American Realness



Welcome to American Realness 2018!

Welcome to the ninth year of American Realness! I am deeply grateful to Gibney Dance for presenting this program in association with Abrons Arts Center and thrilled to have The Invisible Dog Art Center, SculptureCenter, Danspace Project, Participant Inc. and Industria as presenting partners for the 2018 program! Further gratitude goes to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for their support. Additional thanks to American Realness 2018 partners Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Canada Council for the Arts, the National Performance Network, Pro Helvetia, Goethe Institut New York, Dance/NYC, The Performance Project at University Settlement, Theater magazine (Yale), Movement Research and the Association of Performing Arts Professionals. Thank you to these institutions and the individuals that manifest them, to the participating artists and their teams, to the staff and crew and audience and donors. Thank you for engaging. Thank you for your participation. We are here to bear witness to these artists, each other and ourselves in moments of shared attention. This festival is realized through our collective participation. I can’t wait to share it with you.

American Realness 2018 brings us three world premieres from Moriah Evans, keyon gaskin and Marissa Perel; four North American premieres by Antonija Livingstone & Nadia Lauro, Neal Medlyn, Michael Portnoy and Simone Aughterlony & Jen Rosenblit with Miguel Gutierrez and Colin Self; four New York City premieres by Claire Cunningham & Jess Curtis, Michelle Ellsworth, NIC Kay and Rosy Simas; and six encore engagements by nora chipaumire, Ishmael Houston-Jones & Miguel Gutierrez with Nick Hallett & Jennifer Monson, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, jumatatu m. poe & Donte Beacham, Adrienne Truscott and Mariana Valencia. Together there are eighty-nine performances of seventeen productions with worlds to experience through each artistic proposition. They ephemeral and alchemical. Get ’em while you can!

The festival additionally presents Installations from jumatatu m. poe and Rosy Simas and Process showings from Gibney Dance’s Dance in Process Resident Artists and Gibney Dance Company along with Tere O’Connor. The 2018 Discourse series highlights multiple urgent conversations on decolonizing curatorial practice hosted by Rosy Simas, Christopher K. Morgan and Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, and Michèle Steinwald and Ananya Chatterjea. Additional Discourse events include a rst time Trans Arts Professionals Forum at APAP, a discussion and reception on the Danspace Project Platform 2016: Lost and Found curated by Ishmael Houston-Jones and Will Rawls, a Dance/NYC Disability. Dance. Artistry. Town Hall with Kevin Gotkin, Claire Cunningham, Jess Curtis and Marissa Perel and a commissioned lecture performance by Thomas F. DeFrantz / SLIPPAGE.

The festival gives us multiple opening night parties and impromptu meetings to be had at every turn. And American Realness is accessible! Full details on venue accessibility can be found at

Last but certainly not least, American Realness 2018 offers two festival passes giving you discounted access to performances at Abrons Arts Center and Gibney Dance along with participating partner venues. More details HERE.

See you at the Theater! See you at the Cafe! See you at the Festival!


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Thomas Benjamin Snapp Pryor
Founder, Curator & Producer


American Realness 2018 offers two festival pass options. Both get you 5 shows for $100, offering a $5 discount on single ticket prices! It’s like buy four get one free! Indulge and get one of each.

nora chipaumire, #PUNK
NIC Kay, lil BLK
Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Séancers
Neal Medlyn, I <3 PINA
Marissa Perel, (do not) despair solo
jumatatu m. poe and Donte Beachem, Let ‘im Move You: A Study (2013/2016) and Let ‘im Move You: This Is a Success (2016)
Michael Portnoy, Relational Stalinism – The Musical
Rosy Simas, We Wait In The Darkness
Adrienne Truscott, THIS
Mariana Valencia, ALBUM

Abrons Festival Pass

Simone Aughterlony & Jen Rosenblit with Miguel Gutierrez and Colin Self, Everything Fits In The Room
Claire Cunningham & Jess Curtis, The Way You Look (at me) Tonight
Michelle Ellsworth, The Rehearsal Artist
Moriah Evans, Figuring
keyon gaskin, [a swatch of lavender]: a self portrait
Antonija Livingstone & Nadia Lauro, les études (heresies 1-7)

Gibney Festival Pass


The American Realness internship is designed for students and recent graduates looking to get hands-on production experience in a fast-paced festival setting. We are open to any availability between December 16th – January 30th. Internship Credit will be provided or where not applicable reference letters will be awarded.

