MOVERS & SHAPERS:
PODCAST No.90 –
Release Date: 10.24.19
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Melissa Riker is Artistic Director and Choreographer of Kinesis Project dance theatre. She is a New York City dancer and choreographer who emerged as a strong performance and creative voice as the NYC dance and circus worlds combined during the 90s. Riker’s dances and aesthetic layer her training as a classical dancer, martial artist, theatre choreographer and aerial performer. She creates dances on site – and in context. Riker invents large-scale outdoor performances and spontaneous moments of dance for individuals and corporate clients. Audiences and critics have called Riker’s work “a Marx Brothers’ routine with soul,” “A movable feast.” And from The New York Times, her choreography is: “comically acrobatic, gracefully classical, visually arresting.”
Kinesis Project is a dance organization that produces dance concerts, facilitates educational programs and creates site-specific performances with diverse communities. A company at the forefront of the international discussion of placemaking, art engagement and the cultural imperative of art in public space, Kinesis Project dance theatre invents large scale, space-changing, breath-taking experiences.
Since 2005, Kinesis Project’s work has been experienced in San Francisco, San Diego,Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Vermont, Florida and in New York City at such venerable venues as Danspace Project, Judson Church, Joyce Soho, The Minskoff Theatre, The Cunningham Studio, West End Theatre and Dixon Place. In 2019, the company’s work will be experienced in Seattle, Brooklyn, NY, Riverside Park, supported by New York City Parks, and in Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island.
The company dances outside in sculpture gardens, universities, public parks, as well as hosting more than 30 surprise performances all over New York City and the tri-state area as an element of the company’s earned income and outreach programming with volunteer populated flashmobs. Residencies include: Earthdance 2006, Omi International Arts Center 2008, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center 2011, TheaterLab 2014, Adelphi University 2014, John Jay College Rooftop, 2016 and 2017, Seattle Waterfront Park, 2018 & 2019, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, 2019, Riverside Park South, 2019.
Ms. Riker is a 2016, 2017 and 2019 CUNY Dance Initiative Residency Fellow, 2015 LMCC Community Arts Fund grantee, 2019 Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Grantee. She has been commissioned by The Brooklyn Botanic Garden for a surprise large-scale work and performances of her work Secrets and Seawalls at Omi International Arts Center, Long House Reserve, Gateway National Park in partnership with Rockaways Artist Alliance. Ms. Riker has received commissions from Carson Fox and the Ephemeral Festival in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 for large-scale outdoor events, NYU in 1998, for an outdoor work long before “flash mob” was coined, 2006 and 2008 grants from the Puffin Foundation for her work Community Movements, a dance work with community volunteers, Fellowships from the Dodge Foundation, Space Grant Residencies from 92nd St Y, The New 42nd St Studio, Gibney Dance Center, Velocity Dance Center, Seattle and The Joyce Theatre Foundation, and grants from The Bowick Family Trust and John C. Robinson to support the continued work of Kinesis Project dance theatre.
PODCAST INTERVIEW LINKS
Podcast produced by: The Moving Architects
Interviewer: Erin Carlisle Norton
Theme Music: Adam Crawley whose music can be found at djplie.com
This podcast episode is in partnership with JAM. JAM is the home of dance entrepreneur Jessica Marino, providing artist management services and industry shopping. jamdancer.com, networking for dance and bringing ideas to the spotlight.