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Anniversary timeline: 25 years of DANCE NOW

Brian Brooks takes to the streets as the DN Mascot in 1997. Photo courtesy of the DN Archives.

"You are an amazing force for all of us working in NYC...I am moved by your ambitions. My life has been forever changed." - Brian Brooks, Founding choreographer, The Moving Company



“In 1993, I produced my first ‘Gallery Series’ at the beautiful 101 Wooster Gallery in Soho, featuring Sara Hook’s “Caucasian Rituals,” along with work by David Parker, Amos Pinhasi, Lisa Race and Kathy Wildberger. It was a huge success due to the intimacy of the space. I did not know it then, but this paved the way to bring dance into NYC’s most unconventional sites.”

- Robin Staff, DN Executive Artistic Director

Listen to an interview about DN with Robin Staff by Pod De Deux.

Sarah Hook stands in a metal bucket, leaning forward pointing in a white lace dress.

Sara Hook, Caucasian Rituals, 1993. Courtesy of the DN Archives.

Two dancers are mid-jump, with their knees up. Their arms are raised and they are looking at the ground.



DANCE NOW (formerly Colloquium Contemporary Dance Co), directed by Robin Staff, comes together with 550 Broadway Studio and Zvi Gotheiner Dance Inc, managed by Tamara Greenfield, to introduce dance into the Soho Arts Festival as a pilot program. DN gathers 23 Artists, including Sara Hook, David Parker, Andre Gingras, Amos Pinhasi, Sally Hess, Jeanine Durning, Linda Tarnay, Heidi Latsky, Kristin Jackson, Amy Sue Rosen and Jim Martin. In just two months, they present in 3 Soho venues - The Swiss Institute, Gallery Henoch and Dia Center for the Arts, managed by Joan Duddy. The lines to get in ran past Houston Street!

Zvi Dance, courtesy of the DN archives, 1995.

A male-presenting dancer is standing on a stage, thrusting his hips forward with his arms back. He is facing a black music stand with a telephone in the same of lips on it.

Dallas McMurray performs at the Broadway Gym in 1996, for John Heginbotham's memorable “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking”, accompanied by a red telephone. Photo by Steven Schreiber.


DANCE NOW becomes the official dance program of the multi-arts Downtown Arts Festival (formerly Soho Arts Festival), presenting 75 dance makers in 8 downtown venues: the American Opera Projects, Atlantic Gallery, David Barton Gym, Dia Center for the Arts, Great Hall at Cooper Union, Gallery Henoch, Soho 20 Gallery, and 550 Broadway Dance.

"most of the artists are not yet household names,  but will be.” - Dance Magazine
A New York Times article featuring a black and white photo of Nicholas Leichter's four dancers.


During the Downtown Arts Festival, DN presents 150 dance makers in 45 performance events from the Boxing Ring at Chelsea Piers to Joyce Soho, OK Harris Gallery, Atlantic Gallery and Gallery Henoch in Soho, World Gym on Mercer Street, The Great Hall at Cooper Union and the James Jay Ballfield at Carmine Center.

Artists included the daring Brian Brooks, awesome Jeanine Durning, electrifying Doug Elkins, fearsome Tricia Brouk, the mighty Goldhuber & Latsky, sinewy Ben Munisteri, wild Nicholas Leichter and invincible Zvi Gotheiner & Dancers. 

Read the details in Jennifer Dunning's NYT article.


“Hours before we started the Festival  in the ball field at Carmine Center, the heavens opened up. So, we all waited in the locker rooms for the weather to pass. When the rain finally stopped we realized the ball field was a muddy mess! We asked the artists who still wanted to perform. Monica Bill Barnes jumped up and said, “I do!” and ran onto the field with her dancers."

- Robin Staff, DN Founder and Executive Artistic Producer

Five dancers are running through a muddy field with their hands over their heads.

Monica Bill Barnes & Dancers, 1997. Photo courtesy of the DN Archives.

