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CUNY Dance Initiative, John Jay College and Kinesis Project dance theatre present In Persistence of Memory

by Michelle Tabnick
July 19, 2016
New York, NY
CUNY Dance Initiative and John Jay College, in collaboration with Kinesis Project dance theatre present In Persistence of Memory, a lush outdoor performance shaped specifically for the gorgeous rooftop plaza at John Jay College, 860 11th Avenue, NYC on July 27 and 28, 2016 at 7pm. Tickets are $25 online at www.kinesisproject.eventbrite.com/?aff=MT, or $30 at the door.

The performance utilizes beautiful, fierce, expansive, playful and gestural movement to pursue the imperfection of memory. Through the choreography of bodies, image, space and sound on the open-air rooftop terrace, the dance unfolds before the audience. Riker has created a full experience with live music, vibrant costumes by designer Asa Thornton and hundreds of feet of fabric cut by visual artist Celeste Cooning.

Kinesis Project dance theater has been called “a moveable feast, in more ways than one” by critic Eva Yaa Assantwaa.

Kinesis Project dance theatre's residency at John Jay College is part of the CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI), which is supported by The Mertz Gilmore Foundation, New York Community Trust, Howard Gilman Foundation, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, and the Harkness Foundation for Dance. CDI is spearheaded and administered by The Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College. In Persistence of Memory originated as a commission by Adelphi University’s Ephemeral Festival.

Melissa Riker is the Artistic Director and Choreographer of Kinesis Project dance theatre, celebrating its 10th Season in 2015. 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 90’s. Riker’s dances and esthetic layer her training as a classical dancer, martial artist, theatre choreographer and aerial performer. She creates dances on site - and in context. She invents large-scale out-door 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." Her work has been seen and supported nationally, in numerous residencies and NYC seasons including Danspace Project, Judson Church, Joyce Soho, West End Theatre and Dixon Place, outdoors in sculpture gardens, Ft. Tryon Park and since 2006 in Battery Park’s Bosque Gardens.

In 2016 her work in collaboration with Architect Lee Skolnick, Secrets and Seawalls will be seen in 4 different locations over 10 performances in New York City and surrounding areas.

Ms. Riker is a 2016 CUNY Dance Initiative Resident, an Artist in Residence at Nord Anglia International School in the East Village, 2015 LMCC Community Arts Fund grantee and was commissioned by Adelphi University and Brooklyn Botanic Garden for large-scale dance works in 2015. Melissa is the founding producer of Women in Motion, an organization dedicated to forwarding, celebrating and producing female choreographers. www.kinesisproject.com

Visual artist Celeste Cooning is best known for creating grand, elegant installations for city parks, storefronts, stage productions, and various celebrations. 2013 marked the transformation of the artist’s signature cut paper aesthetic into a permanent outdoor sculpture for the City of Seattle through 1% for Public Art. Other commissions inhabit Starbucks Headquarters, Theo Chocolate, and Harborview Medical Center. Collaborative endeavors continue to bring the work into new arenas. Ultimately, these ethereal constructions strive to cultivate wonder, spark imagination, and nurture joy. Cooning’s studio practice continues to flourish with support from LIMEshift, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, 4Culture, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and Sound Transit.

The CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI) is a new residency program that opens the doors of CUNY campuses to New York City choreographers and dance companies. Developed in response to the shortage of affordable rehearsal space in New York City, CDI aims to support local artists, enhance college students’ cultural life and education, and build new audiences for dance at CUNY performing arts centers.

In 2016, 12 CUNY colleges in all five boroughs are hosting 23 artists, from emerging choreographers to established dance companies. In addition to providing space for artists to create work, the residencies include master classes and open rehearsals specifically for students, plus showings and performances for the public.


The CUNY Dance Initiative receives major support from The Mertz Gilmore Foundation, New York Community Trust and the Howard Gilman Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Jerome Robbins Foundation and the Harkness Foundation for Dance. CDI is spearheaded and administered by The Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College.

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.
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