The Architecture of Proximity

Zullo/Raw Movement’s production The Architecture of Proximity is an immersive dance and performance experience exploring the relationship between the architecture of spaces and the physical, psychological and emotional effects of space on the body.

We asked Artistic Director of Zullo/Raw Movement, John Zullo a few questions about his new piece opening in the Theater at the 14th Street Y this Wednesday, October 28th.

Zullo Raw Movement

How would you describe this show to someone that has never experience immersive dance or theater? 

This performance is different from most other performances because there is no seating, therefore the audience is asked to stand during the duration of the performance with freedom to walk around the space. I liken the experience to being at a museum or gallery where you are moving through actively looking and engaging with the works. This allows for a more intimate experience of the work and to actually become part of the whole performance experience.

How did you first become involved with the Y?

I first heard about the Theater at the 14th Street Y when I was at the APAP conference last January.  I visited their booth, and  was able to talk to your staff to learn more about the space.  I like spaces that are unexpected.  My company has been performing mostly in the East Village, and I didn’t know that the Y had this venue.  I think this space allows for the piece to have a blank slate without the space defining the piece.  Instead, this piece is able to define the space.

What do you feel is an important theme of this piece?

In this case, it is playing with borders and boundaries that separate us and erasing them to find communality amongst individuals. It is creating an experience that forces people to deal with and negotiate the relationships that they have with each other and spaces.  Then, we are able to see how physical spaces can affect people physically, emotionally and psychologically.  In this piece, which I think more of as a movement based installation, is immersive through the convergence of movement, sound, architectural spaces, and light.  Through this, we are able to explore the possibility of it all working together– the movement is indicative of the spaces in our lives.

Is there anything else the audience should expect?

My goals for the audience are that they first, experience something that they have never experience before, and second, that they are transformed by the end of the installation.  I hope that the audience is able to find  a sense of openness, and are open to going on this journey with the performers.  The audience becomes part of the work as they are physically engaged in the piece.  Also, I encourage the audience to take photographs (no flash only) during the performance and tag @zullorawmovement on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!


The Architecture of Proximity will be playing at the Theater at the 14th Street Y

October 28th-Nov. 1st

Buy Tickets Here

From Jacob’s Pillow to the 14th Street Y Theater

This upcoming week we are excited to have with us The Men Dancers: From the Horses Mouth. After a sold-out run last summer at Jacob’s Pillow, 30 male dancers will perform for us here at the Theater at the 14th Street Y. One of the directors and creators, Jamie Cunningham, has shared with us some interesting information about this remarkable program.


Tell us a little about From the Horse’s Mouth, specifically what motivated you to start the company?

We wanted to do a piece that celebrates the whole dance field and that includes dancers, choreographers designers and critics of all ages sexes races and cultures.

At the heart of the piece are the stories that each performer tells about their work, life or conflicts that they have encountered. We see them dancing in their own style as well as interacting with dancers in quite different styles. For example, a ballet dancer collaborating with a hip hop dancer or a spanish Flamenco dancer working with an Indian classical dancer.

The Men Dancers was developed at Jacobs Pillow. Why did you want to bring it to NYC?

This was the first time we have done an all male version of the piece. It was so well received that we wanted to bring it to NYC where it could also include some notable dancers such as Frederic Franklin, Don Redlich, and Jock Soto who were unavailable to do the Pillow performances.

The Theater at the 14th Street Y just started presenting dance shows like this one.  What brought you to our space?

We think the renovation is excellent and appreciate all the help we have received from the staff here.

What is your favorite moment of the show?

The parade at the very end when we see all the dancers from different cultures and epochs as though in the long river of time.

How can Y members learn more?

Go to our website for more information.

Click Here for tickets or call 800-838-3006 ext. #1

Now Dancing in the 14th Street Y Theater

This week we are thrilled to welcome Sokolow Theatre Dance Ensemble to the Theater at the 14th Street Y.  Anna Sokolow was a revolutionary dancer and choreographer, and she performed here with her ensemble 50 years ago.  Now, Sokolow returns to the Y with a celebration of her work.








Tell us a little about Sokolow.  What makes you unique?


Sokolow Theatre Dance Ensemble, under the artistic direction of Jim May, is the professional company who serve as guardians of the choreographic masterpieces of Anna Sokolow.  Ms. Sokolow is considered the mother of theatre/dance and the range of her work is truly formidable. Each piece of choreography is bound only to her commitment to her idea, so her repertory is vast and varied.  Famous for intense choreography that tackles both important social and personal issues, the one common theme in all of Ms. Sokolow’s work is her belief in the triumph of the human spirit.


We understand that years ago, Sokolow performed at the 14th Street Y, and now you are returning after a long absence.  Tell us a little of our shared history, and what brought you back here? 


The 14th Street Y was certainly part of the whole dance scene on the lower east side, where Ms. Sokolow lived, and she did present various work here during the course of her early career.   Sokolow Theatre Dance Ensemble is thrilled to be back.  Ms. Sokolow grew up on Saint Marks place, and her attachment to the neighborhood never wavered. Even after she moved to the West Village, Anna would constantly walk the streets of the Lower East Side, because she felt at home. Ms. Sokolow’s Jewish upbringing, and her devotion to Israel, make performing her work at a Jewish community center especially important.