"One of the Liveliest of Downtown Festivals.” - The New York Times


DN kicks off the fall dance season during the Downtown Arts Festival, presenting 100+ dance makers in 35 different events at Chelsea Piers, Joyce Soho, Carmine Center in the West Village, OK Harris Gallery, Gallery Henoch in Soho, and The Great Hall at Cooper Union in the East Village.

Jane Comfort & Company first performed with DANCE NOW in 1998 and is a perennial artist on our tiny stages. During a November 2020 interview with Pod De Deux, about Jane shares her thoughts about her work, her long career, and motherhood.

Listen to the interview.

DANCE NOW 1998 Program.

Photo courtesy of the DN Archives.


DN Host, Christal Brown, speaks with Robert Battle, Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, during the DN Chapter 3 Celebration. Mr. Battle shares the turning point in his career from the DN’s All Stars Series at Carmine Center to The Great Hall at Cooper Union during the annual DANCE NOW Festival in the late 1990's, and traces the path from that moment to his present.

"If it’s autumn in New York, then it must be DANCE NOW.” - Maura Donohue, THE Dance insider


Excited for another year, DN hits the ground running with its eclectic, multi-generational approach. DN presents 125 street-smart dance makers, including old-pros, the newly arrived and the as yet to be discovered!

“Every year it seemed like the artists came up with more outrageous site specific dance ideas, and we were 100% behind them! For the performance outdoors at Chelsea Piers Park, there was a dance off a bus, dance on the deck of the Chelsea Screamer, and most memorably, dance in a row boat. This last piece ended with both dancers flipping overboard into the water!"

- Tamara Greenfield, Founding Director and Producer

Program from the 1999 Festival. A dancer is crouched down, holding and lifting another dancer's foot. They have short hair.

Photo courtesy of the DN Archives.


Three dancers are sitting side by side in chairs, tossing their heads back and laughing.

“DANCE NOW pretty much has the magic formula: 10 dances in 50 minutes. What's not to like!? Just wait 5 minute for something COMPLETELY different!”

- Gus Solomons jr

Gus Solomons jr. is a vital part of American dance history. He created Gus Solomons Company/Dance in 1972, and the dance collective Paradigm in 1996. He has created more than 170 works that have been performed on stages around the world. Yet, he continues to challenge himself, creating new forms and new understandings of the art form.

Listen to the interview about Gus Solomons jr by Pod De Deux

Gus Solomons Jr, Dudley Williams, and Carmen de Lavallade for PARADIGM. Photo by Tom Caravaglia.

2000: DN launches as an independent festival, DANCE NOW DOWNTOWN, presenting 150 dance makers at Joyce Soho, The Great Hall at Cooper Union, OK Harris Gallery and Poolside and Center Court at Carmine Center. Laurie McLeod presents her dance film on the bottom of a drained outdoor pool at Carmine Center. Photo courtesy of the DN Archives.
"the traditional opener of the dance season.” - The New York Times
Program cover of the 2001 DANCENOWFEST. A dancer has their arms outstretched and looking up towards the sky with an arched back.



DANCENOWFEST, the week following Labor Day, produces in larger spaces for the first time: The Joyce Soho, the John Jay College Theater and WAX in Brooklyn. While this new chapter was cancelled on 9/11, it successfully re-launched at Dia Arts Center in late October – a gift from Joan Duddy and her staff to keep DANCE NOW moving forward. Read more about DN's 9/11 experience and how Kyle Abraham was involved here.

Photo by Tim Trumble. Courtesy of the DN Archives.


“Joan Duddy embraced DANCE NOW from its very first days, and stood by us until she left us in 2015. She was a truly gracious and generous supporter of the dance community - helping to promote, sustain, nurture and advance the careers of so many. Joan made a difference. Without her, there would be no DN.”

- Robin Staff, DN Founder and Executive Artistic Producer

An image of Joan Duddy. She has short, curly gray hair, glasses, and is wearing a blue shirt.

Joan Duddy, Founder and Director of Dance Programming at Dia Beacon Center for the Arts. Photo courtesy of the DN Archives.

"A peripatetic adventure." - Elizabeth Zimmer, The Village Voice
Three dancers in tutus and pointe shoes are mid-arabesque on a pale blue stage.