This is a unique opportunity to achieve institutional intimacy and working autonomously to assist in producing this prolific festival. With a small leadership team the AR interns become key team members as we move closer into this jam packed performance festival.

All interns have the chance to enter in structured and casual dialogues with the industry professional and artists participating on the festival. Furthermore interns will have regular check-in sessions throughout the festival to further target learning opportunities and sift out potential post-internship work possibilities and career trajectories. Interns will have access to dress rehearsals and performances and festival parties.

To apply, please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Sasha Kleinplatz at with a resume or brief letter including information about your past experience, any specific areas of interest, and anticipated availability by December 15th, 2017.

If you need anymore information feel free to email


Reporting to and working closely with Production Manager, Associate Production manager and venue run crews, Production Interns will assist in various aspects of production throughout the run of the festival. Interns have the opportunity to work with professional choreographers, performers, designers, stage managers, production managers, lighting, sound and video technicians. Production activities include:

  • Assist during load in and strike with electrics, sound, video and scenery set up and dismantling
  • Assist in preparation of dressing rooms, gallery spaces and café
  • Perform run crew duties, including but not limited to follow spot operation, deck crew and wardrobe
  • Assist production stage managers, lighting supervisors and sound supervisors with changeovers between performances in a repertory schedule
  • Act as ASMs to Production Stage Managers for individual productions
  • Work with festival artists on production-specific projects
  • Interact with local production vendors


Working closely with the Producing Team, Ticketing Manager, Production Team and the Abrons Arts Centre staff. Administration Interns will manage and implement many aspects of the front of house, ticketing and artist relations.  Interns will have the opportunity to work alongside the leadership team and ensure the smooth running of the festival internally and with external partners such as Artists, Venues, Stakeholders and Volunteers. Interns can express specific focus of interest within these tasks, and will have the opportunity to work with professional choreographers, performers, managers and artistic presenters.  Administrative activities include:

  • Assisting in the creation of press and presenter packets
  • Working with the Abrons Arts Center box office staff to ensure a positive ticket pickup experience for presenters and press
  • Updating the American Realness website with press as it is released
  • Providing information to patrons and international guests at the Welcome Desk.
  • Assisting the Producing team by welcoming speakers and guests at the Discourse Program.
  • Assisting the Marketing Manager and generating social media content
  • Work with festival artists on specific requirements for their performances
  • Assist the ticketing manager before each performance to ensure that all VIP guests have assigned seats and have collected their tickets.


Volunteers are an essential part of the American Realness team helping us realize the festival to the greatest potential. In recognition for your time, we offer you a FREE ticket to an American Realness performance at Abrons Arts Centre for every shift that you complete. Becoming an American Realness volunteer offers you an opportunity to gain intimate access into the festivals working, the festival staff and artists contributing to the festival.

American Realness runs from January 9th through the 16th, 2018 at Abrons Arts Center, Gibney Dance, The Invisible Dog Art Center, SculptureCenter, Participant Inc. and more. As a Volunteer with the festival there are several different shifts that are offered. These include:

Theater Preparation:
Each volunteer shift begins ONE HOUR before the performance you are assisting. For a 7PM performance you will report to the theater by 6PM. Responsibilities include:

  • Walking through the house to pick up any programs or trash from the previous show.
  • Assisting with show “change-over” if necessary (minimal).
  • In most cases, you will have the opportunity to watch the show you assist. Because of this you cannot assist back-to-back shows.

American Realness hosts a pop-up bookshop in the lobby at Abrons where different academic journals, performance texts and other publications/merchandise are sold. The bookshop will be staffed with one volunteer at a time for the duration of the festival at Abrons. Shifts are in 3-4 hour increments. Responsibilities include:

  • Setting up and maintaining the appearance of the bookshop.
  • Tracking bookshop merchandise and sales.
  • Answering general information questions about the festival.

We are looking for volunteers with technical experience between January 2nd-10th. You do not have to be available for all of these dates to volunteer.

If you are interested in doing any sort of production work, please let us know what areas of production you are interested, any production experience you have, and what your availability is.

