AUG 17 | In-Person & Livestreamed 


The late Jennifer Muller was a friend and beloved artist of the NYC dance community, and we at Battery Dance deeply feel the loss this year. Her beautiful company The Works previously appeared at the Battery Dance Festival in 2015 and 2016, and tonight they will begin our program with a performance in her honor. 

Then, we will shift to a very special evening of dance dedicated to the legacy of several Turn of the 20th Century American modern dance pioneers. The artists on this program are key exponents of the seminal works of Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, and Loïe Fuller. In addition to presenting several revivals of these historic works, this evening’s companies will also perform their current day original choreography, which is deeply inspired by these four legends of modern dance. In the midst of a world of rapid fire innovation and change, it’s important to take time to pay homage to our roots.


Time & Location 

In-person: 7pm EDT at Rockefeller Park. Click here for directions.

Livestream: https://vimeo.com/855490982?share=copy

The video will be available to watch for 10 days after the premiere and will expire on Aug 27.

Register for free to receive the livestream link and bonus content


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A group of dancers stand close together, each holding their right knee in towards their chest.

Jennifer Muller/The Works

Miserere Nóbis

In memoriam: Jennifer Muller (1944-2023)

Miserere Nóbis (2014) is an entreaty for mercy and grace. In an age of unspeakable conflict and cruelty, loss and grief, each of us asks forgiveness for all of us.



Choreographer: Jennifer Muller
Dancers: Tara Bellardini, Rayan Lecurieux-Durival, Duane Gosa, Mathilde Guerrero, Caroline Kehoe, Isaac Kerr, Anna Levy, Shoshana Mozlin, Cassidy Spaedt
Music: Samuel Barber: Allegeri: Miserere. (Agnus Dei Qui Tollis Peccata Mundi) Opus 11
Music Performed by: Richard Marlow & the Choir of Trinity College
Costume Design: Sachi Masuda and Stageworks

About the Company

Jennifer Muller/The Works, founded in 1974 by Jennifer Muller, is known for its dynamic theatricality, virtuosic dancers, and shared global humanity. The company earned worldwide recognition touring to 39 countries, 30 states, and self-producing 28 NY seasons at City Center, the Joyce, Cedar Lake, and New York Live Arts. In the US, JMTW has appeared in venues such as Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Jacob’s Pillow, Alice Tully Hall, Jacob Javits Center, the United Nations, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, and St. Louis’ Spring to Dance Festival among many others. 

The late Jennifer Muller was known for her visionary approach and innovations in dance / theater, multi-disciplinary productions incorporating spoken word, media, and unusual production elements. She created 125+ pieces including 7 full-evening productions, working with artistic collaborators Yoko Ono, Keith Haring, Jeff Croiter, Marty Beller, and Keith Jarrett, to name a few. Muller’s commissions include Alvin Ailey, Tanz-Forum, Ballet Contemporaneo, NDT, NDT3, and in 2019, Introdans, among others. A gifted leader, she also conceived the innovative Muller Polarity Technique, which continues to influence and inspire dancers worldwide. 

Jennifer Muller’s profound vision for JMTW encouraged dancers, creatives, and audiences to trust their humanity, deepen their imagination, and ultimately, connect in a shared and transformative experience. From this essential mission unfurled 50+ years of extraordinary creativity and a monumental body of work that has reached countless people around the world. JMTW is honored to present at Battery Park Dance Festival in memory of Jennifer and in celebration of her undeniable creativity and her masterpieces that live on.

More information about a Celebration of Life – honoring Jennifer Muller – will be released in late Summer 2023. Stay up to date with the company through our social media and website.


One dancer wears a flowy costume on the beach. Birds are flying in the sky.


Isadora Duncan: under a new sky

The program features a selection of works by Isadora Duncan created between 1901-1914. “Grand March” was made during Isadora’s time at Bellevue near Paris following the tragic deaths of her children in 1913. Originally set to the music of Franz Schubert, it has been reimagined here to music of African American composer, George Walker. In contrast, the vibrant Valse Brillante (Chopin) is offered as a quartet for a powerful new generation of dancers.