As DANCENOW/NYC, DN re-emerges post-9/11 with the assistance of a New York Arts Recovery Award to celebrate the arts in New York City. Presenting a vibrant canvas of artistry that included 170 playful, poetic and inspired dance makers at locations ranging from the landmark Lafayette Firehouse to the John Jay College Theater, from The Joyce Soho to the OK Harris Gallery and the Carmine Center’s Outdoor Pool.

Learn the details of what happened at the Firehouse via Instagram.

DN also presented at the Marcus Garvey Amphitheatre where they added a DANCE HARLEM, featuring Ailey II, Battleworks Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Full Circle Productions, La Santa Luz Dance Company, Elisa Monte Dance, nicholasleichterdance, Reggie Wilson Fist & Heel Performance Group, Millicent M. Johnnie, Subtle Changes, and Marie Brooks Pan-Caribbean Dancers and more.

Read the details in Elizabeth Zimmer's review in The Village Voice, titled "It Happened One Night".

Julie Gleick’s SWANS in Poolside at Carmine. Courtesy of the DN Archives.


In 2002, DN created the Silo Artist Residency program at Kirkland Farm to extend the organization’s services to offer artists and professionals in the field of dance an inspiring haven in which they could come together to create, process, rehearse, or just escape the pressures of city life and to continue the Kirkland legacy of the farm being home to the artistic community.


“The partnership we have formed with DANCE NOW Silo gives our students access to some of the most innovative dancemakers who are active in the world today.”

- Tim Cowart, Director Dance Department at DeSales University

Silo farm: a collection of white buidlings in a field with a white pickett fence.
"Simply put, a blast." - Susan Reiter, The New York Sun



In 2003 the DANCENOW/NYC FESTIVAL, brings together 160 dance makers across Manhattan at The Joyce Soho, Dance Harlem at Marcus Garvey Park and, for the first time, in Danza Washington Heights at Highbridge Park in partnership with graduate students from Columbia U.

Learn more about DN's dancing uptown, 

via this Instagram post.

DN also launched the Dance-moplitan series during the 2003 Festival for the unique and intimate setting at Joe’s Pub, beginning an enduring relationship with a unique and tiny stage.

Three dancers in all white are mid-motion on an outdoor stage while an audience looks on.

DANCE NOW Harlem performance, 2003. Courtesy of the DN Archives.


Six dancers on an outdoor stage while an audience looks on.

“Fellow graduates from Columbia University, Marcy Auerbach and Corina Storrs came to us to propose doing a DN event in Washington Heights. Highbridge Park has been associated for such a long time with negative things, we wanted to do something positive and celebrate dance and open spaces.”

- Almanzar Paramio, volunteer DANZA Washington Heights

DANZA Washington Heights, 2003. Courtesy of DN Archives.


“'It’s hard to break into the dance scene in New York,’ said Ms. Barton, who is Canadian.  ‘I moved to NY not knowing anyone and presenting work where I could. It was a blessing I crossed paths with Robin. It opened doors for me.’ ”

- Excerpt from The New York Times, 2005


Learn more about DN's Aszure Barton, via this Instagram post.

A Black man thrusts his chest forward and flings his arms and one leg backwards bathed in red light.

Jonathan Emanuell Alsberry for Aszure Barton & Artists, "ROM".

Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.

"Only getting better with age." - Quinn Batson,
Two dancers are dressed in formal-wear, arching their backs towards the sky, mid-jump.


Uniting communities from uptown to downtown, east to west, DN presents at The LGBT Community Center in the West Village, Joe’s Pub in the East Village, Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem, Highbridge Outdoor Pool in Washington Heights and The Joyce Soho.

Julian Barnett's "Float" at Joe's Pub, 2004.

Courtesy of the DN Archives.


Little did we know that TruDee (aka Deb Lohse) would come along covered in pink to become our perennial host.

“How was I to know that so many of the amazing people in the room that night would become friends, champions of my work and lifelong collaborators.”

