York. It is home to the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art, Staten Island Museum, Staten Island Children’s Museum, Noble Maritime Collection, Art Lab, Children’s Harbor Montessori School, and Staten Island Conservatory of Music. Snug Harbor is proud to be a distinguished Smithsonian affiliate.

Breathing with Strangers
is part of the CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI), a program that opens the doors of CUNY campuses to professional choreographers and dance companies. CDIreceives major support from the Howard Gilman Foundation and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the SHS Foundation, the Harkness Foundation for Dance, and Dance NYC’s New York City Dance Space Subsidy Program, made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. CDI is spearheaded and administered by the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College.  www.cuny.edu/danceinitiative


October 12, 2019
2:00 PM - 5:00 PM


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