Baryshnikov Arts Center

Netta Yerushalmy, Fall 2012 Dance Resident Artist The Builders Association, Spring 2011 Theater Resident Artist Deganit Shemy, Fall 2011 Dance Resident Artist Chi-wang Yang, Spring 2011 Theater Resident Artist
Netta Yerushalmy, Fall 2012 Dance Resident Artist
The Builders Association, Spring 2011 Theater Resident Artist
Deganit Shemy, Fall 2011 Dance Resident Artist
Chi-wang Yang, Spring 2011 Theater Resident Artist
Baryshnikov Arts Center

Residency Program

BAC's Artist Residency Program supports artists by providing space for creative investigation. Each year, BAC hosts approximately 30 artists in residence to develop ideas, projects, and collaborations. Support can include three weeks of free studio time, honoraria, technical and administrative services, advocacy, and work-in-progress showings.

BAC residencies are a pressure-free environment for artists, who are encouraged to focus on their current priorities without the expectation of delivering a finished product. However, works created here often go on to premiere at venues around the world—including BAC’s own stages.

BAC residencies are offered by invitation to artists; there is no formal application process or deadline.  Please note that because of the high volume of projects under consideration, unsolicited submissions may not receive a response.

BAC Story by Lydia Bell
Rachel Tess

Rachel Tess

July 1, 2013

If you went into Baryshnikov Arts Center’s Studio 6A today, you would find a small house. Upon further inspection, you might think of it more as a variation on a house. It has four walls, yes. It offers sanctuary, intimacy, and an ordering of space. But its primary purpose is as a container for dance.

Rachel Tess is the artist behind the container—she is a choreographer who splits her time between Portland, Oregon and Stockholm, Sweden, and a dancer trained in ballet who has worked with major ballet companies and contemporary European choreographers. She started to work site-specifically in Portland starting in 2007, making and producing works in large forgotten urban spaces under the auspices of Rumpus Room Dance. The experience of working in warehouses and other large-scale environments, she told me when I visited her at BAC recently, drove her to crave intimacy in the performance environment. How does the audience read architecture and texture? How does the audience experience the vibrations of the dancing body? These are the questions driving Tess’ newest project.

Souvenir, what I’m calling a container for dance, is “designed for mobility,” Tess wrote to me recently. It’s also “modular,” so that the pieces of the structure can be reconfigured in a multitude of ways. It was constructed in Sweden, with the help of a two carpenter uncles and Swedish/Chilean designer Gian Monti, and then shipped to New York for Tess’ month-long residency. It took almost three days to erect in the BAC studio, during which time Tess taught the dancers she is working with—Anna Pehrsson and Luis Rodriguez—how to put it together. The intimacy between Tess, the dancers, and the structure is palpable. The walls of the structure Tess lovingly refers to as “skin.” The frame of the house contains cubbies for sitting in and a ledge for perching on. Eventually each cubby will have hooks, for audiences to arrange their belongings on, and a “survival kit,” of some kind, perhaps a blanket, Tess told me.

In a recent run-through, several test audience members were encouraged to walk around the structure and then choose a cubby to inhabit. In my walk around the structure I felt my gaze drawn in many different directions—to the skyline, the buildings outside, to the studio door. Once inside, my gaze became more focused. I no longer had a sense of the space as portable. Instead, the hard edges and clean lines of the structure seemed permanent, as if they had always been there, and watching the dancers negotiate the harshness of raw wood was both stimulating and strangely exhausting. Toward the end of the run through, both dancers left the structure, running their hands along the outside walls and emitting a low, meditative hum. The container seemed to vibrate with possibility and I found myself imagining it in a grassy meadow, as a respite from the sun, perhaps after a long hike. What are the ideal conditions for dance? Souvenir forces us to confront this question—and offers a space in which to imagine the possibilities.

