In a unique collaboration created to advance the vitality and diversity of dance in New Jersey, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and M&T Bank have announced a partnership naming M&T Bank as the title sponsor of the Arts Center’s dance series, an inclusive lineup of 10 programs scheduled now through June 14, 2019.
The performances at NJPAC include the pairing of two very different “Nutcrackers” on a single weekend in December: NJPAC’s hit touring attraction, “The Hip Hop Nutcracker,” an urban mash-up of the holiday classic with special guest MC Kurtis Blow, and Tchaikovsky’s beloved “The Nutcracker,” presented in an opulent production by the National Ballet Theatre of Odessa. In May 2019, the internationally renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – the Arts Center’s principal resident dance company – returns in a grand celebration of the company’s 60th anniversary.
As part of the sponsorship, M&T Bank will be donating a block of tickets to the KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy to allow more Newark area high school students to enjoy “The Hip Hop Nutcracker.”
M&T Bank’s support also enables NJPAC’s Department of Community Engagement to host free dance workshops for the public in Newark and other locations throughout the state.
“As Newark’s anchor cultural institution, NJPAC has played an increasingly important role in the city’s renaissance,” said M&T Bank Regional President Tom Comiskey. “The arts enrich our community and we’re happy to provide sponsorship support for this series, as well as an opportunity for more local students to enjoy these performances.”
M&T Bank and NJPAC have enjoyed a multi-year relationship, which in the past has included the bank’s sponsorship of R.A.M.P. (Recorder Arts for Musical Pathways), a program that serves thousands of Newark schoolchildren. R.A.M.P. provides recorders to third- and fourth-graders, who receive classroom instruction in reading music, perform on the recorder, and participate in a culminating concert with professional musicians in NJPAC’s Prudential Hall.
“M&T Bank continues to build meaningful in-roads that connect the arts to Newark’s varied communities, first by supporting NJPAC’s R.A.M.P. initiative for schoolchildren, and now dance,” said John Schreiber, President and CEO of NJPAC. “Dance fans are the most diverse of any of our audiences at the Arts Center, and each season we offer them programs celebrating traditional ballet, modern dance, folkloric, hip hop and more. We’re grateful to have the strong partnering arm of M&T Bank, a community champion who is helping to ensure the success of our mission to engage our constituents.”
Among the artists and companies appearing in the 2018-19 M&T Bank Dance Series are:
“The Hip Hop Nutcracker”
December 14, 8 p.m.
NJPAC’s very own holiday original, an urban dance retelling of the timeless fairy tale. “The Hip Hop Nutcracker” resets Tchaikovsky’s classic score to Jennifer Weber’s explosive hip-hop choreography, performed by a dozen all-star dancers.
Forces of Nature Dance Theatre
with special guest Sweet Honey In The Rock
December 15, 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Celebrate Kwanzaa with this dazzling dance company, which joins the powerful music collective Sweet Honey In The Rock to create a world premiere commissioned by NJPAC.
National Ballet Theatre of Odessa
December 16, 2 and 7 p.m.
This sumptuous company arrives with its traditional staging of the holiday classic, complete with sparkling sets, enchanting costumes and a company of more than 55 expert performers who bring Tchaikovsky’s beloved score to life.
MOMIX: “Best of MOMIX”
January 19, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
January 20, 2019, 2 p.m.
Combining illusion, magic, beauty, fun and inventiveness, “Best of MOMIX” features everything that MOMIX, the famed company of dance-illusionists, is known for.
“Year of the Pig”
Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
February 2, 2019, 2 p.m.
February 3, 2019, 2 p.m.
Colorful costumes, twirling ribbons, dancing dragons – they’re all here in “Year of the Pig,” a spellbinding dance and music celebration of the Chinese New Year, courtesy of New Jersey’s acclaimed Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company.
Maurice Hines: “Tappin’ Thru Life”
with the DIVA Jazz Orchestra
February 16, 2019, 3 and 7 p.m.
Broadway legend Maurice Hines taps audiences through his incredible career in this jazzy, song-and-dance celebration that pays tribute to his brother, Gregory Hines, and other performers who inspired him. Co-starring the Manzari Brothers.
Rennie Harris Puremovement: “Lifted”
March 2, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Rennie Harris and his exhilarating Puremovement dance company – pioneers in a new genre of hip hop/street dance – bring their latest, evening-length work, “Lifted,” set to house and gospel music.
Jersey Moves! Festival of Dance
Carolyn Dorfman Dance
April 6, 2019, 7 p.m.
The stunning dancers of New Jersey-based choreographer Carolyn Dorfman’s multi-ethnic company are known for high-energy, technically demanding dance and powerful storytelling.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
May 10 and 11, 2019, 8 p.m.
May 12, 2019, 3 p.m.
The Ailey company marks six decades of achievement and celebrating the human spirit with the New Jersey premiere of Rennie Harris’ “Lazarus” – based on the life and legacy of Alvin Ailey – and a “Timeless Ailey” program. The iconic “Revelations” concludes each performance.
Jersey (New) Moves! Emerging Choreographers
June 14, 2019, 7 p.m.
NJPAC’s annual contemporary dance series showcases new works by six of the state’s very best up-and-coming choreographers, each mentored year-round by some of the modern dance world’s leading dancemakers.
For ticket information, call 1-888-GO-NJPAC (466-5722) or visit njpac.org