American Realness



American Realness, participating artists, collaborating institutions and partners acknowledge that we are gathered on the unceded land of the Lenape peoples. We ask you to join in acknowledging the Lenapehoking community, their elders both past and present, as well as future generations.

American Realness further acknowledges that it was founded upon legacies of unchecked exclusions and erasures of many Indigenous peoples, including those on whose land this institution is located. This acknowledgement demonstrates a commitment to beginning the process of working to dismantle the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism.

This Land Acknowledgement was created using the Guide to Indigenous Land and Territorial Acknowledgements for Cultural Institutions developed by Felicia Garcia (Chumash) which is directly impacted by the work of Lenape Center, American Indian Community House, Rick Chavolla, Emily Johnson, the New Red Order (NRO) have been doing with regard to land acknowledgements in Lenapehoking.

Welcome to American Realness 2019!

It is the 10-Year-Anniversary of the festival! I am thrilled, to be presenting this anniversary program in partnership with Abrons Arts Center, Association of Performing Arts Professionals, BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, BlakDance, The Chocolate Factory Theater, Consulate General of Canada in New York, Cultural Services of the Québec Government Office in New York, Danspace Project, First Nations Dialogue, Freehand New York, Gibney, Global First Nations Performance Network, JACK, La MaMa, Live Arts Bard, New York Live Arts, Pepatián, Performance Space New York, The Performance Project at University Settlement and Yale journal Theater.

With a performance program featuring world premieres from Miguel Gutierrez, Perel and Sujata Goel, and US premieres from Ellen Furey & Malik Nashad Sharpe, Daina Ashbee, and Mariaa Randall, alongside encore engagements of acclaimed works from Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble, Gillian Walsh, nora chipaumire, Marjani Forté-Saunders, Reggie Wilson / Fist & Heel Performance Group, Jack Ferver, Juliana F. May, and jumatatu m. poe, American Realness presents fifty-nine performances of sixteen performance works from seventeen artists over ten days at twelve venues in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx.

Across the Performance, Discourse and Process programs American Realness 2019 highlights Emily Johnson’s KIN, presented by Performance Space New York in partnership with BlakDance, and Global First Nations Performance Network as a part of First Nations Dialogues. First Nations Dialogues is a series of Indigenous-led performances, discussions, workshops, meetings, and ceremony taking place across New York City in January 2019. KIN centers radical forms of care, consent, reciprocity, and love. For KIN, Johnson invites First Nation Australian artists; Mariaa Randall, Paola Balla and Genevieve Grieves, and local NYC-based elder Muriel Miguel from the Kuna and Rappahannock Nations to share performance works and related conversations, engaging practices of kinship and power. These artists and their Indigenous knowledge systems work through generosity and acknowledgment of present and past to transmute injustice and grief. They offer a commitment and ask for participation toward a shared, healing future.

For the 2019 Discourse series, American Realness and the Yale journal Theater have co-commissioned five original lecture performances addressing questions of creative practice and protest. Curated by Tom Sellar, the collection of lecture performances titled Bodies on the Gears will be published in a forthcoming edition of Theater. The artists and writers include Dr. des. Nana Adusei-Poku, Noah Fischer, madison moore, Jackson Polys, and Karyn Recollet. Gibney and Cultural Services of the Québec Government Office in New York will host a book launch for Curating Live Arts. The Discourse series also highlights the panel discussion Artists Building a Code of Ethics in the Era of #MeToo presented by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals with panelists Elaina Di Monaco, Laura T. Fisher, Emily Marks, Imani Uzuri, Taja Will, and facilitator Michèle Steinwald.; and KIN Conversations, an accumulative series of three conversations presented by Paola Balla, Genevieve Grieves and Emily Johnson at Performance Space New York with First Nations Dialogues, BlakDance and Global First Nations Performance Network.