Visit Rachel's Residency Page

Lydia Bell is a dance researcher, curator and administrator based in New York City. She is Development and Curatorial Associate at Danspace Project, where she serves as Managing Editor of the PLATFORM catalogue series. Lydia has contributed to publications such as Judson Now (Danspace Project, 2012), Museum and Curatorial Studies Review (University of California, Santa Cruz), and Movement Research Performance Journal. Lydia is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP).

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BAC Story by Jaamil Olawale Kosoko
Octavio Campos

Octavio Campos

May 22, 2013

Confronting the Cult of the Engendered Body 
“The EXPERIENCES I accept now must question my own presumptions and help me rethink people’s assumptions.” - Octavio Campos

Having worked in various creative and educational arenas with a career spanning over 30 years, Octavio Antonio Campos is a matured, fearless artist. For his three-week residency at Baryshnikov Arts Center, the Cuban-American, Miami based performer has found himself in a place of self-reflection.

Continuously motivated by an overarching need to question and reexamine the fabric of the current socio-political climate, Campos, now in his 45th year, has started a process of reaching back into his past to reveal, perhaps, a new artistic truth about his present relationship to live performance.

Born to refugees of the Cuban Revolution, his parents were imprisoned for not falling into accordance to Fidel Castro’s leadership. Upon release, they fled to Miami, FL in the early 1960’s. In his newest creative venture entitled Triple Quince, Campos is bravely opening his memory bank to this experience among many others.

But memory is only one of the building blocks Campos is using to create this new work. Another concept that he admits has consumed him for the past few years is the idea of ‘hatred,’ which was also a theme in his 2009 work 1000 Homosexuals -- a play written by Michael Yawney. About his new work, Campos says:

"I’m always trying to transform [hate]. Look at it from another angle. Using the energy that hatred evokes, I’m attempting to defuse it, and use it to... power New York City someday, because there’s a lot of energy being expelled towards the other, all the time. I’ve been fascinated by the energy that’s behind it. I think it’s interesting to use this as a springboard to create the new work."

Age 15, Campos remembers, was a turbulent year. In Latin culture, when an adolescent turns 15, it represents a rite of passage, and while girls are thrown an extravagant party or Quinceanera, boys are thrown into a motel with a prostitute twice their age. For the teenage Campos, who had already self-identified as gay, this was quite a traumatizing experience.

Structured as three distinct chapters (each marked by a 15 years division), the new episodic performance will recount Campos’s early memories as a teen as well as his artistic occurrences at age 30 when he found himself performing tanz theatre in Berlin. He recalls the glory of the 90's after physically helping to destroy the Wall in 1989. He remembers the freedom of extacy, falling in love with Pina Bausch, love parades, and wild German performance art escapades.

Now, after having lived such a fulfilled life, he's asking himself "Who am I now?" Today, Campos enjoys the simple pleasures of kayaking, swimming, and sunbathing. Apart from his international commissions and residencies, he currently resources his work and maintains creative stability as an Artist-in-Residence at Miami Theater Center where he works as a choreographer, producer, and educator. He receives a full-time salary, benefits, and artistic support for his own creative musings. The position also allows him the freedom to travel and work remotely via satellite.

Proclaiming himself a buffon trapped in a dance-theater bodysuit; a political, gender torchbearer overtly confronting gay issues, Campos’s work addresses the current cultural moment with a performance art aesthetic and infectious comedic sensibility -- the result of years of German training in deep conversation with the complexities of his Cuban roots. Campos doesn’t aim to follow known methods of creation, so much as to subvert them and, in the process, share with his viewer what he values most about being a creator of live performance.

Whether performing a duet with a demolition truck (as seen in his 2006 work Developmentus Interruptus) or describing the 50th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Cuba's Bay of Pigs (as in 2011’s The Pig Show), Octavio Campos wants to give us very specific ideas to ponder while watching him. He provides an experience that not only demystifies his own personal questions and creative obsessions, but also reveals an emotional truth inside his audience as well.

