New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

Did you know NJ Stage offers FREE Event Listings? Nearly 100,000 listings were viewed in January. Be sure to add your events to our calendar and get your shows noticed!

Rutgers celebrates 250 years and its revolutionary spirit with movement pioneer Yvonne Rainer

originally published: 03/23/2016

Rutgers celebrates 250 years and its revolutionary spirit with movement pioneer Yvonne Rainer

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) --  The Dance Department is set to celebrate the 50th anniversary of experimental dance artist and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer’s seminal work, Trio A. Students who have been immersed in the MacArthur Fellow’s choreography all semester will perform Trio A during the annual DancePlus Spring concert April 20 to 24; Rainer will deliver a lecture on her approach to movement April 13.

Julia Ritter, chair and artistic director of the Dance Department and a resident of Metuchen, N.J., says she was eager for students to encounter Rainer precisely because, for more than half a century, the now-81-year-old has interrogated accepted norms within the dance world.

Rainer has used the word “recalcitrant” to describe her body and has said that she was never particularly limber. But she forged ahead and emerged as a deeply admired dance artist, receiving commissions from the likes of Mikhail Baryshnikov.

“She asked, ‘Why is it this way? Why must it be?’ ” Ritter says. Ritter says she hopes to see Rainer’s spirit of curiosity and inquiry infusing the artistry and perspectives of the Mason Gross School student dancers. “That’s why students should have access her processes and her works of art--to keep asking why.”

According to Ritter, Rainer’s appearance is part of the Rutgers 250 series of events celebrating the university’s founding around the time of the American Revolution because Rainer, from the boundary-pushing Judson Dance Theater of the 1960s, is a bona fide revolutionary herself.

The article continues after this ad


“She said, ‘I won’t accept the standard--my body can be an innovator, creator, and performer of movement,’ ’’ Ritter says. “Some people would have said, ‘OK, my body can’t do that.’ She said, ‘No, I won’t stand for this door being closed.’ She was willing to take chances. That’s why she’s so respected.”

One of those chances was undoubtedly 1966’s Trio A, documented in a 1978 film. Rainer later wrote that the pared-down piece, and its series of seemingly mundane gestures, was so controversial that the performance prompted an audience member to wave a white handkerchief, “as if to say, ‘Uncle!’”

Some student dancers might have been ready to say “Uncle!” when they first encountered Trio A in a winter training session with Shelley Senter, one of the transmitters of Rainer’s work.

“What’s most frustrating is trying not to ‘perform’ Trio A,” says dancer Tyler Thompson. “There’s this idea of not trying to be a dancer and to just be a normal person when it comes to Trio A, but it’s very difficult to just be a normal person while in a dance space. What moves me the most is how honest it is. It’s just genuine dancing for yourself, and I find that very powerful.”

Student Joseph Picciotto of Teaneck, N.J., agrees. He says initially he found Rainer’s minimalist, “very plain vanilla approach” to Trio A disconcerting.

As he’s spent more time with the work, however, Picciotto says that “this work has honestly changed my whole approach to life. It’s helped me feel that there is more to life that trying to be perfect and to be what everyone is looking for.

“The work allows me to be myself,” Picciotto continues, “and to embrace any imperfections that I find in me or in the world.”

Yvonne Rainer will be on hand for a FREE lecture and Q&A 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2016, at the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Theater. The event, Doing Nothing/Nothin’ Doin’: Revisiting a Minimalist Approach to Performance, is part of the Rutgers 250 yearlong series commemorating the university’s founding in 1766. More information about Rutgers 250 events is here.  Rainer’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Center For Women in the Arts and Humanities.