- Deborah Lohse, Comedian, Dancer & Choreographer

TruDee, in a pink sparkly dress, extends her arms out to the audience during a DANCE NOW event. Her feet are spread wide, hips shifted sideways.

Deb Lohse as TruDee, hosting the DN Festival, 2018.

Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.

"Innovation in dance cultures from hipster to hip hop, bohemian to bharata.” - Dance Magazine
Five female-presenting dancers are mid-motion, hiking up their long, patterned skirts. They are wearing white shirts.



The DANCENOWNYC FESTIVAL, presents more than 150 artists at Dance Harlem in Marcus Garvey Park, at the Cathedral at St. John the Divine, at Dance-mopolitan at Joe’s Pub, at DANZA Washington Heights, and expands to Dance Theater Workshop, opening the Dance Theater Workshop’s second season in their new space with the program 4OUP!

Ballet Hispanico School Ensemble, directed by Zelma Bustillo, 2005.

“These days, showcases like DANCE NOW are beginning the process of feeding the field for the next 10 years. DTW has had its own showcase, Fresh Tracks, but the theater’s 33 week season does not afford it the come-one-come-all generosity that DN enjoys.”

- Kathy Edwards, Artistic Director of Dance Theater Workshop 2003 - 2006


Learn about DN's Alice Tierstien and Stuart Hodes via this Instagram post.

A male and female dancer, dressed in formal wear, are on a stage, holding hands and leaning away from one another. In their other hands they are holding cups.
"All together now." - The Village Voice
Logo for Joe's Pub.


DANCE NOW partners with two premiere arts organizations, Dance Theater Workshop and Joe’s Pub at The Public, that share the DN mission and vision, presenting 85 + dance makers and their companies - physically driven, visually beautiful, entrancing and wildly fun.

Learn about clown and prolific performer, Mark Gindick's beginnings with DN in 2006 via Instagram.  


A group of dancers in colorful costumes dance together energetically. Their hands are arranged around their torsos in loose, evocative gestures.

Nicole Wolcott, Arthur Aviles and Jennifer Nugent for doug elkins choreography, etc., “Fräulein Maria.”

Photo by Steven Schreiber.

“During the 2006 Dance-mopolitan Festival Series, Doug Elkins, who had suspended his company in 2003 to raise his son, presented a small work to the Sound of Music’s ‘Lonely Goatherd’, which his young son, Liam, was addicted to. Sitting there on the old red couches in the Pub, I turned to Doug and asked, ‘What do you think about doing the entire score of the Sound of Music?’ He did not hesitate to reply with an enthusiastic yes.”

- Robin Staff, DN Founder and Executive Artistic Producer

"DANCE NOW is both a lifeline - an essential part of being a contemporary dance company in New York looking to stay visible and viable - and a treat, the equivalent of a family party where you love all your relatives."

- Doug Elkins, BESSIE Award winning Artistic Director of doug elkins choreography, etc.

"The DANCE NOW FESTIVAL opens the fall season with a message of inclusiveness.” - The Village Voice


With the tagline ‘Find Your New Artistic Crush,’ coined by the New York Times, DN presents 70+ dance makers at Dance Theater Workshop. All the while DN continues the Dance-mopolitan series throughout the year at Joe’s Pub, presenting a Latin music and dance focused program, ‘Mojito’, and ‘Petronio Summer Reunion’, hosted by Stephen Petronio and featuring members of his company past and present.

Five female-presenting dancers stand in a line with their hands raised in a jazzy-way. They have big grins and are wearing various shades of pink.

Guta Hedwig Dance, "Forty," 2007.  Photo by Steven Schreiber.


“DANCE NOW is how I came of age in the dance community.”

- Sydney Skybetter, Former DN Producer, Choreographer and Professor at Brown University

Sydney Skybetter & Jessy Smith, 'The Real Nitty Gritty', 2016. Videography by Dancing Camera.

