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A Cast of 50 Dancers, Aged 25-85, to Gather at West Harlem Piers Park to Present a World Premiere by Six Notable Choreographers


We recently had the pleasure to join Naomi and Dances For A Variable Population in the studio in Harlem as they prepare for their upcoming Summer Solstice Celebration performances on June 20 and 21.

With dancers spanning from 25-85, it was one of the most inspiring and uplifting things ever experienced. The fervor and JOY in which they approach movement and explore all of its intricacies, limitations included, is a mission that is notable, but also celebratory.

COME Watch dance  legend Dudley Williams– he is a true testament to the idea that dance has no limits nor does it know time or age.


Using the power of dance to create community, Dances For a Variable Population (DVP), will present three performances of Solstice Steps on the days surrounding the 2014 summer solstice. Set on a cast of 50 dancers, spanning ages 25-85, the performance highlights DVP’s mission to promote strong and creative movement among adults of all ages and abilities. Solstice Steps will take place at West Harlem Piers Park as part of Riverside Park’s Summer on the Hudson series Harlem Dances. This DVP world premiere features choreography by DVP’s Founder and Artistic Director Naomi Goldberg Haas, as well as invited guests TONY-award winning choreographer George Faison and dance makers Sandra Genter, Walter Rutledge, Robin Williams and Dyane Harvey.

“Solstice is the longest day of the year—an opportunity to take in the past, sit with our thoughts and celebrate. It is a pause before embarking on the second half of the year and is semi-sweet,” explains Naomi Goldberg Haas. “Solstice Steps directly reflects the elements of this season—a look back in time and a celebration of age and evolution.”

West Harlem Piers Park audiences will have the privilege of spotting notable guest artists—Dudley Williams, 76, who danced with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for four decades, and Loretta Abbott, a founding member of the Ailey Company and an accomplished Broadway performer. Robin Williams (Uptown Dance Academy). Sandra Genter (Barnard College), Dyane Harvey (Forces of Nature Dance Company) and Walter Rutledge (writer and choreographer) will also perform alongside an impressive collection of dancers of all levels and training backgrounds on the tranquil waterfront. Senior community members in Solstice Steps are drawn from DVP’s Movement Speaks® program which provides free senior workshop classes held at locations in Harlem.

Presented by Summer on the Hudson in partnership with NYC Parks and Riverside Park Conservancy, Solstice Steps is a unique collaboration about age and celebrating the maximum expression found in dance, despite limited movement ability. Technical movement structure, filtered through a conduit of contemporary modernism, will work to weave stories in this lively and imaginative collective. Solstice Steps will have various movements—starting on the grassy riverbank at 125th Street and then leading the audience out onto the pier, moving along it until the finale on the plaza at 131st Street.

The musical score to accompany this creation will mimic the diversity of its movers, incorporating works by Ludovico Einaudi, Glen Kotche, Daniel Freeman, Otis Redding and samplings of classical, alternative, R&B and pop music.

Dances For A Variable Population will present three performances of Solstice Steps as the 2014 spotlight company of  Summer on the Hudson’s Harlem Dances series in West Harlem Piers Park:
June 20 at 6:00 p.m.
June 21 at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Admission is Free.
The park is located at Henry Hudson Parkway, West 125th Street & Marginal Street in Manhattan.
Additional details available at:


Founded in 2005 by Naomi Goldberg Haas, Dances for a Variable Population (DVP) creates performances that erases the traditional boundaries between dancers and non-dancers. The organization’s three-tiered programming includes: a multigenerational performance company that engages community members as participants and audiences; Movement Speaks® and Dances for Seniors, free, community-based programs for low-income, minority and culturally underserved older adults, which has served over 4,000 seniors; and Variable Pop Method Expressive Dance and Fitness classes, offered year-round to adults of all ages and abilities. DVP’s site-related performances have been presented in some of New York City’s most iconic public spaces, including Times Square, Washington Square Park, and the High Line. DVP has also performed at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and internationally in Poland and British Columbia.

Summer on the Hudson is Riverside Park & West Harlem Piers Park’s annual outdoor arts & culture festival that takes place from 59th street to 153rd along the Hudson River and features a mix of music concerts, dance performances, movies showings, DJ dance parties, children’s shows, special day-long events, wellness activities, and more.  All programs and events are free to the public and no registration is required. Summer on the Hudson is supported by the NYC Parks and Riverside Park Conservancy. For more information visit

The development and performance of Solstice Steps has been made possible with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and funded in part by Council Member Inez Dickens, 9th Council District, Former Speaker Christine and the New York City Council; and the New York City Department for the Aging with support from former Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. Support is also provided by the West Harlem Development Corporation; the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; and the Harlem Community Arts Fund, a program of the Harlem Arts Alliance, with funding from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.


June 20, 2014 - Posted by | CULTURE, HOLIDAY GUIDES, LIFESTYLES, opportunity, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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