The 2019 Process program, takes American Realness to The Bronx for Pepatián ~ Bronx Artists Now: Showcase and Conversation organized by Dr. Jane Gabriels of Pepatián in partnership with Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture and BronxArtsSpace. The showcases are co-curated with Beatrice Capote and Maleek Washington. The 2019 Process program also features Muriel Miguel—one of the founders of the legendary Indigenous women’s theater company Spiderwoman Theater— offering the Pulling Threads Fabric Workshop is open to female identified people only.

I am honored and humbled to be organizing these artists, ideas, institutions and conversations into a dynamic and immersive, performative and discursive festival. Please engage in the practices and perspectives on offer. Over the past ten years American Realness has become an internationally recognized platform for the discovery of new dance and performance works from subversive artists, tearing at the boundaries of their forms. With each year, American Realness commands attention for the proliferation of choreographic and performative practices transcending the traditions and rewriting the definitions of American dance and performance. The 2019 festival invites artists with whom the festival was founded alongside new voices and perspectives. Join us in celebrating our nascent history, and local, national and international impact, as we experience new and revisit celebrated works, delve into creative process, and engage in urgent, necessary, overdue and inspiring dialogue.

I can’t wait to see you at the shows!

Thomas Benjamin Snapp Pryor

American Realness is part of JanArtsNYC, one of the largest and most influential gatherings of its kind. Each January more than 45,000 performing arts leaders, artists, and enthusiasts from across the globe converge in New York City for over 1,500 world-class showcases, concerts, and public performances. JanArtsNYC is the world’s most comprehensive platform for celebrating and experiencing the newest work by artists in theater, dance, opera, music, and performance. Promotional support provided by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Freehand New York is the Official Hotel of American Realness 2019.

Abrons Arts Center

Abrons Arts Center is a home for contemporary interdisciplinary arts in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood. A core program of the Henry Street Settlement, Abrons believes that access to the arts is essential to a free and healthy society. Through performance presentations, exhibitions, education programs and residencies, Abrons mobilizes communities with the transformative power of art.

Association of Performing Arts Professionals

The Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) is the national service, advocacy and membership organization for presenters of the performing arts and the convener of APAP|NYC, the world’s leading gathering of performing arts professionals, every January in New York City. APAP is dedicated to developing and supporting a robust performing arts industry and the professionals who work within it.

BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance

Crowned “a funky and welcoming performance space” by The New York Times, BAAD! is a performance and workshop space that presents cutting-edge works in dance and all creative disciplines empowering to women, Latinos and people of color and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community. BAAD! is home to Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre (AATT) and the Bronx Dance Coalition and was founded by Arthur Aviles and Charles Rice-Gonzalez in 1998 in Hunts Point. BAAD! moved to Westchester Square in October 2013 to a gothic revivalist building on the grounds of St. Peter’s Church.

BlakDance, Australia

For over a decade, BlakDance has consistently delivered generative and transformative sector events and advocates for the development of the small to medium Indigenous dance sector. BlakDance prioritises independent artists and emerging small to medium companies. BlakDance works nationally and has a dedicated multiyear program. We provide managing and producing artist and presenter services and sector advocacy. We design, produce and deliver; Dana Waranara, National Indigenous Dance Forum, BlakDance Presenter Series, Producer Development Program, First Nations Dialogues New York, Global First Nations Exchange and BlakDance Residency Program.

The Chocolate Factory Theater

The Chocolate Factory Theater exists to encourage and support artists in their process of inquiry. We engage specifically with a community of artists who challenge themselves and, in doing so, challenge us. We believe that by supporting the labor of these artists, we contribute to elevating New York City as a thriving and more equitable marketplace of ideas. The Chocolate Factory embraces artistic practice as an integral part of the artist’s whole life, an essential component of the life of our community and a key element of a larger national and international artistic dialogue. As such, we host artists as our equal partners with shared autonomy, trust and appreciation. While we seek to make big ideas and extended relationships possible, we commit to working at a small, intimate and personal scale, with few artistic compromises or boundaries. We achieve all of this by creating a vessel for artistic experimentation through a residency package serving the whole artist – salary, space, responsive and flexible support for the development of new work from inspiration to presentation.

