Christine Jones, Steven Hoggett, and David Byrne Premiere SOCIAL! the social distance dance club In Park Avenue Armory’s 55,000-Square-Foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall
Part of the Armory’s New ‘Social Distance Hall’ Commissions Series, SOCIAL! Safely Brings Audiences Together for Music, Movement, and Connection; Performances run Friday, April 9 through Thursday, April 22
New York, NY – March 24, 2021 – Park Avenue Armory announced the dates for the world premiere of SOCIAL! the social distance dance club, a new interactive and experiential movement piece commissioned by the Armory as part of its Social Distance Hall, its recently announced series of commissions of dance, music, and theater created by artists during and in response to the pandemic. Conceived by Christine Jones, renowned set designer for Spring Awakening, American Idiot, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Steven Hoggett, choreographer and movement director for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and multimedia artist and musician David Byrne (Talking Heads, David Byrne’s American Utopia on stage and film and Reasons to Be Cheerful), SOCIAL! will begin previews in the Drill Hall on April 9 and open April 13, running through April 22. Show times during the week will be at 7pm and at 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm on Saturdays and Sundays. With a playlist curated by Byrne, Hoggett, and Jones and mixed by New York City DJ Natasha Diggs, SOCIAL! invites participants to the Armory’s Wade Thompson Drill Hall to dance in their own socially distanced spotlights, all the while listening to a wonderfully singular instructional voice over by David Byrne with choreography by Yasmine Lee. Moving free-form or in sync with the spoken choreography (or not), audience members take part in a communal moment of cathartic release.
SOCIAL! is part of the Armory’s Social Distance Hall commissioning initiative, which provides artists with the space and resources to create and present to in-person audiences new works devised for and reflective of a society grappling with COVID-19. The Armory, with its immense, 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall and multiple airy rooms and entrances—featuring an air volume comparable to being outdoors—can provide an early pathway and model for the re-opening of the performing arts in New York and beyond.
Rigorous safety protocols for audiences that extend from arrival, entry, and seating to performance and departure have been developed, workshopped, and tested with invited audiences. Among these safety procedures are: masks worn properly at all times; a detailed and monitored system of audience flow to ensure artists, patrons, and staff are socially distanced at all times throughout their visit; contactless temperature-checks and ticket scanning outside at the door; no points of gathering in the building or on the sidewalk; no retail concessions, food and beverages, or ticket sales; restroom use limited to one person at a time, with cleaning between each use; and refreshing of the Drill Hall air three times pre-show and post show. Rapid Testing will be conducted on-site at the Armory.
“The Armory’s commitment to supporting and partnering with artists in the creation of new works that are responsive to society is a foundational component of who we are as an organization. The commissioned work that is part of Social Distance Hall exists, not despite of, but because of the pandemic that we have all been living through over the last year,” said Rebecca Robertson, Founding President and Executive Producer of Park Avenue Armory. “With SOCIAL!, we are delighted to invite New Yorkers to come together through a communal, safe, and multisensory experience that draws on the building’s acoustics and grand architecture, and the Armory’s cross-disciplinary programming mission.”
SOCIAL! invites 100 participants – 10% of the Drill Hall’s normal capacity – to the Armory’s Drill Hall for a socially distanced dance club, where each member will have a six-foot diameter circle in which to dance and move, spaced out from surrounding circles to provide proper social distancing at all times. The distance between the circles north to south is twelve feet. Going east to west the distance between the circles alternates between fifteen feet and twelve feet. The curated playlist will include a taped overlay of spoken movement directions narrated by Byrne. Participants at all levels of experience can move freely or choose to follow David Byrne’s magical suggestions. A video of Byrne teaching choreography for a song on the playlist will be sent in advance to all participants, so the entire group can move in unison. Ultimately, SOCIAL! aims to provide a powerful healing moment that can be experienced individually and communally.
If health conditions and governmental regulations do not permit the re-opening of the Armory on the dates noted below, the performances will be canceled, all tickets will be immediately refunded, and if possible, the performances will be rescheduled.
HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS
Park Avenue Armory has developed very strict health and safety protocols that include wearing masks at all times and rigorously enforced point-to-point choreography that ensures that no individuals are ever less than a six-foot distance from each other. The plan meets or exceeds applicable governmental standards. The protocols satisfy or exceed the recommendations of Federal, State, and City agencies overseeing the response to the health crisis. However as noted above, the Armory will only open and present programming if health conditions and governmental regulations permit.
All tickets will be electronic/mobile-only and are available for purchase for SOCIAL! the social distance dance club! at armoryonpark.org. There will be no tickets available to purchase onsite. By purchasing a ticket to SOCIAL!, ticket buyers consent to being Rapid Tested for COVID-19 on site at Park Avenue Armory. For entry to the Armory, all audience members will be required to fill out a COVID questionnaire and provide contact tracing information. No exceptions will be made.