Choreographer: Isadora Duncan (re-staged and re-imagined by Catherine Gallant)
Dancers: Natalia Brillante, Marie Carstens, Abra Cohen, Charlotte Hendrickson, Jessie King, Jasmine Oton, Anne Parichon-Buoncore, Amelia Sanders, Francesca Todesco, Catherine Gallant
Music: Prelude Op. 28 No. 7 and Valse Brillante Op. 34 No. 1 & Lyric for Strings (also known as Lament)
Composer: Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) & George Theophilus Walker (1922-2018)
Costumes: Ivana Drazic

About the Company

Dances by Isadora keeps the work of Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) vital and relevant, bringing it to vibrant life for global audiences since 1989. Director Catherine Gallant, was introduced to Duncan’s work while watching a Dance in America program on PBS featuring Annabelle Gamson in the late 1970’s. She then began her study of the technique and repertory with Julia Levien, Hortense Kooluris and Sylvia Gold. (students of Anna and Irma Duncan, two of Isadora’s six students known as the “Isadorables”). Ms. Gallant is the US performer of Jerome Bel’s work, Isadora Duncan. She also creates her own fully contemporary work as Catherine Gallant/DANCE and is on the faculty of PS 89, the Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) and Hunter College.


One dancer on a dark stage dances with big wing-like fabric.


American Elm 

“American Elm” deepens the ongoing climate-engaged collaboration between choreographer Jody Sperling and composer Matthew Burtner. In this solo expressing human kinship with trees, Sperling begins by slowly unfurling her costume (in the style of Loie Fuller), hand-painted with tree limbs by textile artist Gina Nagy Burns. The dance explores shifting tempos, from arboreal stillness to human hurriedness, to mingle the perspective of tree and person. The music sonifies tree ring data from an elm, compressing the rhythm of its life into a few haunting, looping bars.


Choreography and Performance: Jody Sperling
Music: Matthew Burtner
Costume: Mary Jo Mecca (construction); Gina Nagy Burns (textile painting)

About the Company

A NYC-based dancer-choreographer, Jody Sperling is the Founder/Artistic Director of Time Lapse Dance. She has created 50+ works and is the leading exponent of early performance technologist Loïe Fuller (1862-1928). Sperling has expanded Fuller’s genre into the 21st century, deploying it in the context of contemporary environmental performance forms. Sperling is developing an inquiry called ecokinetics that cultivates the relationship between the human movers and ecological systems while forging strategies for climate-engaged artmaking. She is Eco-Artist-in-Residence at The New York Society for Ethical Culture.


In a garden, three dancers face each other in circle, jumping with their arms extended up and left leg behind them.


Excerpts from Denishawn

“Floor Plastique” was made by Ted Shawn for students at the Denishawn School of Dancing and Related Arts in or about 1916. Incense” is based upon the Hindu ritual of puja, in which an individual worships the deities with offerings of flowers, food, fruit, and incense.“Choeur Dansé” reflects figures from a Grecian vase come to life for a delightful moment in the sunlight. “The Cosmic Dance of Siva” is an ecstatic Hindu dance in honor of Siva. “Waltz/Liebestraum” originated when Ruth St. Denis, inspired by the music, spontaneously began to dance at a party. The pianist played the Brahms Waltz, and then continued without pause into the Liszt, wanting to extend the magic of the moment.


FLOOR PLASTIQUE (circa 1916)
Choreography: Ted Shawn
Music: Edward MacDowell
Premiered by: Pupils at the Denishawn School in Los Angeles, Ca.
Staged by: Lena Lauer, Artistic Director, Limon2  
Danced by members of Limon2: Mikey Comito, Danielle Goodman, Eduardo Hernández, Madeline Jones, Jasmine Presti, Mirai Shinde, Ryan Tucker 

INCENSE (1906)

Choreographer: Ruth St. Denis
Music: Harvey Loomis
Premiere: March 26, 1906, Hudson Theatre, NYC
Dancer: Katherine Crockett
Costume courtesy of Martha Graham Dance Company


Choreographer: Ted Shawn
Music: Vladimir Stcherbatcheff
Premiere: July 15, 1926, Victoria Theatre, Singapore
Staged by: Francesca Todesco, Artistic Director, Dances We Dance
Costume Designer: Francesca Todesco
Danced by members of Dances We Dance: Kathleen Caragine, Colleen Edwards, Bethany Chang


Choreographer: Ted Shawn
Music: Lily Strickland Anderson
Premiere: September 17, 1926 at the Grand Opera House, Manila
Dancer: Antonio Fini


Choreographer: Ruth St. Denis
Music: Johannes Brahms/Waltz in A Flat Major, Franz Liszt/Liebestraum
Premiere: April 17, 1922 at the Academy of Music, Lynchburg, Va.
Costume: Christine Dakin inspired by Miss Ruth’s gown
Dancer: Christine Dakin
Christine Dakin thanks Norton Owen and the Jacob’s Pillow archive, the work of Jane Sherman’s Denishawn Repertory Dancers and Audrey Ross for her dedication to the Denishawn legacy.

