Christopher Williams to Reimagine Legendary Ballets As Queer Works of Art at The Joyce Theater

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Christopher Williams to Reimagine Legendary Ballets As Queer Works of Art at The Joyce Theater

The Joyce Theater Foundation will honor the conclusion of Pride 2022 with the Joyce debut of boundary-shattering movement artist Christopher Williams. The New York premiere of selections from his series of queer interpretations of renowned classical ballets will play The Joyce Theater from June 28-July 3. Tickets, ranging in price from $10-$55, can be purchased at www.Joyce.org, or by calling JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800. Please note: ticket prices are subject to change. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue at West 19th Street. For more information and to read about The Joyce Theater’s detailed health and safety protocols, including required face-coverings and proof of vaccination policies, please visit www.Joyce.org.

Known for his sprawling visual imagination and unending capacity for cross-discipline collaboration, Christopher Williams makes his Joyce debut this summer with the New York premiere of his own queer versions of beloved Ballet Russes works. New York City Ballet principal dancer Taylor Stanley leads a cast of acclaimed contemporary dancers, both as “Queen of the Sylphs” in Williams’s reimagining of Les Sylphides, as well as performing the title role in his new version of Nijinsky’s The Afternoon of a Faun. The evening also continues a longstanding collaborative artistic relationship between Williams, costume designer Andrew Jordan, and lighting designer Joe Levasseur. Infused with a queer perspective and Williams’ distinct personal style stemming from contemporary dance, these legendary pieces are re-envisioned for a modern world that can embrace tradition and radical change in one fell swoop.

Christopher Williams is a choreographer, dancer, and puppet artist who has created over thirty-five original and collaborative works in New York City and abroad since 1999. In addition to touring nationally and internationally, his works have also been presented in New York City venues including Lincoln Center, New York City Center, New York Live Arts, Danspace Project, Dance Theater Workshop, La MaMa, P.S. 122, HERE Arts Center, 92nd Street Y, and many more. Christopher was named a choreography fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2021, with previous fellowships awarded by The New York Foundation for the Arts, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The Center for Ballet and the Arts, and the Bogliasco Foundation for multiple residencies at the Liguria Study Center for Arts & Humanities. In 2017, he was named an honoree of Exploring the Metropolis after receiving their Choreographer + Composer Residency, with a host of additional creative residencies, including at Yaddo, The Yard, Marble House Project, Kaatsbaan Culture Park, Chautauqua Institution, Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, New York Live Arts, Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies, via Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Bainbridge Dance Center, the Anderson Center, and HERE Arts Center. Most notable among his many collaborations with distinguished artists are a production of Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Dardanus with director Michel Fau and musical director Raphaël Pichon at the Opéra Royal du Château de Versailles, which won the Grand Prix du Syndicat de la Critique 2015 in the category of “Best Spectacle Lyrique of the Year”; and The Bolshoi Theater production of Henry Purcell’s The Indian Queen in a new adaptation directed by Peter Sellars, which garnered five Golden Mask Awards. As a performer, he has danced for Douglas Dunn + Dancers, Rebecca Lazier, Tere O’Connor Dance, Yoshiko Chuma & the School of Hard Knocks, John Kelly, Sally Silvers, and Mina Nishimura, among many others. As a puppeteer, he has worked with Dan Hurlin and the award-winning master puppeteer Basil Twist, both serving as the Ballet Captain for the puppets’ choreography, as well as developing roles in his versions of the ballets Petrushka and The Rite of Spring, among others.

A curious “alchemist of theatre” aiming to transcend boundaries between a variety of art forms, Christopher continues to hone a distinctive personal style that combines contemporary dance with visual design, music, and puppetry to yield multifaceted movement-based performance works in his own imaginative genre. Preferring to cast each new project specifically rather than maintaining a set company, he assembles a wide variety of performers that juxtapose many ethnicities, genders, and orientations, in order to instill each of his works with an unusual corporeal counterpoint.

The Joyce Theater Foundation (“The Joyce,” Executive Director, Linda Shelton), a non-profit organization, has proudly served the dance community for almost four decades. Under the direction of founders Cora Cahan and Eliot Feld, Ballet Tech Foundation acquired and renovated the Elgin Theater in Chelsea. Opening as The Joyce Theater in 1982, it was named in honor of Joyce Mertz, beloved daughter of LuEsther T. Mertz. It was LuEsther’s clear, undaunted vision and abundant generosity that made it imaginable and ultimately possible to build the theater. Ownership was secured by The Joyce in 2015. The theater is one of the only theaters built by dancers for dance and has provided an intimate and elegant home for over 400 U.S.-based and international companies. The Joyce has also expanded its reach beyond its Chelsea home through off-site presentations at venues ranging in scope from Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, to Brooklyn’s Invisible Dog Art Center, and to outdoor programming in spaces such as Hudson River Park. To further support the creation of new work, The Joyce maintains longstanding commissioning and residency programs. Local students and teachers (K-12th grade) benefit from its school program, and family and adult audiences get closer to dance with access to artists. The Joyce’s annual season of about 48 weeks of dance now includes over 340 performances – both digital and in-person – for audiences in excess of 150,000.

The Joyce Theater presents Christopher Williams in his Joyce debut with two New York premieres from June 28-July 3. The performance schedule is as follows: Tue-Wed 7:30pm; Thu-Sat 8pm; Sun 2pm. Tickets, ranging in price from $10-$55, can be purchased at www.Joyce.org, or by calling JoyceCharge at 212-242-0800. Please note: ticket prices are subject to change. The Joyce Theater is located at 175 Eighth Avenue at West 19th Street. For more information and to read about The Joyce Theater’s detailed health and safety protocols, including required face-coverings and proof of vaccination policies, please visit www.Joyce.org.

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