"An annual triumph of vision over common sense." - The New York Times



The Dance-mopolitan series at Joe’s Pub presents The Bang Group’s “ShowDown” and Monica Bill Barnes’ “Southern Comfort, “hosted by the dynamic Monica Bill Barnes and Deborah Lohse. In this cabaret-style performance event, choreographers Gina Gibney, Paul Singh, Zachary Morris, John Heginbotham, Jason and Lindsey Dietz, Amber Sloan, and Mary Ann Wall offer a wide range of work inspired by country music stars and legends: Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, The Useless Bastards, and more, including live music by The Dang-It Bobbys.

A group of dancers wearing plaid shirts and jeans kick their legs and throw their arms into the air.

The Bang Group, “Annie Get Your Gun” from “ShowDown”, 2008. Photo by Steven Schreiber.

Close up shot of Tamara. She has shoulder-length brown hair. She is wearing a black winter coat and scarf. She is smiling and holidng an ID card.

"When we first started presenting work at Joe’s Pub, dancers complained about the size of the stage and focused on all its restrictions. But soon, artists started to see the tremendous creative potential of the space - its intimacy, theatricality, and dynamic interaction with the audience. Now we have a whole generation of work created specifically for this unique venue."

- Tamara Greenfield, Founding Director and Producer


Learn more about DN's Tamara Greenfield, via Instagram.

"It's speed-dating for dancegoers." - DanceViewTimes
2009: The DANCE NOW FESTIVAL presents 75 dance makers at 4 downtown destinations including Dance Theater Workshop, the FAB! Festival, DMAC and Joe’s Pub at The Public. The Dance-moplitan series at Joe’s Pub presents “Modern Dance Musicals”, and the return of The Bang Group’s “ShowDown”. And, the RAW program continues to grow, partnering with NYU’s Tisch School of Dance and other spaces throughout the five boroughs.Khaleah London and Shani Collins for SNIC, “Swing Us Sky Rainbow”, 2009. Photo by Stephen Schreiber.
"A worthy challenge for choreographers: how to say more with less.” - Dancing Perfectly Free



During FESTIVAL TWENTY TEN, DN takes its ‘less is more policy’ to the next level, initiating the DN Challenge, asking Festival participants to create a new work or present a repertory work of seven minutes or less, that offers a concise, clear, and complete artistic statement. 


Learn more about DN's Ellis Wood 

via this Instagram post.

Two dancers stand at the back of the Joe's Pub stage. Two dancers are in front, all in a deep lunge reaching towards a third dancer who is mid-passe, as if floating.

Ellis Wood 2010 DN Challenge winner with Marni Wood (Ellis’ mom), and Stella Marni Nakada (Ellis’ daughter) for Ellis Wood Dance,

“Mock Portrait”, 2015. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.

John Heginbotham, a white man with brown hair is holding a microphone and wearing a blue shirt with the number 5 on it.

The Dance-moplitan series continues at Joe’s Pub, presenting John Heginbotham’s ‘One Man Show’ and Nicholas Leichter and Monstah Black’s ‘The Whiz.’ The latter continues DN’s popular series of full-length modern dance pieces based on musicals. 


DANCE NOW SteelStacks, an expansion to Bethlehem, PA in partnership with ArtsQuest, launches with the presentation of audience-favorite The Bang Group’s “ShowDown”. What will become a decade long partnership is off to an auspicious start.


Learn more about DN's modern dance, via Instagram.

John Heginbotham in "One Man Show." Photo by Steven Schreiber.

"It is just amazing what can be done on a postage stamp-size stage.” - Elizabeth Zimmer


In the spring and summer of 2011, Joe’s Pub temporarily closes for an extensive renovation. Once it re-opens, DANCE NOW moves all of its programming to Joe’s Pub, calling it the DANCE NOW JOE’S PUB FESTIVAL, becoming a testing ground for new ideas, direction and work to be developed for NYC’s best tiny stage.The DN Challenge continues and Iain Rowe is selected as the 2011 DN Challenge winner for his new work, “I See Myself in You”.

DN also presents Nicole Wolcott and Vanessa Walter’s “Alley of the Dolls”, Kyle Abraham’s “Heart Break and Homies”, and The Bang Group’s “Misters and Sisters” as part of its Dance-mopolitan series.

