Periapsis Music and Dance believes in the artists of today and in the body of work that they are creating. The extraordinary choreographers and composers of our time have the vision, voice, and skill to create collaborative works of intrinsic artistic value worthy of performance, study, and preservation. Our mission is to cultivate this new concert repertoire at the intersection of dance and music by actively contributing to it with our ensemble and by facilitating and encouraging such collaborations in the community.
This is an exciting time for music/dance collaborations! Individuals throughout the arts world are rediscovering the invigorating creative energy that comes when choreographers and composers collaborate, and when dancers can perform with live music. And artists and audiences alike are reveling in the new visual, musical, and theatrical possibilities that come with such combinations. But beyond discrete performance projects, a handful of grantmakers, and the mission of some individual artists, no organization has stepped forward to treat this burgeoning genre in a comprehensive way, both as a laboratory for artistic exploration and as a community resource. This is the role Periapsis is taking on as we expand.
Periapsis Music and Dance was founded in the fall of 2012 by composer/pianist Jonathan Howard Katz and dancer/choreographer Leigh Schanfein in response to the growing gap between dance performance and live musical performance in the NYC arts scene. Inspired by our own experiences creating art together, we wanted to give others in the dance and music communities opportunities to collaborate on new performance pieces. Jonathan and Leigh created several new repertoire works together, including two that they had first developed pre-Periapsis, as well as some pieces with other collaborators.
As we began our third season, we welcomed choreographers Erin Dillon and Hannah Weber to our company. Erin had been a guest choreographer in our first season, and Hannah started with us as a featured dancer in Laid upon the children. Both participated in the ensemble as dancers, too, and the contrast between their unique artistic styles enriched our growing repertoire. Leigh departed from the ensemble in the winter of 2015, and our core company coalesced into an ensemble of roughly six dancers and six musicians.
From our fourth season on, we’ve focused on two equally important areas. First, we’ve been building our own artistic voice and our own repertoire, creating a wide variety of work with our resident artists and commissioned guests and becoming recognized as a leader in interdisciplinary artistic creation. And second, we’ve formalized and expanded programs that serve the larger dance and music communities—the Periapsis Open Series, the Emerging Artist Residencies, and our online resources—and that are making a positive impact in New York City and beyond.
Further shifts took place in 2020-2021, as Hannah relocated to the southeast, and Erin left to pursue other genres of performance. Rohan Bhargava and Evita Zacharioglou, both company dancers, became resident choreographers, and Annie Nikunen joined the ensemble, making her debut in 2021 as choreographer, composer, dancer, and flutist, all at the same time. The company continues to evolve, and our artistic voice is honed by each new collaborator.
Please explore our website to learn more, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter and connect on social media to stay informed!
Tra:verse Re:verse, the first piece on our first program, February 2013. Photo by Lucas Chilczuk.
Periapsis Music and Dance is a partner of Inception to Exhibition (ITE) and a presenter partner of Composers Now.
Our repertoire contains work by the following choreographers:
Joshua Beamish, Rohan Bhargava, Janis Brenner, PeiJu Chien-Pott, Seán Curran, Norbert De La Cruz III, Erin Dillon, Da’ Von Doane, Wendell Gray II, Alia Kache, Gabrielle Lamb, Zara Lawler, Miro Magloire, Annie Nikunen, Leigh Schanfein, Helen Simoneau, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Annalee Traylor, Manuel Vignoulle, Hannah Weber, Hee Ra Yoo, and Evita Zacharioglou
and the following composers:
Kati Agócs, Leah Asher, Bach-Busoni, Richard Carrick, Elliott Carter, James Holt, Shawn Jaeger, Jonathan Howard Katz, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, Annie Nikunen, Hilary Purrington, Spencer Robelen, Asha Srinivasan, and Harry Stafylakis
We’ve performed at the following venues:
Jacob’s Pillow Dance, Symphony Space, Mark Morris Dance Center, GK ArtsCenter, Roulette, Kumble Theater at LIU Brooklyn, Ballet Hispanico, Arts On Site, Spectrum, Peridance Capezio Center, Soapbox Gallery, ShapeShifter Lab, Steps on Broadway, Dixon Place, Elebash Hall, the Actors Fund Arts Center, the Secret Theatre, LeFrak Concert Hall (Queens College), Opperman Music Hall (Florida State University)
For a rundown of the artists we’ve presented through our service programs, visit our services page.