Incorporated in 1989, New Dance Alliance (NDA) is an arts service organization whose mission is to actively promote emerging forms of innovative dance, music, video, and interdisciplinary performance. NDA’s initial aims were to support an artistic community which has limited institutional resources, and to provide that community with increased opportunities to share experimental works with the public. Today, NDA’s goals remain deeply rooted in those founding principles and have expanded in response to current artistic challenges and goals. NDA’s programming fosters artists and audiences through annual events, retreats, educational panels and performances. Our programs include Performance Mix Festival, LiftOff, Residency and Workshop program, NDA Low-Cost and Free Rehearsal Space, Karen Bernard/Solo, and 3 Femmes. Collectively these programs support the work of more than 100 experimental artists and 2,500 audience members each year.
New Dance Alliance views the function of supporting experimental performance works as carrying forward a distinct heritage of art in America. From Isadora Duncan and her shoeless dances to John Cage and his amplified toasters to Jennifer Monson and her migration projects, American artists have been privileged in their Constitutional right to defy conventions. NDA continues this American legacy by advancing performance works that challenge defined artistic genres and forms. As testimony to its efforts, NDA claims a roster of over 600 artists who have pioneered new methods in artistic creation. These artists have distinct voices within shared genres and have often gone on to become award-winning leaders in the field. Among our artists are post-modernist Douglas Dunn; hip-hop influenced Doug Elkins; the poignant and funny Keely Garfield and David Parker; emotion-driven movement experimenters Aviva Geismar, Molly O’Brien and RoseAnne Spradlin; improvisation mavericks Jennifer Monson, Yvonne Meier and Sally Silvers; collaborative movement/music artists Cherylyn Lavagnino/Andy Teirstein and Nina Winthrop/Jon Gibson; international performance artists Louise Bedard (Montreal) and La Zampa (France); culturally influenced artists Merian Soto, Marlies Yearby and Koosil-ja Hwang; multimedia dance theater artists Jane Comfort and Troika Ranch; and new generations — Chris Yon and Daniel Linehan.
NDA’s legacy of services to artists and audiences began almost three decades ago, when Karen Bernard opened up her Tribeca loft as a low- and no-fee rehearsal space. From those first moments, its programs have grown organically and in direct response to artists and audiences. The first Performance Mix Festival (1986) was groundbreaking in that it was the only festival at that time exclusively dedicated to performance art in lower Manhattan. Its continuing success is testimony to its vital necessity in New York’s cultural community. In 2010, NDA celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Performance Mix Festival. The New York arts community honored NDA’s Director Karen Bernard with a BAX10 Award for the founding and development of the Performance Mix Festival. The award acknowledges her distinct achievements, “providing emerging artists with the ingredients to continue to develop work and launch the next phase of their career, giving them the resources, exposure, and confidence they need to go forth with their individual goals.” NDA is pleased to be able to provide resources for emerging artists at critical stages in their careers and grateful to the many individual and institutional supporters who collectively make that possible.
Photo Credit: Linda Austin photo by daniel addy