What can you tell us about this week’s performances?


This week we are presenting two Sokolow pieces from the mid 1950’s.  A Short Lecture and Demonstration on the Evolution of Ragtime, a tongue in cheek jaunt through the evolution of social dance during the rag era set to narration written by Mr. Jelly Roll Morton. And for the first time in 20 years, the company presents Lyric Suite danced to the music of Alban Berg.  Lyric Suite marks what Ms. Sokolow herself deemed the beginning of major works in her career.  The dancers perform by seamlessly interweaving drama, movement and musicality to present Ms. Sokolow’s first seminal work.  Also on the program is Jim May’s striking duet: Empty Nest.


Wednesday evening at 7:30, Jim May will present a lecture on Ms. Sokolow’s career and works.  Rarely seen footage of her work will be shown.


How can Y members learn more?


Go to for more information

Click Here for tickets or call 1-800-838-3006



Meet the OPEN Artists!

We’re just four weeks out from OPEN: The New Jewish Theater Residency at the 14th Streey Y, and we here at the Jewish Plays Project are thrilled to introduce you to the artists who are remaking the face of Jewish theater.  But first, print this out, because we don’t want you to be confusedYou’ve got six chances to be a part of OPEN: 

June 23, 24, and 25                           
Full Stage Readings of SIX
Winner of the 2012 JCC Metrowest Jewish Playwriting Contest  

June 28, June 30, July 1
The Lab: Selections from 4 New Shows in 2 Hours
Golems of Gotham, Mahalla, Klauzal Square, Salt of the Earth

All shows feature our insanely fun Txt2Thtr technology, so bring your cell phone and be part of the show!  (Seriously, this whole endeavor is about opening up the process to you, the viewer, so you can tell us where we have it right, and where we need to keep looking. These 50 artists have something they want to say, and you can help them say it in a way that is powerful and contemporary and awesome.) So, without further ado, here’s Project Coordinator Arielle Parkas’s first resident artist interview with Zohar Tirosh-Polk.
See you at the Theater!

Best –
David, Becky, Ronit, Ben, Josh K., Josh B., Arielle, Dede, Kara and the entire OPEN Staff



Zohar, your play SIX was the winner of the 2012 JCC Metrowest Jewish Playwriting Contest, the prize of which was getting to take part in the OPEN Residency. Can you tell me what it was like on the final night of the contest?
We didn’t know what we were getting into! Of course Six had some rehearsal time but not all the rehearsal time we would want in the world to do this thing right and so everyone was excited and nervous. But the actors just succeeded in doing an amazing job and I think that the three plays ended up talking to each other in surprising and fascinating ways.  It turned out to be a really rich and well thought out evening of theater and the cherry on the top was that Six won which was unexpected and so wonderful.

Well we are all so excited that you did because it means we get a chance to see more of SIX! Part of the mission of the Jewish Plays Project is to advocate for plays that embrace and investigate the intersection of Jewish identity and the secular self. How does SIX fit into that mission?

Six both embraces and investigates our relationship with Israel, and those intersections where Israel is both a contemporary place and a holy land, and a historical and political place as well as a home. Six is about the beauty and complexity and the allure and the difficulties of Israel right now and relating to Israel from the American perspective as well as from the Israeli perspective. For me at least, my relationship with Israel is an ongoing process and it encompasses a deep deep love and many other complex feelings that involve guilt and longing and shame and a profound connection.

I can’t wait to see how you further continue to investigate these themes during the residency.  What are you most excited for about that upcoming process?

I am most excited to be working with such an amazing team of incredibly talented people!

Ian, the director, has worked with me on Six from its first draft. We are really looking forward to a more fully staged and embodied version of the play moving towards a production  – it is a very exciting moment for us as collaborators. Ron Guttman is an amazing actor and producer who has also been working on the play since that first reading. Ron, along with some of the other actors, were part of the team that helped Six to win the JCC Contest. Hani Fursteberg, who is been in many many Israeli TV shows and plays and films will also be joining us.

It’s going to be like a big love fest reunion!

About SIX
Directed by the New Group’s Ian Morgan
When an ex-pat Israeli returns home with her American boyfriend, they are both changed by the echoes of the past and the beauty and spirit of the present. Intertwining stories highlight connections between the complexity of Modern Israel and the fight for peace at the end of the 1967 war. Previous readings were held at The New Group, Cape Cod Theatre Project and San Francisco’s Magic Theatre.

OPEN is generously supported by a grant from the UJA-NY Federation Commision on Jewish Identity and Renewal’s Gen i Task Force, the Louis T. Roth Foundation, and private donors. The Jewish Plays Project is grateful for the partnership of JCC Metrowest (Alan Feldman, Executive Director, Carol Berman, Director of Arts) and the PresenTense Group.

ABOUT LABA: LABA is a Jewish house of study for culture-makers located at the 14th Street Y. 10 fellows — a mix of artists, writers, dancers, musicians, actors, and others — partake in a yearlong study of classical Jewish texts centered around a theme, and then interpret these texts in their work.