Visit Octavio's Residency Page

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a producer, curator, poet, choreographer, and performance artist. He is a 2012 Live Arts Brewery Fellow as a part of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, a 2011 Fellow as a part of the DeVos Institute of Art Management at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and an inaugural graduate member of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) at Wesleyan University. With his creative partner Kate Watson-Wallace, he co-directs anonymous bodies || art collective, a visual performance company that presents work nationally specializing in site base performance and community building art practices. 

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BAC Story by Brian McCormick
Sam Kim

Sam Kim

March 29, 2013

The dances that Sam Kim makes aren’t pretty, and if you ask her, she’ll tell you, “I don’t make stories.” The works are non-linear, with no-set sequence, meant to evoke the state of dreaming. The movement is raw at times—the dance of zombies—but her choreography and subversion of technique places her performers into strange but familiar worlds. We recognize our own otherness in her dances; they scratch at surfaces.

Material she developed during her residency at BAC was shown at the end of March. A trio for three women with the working title "Sister to a Fiend,” this piece is overtly ritualistic. Two matching cups are repeatedly held aloft as if in offering, or a means of channeling, and they are also hurled to the ground, as if in anger or pain. Spiritual symbolism abounds, but the body is central to the proceeding. There is molestation. Energetic transfer. And what Kim refers to as “the table top human body, and they are taking what they need.” All three women appear to be in trance states, but not all the same kind—some are supplicant, some ecstatic, another desperate. Ultimately, through repeated and varied interactions, the three connect through a physical mutual dependence.

Before the showing, Kim answered a few questions about her work and process.

BMcC: For those who may not be familiar with you or your work, how would you describe what you do?

Dance is so weird. Really, truly strange. On some level I find it completely vulgar that anyone would put people on a stage just to watch them move around.  Really?  WHY?  It can be so presentational, so precious with itself, and I find that repulsive as an aesthetic value.  But, I think that's fundamentally why I'm driven to make dances, and why I remain curious--I'm trying to better understand the form myself, and I'm convinced that there's so much more to it.  Historically speaking, dance is still in an incredibly incipient stage.  Now we're in somewhat of a thaw after the fixation on and tyranny of beauty.  For lack of a better word, my work is experimental.  I'm interested in what's beyond beauty and how dance can be the platform to express a wild range of truth and experience.  Fundamentally, I am an outsider working in an outsider's form, playing at the edges and seeing what that yields--I'm involved in a personal game of brinkmanship.  Everything I know about making dances came from making dances.  Yes, I am a dancer, but I discovered dancing and choreographing almost simultaneously back in my late teens.  My love of composition (choreography) is separate from my love of dancing.

I do subvert the form a lot.  There are red herrings in my work--some people are often unable to see past them.  I'll use overexposed pop music, have people move like zombies, act like stroke victims, but I'm not being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian--all of these elements were necessary content or counterpoints to the tone I wanted to create.  Part of the challenge and interest for me is to deliver the content functionally and rigorously, no matter what it is.   

I've always taken heart in what David Lynch said about making "Blue Velvet: "it started with red lips, a white picket fence, and a severed ear.” That's all he knew, and that was enough.  I feel the same about every dance I've ever made.  I might know one or two things about it, but really, I have to take a leap of faith and make it to understand it. 

This latest work springs from a work I made in 2007 called "Cult."  A lot of "Cult" was built through improvised "incantations."  I've brought back this score and have used it to start a lot of my rehearsals.  It allows the performers to drop in to the right tone of this work, they literally thicken the air around them (I can feel it), while they simultaneously practice being seen.  The thrust of this work is about the strange relationships between women, especially powerful women.  They're not quite human, but they are definitely female, and they have secret rites, which I expose through the dance.  The ultimate experience of this work is getting to see this. 

BMcC: This new work combines symbolically loaded gestures, with some radical sensuality and a healthy dose of subversion. What art, ideas, rituals, imagery, etc are you drawing from for the construction/performance of this work?

