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CUNY Dance Initiative and the Gerald W Lynch Theater at John Jay College Present Fly-by-Night Dance Theater in the World Premiere of Where Shall I Send My Joys?

April 1, 2022

CUNY Dance Initiative and the Gerald W Lynch Theater at John Jay College Present Fly-by-Night Dance Theater in the World Premiere of Where Shall I Send My Joys? An evening of aerial dance choreographed by Julie Ludwick, live music by composer Paul Uhry Newman, video by Cristobal Vivar, Dramaturgy by James Bosley at The Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College 524 W 59th St, New York, NY 10019 on Friday, April 1, 2022 at 7:30pm. Tickets are: Adults: $25 advance/ $40 at the door Youth/Seniors $15, John Jay Students $5 at https://flybynightdance.org/participate/performances/.

Aerial company Fly-By-Night Dance Theater (FBN) concludes their 2022 CUNY Dance Initiative Residency with the premiere of Where Shall I Send My Joys?. This evening-length work is an exploration of cultivating joy found in everyday life, and finding balance given the experience of loss, death, and grief throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Known for its visceral aerial productions, FBN taps the expressive potential of movement and flight to create dances in the air. Where Shall I Send My Joys? is driven by the Buddhist concept that happiness is an emotion we experience, while joy is an attitude we can develop. Seeds for this work came from a very personal place: Artistic Director Julie Ludwick’s sister was diagnosed with a terminal illness just before the pandemic began, and asked her family to “keep looking for joy wherever you find it, and share it with me when you can.” Over the next 16 months, Ludwick kept a journal of small joys while letting go of her sister, who died in May 2021.

In the studio, the creative process for Where Shall I Send My Joys? began with the concept of identifying “everyday joys,” and translating these images or experiences into movement phrases. These expressions of joy are counterbalanced with text about mourning and letting go, taking the audience on a journey of loss, reflection, appreciation, and acceptance. More background information on the project can be found on the FBN website.

Where Shall I Send My Joys? features dancers Cecilia Fontanesi, Maia Ramnath, and Julie Ludwick; live music by composer/percussionist Paul Uhry Newman; and video by cinematographer Cristobal Vivar with dramaturgy by James Bosley.

Fly-By-Night Dance Theater is a modern dance company that blends grounded dance with weightless images of flight. The aerial apparatus act as partners and allow the dancers to exaggerate their movements and portray themselves as individuals, but also serve as a means to connect the dancers with one another. Artistic Director Julie Ludwick conceives projects and directs the dancers, using collaborative improvisation to create the movement. FBN has been produced in NYC at The Flea Theater, Performance Space 122, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, Mabou Mines, among others, and at college residencies around the U.S. Funding has been received from NYSCA and NYC via LMCC, NYFA, The Puffin Foundation, NoMAA, The Frances Alexander Family Fund, Fleet Bank, The Cartwheel Foundation, among others. FBN produces NYC Aerial Dance Festivals with guest artists from around the U.S., Free-for-Kids series and celebrated its 20th Anniversary season in February 2020. Outreach activities include scholarships to dancers of color, Aerial Dance workshops, and free public school programs and pre-performance workshops. www.flybynightdance.org

Julie Ludwick (Choreographer/Artistic Director) has created dozens of dances for Fly-by-Night Dance Theater. The repertory has evolved to include evening-length pieces with video projection, theater, and live original music. Her artistry is deeply influenced by aerial dancer Robert Davidson and the Skinner Releasing Technique, a somatic and improvisational approach to movement exploration. Ludwick’s Aerial Dance Technique has been featured in Dance Magazine, Paper Magazine, Time Out, and in a documentary from AfterEd TV. Ludwick has also been featured as an outstanding alum of Teachers College, Columbia University. Ludwick’s theater credits include work for Mapou Production’s “How Papa Noel Forgot Haiti” at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall starring Danny Glover and “The Circus Show” at the University of Missouri’s Graduate School for Theater. She has received support from: Mabou Mines Artists’ Suite, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Meet the Composer, The Puffin Foundation, Frances Alexander Family Fund, Northern Manhattan Artist Alliance, The Cartwheel Foundation, The Kathryn and Ador Elnes Fund, and The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, and City Artists Corps, among others. Julie Ludwick was one of 500 New York City-based artists to receive $5,000 through the City Artists Corps Grants program, presented by The New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), with support from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) as well as Queens Theatre. Work on The Joy Project started with this support.

Composer/Musician Paul Uhry Newman is a percussionist in the Haitian tradition and toured nationally and internationally for twelve years with the traditional Haitian drum and dance ensemble La Troupe Makandal. His work as a drummer can be heard on recording with Makandal for the Smithsonian Institute as well as on soundtracks for industrial videos with Virginia Quesads. He has worked with various jazz and improvisational groups. As a member of the Frank Marino Multi-directional Music Collective, he performed avant-garde jazz at the Main Street Arts Theater in Nyack, New York. A published poet, he has also worked as a playwright in collaboration with Mapou Productions on shows at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. As a composer and poet, he has performed and recorded on a variety of instruments including drums, voice, diddley bow, bowoul, xylophone, piano, newspaper shoes, and other found objects that he has used as instruments. He has performed with Fly-by-Night Dance Theater for many seasons and received Meet the Composer grants for these compositions.

Fly-By-Night’s residency and performance at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater is part of the CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI), a transformative incubator that secures two vital yet scarce resources—rehearsal time and performance space—for New York City choreographers and dance companies across the five boroughs. Housed within the City University of New York (CUNY)–the nation’s largest public urban university system–CDI is a residency program that supports local artists, enhances the cultural life and education of college students, and builds new dance audiences at CUNY performing arts centers. CDI receives major support from The Mertz Gilmore Foundation and Howard Gilman Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Jerome Robbins Foundation, SHS Foundation, Harkness Foundation for Dance, the National Endowment for the Arts, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. CDI is part of Dance/NYC’s New York City Dance Rehearsal Space Subsidy Program, made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. CDI is spearheaded by The Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College. www.cuny.edu/danceinitiative Additional funding for this residency and performance is provided by the John Jay College Student Activities Association, Inc.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York, an international leader in educating for justice, offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.jjay.cuny.edu. Since opening its doors in 1988, the Gerald W. Lynch Theater has been an invaluable cultural resource. The Theater is a member of CUNY Stages, a consortium of 16 performing arts centers located on CUNY campuses across New York City and the CUNY Dance Initiative. The Theater is home to the Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival & White Light Festival, as well as the New Yorker Festival, Mannes Opera, the World Science Festival, and the revival of Mummunschanz. The Theater has hosted live and recorded events including David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Inside the Actor’s Studio, Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts, Comedy Central Presents one-hour specials, the American Justice Summit, the NYC Mayoral Democratic Debates, and the launch of Jay-Z’s REFORM initiative. The Theater welcomes premiere galas, conferences, international competitions, and graduations. For more information, and a schedule of events, please visit www.GeraldWLynchTheater.com.


April 1, 2022