Learn about Nicole Wolcott's most recent work in the 2021 season from an interview also featuring Jamal Jackson.

Learn more about DN's “Heart Break and Homies” 

via this Instagram post.

Two male-presenting dancers are reaching towards each other's faces while arching their backs. They are dressed in suits.

Nick Katen, Ross Katen in Iain Rowe's "I See Myself in You," 2011. Photo by Steven Schreiber.

Lauren Parrish, a white woman with shoulder-length sandy brown hair and glasses is near a monitor, poitning forward while holding a pen.

“Moving from DTW to Joe’s Pub for the Festival was a huge shift. The schedule had to change to accommodate the Pub’s live music focus, the artists had to plan for a different, pie-piece shaped stage, all the equipment at the Pub was brand new, the staff was new - we were the first people teching in the renovated space. Everyone was figuring out how to do a dance festival with 40 artists in that space. It was stressful, but really really fun.”

- Lauren Parrish, Production Manager and

Lighting Designer

Jon Shriver, Lauren Parrish and Jason Miller at the first tech

in the new Joe’s Pub, 2011. Photo by Samantha Siegel.

"[Short] is DANCE NOW’s winning formula.                I’ve rarely been bored at Joe’s Pub.” - Wendy Perron, Dance Magazine


DANCE NOW celebrates 10 years of presenting at Joe’s Pub during the DN JOE’S PUB FESTIVAL, featuring 40 dance makers over four evenings, and the top ten works and challenge winners in its newly added Festival Encore.


Nicholas Leichter’s “TWENTY TWENTY” with Bryan Strimpel, Camille A. Brown’s “One Second Past the Future”, and Monica Bill Barnes’ “Snow Globes” are presented in the Dance-moplitan series at Joe’s Pub.

A male-presenting dancer is dressed in a suit with a pink shirt and tie. He is wearing sunglasses and standing against a green backdrop. His arms are raised and relaxed.

Nicholas Leichter, 2010. Photographed by Steven Schreiber.


Two dancers jump into the air, with their knees pulling up towards their chest. Their hair flies out around them, hands and arms loosely flying around their faces.

“DANCE NOW has been an integral part of my journey as a performer and dance maker in NYC."

- Bryan Strimpel, co-choreographer and performer BAIRA/MVMNT PHLOSPHY

Shaina Branfman and Bryan Strimpel for BAIRA, “On We Go”, 2016. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.

"The annual DANCE NOW Festival presents some of the most exciting and innovative dance makers in a cabaret-style showcase every fall.” - NYC Arts


DANCE NOW, to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Joe’s Pub, moves to October, asking 40 dance makers to take the DN Challenge and inviting the audience to weigh in with a nightly vote as to who they felt best met the Challenge. Those artists were then presented at the DN ENCORE, giving audiences a second chance to see the best pieces from 2013.

DN presents “Dorothy, Annie, Maria” (bringing back excerpts from “The Whiz”, “ShowDown” and “Fraulein Maria”), Adam Barruch’s “My Name is Barbra Adam”, and TAKE Dance’s “Somewhere Familiar Melodies” via the Dance-mopolitan Commissioned Artist series.

A female dancer with an open grin is gesturing at a male dancer beside her, specifically his bare stomach.

Marie Zvosec and John Eirich for TAKE Dance, “Somewhere Familiar Melodies”, 2013.

Photo by Phyliss McCabe.

"The coziest, coolest way to start the fall season … there is bound to be something delightful, something dark, something borrowed and something blue.” - Wendy Perron
A female-presenting dancer is crawling on all fours while a male-presenting dancer is mid-back flip. They are both wearing jean and white tops.


Forty dance makers take to the stage at Joe’s Pub, and Bryan Strimpel and Shaina Branfman come away the winners of the DANCE NOW Challenge.

Claire Porter’s ‘Sent-ence’, The Bang Group’s ‘Head Over Heels’ and Sara du Jour, Deborah Lohse, and Gregory Dolbashian’s ‘Awkward Magic’ are presented during the Dance-moplitan Commissioned Artist series.

