May 2: Mason Gross dancers to perform at The Joyce in New York City

The Mason Gross School of the Arts Dance Department celebrates its 30th anniversary with a studentScott Schneider and Morgan Preston performance at The Joyce in New York City. The program includes world-premiere work by Doug Elkins; sequences from the Merce Cunningham Dance Company repertory; excerpts from a work by Ohad Naharin, artistic director of Batsheva Dance Company, and a piece by Benoit-Swan Pouffer of Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet. The performance, part of the school’s Rutgers in New York performing- and fine-arts series, will take place on May 2, 2011.

According to Dance Department chair Julia Ritter, students will “interpret various styles” in an eclectic program “curated to highlight innovators as well as artists who are moving in new directions to show that we’re doing the same.”

Among the highlights: dance sequences culled from various Cunningham repertory pieces selected specifically for Mason Gross dancers; and an explosive performance of for all of us, Pouffer’s dance probing issues of youth and community, developed during a recent slate of master classes at the school.

Meanwhile, Elkins, who began as a B-boy and has received several New York Dance and Performance Awards (Bessies), samples movement styles and hip-hop and rap music in dances he describes as “supercolliders,” in which a variety of contemporary references combine to create a cultural Big Bang.

In addition, Danielle Agami, a former Batsheva dancer and rehearsal director, now an independent choreographer trained in Naharin’s Gaga technique, will draw on the principles of Gaga to create Stella; she also will train students in the Gaga movement language for their performance of excerpts from Naharin’s Three.

“The Joyce is the premier dance venue,” Ritter says. “To be performing for New York audiences [stirs up] a different kind of energy.”

Rutgers In New York will take place at 7:30 p.m. May 2, 2011, at The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at the corner of 19th Street, New York City. Tickets are $25, $15 for Rutgers alumni and employees and students and seniors. Tickets are on sale through Friday, April 29. More information is available at 732-932-7511. Media inquiries may be directed to Laurie Granieri, 732-932-7591, ext. 516,

Photo of Morgan Preston and Scott Schneider by Larry Levanti

Sneak peek at Mason Gross dancers collaborating with Cedar Lake:

Video by Dena Seidel for Mason Gross School of the Arts Dance Dept., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.