SK: I wanted to extend everyone's arms and I also wanted to work with objects that had potency, potential talismans, so I brought in a set of vintage '70s cocktail cups.  They're clear for the most part with a little bit of red and yellow, and they're also an unusual rectilinear shape with a curve thrown in. They've been very generative as objects to respond to--to give energy to, and to get energy from--they've served as a direct line of transmission to forces greater than ourselves.

I started this work, in the studio, during a residency I had at MacDowell back in the fall. There I danced with real, glass stemless wineglasses.  I wasn't afraid of getting cut, but I did shatter for practical reasons I'm still working with the plastic cups for the group, but we'll see.  Glass has more power than plastic.   

Films are always very important to me as inspiration, and I think there's something intrinsically filmic about my work.  A LOT of my favorite films are about weird relationships between women:  "3 Women," "The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant," Breillat's "Bluebeard," "Mulholland Drive," etc.  I've told the performers to have a gander at these films.

BMcC: How has the residency at BAC influenced your capacity to explore your artistic process?

SK: By providing a real choreographic home for 3 weeks, for providing 5 hours of rehearsal time every day without financial constraint. It allowed me to breathe easier, relax into the process. By the end of it, a 5-hour rehearsal really seemed the norm, not an infinite period of time. To inhabit this psychic framework of "yeah, this is my job--this is really how I spend my day," was incredibly liberating. The content just seemed to tumble out fast while in this state of mind. The studio I was in was also incredibly beautiful--light-filled with a dramatic view of the cityscape. This all helped set a mood, and I felt deeply supported by the city itself. 

Visit Sam's Residency Page

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. I am interested in renting space from you, how do I go about doing that?

For all rental inquiries, please email or visit our "Rent" page to submit a rental request.


2. I would like to review one of your shows, who should I contact?

For all BAC Presents performances, please contact Kristen Miles, our Director of Marketing + Communications, at


3. How do I buy tickets to your shows?

To purchase tickets online, please visit our "Performances" page to select the show you would like to see or call 866 811 4111. To purchase in person, our on-site box office opens one hour prior to each performance.


4. Do you accept credit cards at your box office?

We do accept all major credit cards.


5. Is your venue wheelchair accesible?

Yes, we are. For reserved seats in our Jerome Robbins Theater, we can accommodate wheelchairs in row A, please look for our ADA section when reserving seats online or by phone.


6. Will I be uncomfortable sitting in the front row?

No, we do not have a raised stage, so our front row provides an amazing unubstructed view of the performance.


7. I left something at a show, how can I get it back?

Please call 646 731 3200, we will check our lost and found so you don't have to come all the way out here if we have not found your item.


8. I'm a huge Mikhail Baryshnikov fan, is he performing anytime soon?

At the current moment, there are no plans for Mr. Baryshnikov to perform at BAC.

Baryshnikov Arts Center


Baryshnikov Arts Center


Jerome Robbins Theater

In February 2010, after a year of redesign and renovation, BAC opened the Jerome Robbins Theater, a fixed seating venue with a flat floor stage, a 187-seat orchestra, and a 51-seat balcony. The Wooster Group became BAC’s resident theater company, inaugurating the stage with a remounting of their seminal work from 1983, North Atlantic, in March and April 2010. The addition of the theater expanded programming, introducing new opportunities for artists to perform larger works of dance, music, theater, and multimedia at the Center, and tripling BAC's audience.

The Jerome Robbins Theater is named in recognition of Mikhail Baryshnikov’s lasting friendship and collaboration with Jerome Robbins. Lead support for the theater acquisition and renovation was provided by The Jerome Robbins Foundation.

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Howard Gilman Performance Space

The Howard Gilman Performance Space, with a flat floor stage and optional raked risers with seating for 136, comprises studios 4A and 4B, which are otherwise divided by a retractable sound proof wall. BAC launched public programming there on November 30, 2005, with a concert by the Brentano String Quartet who performed as part of The Movado Hour, a series of free hour-long chamber music concerts presented in a salon setting. This flexible black box venue has accommodated performances with traditional audience seating as well as installations, visual art exhibits, film shoots, fashion shows, cocktail receptions, and seated dinners.