During “Awkward Magic” the audience was first introduced to Deb Lohse’s alternate cabaret identity TruDee, now a fixture of the DN experience.

Shaina & Bryan Baira, 2019. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.

“I don’t know what was in the air in 2014, but the pieces were crazy (and by crazy, I mean crazy good). We had bear costumes, pizza, umbrellas, cheetos, so many sequins, and fried chicken onstage. Bryan and Shaina carried a bench to the theater on the subway, Larry did a strip tease in a fat suit, and Art and Myrna had me strapping video cameras and projectors to columns. It was a lot, but it was also what the Festival was about for me. All these ideas, and us saying, ‘Yes, sure, we can try that.’”

- Lauren Parrish, Production Manager

and Lighting Designer


Learn more about DN's Larry Keigwin, via this Instagram

Two dancers, dressed in beige garb are mid-dance in unison, with their left foot tucked behind their right knee, their hands up by their hips.

Nicole Bridgens and Jordan Isadore as Sara Du Jour, “LES SARA”, 2012.

Photo by Steven Schreiber.

2015: DN commissions Mark Dendy and Stephen Donovan to create a site-specific work for Joe’s Pub to celebrate our 20th Anniversary.DANCE NOW FESTIVAL at Joe’s Pub in 2015 brings together 5O dance makers from its past, present and future, hosted each night by a different artist duo, including: Raja Feather Kelly and Bryan Strimpel, Deborah Lohse and Mark Gindick, Nicole Wolcott and Larry Keigwin and Magda San Milan and Chelsea Murphy, who dressed as hors d’oeuvres.dendydonovanprojects, “New YorkNewYork @ Astor Place”, 2015. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.
"For more than two decades... has given contemporary choreographers a place to develop new ideas—often wacky, satirical, serious or all of the above.” - The Wall Street Journal
TruDee, a white woman in a brown mullet wifg, is bevelling and winking. SHe is wearing a colorful jacket and viser.


In 2016, the idea of a host evolves again when DN invites TruDee, aka Deborah Lohse, to host the full four days of the Festival. TruDee is a hot-pink phenomenon, directly engaging the audience and keeping both the energy and the evening moving.

Megan Williams is the DN Challenge winner for her new solo with a chorus of gentlemen, “One Woman Show.” It was developed into a full evening work as a DN Commission in 2018.

Deborah Lohse as TruDee, 2016. Photo by Yi-Chin Wu.

"The game-show-like format, fine-tuned over 22 years, works surprisingly well for dance, and there are always a number of gems to be found.” — Brian Schaefer, The New York Times


The DANCE NOW Festival at Joe’s Pub, hosted once again by the fabulous TruDee, brings 40 dance makers to Joe’s Pub. DN selects Christal Brown as the DANCE NOW Challenge winner for “At This Point”, the final piece in her “The Life Cycle Series”, and a culmination of premiering these segments as part of the Festival over many years.

Christal Brown, a black woman in a translucent top, is mid motion on the Joe's Pub stage.

Christal Brown, “At This Point” from “The Life Cycle Series”, 2017.

Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.


Nicole Wolcott, a white woman wearing a white bob wig is on the shoulders of Larry Keigwin, a white man wearing a red hat. She is smiling gleefully and he looks petrified.

“A new commission from Dance Now provided me with the opportunity to revisit a friendship with longtime collaborator, Nicole Wolcott, a reason to reimagine my creative process and the opportunity to share universal stories of the heart.”

- Larry Keigwin

"We have been working with DANCE NOW for so many years now that they have become family and Joe's Pub a home. The energy of the DANCE NOW stage at Joe's Pub can't be replicated. That in-your-face vaudevillian flavor is the seed of our richest, most raucous and heartfelt collaboration to date. I'll never get sick of performing Places Please with my partner in crime." 

- Nicole Wolcott

Learn a little bit more about, "Places Please".

Larry Keigwin and Nicole Wolcott, “PLACES PLEASE.” Photo by Christaan Felber.