How do I sign up?

Please fill out this Volunteer Information Form which will be automatically sent to Volunteer Coordinator, Sasha Kleinplatz If you have any questions about the positions or your availability please don’t hesitate to reach out.

If you think you have something else to offer us please get in touch, we are always looking for talented people with skills they would like to contribute to the festival.


The Abrons Arts Center is the OBIE Award Winning performing and visual arts program of Henry Street Settlement. The Abrons supports the presentation of innovative, multi-disciplinary work; cultivates artists in all stages of their practice through educational programs, commissions, and residencies; and serves as an intersection of cultural engagement for local, national, and international audiences and arts-workers.

Each year the Abrons offers over 250 performances, 12 gallery exhibitions, 20 residencies for performing and studio artists, and 100 different classes in dance, music, theater, and visual art. The Abrons also provides New York City public schools with teaching artists, introducing more than 3,000 students to the arts.

Henry Street Settlement, founded in 1893, serves 50,000 New Yorkers each year with social service, arts and health care programs from 17 program sites on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Hang out with us.

Abrons Staff

Craig Peterson, Artistic Director
Kim Cox, Registrar
Nichi Douglas, Engagement Manager for Performance
Chantara Ellis, Engagement Manager for Visual Arts
Jon Harper, Technical Director
Carl Johnson, House Manager
Maedhbh Mc Cullagh, Managing Director
Kenny Olguin, Assistant Technical Director
Jason Ortiz, Assistant House Manager
Rose Marie Ortiz. Operations Manager
Mekala Pavlin, Administrative & Marketing Assistant
David Savoy, Audience & Performing Artists Services
Benjamin Schrier, Engagement Manager for Music
Carolyn Sickles, Director of Engagement
Christopher Watkins, Visual Arts Coordinator
Emma Zurer, Engagement Program Assistant
Jaimie Maitlin, Julia Pagan, Front Desk Receptionists
Donna Riley, Andrew Riley, Branden Langley, Ariela Richards, Box Office Associates

Abrons Arts Center programs are made possible with support from: Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, ASCAP Foundation, Irving Caesar Fund, Barbara Bell Cumming Foundation, Barker Welfare Foundation, ConEdison, Consulate General of the Netherlands, Daniel J. and Edith A. Ehrlich Foundation, Deutsche Bank, Exploring the Arts, Howard Gilman Foundation, Hyde and Watson Foundation, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust, Jerome Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Spingold Foundation, The Bulova Stetson Fund, The Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Foundation, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Peg Santvoord Foundation, Tita Cahn Trust, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Wolf Kahn and Emily Mason Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts and many indivisuals.

Gibney Dance

Gibney Dance, founded in 1991, is a trailblazing organization that brings the possibility of movement where it otherwise would not exist. Through its Center, Company and Community Action, Gibney Dance is “Making Space for Dance” in studios, on stages and in partnership with underserved shelters and schools: Gibney Dance Centers are a powerhouse of cultural support for the performing arts community and New York City itself. In 1991, Gibney Dance began leasing a studio in the historic 890 Broadway building to house Company rehearsals, and by 2011 the organization’s presence at that location had expanded to comprise an expansive eight-studio creative center. Today, with the addition of 280 Broadway, the organization directs a performing arts complex with two facilities: the Choreographic Center at 890 Broadway and the Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center at 280 Broadway. These remarkable spaces enable a robust roster of events designed to meet the needs of the dance field and audiences by fostering the creative process, encouraging dialogue and providing professional development opportunities.

Gibney Dance Company is the Center’s acclaimed resident dance ensemble, led by choreographer Gina Gibney. Since its founding in 1991, the Company has steadily developed its reputation for excellence, building a repertory of over thirty works. Now, in celebration of 25 years of achievement, Gibney Dance has re-envisioned its Company, empowering its dancers as both artists and activists. Known as Artistic Associates, these dedicated partners advance the quality of the organization’s artistry through performance, and deepen its community engagement through administrative fellowships, serving as advocates for pressing issues in the dance field.