All Denishawn recorded music played by Jonathan Katz

About the Company

Audrey Ross, believing that these historic dances should be preserved and performed from time to time, gathered a group of stellar dancers to perform dances by The Mother and Father of American Modern Dance. Performances took place October 2021 at the Theatre at St. Jeans in NYC, and participating artists were Arthur Aviles, PeiJu Chien-Pott, Christine Dakin, Antonio Fini, Nina Jirka, Valentina Kozlova, Limon2, Bradley Shelver, Sokolow and Dances We Dance members.


One dancer on a dark stage waves the large white fabric of their costume.


Piece for a Northern Sky 

Piece for a Northern Sky is a whirling meditation on planetary motion. Burtner’s score creates vortices of sound with vibraphone rhythms based on Fibonacci sequence patterns. This piece is one of Sperling’s signature solos inspired by the style of Loie Fuller (1862–1928). Considered one of the “mothers” of modern dance, Fuller was a visionary and Queer artist with an expansive legacy. Her innovative performances conjured mesmerizing, multimedia spectacles out of fabric, motion, light and image. Fuller was influential in the development of such artistic movements as Art Nouveau, Cubism, and Futurism, as well as in the advent of cinema.


Choreography and Performance: Jody Sperling
Dancers: Jody Sperling
Music: Matthew Burtner
Costume: Mary Jo Mecca (construction)

About the Company

A NYC-based dancer-choreographer, Jody Sperling is the Founder/Artistic Director of Time Lapse Dance. She has created 50+ works and is the leading exponent of early performance technologist Loïe Fuller (1862-1928). Sperling has expanded Fuller’s genre into the 21st century, deploying it in the context of contemporary environmental performance forms. Sperling is developing an inquiry called ecokinetics that cultivates the relationship between the human movers and ecological systems while forging strategies for climate-engaged artmaking. She is Eco-Artist-in-Residence at The New York Society for Ethical Culture.


Three dancers skip across the stage with blue capes.


Tribute to Ukraine

Lori Belilove & The Isadora Duncan Dance Company will pay homage to the heroic valor and grit of the Ukrainian people. The suite was inspired by two of Isadora Duncan’s heroic dances: March Heroique created at the height of WWI (ca. 1916) and Varshavianka created after the Russian Revolution of 1905, which was directed against the Tsar, nobility, and the ruling class through acts including worker strikes, peasant unrest, and military mutinies. Belilove, herself a descendant of Ukrainian ancestry, stages Tribute to Ukraine to evoke the cry, the terror, and the loss of the Ukrainian people.  “We are dancing these heroic dances in the fight for human freedom and solidarity in the name of the magnanimous revolutionary Isadora Duncan,” says Belilove.


Choreographer: Lori Belilove, Isadora Duncan
Dancers: Lori Belilove, Emily D’Angelo, Rebecca Ibarra, Samantha Mercado, Nikki Poulos, Hayley Rose, Diana Uribe, Caroline Yamada
Music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Rene Aubrey, Ukrainian National Anthem by Mykhaïlo Verbytsky and Pavlo Chubynsky (Ukraine is not yet dead, nor its glory and freedom)
Costumes: Lori Belilove
Guest Performance Coach: Evelyn Shepard

About the Company

Hailed by the international press, Lori Belilove & The Isadora Duncan Dance Company is a spirited ensemble of highly trained dancers distinguished by their deeply felt connection to the art of Isadora and to Artistic Director Lori Belilove´s interpretive vision and aesthetic sensibility. Belilove’s direct lineage and prestigious performing career have earned her an international reputation as the premier interpreter and ambassador of the dance of Isadora Duncan and is considered the living embodiment of Duncan’s grace, power, and mastery of weight.  As a creative team, the Company delves into new artistic territory as it delivers the essence of Duncan into the 21st Century.