"You never know which of the emerging and established choreographers, including DANCE NOW veterans and festival newbies, will impress and which will merit the gong, but the fun is in the discovery.”— Bonnie Rosenstock,
Brendan Drake and a group of dancers arrange themselves into a geometric formation, with arms flowing through the air. Dancers wear black and purple tones and sneakers.


The DANCE NOW FESTIVAL, hosted by TruDee, presents 40 dance makers in four nights, and a successful Encore.

DN selects emerging choreographer, Brendan Drake as the DANCE NOW Challenge winner for his work, “This is Desire Part II”.

Brendan Drake, Quentin Burley, Shannon Nash & Jordan Lloyd in "This is Desire Part II," 2018. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.

Megan Williams’ evening-length work, “One Woman Show”, exploring the ideas of femininity and aging in the entertainment industry, is presented in the Dance-mopolitan Commissioned Artist series. The piece is presented in the 2019 DN APAP program and later tours it to SteelStacks in Bethlehem, PA as part of the DANCE NOW SteelStacks program.

"This annual event, which showcases a collection of short works from a variety of established and emerging choreographers, has a festive, back-to-school vibe.”— Gia Kourlas, The New York Times


The DANCE NOW FESTIVAL, hosted by TruDee, features some of the most innovative and bold emerging and established artists. DN continues its focus on multi-generational programming, putting newcomers and veterans side by side in the signature short takes format. Nicole Vaughn-Diaz, who came to DN as a dancer for Kate Weare Company and who DN first saw as a choreographer through the RAW series, is selected by the DN team as the DANCE NOW Challenge Winner for her new work, “A Portrait of Them”.

ZviDance’s “On the Road” is re-worked for Joe’s Pub and remounted as part of its Dance-moplitan Featured Artist series, giving a challenging multi-media work built around the company retracing Jack Kerouac’s route across the country on a road trip a fresh perspective.

Chelsea Ainsworth, a white woman with long dark hair, and Doron Perk, a white man with long brown hair, are mid jump on the Joe's Pub stage. Projected images of a red barn are behind them on the wall.

Chelsea Ainswoth and Doron Perk for ZviDance, “On The Road,” 2019. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.


A male-presenting dancer is in a deep lunge, holding onto a female-presenting dancer around the waist as she is off-balance. They both have dark hair and are wearing button down shirts and slacks.

“DANCE NOW has successfully facilitated a performance space dependent on camaraderie. It’s incredibly refreshing and important in remembering what a supportive environment can be...The spirit and ingenuity the show consistently produces every year serves as a reminder, to both community and audience; to keep supporting, keep creating, and keep showing up. DN is a testament to the healing powers of art and performance.”

- Nicole Vaughan-Diaz, Dancer & Choreographer

Ryan Rouland-Smith and Nicole Vaughan-Diaz for NVD,

“a portrait of them”, 2019. Photo by Yi-Chun Wu.

2020: DN Celebrates its 25th Anniversary during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of waiting for Joe’s Pub to reopen, the team decides to create a new digital platform to host commissions, archival works, artist-to-audience celebrations and this interactive timeline. Photo of Jamal Jackson Dance by Yi-Chun Wu.


An unconventional season for unprecedented times, DANCE NOW's 25th Anniversary Season "Dancing Outside the Box" was held entirely online. Original and archived works were released in six unique chapters, featuring short dances from artists such as Alice Sheppard, Jasmine Hearn, Brendan Drake, Gus Solomons Jr, Sarah Chien, and more. These chapter releases were supported by Zoom Watch Parties and Artist-to-Audience Celebrations honoring choreographers who have made a significant impact on DANCE NOW stages.

DANCE NOW also hosted several Community Gatherings via Zoom, engaging dialogues and discourse from emerging and established dance-makers.

A female-presenting dancer, replicated three times, is in a forest. In one iteration, she is dressed in red, and sitting in a wheelchair, with her arms out to the side. In another, she is in a low side lunge, dressed in orange. In the third, she is dressed in purple with her arms raised.

Alice Sheppard's "The Marvelous Ones Live Here," 2021.


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