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Jack Ferver to Curate MAD's Signature Dance Series, 'Dance Under the Influence,' this Fall

Performers include Leah Cox, Jacob Slominski, Katie Swords, Larissa Velez-Jackson and Jesse Zaritt

Post-show dialogues will follow Friday night opening performances

New York, NY (September 9, 2015)

The Museum of Arts and Design's signature dance series, Dance Under the Influence, returns this fall with choreographer, writer and performer Jack Ferver at the helm. Acting as guest curator, Ferver gathers a selection of performances that include works by Leah Cox, Jacob Slominski, Katie Swords, Larissa Velez-Jackson and Jesse Zaritt. Mixing traditional with cutting edge, rigorous with playful, and the familiar with the unexpected, Ferver's lineup showcases diverse artistic practices found within contemporary choreography, and reconsiders dance through his singular lens. Dance Under the Influence, running from September 18 through November 14, 2015,offers a platform for the presentation of bold contemporary works that defy simple categorization.

"This year's Dance Under the Influence is designed to engage audiences to rethink traditional notions of performance, and reveals the interplay between dance and other artistic disciplines," says Ferver. "Each of the featured artists, while coming from a dance background, diverges from it and uses the form for individual purposes of expression. MAD has its own history of presenting genre-blending performance, so I am eager to see the works presented in this context."

Known for performances that are both rigorous and uninhibited, Jack Ferver's practice draws on psychological and socio-political-based content, and incorporates various modalities of performance—from theater and dance to performance art. In 2011, MAD premiered Me, Michelle, a duet by Ferver and fellow dancer-choreographer Michelle Mola that was commissioned for MAD's annual Risk+Reward series and presented as part of Performa 11. A professor at Bard College and NYU, Ferver's academic work influences his artistic practice, building upon his interest in the conception and presentation of interdisciplinary performance works.

Under Ferver's direction, the fall 2015 edition of Dance Under the Influence not only showcases some of the best of today's contemporary dance, but also explores innovative possibilities for movement. The series includes Velez-Jackson's Star Crap Method, an explosive and humorous piece that functions between dance and performance art; Leah Cox with duo Jesse Zaritt and Katie Swords, who come together for an evening exploring how the tension between two influences can be a fertile ground on which to create dance; and Jacob Slominski's interactive performance that examines the theatrical experience itself by exploring how comfortable an audience can be made to feel.

Following each Friday night performance, dancers, choreographers and Jack Ferver, respond to questions from the audience and join in informal discussions about the creative process and cross-disciplinary influences behind the works.

Larissa Velez-Jackson
Friday, September 18 - 7:30 pm / Q&A Following the Performance
Saturday, September 19 - 7:30 pm
$17 general / $12 members and students
7th floor, MAD

Founded on Velez-Jackson's improvisational practice, this multidisciplinary work is created in the moment by a trio of performers—including the score of vocals, digital sounds and accompanying narrative text. Embracing a transparency around the process of choreographing and performing dance, Star Crap Method is a compositional methodology that reconsiders definitions of what dance should be.

Leah Cox and Jesse Zaritt / Katie Swords
Friday, October 23 - 7:30 pm / Q&A Following the Performance
Saturday, October 24 - 7:30 pm
$17 general / $12 members and students
7th floor, MAD

In this two-part evening performance, Leah Cox joins duo Jesse Zaritt and Katie Swords to present works that expand the vocabulary of movement in dance today. A former Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company member and dance educator, Cox uses improvisation as a tool to delve into the connections between body and psyche. For the second part of the evening, Zaritt and Swords stage a work that focuses on the process of disorientation, and its resulting re-orientation, to discover new territories for movement and dance.

Jacob Slominski
Friday, November 13 - 7:30 pm / Q&A Following the Performance
Saturday, November 14 - 7:30 pm
$17 general / $12 members and students
7th floor, MAD

Across the country, many theaters are struggling to encourage attendance. With the goal of making an environment so novel and comfortable that it's worth leaving home for, some theaters have begun to offer seat-side dinner service and reclining chairs. In celebration of this trend, dancer and choreographer Jacob Slominski's work attempts to see how comfortable an audience can be made to feel. Turning the tables on an evening of dance, Slominski examines the theatrical experience itself, asking, can going to the theater be so wonderful that it makes a show unnecessary?

Jack Ferver is a New York–based director, choreographer, writer, performer and teacher. His work has been presented in New York City at The Kitchen; The French Institute Alliance Française, as part of Crossing the Line; Performance Space122; the New Museum; the Museum of Arts and Design, as part of Performa 11; Danspace Project; Abrons Arts Center; and Dixon Place; at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College (NY); in Rockville at American Dance Institute; in Boston at the Institute of Contemporary Art; in Houston at Diverse Works; and in France at Théâtre de Vanves. Shorter and solo works have been presented at MoMA PS1, Andrew Edlin Gallery, Dance New Amsterdam, La MaMa E.T.C., the Culture Project, and NP Gallery (all New York City). His work has been written about in the New York Times, Financial Times, New Yorker, ArtForum, Modern Painters, Time Out New York, New York Post, Boston Globe, and Dance magazine. As an actor he has appeared in numerous film, television, and theater projects. He teaches at Bard College and New York University, and has set choreography at The Juilliard School.

Dance Under the Influence is guest curated by Jack Ferver under MAD's former Director of Public Programs, Jake Yuzna. The program is organized by Katerina Llanes, MAD's Manager of Public Programs.

Performances take place in MAD's special events space on the 7th floor, overlooking Columbus Circle.

Q&As follow Friday night opening performances.

Ticketed performances are $17 general / $12 MAD Members and students. Tickets and additional information are available by calling 1-800-838-2006 or visiting

The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields, presenting artists, designers, and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill to their work. Since the Museum's founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the Museum's curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives. MAD provides an international platform for practitioners who are influencing the direction of cultural production and driving 21st-century innovation, fostering a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design.

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