Consulate General of Canada in New York

Cultural Services of the Québec Government Office in New York

The Québec Government Office in New York is Québec’s primary representation in the United States. The Office promotes the interests of Québec in the following sectors: business, investment, government institutions, education, culture and public affairs. Inaugurated in 1940, the Office serves the Mid Atlantic region, which includes eight states.

Danspace Project

Danspace Project presents new work in dance, supports a diverse range of choreographers in developing their work, encourages experimentation, and connects artists to audiences. Now in its fourth decade, Danspace Project has supported a vital community of contemporary dance artists in an environment unlike any other in the United States. Located in the historic St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, Danspace shares its facility with the Church, The Poetry Project, and New York Theatre Ballet. Danspace Project’s Commissioning Initiative has commissioned over 570 new works since its inception in 1994.

First Nations Dialogues

Organized by Emily Johnson/Catalyst, Vallejo Gantner and BlakDance, the First Nations Dialogues Lenapehoking New York, is a series of Indigenous led performances, discussions, workshops and ceremony. First Nations Dialogues 2019 kick-starts the development of the groundbreaking Global First Nations Performance Network (GFNPN). First Nations Dialogues is led by a transnational consortium of Emily Johnson/Catalyst (USA), Vallejo Gantner (USA), BlakDance (AUS), Jacob Boehme (AUS), ILBIJERRI Theatre Company (AUS) and Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (CAN).

Freehand New York

Located in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, Freehand New York is housed in the former George Washington Hotel—once home to many storied writers, musicians and creatives. Designed by Roman and Williams, featuring custom-commissioned artwork by Bard College students and alumni throughout and offering fellowships for multi-disciplinary artists-in-residence at the hotel, Freehand is revitalizing the artistic community in a historic NY neighborhood.


Over the course of almost 27 years, Gibney has evolved from a socially active dance company with a single dance studio to a two-location performing arts and social justice powerhouse. Gibney’s mission is to tap into the vast potential of movement, creativity, and performance to effect social change and personal transformation.

Global First Nations Performance Network

The Global First Nations Performance Network is a pilot initiative focused on cultural change through commissioning, touring and presenting Indigenous performance, building demand and capacity for the presenting sector.


JACK’s mission is to fuel experiments in art and activism, collaborating with adventurous artists and our neighbors to bring about a just and vibrant society.


A partnership among independent multidisciplinary festivals, indispensable industry convenings and international marketplaces, JanArtsNYC is one of the largest and most influential gatherings of its kind. Each January more than 45,000 performing arts leaders, artists, and enthusiasts from across the globe converge in New York City for over 1,500 world-class showcases, concerts, and public performances. JanArtsNYC is the world’s most comprehensive platform for celebrating and experiencing the newest work by artists in theater, dance, opera, music, and performance.

La MaMa

La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club is New York’s premier Off Off Broadway venue, celebrating works that push the boundaries of language and culture, and showcasing cutting-edge talent from around the globe.In 2018, The American Theatre Wing presented La MaMa with the Regional Theatre Tony Award recognizing it as “the influential company that helped give birth to the Off Off Broadway movement.” La MaMa has also been honored with 30+ Obie Awards, dozens of Drama Desk and Bessie Awards and Villager Awards.


Live Arts Bard (LAB) is the residency and commissioning program of the Fisher Center at Bard College, a world-class destination for new productions and rediscoveries of music, dance, theater, and performance in New York’s Hudson Valley. LAB provides a vital home for rising and established artists to create intellectually- and socially-engaged works for local and global communities. Currently in its seventh year, LAB has supported over 50 projects, with many of those projects continuing their life in over 70 cities worldwide. The Freehand Hotel in Flatiron is the NYC home of Fisher Center artists-in-residence.

Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) encompasses the key economic and creative sectors of film, TV, theater, music, advertising, publishing, and digital content. In total, these sectors account for over 305,000 jobs, and an economic output of $104 billion. MOME also oversees NYC Media, the largest municipal broadcasting entity in the country including five TV channels and a radio station with a reach of 18 million viewers in a 50-mile radius. The Office of Nightlife, established in 2018, is also housed at MOME.