State Theatre Presents Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games on Tuesday, October 9 at 8:00pm. Tickets range from $29-$69. Irish step dancing show Lord of the Dance has become an international sensation for more than 20 years. Now, choreographed by Michael Flatley with music composed by Gerard Fahy, Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games combines dance and music that fuses the traditional with the contemporary in a classic tale that showcases the exceptional talent of the cast. The show features cutting edge technology including a giant radiant flat screen that spans the width of the stage, special effects lighting, dancing robots, and world champion acrobats.
State Theatre Presents Ballet Hispanico
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents America’s premier Latino dance organization Ballet Hispánico on Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 8:00pm. Through the work of its professional company, school of dance, and community arts education programs, Ballet Hispánico celebrates the dynamic aesthetics of the Hispanic diaspora. This program features three dance pieces all choreographed by women. The program includes Con Brazos Abiertos choreographed by Michelle Manzanales, Sombrerisimo by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, and 3.Catorce Dieciseis by Tania Pérez-Salas. Tickets range from $19-$49.
Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre To Perform New Production On October 13
(EDISON, NJ) -- The Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre, New Jersey’s premier Spanish Dance Company for 23 years of delighting audiences from New Jersey and beyond,  will present its exciting new production: Nueva España, The Mexican Connection on October 13 at 3:00pm at the Middlesex County College’s Performing Arts Center. 
Mayo Presents Enchanted India: The Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan
(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Experience a boisterous, colorful and joyful affirmation of Indian culture when Enchanted India: Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan takes the stage at MPAC Thursday, September 27 at 7:00pm. Tickets range from $19-$49.
Liberty Hall Dance Festival To Feature 15 Dance Companies From Throughout NY and NJ
(UNION, NJ) -- Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University has partnered again with Buggé Ballet for a one-of-a-kind event, the Liberty Hall Dance Festival! For the second year in a row, guests will spend an afternoon walking through the beautiful museum grounds, enjoying site-specific professional dance performances inspired by moments in history. Liberty Hall Dance Festival will be held on Saturday, September 29 from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.

A New Ballet Company Launches At The Shore
Monmouth County has long been a hub for the arts, with a celebrated music scene, thriving original theatre and artists throughout the area, but one thing was missing – the area did not have its own professional ballet company.
Kennedy Dancers Take On Anderson Park
Trust me when I tell you that the Kennedy Dancers do it all. No joke. The company, which is based in Jersey City and was founded in 1976 by Artistic Director Diane Dragone, is a professional dance company (performing all manner of styles), a pre-professional training company, a dance school and a producer of a television show.
Passion & Discipline: A profile of Corey Landolt, Washington Ballet
Corey Landolt is in his ninth season with The Washington Ballet.  The New Jersey native grew up on the border of Voorhees and West Berlin, and first studied at the Academy of Ballet in Berlin, New Jersey under David Gallagher.  His interest in ballet began when he was about five years old and saw his sister performing in The Nutcracker.
Nurturing The Future of Dance In New Jersey
On Friday, June 15, NJPAC present an evening of world-premiere dance in a program called the Jersey (NEW) Moves! Festival of Dance.
“See the Music!” American Repertory Ballet’s “Generations: Influences from the Modern Age” LIVE! at McCarter Theatre
It’s finally feeling like Spring outside Princeton, NJ’s McCarter Theatre Center this Friday, April 20, 2018 evening where dance lovers are excitedly making their way inside to experience the American Repertory Ballet’s performance of Generations: Influences from the Modern Age, a triple bill of critically acclaimed works by José Limón, Gerald Arpino, and Douglas Martin.

Event calendar
Saturday, Sep 22, 2018


Asbury Park Porchfest @ Booskerdoo, Asbury Park - 12:00pm

Carl Chesna & Co. @ Hotel Tides, Asbury Park - 1:00pm

Echoes @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

Cole Swindell @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

GRUPO NICHE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

The History of Motown @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Drake Bell @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live feat. The Glimmer Twins @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Opera Theatre of Montclair Presents Hansel and Gretel @ Central Presbyterian Church, Montclair - 4:00pm

Oscar D’León with Tony Vega and Los Hermanos Moreno @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 8:00pm

SunDog Band at Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ @ Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ, Paterson - 9:00pm

Celtic Thunder X @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Young Person's Concert @ River Dell Middle School Auditorium, River Edge - 1:00pm

Tigerman record release show for “Descend Into Savagery” @ Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Hubby Jenkins @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm


Souvenir @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents SILENT SKY @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 8:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Incorruptible @ Ritz Theatre Company, Haddon Township - 8:00pm

West End Festival of the Arts- Theatre Brut Session 2 @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 2:00pm

Evita @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Claire, Anton et Eux" @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College, Princeton - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

HUMAN ERROR by Eric Pfeffinger @ West Windsor Arts Center, Princeton Junction - 8:00pm

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Assisted Living: The Musical @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 2:00pm

Brick City @ Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union - 3:00pm


SWAN LAKE - THE ATLANTIC CITY BALLET @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 7:00pm

SOLE Defined @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


Monthly Saturday Writing Retreats @ Tiferet Journal, Bernardsville - 9:00am

View all events


For more on our awards, click here

New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.