Gibney Dance Community Action is on the leading edge of mobilizing the arts to address social justice issues. This highly respected program uses dance to help heal and empower survivors of interpersonal violence through multiple platforms, including Movement Workshops for domestic violence survivors; Global Community Action Residencies that share the program’s model and practices internationally; the Community Action Hub at 280 Broadway and its resources for social change-minded artists; and Advocacy Initiatives that spread awareness and mobilize artists to respond to social issues


email: AmericanRealness(@)gmail(.)com
snail mail: 181 Hawthorne Street #4G Brooklyn, NY 11225


Thomas Benjamin Snapp Pryor, Founder, Curator, & Producer
Ali Rosa-Salas, Associate Curator
Sarah Lurie, Production Manager
Aaron Minerbrook, Assistant Production Manager
Bek Berger, Associate Producer, Artist Services & External Relations
Debbie Huang, Ticket Services Manager
Sasha Kleinplatz, Artist Services Liaison
Marin Sander-Holzman / Marin Media Lab, Festival Media Producer
Ian Douglas, Festival Photographer
Gabrielle Weinstein, Experimental Production Stage Manager
Olivia Edery, Experimental Lighting Supervisor
Courteney Leggett, Playhouse Production Stage Manager
Joseph Wolfslau, Playhouse & Festival Sound Supervisor
Katie Hesketh, Underground Production Stage Manager
Elizabeth Stewart, Underground Lighting Supervisor
Heather Motz, Underground Sound Supervisor


Thomas Benjamin Snapp Pryor (curator & producer) is an independent arts manager, producer and curator operating under the moniker tbspMGMT. He has produced and toured dance and performance works by Miguel Gutierrez, Trajal Harrell, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Yvonne Meier, Wally Cardona with Jennifer Lacey and Deborah Hay to venues and festivals including Festival d’Automne, Centre Pompidou, ImPulsTanz, Festival Transameriques, TanzImAugust, Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, Walker Art Center, MCA Chicago, and Portland Institute of Contemporary Art’s Time Based Art Festival among others. In 2010 Pryor created American Realness, an annual festival of dance and contemporary performance at the Abrons Arts Center in New York, NY. The program has been cited as “a stronghold of forward-thinking, category-defying performance” by the New York Times and was #1 in ArtForum’s Best of Dance 2010. Previously Pryor worked as Director of Operations for Center for Performance Research, an Artist Representative at Pentacle, a project manager for Chez Bushwick and in the Planning and Development department at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Ben served as chair of the Agents Council and Trustee for Dance USA from 2008-2010. He was the recipient of the 2010 Gabriela Tudor Fellowship in Cultural Management. He has served as a panelist/reader for CEC ArtsLink, the Jerome Foundation, Creative Capital and the National Endowment for the Arts and has been a guest lecturer for NYU Performance Studies, The New School and at the National Dance Center in Bucharest, Romania.

Ali Rosa-Salas (Associate Curator) is an independent curator from Brooklyn, NY. She has curated exhibitions and produced public programs for AFROPUNK, Barnard Center for Research on Women, Danspace Project, Knockdown Center, MoCADA, TOP RANK Magazine, and Weeksville Heritage Center. Ali is currently an MA candidate at the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University and the Artist Services Manager at BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange.


Bek Berger (External Relations Manager) is an creative producer from Melbourne, Australia currently based nowhere in particular. For the last six months she has been gallivanting around Europe working as a producer for live art festivals specially Forest Fringe and Fierce Festival. In 2014/2015 Bek undertook a Early Career Residency at Arts House (AUS) assisting with international collaborations and curating a series Supper Club events which critiquing the Australian Cultural context. Bek has lead various conversation projects dealing with cultural and artistic identity which can be found at Previous professional appointments include Associate Producer at Forest Fringe, UK (2015), Assistant Producer at Fierce Festival UK (2015) Marketing Coordinator of Dance Massive (2014/2015), Associate Producer of Aphids (2011-2015), Greenie-in-Residence at Lucy Guerin Inc (2015) and Marketing Manager/Development Manager at La Mama Melbourne (2014). When Bek isn’t collaborating on contemporary performance festivals, she can be seen as performing as her alter ego DJ HOT SAUCE.



American Realness is pleased to invite national and international professional colleagues to register for discounted tickets to festival performances. Contact Ticket Services Manager, Debbie Huang at AmericanRealness(@)gmail(.)com for more information.


More details coming soon.