New York Live Arts

New York Live Arts is a center of diverse artists devoted to body-based investigation that transcends barriers between and within communities led by world-renowned artist Bill T. Jones. We are a place that brings people together to explore common values through live gathering and performance reminding us of our humanity and elevating the human spirit.


Pepatián is a South Bronx-based organization dedicated to creating, producing and supporting contemporary multi-disciplinary art by Latino and Bronx-based artists.

Performance Space New York

Performance Space New York provides incomparable experiences for audiences by presenting and commissioning artists whose work challenges boundaries of live performance. Performance Space New York is dedicated to supporting the creative risks taken by artists from diverse genres, cultures and perspectives. We are an innovative local, national and international leader in contemporary performance.

The Performance Project at University Settlement

The Performance Project answers the call to mentor, encourage, and diversify our art makers, leaders, educators and students. University Settlement is a 130 year-old cultural kitchen that is deeply rooted in our community, and the arts are represented across our entire body of work. Our creative community development approach fosters a sense of belonging, reciprocity and possibility for creative leaders from all walks of life at every stage in their development.

Theater Magazine (Yale School of Drama)

Since 1968 Theater has been the most informative, serious, and imaginative North American journal available to readers interested in contemporary theater and performance. Published by Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre and Duke University Press, Theater commissions and publishes artistic dossiers, essays, polemics, reviews, interviews, and play and performance texts from a wide range of global artists and authors. Edited by Tom Sellar since 2003, recent special issues have covered site-specific performance, digital dramaturgies, surveillance and performance, futurism and performance, contemporary Brazilian drama, theater and nationalism, postglobal dance, and the curation of performance. The journal also curates live events on the Yale campus and beyond, in association with theaters, festivals, universities, and other partners.


email: AmericanRealness(@)gmail(.)com
snail mail: 87 Robinson Avenue, Glen Cove, New York 11542


Thomas Benjamin Snapp Pryor, Founder, Curator, & Producer
Tom Sellar, 2019 Discourse Curator
Ian Douglas, Festival Photographer


Thomas Benjamin Snapp Pryor (Founder, Curator & Producer) From 2010-2016, Thomas Benjamin Snapp Pryor worked as an independent curator and producer under the moniker tbspMGMT, through which he produced and toured contemporary performance works by Miguel Gutierrez, Trajal Harrell, Ishmael Houston- Jones/Dennis Cooper/Chris Cochrane, Yvonne Meier, Wally Cardona/Jennifer Lacey/Jonathan Bepler and Deborah Hay to venues and festivals including Festival d’Automne, Centre Pompidou, ImPulsTanz, Festival TransAmeriques, Tanz Im August, Kampnagel, Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Walker Art Center, among others. Pryor has managed over 150 performance engagements in sixteen countries since 2010. Pryor created American Realness, an annual festival of dance and contemporary performance in January 2010. The festival has since become a launching pad for artists entering the national and international performing arts field. Pryor has since been a guest curator with institutions including Centre National de la Danse, Theatre Garonne, Les Subsistances, Wiener Festwochen and Hollins University. From 2016-2018 Pryor worked as the Director of Performance and Residency Programs at Gibney. Pryor has served as a panelist for CEC ArtsLink, the Jerome Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Creative Capital and the National Endowment for the Arts and has been a guest lecturer for NYU Performance Studies, Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University, The New School, Marymount Manhattan College and at the National Dance Center in Bucharest, Romania.

Tom Sellar, (2019 Discourse Curator) a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and curator, is editor of the Yale journal Theater and professor in the practice of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale University.



Accessibility details for each partner venue coming soon.

Abrons Arts Center

Association of Performing Arts Professionals / Hilton Hotel Midtown

BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance

Bronx Arts Space

The Chocolate Factory Theater

Danspace Project


Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture


La MaMa

New York Live Arts

Performance Space New York

The Performance Project at University Settlement