The Howard Gilman Performance Space is named in honor of Howard Gilman, a philanthropist and long-time friend and supporter of Mikhail Baryshnikov. The Howard Gilman Performance Space was dedicated in November 2006.  Lead support for the theater was provided by The Howard Gilman Foundation.

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BAC studios range in size from 850 square feet to 3,096 square feet and are completely column-free, with sprung wood floors and ceilings ranging in height from 18 to 20 feet. Large windows provide expansive southern and western views of Manhattan and the Hudson River. The studios are home to BAC’s resident artists throughout the year, and are also available for rent.

Studio 4A
Studio 4B
Studio 6A
Studio 6B / Sterner Studio

Studio 6B / Sterner Studio is named for Christina Sterner, Managing Director Emeritus of BAC and White Oak Dance Project.

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Baryshnikov Arts Center Artistic Director

Mikhail Baryshnikov

Mikhail Baryshnikov, a native of Riga, Latvia, was born in 1948 and began studying ballet at the age of nine. As a teenager, he entered the Vaganova Academy in Leningrad, graduating from student to principal dancer of the Kirov Ballet in 1969. In 1974, he left the Soviet Union to dance with major ballet companies around the world including the New York City Ballet where he worked with George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. In 1980 he began a 10-year tenure as Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre, nurturing a new generation of dancers and choreographers.

From 1990 to 2002, Mr. Baryshnikov was director and dancer with the White Oak Dance Project, which he co-founded with choreographer Mark Morris. White Oak was born of Baryshnikov’s desire “to be a driving force in the production of art,” and, indeed, it expanded the repertoire and visibility of American modern dance.

In 2005, he opened the Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC), a creative home for local and international artists to develop and present work. Since its founding, the Center has hosted numerous artists and productions from the United States and abroad.

Among Mr. Baryshnikov’s many awards are the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Honor, the Commonwealth Award, the Chubb Fellowship, the Jerome Robbins Award, the NYC Dance Alliance Foundation’s Ambassador for the Arts Award, and the 2012 Vilcek Award. In 2010 he was given the rank of Officer of the French Legion of Honor. 

Baryshnikov Arts Center

About BAC

BAC is the realization of a long-held vision by artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov, who sought to build an arts center in New York City that would serve as a gathering place for artists from all disciplines. BAC’s opening in 2005 heralded the launch of this mission, establishing a thriving creative space for artists from around the world. Located in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of Manhattan, BAC comprises a total of 20,000 square feet, including the 238-seat Jerome Robbins Theater, which opened in 2010; the Howard Gilman Performance Space, a black box performance space seating 136 people; four column-free studios; and office space. BAC serves approximately 500 artists and more than 22,000 audience members annually through presentations and artist residencies.

BAC Presents

BAC Presents

BAC Presents is a series of innovative performances by local and international dance, music, theater, and multi-media artists. BAC's spring season runs January through June, and the fall season runs September through December, with performances held in the Jerome Robbins Theater and Howard Gilman Performance Space. BAC is dedicated to building audiences for the arts by presenting contemporary work at affordable ticket prices.

Upcoming Performances

BAC Artist Residency Program

BAC Artist Residency Program

Supporting artists is central to BAC's mission. BAC hosts up to 30 residencies a year, providing dance, theater, music, and multimedia artists with the space and resources to research and develop new projects and collaborations. Artists are free to explore their creative endeavors, with BAC staff available to provide administrative and technical support.

Resident Artists

BAC Rentals

BAC Rentals

Through its rental program, BAC serves as an important resource for the artistic community by helping to meet the need for affordable rehearsal space in New York City. BAC offers subsidized rehearsal rentals to nonprofit dance companies starting at $10 per hour, made possible by grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. BAC also provides reduced rate rentals to nonprofit dance, music, theater, and multimedia artists and companies. 

BAC Rentals

Pictured: "Metro Repitition" by Jonah Bokaer and Davide Balliano, photo by Julieta Cervantes

Photo by Peter Hurley