CUNY Dance Initiative Announces Winter 2024 Performances And New Call For Applications

January 4, 2024

The CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI), an expansive program providing NYC choreographers and dance companies with creative residencies on CUNY college campuses.

Announces public performances in winter 2024 and the next open call for applications. CDI is also pleased to announce expanded support from the Howard Gilman Foundation.

CUNY Dance Initiative, now in its 10th year, is underwriting residencies for 23 early- to mid-career choreographers at 13 CUNY colleges and three partner arts organizations in all five boroughs. While providing access to CUNY studios and stages is the driving force for CDI, the program has always recognized the need to accompany the space grant with an artist stipend. With expanded, multiyear support from the Howard Gilman Foundation, CDI is pleased to be able to significantly increase its baseline honorarium to resident artists going forward.

CDI residencies are in full swing this winter with public performances by A Palo Seco Flamenco Company, ZCO/DANCEPROJECT, Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre, and Kizuna Dance scheduled for February and March 2024.Details on these performances, including three premieres, are below. Many artists are also working in CUNY studios, rehearsing and developing new projects, including Nora Alami, Les Ballet Afrik, CocoMotion / NuTribe Dance Company, Gotham Dance Theater, Orlando Hernández, Sloka Iyengar, Camille J., Enya Kalia Creations / Enya-Kalia Jordan, LayeRhythm, Sekou McMiller and Friends, Rachna Nivas, onCUE Chronicles / Quilan Arnold, Passion Fruit Dance Company,and Hussein Smko.

CDI also announces an open call for applications for its next residency cycle. Applications can be submitted between January 11 and February 15, 2024. All NYC-based choreographers and dance companies are invited to apply. CDI supports residencies that are for rehearsal only, or may culminate in a public performance, and all awards include an honorarium in addition to the space grant. CDI, via its consortium of CUNY colleges and arts organizations, expects to award 22 to 24 residencies from July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025.

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More information about the residencies and application is on CDI’s website:


A Palo Seco Flamenco Company

Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture (Bronx)

Saturday, February 3, at 7:30 pm

$10 general / $8 seniors / $5 students & youth

Described as”a feast for the eyes and the ears” (Theatre OnLine), A Palo Seco Flamenco Company seeks out new possibilities between traditional forms and contemporary perspectives. The company’s name, “A Palo Seco,” comes from a phrase that refers to a bare-bones style of flamenco music, and captures the emotional rawness at the heart of flamenco. The performance at Hostos features some of the company’s most lauded repertoire, plus a preview of Fieras, a powerful new work that conveys the struggles and strengths of survivors of abuse. 


The Memory Variations (world premiere)

Jamaica Performing Arts Center (Queens)

Friday, February 16, at 7:30 pm


ZCO/DANCEPROJECT, a physically-integrated company dedicated to the inclusion of people with disabilities in dance and society, premieres The Memory Variations. Choreographed by Chris Heller, this piece explores the resonance of memories—both joyous and challenging—to illuminate the essence of our shared experiences. The program will also include works by Zazel-Chavah O’Garra, Wendy Ann Powell Rush Johnson and Maguette Camera that reflect on the theme of memory. ZCO/DANCEPROJECT’s residency at Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning is held in partnership with York College.

Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre

Habit Formed (world premiere)

BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center (Manhattan)

Friday-Saturday, March 1-2, at 7:30 pm

$40 / $30 students

Join Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre on a journey that unpacks how we can be empowered by our habits, not impaired by them. Choreographed by Amanda Selwyn, and using a playful, athletic, and sensuous movement vocabulary, Habit Formed explores how habits are created and broken in our lives, and the many shapes these structures and patterns can take.

Kizuna Dance

FATHER ABSENCE | MOTHER MA (world premiere)

Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College (Manhattan)

Saturday, March 16, at 7:00 pm

$25 / $20 students

Kizuna Dance creates works using the similarities and divergences—linguistic, historical, aesthetic—between the American and Japanese cultures as primary drivers. For the company’s 10-year anniversary in 2024, Kizuna Dance premieres a deeply personal work by Artistic Director Cameron McKinney. A way of processing the recent death of his birth father who abandoned his family at a young age, FATHER ABSENCE | MOTHER MA brings a hyperphysical focus to the Japanese concept of “ma,” or the possibilities inherent in the empty spaces between objects and bodies. Through a movement language that blends street dance styles, capoeira, and contemporary floorwork, the work will explore the multiversity of loss and the emotional residue of being left behind. 

The CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI)

The CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI) is a transformative incubator that secures two vital yet scarce resources—rehearsal time and performance space—for New York City choreographers and dance companies. 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 was developed in response to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s 2010 report, “We Make Do,” which cited how destabilizing the shortage of affordable rehearsal space in New York City is to the dance sector. Since its launch in 2014, CDI has facilitated 220 residencies at 13 CUNY colleges in all five boroughs, granted more than 11,000 hours of studio and stage time to artists; sponsored workshops and master classes for more than 5,000 students; and attracted more than 20,000 New Yorkers to performances and showings at CUNY performing arts centers.

In addition to working with 13 CUNY colleges, CDI also partners with three arts organizations in the boroughs: Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden (Staten Island); Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (Queens); and Brooklyn Arts Exchange (Brooklyn).

The program is spearheaded by the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College. Alyssa Alpine has been the director of the CUNY Dance Initiative since its founding in 2014.

The CUNY Dance Initiative receives major support from the Howard Gilman Foundation and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation. Additional support is provided by the 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.

More information about the CUNY Dance Initiative is available at 

Photo credit: Amore, Chirstopher Williams.

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