SOCIAL! the social distance dance club
By Steven Hoggett, Christine Jones, and David Byrne
Previews: April 9-12
Performances: April 13–April 22
Monday through Friday: 7:00 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 12:00pm, 4:00pm, 8:00 pm
A Park Avenue Armory Production
Made by Kevin Adams, David Byrne, Natasha Diggs, Justin Ellington, Sarita Fellows, Steven Hoggett, Zoe Hurwitz, Mara Isaacs, Christine Jones, Yasmine Lee
Commissioned by Park Avenue Armory
Produced in association with Octopus Theatricals
Citi and Bloomberg Philanthropies are the Armory’s 2021 Season Sponsors.
The Social Distance Hall is supported in part by The Kaplen Brothers Fund.
Support for Park Avenue Armory’s artistic season has been generously provided by the Charina Endowment Fund, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Foundation, the Marc Haas Foundation, the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, the Leon Levy Foundation, the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, the Richenthal Foundation, and the Isak and Rose Weinman Foundation. The artistic season is also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support has been provided by the Armory's Artistic Council.
About Steven Hoggett
Recent credits as Movement Director/ Choreographer include: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Broadway, West End, International); Angels in America (Broadway); The Crucible (Broadway); The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night Time (Royal National Theatre, West End, Broadway); The Last Ship (Broadway); Let The Right One In (National Theatre Scotland, St Anne’s Warehouse); Rocky: The Musical (Broadway); The Glass Menagerie (A.R.T., Broadway, EIF); Once (A.R.T., Broadway, West End); Peter & the Starcatcher (Broadway); American Idiot (Broadway); Ocean at The End of the Lane and The Light Princess (National Theatre); St Joan (Public); and as Associate Director / Movement, Black Watch (National Theatre Scotland, St Anne’s Warehouse). As Director, recent credits include: Close to You: Bacharach Reimagined (New York Theatre Workshop, West End). Hoggett was a director and founding member of Frantic Assembly Theatre Company, and with Scott Graham co-wrote The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre (Routledge).
About Christine Jones
Christine Jones is a collaborative artist working in theater, opera, public art, and the digital realm. She is the Creator and Artistic Director of the critically acclaimed THEATRE FOR ONE, which has recently moved online with its own platform. She is a Director of one-of-a-kind experiences for companies like Rag & Bone, and productions such as Queen of the Night (Drama Desk Award for Best Unique Experience). She is a Tony Award-winning Set Designer for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Pts I & II, as well as American Idiot. Other credits include: The Cher Show, Spring Awakening (Tony Nomination), and Let the Right One In (St. Ann’s Warehouse and West End). Opera designs include: La Traviata and Rigoletto (Met Opera). Currently, she is developing a digital experience with Radiohead. She has an Obie for Sustained Excellence in Design and teaches at NYU Tisch and Princeton University.
About David Byrne
David Byrne is a musician, composer, and producer. Recent works include the Broadway debut of David Byrne’s American Utopia as well as the forthcoming Spike Lee directed film version, the launch of his Reasons to be Cheerful online magazine, and the solo album American Utopia. Byrne co-founded the band Talking Heads, for which he was the guitarist and lead singer, and established the record labels Luaka Bop and Todo Mundo. Other artistic achievements include the theatrical piece Joan of Arc: Into the Fire; a series of interactive environments questioning human perception and bias, The Institute Presents: NEUROSOCIETY; the theatrical production Here Lies Love; and the book How Music Works. Among his many laurels are Academy, Grammy, and Golden Globe awards.
About Yasmine Lee
Yasmine Lee is a movement artist who has worked across film, television, theater, music videos, the concert dance stage, events and national commercials in over 30 countries. Select credits include: Broadway: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Crucible, Once Musical, and Rent. Other: Katie Perry for SNL, The XXII Winter Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies, PEARL The Show, Brown Butterfly, Across The Universe (SONY Pictures), Margie Gillis’ Legacy Project, The Dunham Technique Video (Library Of Congress), Joan Peter’s Dance Co, MOMIX, Amici Di Maria De Filippi Season 9 (RAI TV), Issey Miyake product launch (Louvre Museum). Off Broadway: Wild Goose Dreams, Tender Napalm, Knives in Hens, and Sweeney Todd. Lee invites you to explore your deep groove, dance it out, and get free! Both the large expansive dance and the small intricate dance are full of infinite transformative potential.
About Natasha Diggs
Natasha Diggs is a world-renowned DJ, producer, record enthusiast and Resident of New York City’s premiere dance party, Soul in The Horn. What started out as a deep love for music and collecting records in her teenage bedroom transformed into a life purpose of uplifting her community and liberating dance floors around the globe. Coined as the 45 Queen known for rockin’ parties with her signature 7-inch vinyl sets, Diggs has collaborated and played with artists such as Erykah Badu, Mark Ronson, Lauryn Hill, Anderson .Paak, Q-Tip, Roy Ayers, Patti Labelle, and many more.