Behind the Scenes

Starting today, the company members will be sharing insights into the dances you’ll see performed during our New York Season. To kick things off, we have Coco Karol speaking about her experience with Future Perfect-er, the reimagining of Future Perfect, called “beautifully peculiar” by Dance Magazine. Future Perfect-er explores what would happen to a dance if it woke up on the wrong side of the bed or perhaps existed in an alternate universe.

Click here to purchase tickets for the season. Consider being a part of our Opening Night benefit or purchasing a Backstage Pass to become more intimate with the dancers!

Until next time,
Your Friends at MDT

Note: If you’re not in New York this December, we’ll be livestreaming a couple of the shows. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more details.

Summer Excitement at Misnomer


This summer at Misnomer has been an exciting one!  In addition to an influx of amazing interns, we have embraced a few new stellar staff members in the past month.  Sarah Benvenuti joined us as our General Manager, and Larry Henry as the Director of Partnerships and Development.  Larry and Sarah have been helping us prepare for an exciting fall (more on that soon- look for a notice in August!), and have quickly become a part of the Misnomer family.

Artistically we’ve been fast at work, having some great rehearsals and enjoying our Tenant Company Residency at The Joyce Theater’s Dance Art New York studios. We had a fun evening of performance and play at our Summer Soiree, hosted by one of our Board members, Betsy Poirier.  One of our superstar interns, Sebastian Kliment, created this time-lapse video of the event so that you could have a sneak peek!

We’ve got many more events coming up this fall for you to see our work in progress and to meet our growing family. We’re also excited to have you join us in a dialogue around AEP and to join us on our adventures here at Misnomer! We’ll see you soon!

Google tributes Martha Graham

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.“ – Martha Graham

Today Google pays tribute with a “Google Doodle” animation to the great Martha Graham (1894 – 1991), one of the most important choreographers of the 20th century.

Dedicated to the Arts, she danced and choreographed for over seventy years while receiving several high honors like the Presidential Medal of Freedom throughout her career.

See it today at Google and find out more about the amazing Martha Graham.

Misnomer dancer to perform at Symphony Space tonight

This is just a short notice that Coco Karol – one of our fellow Misnomer dancers – will perform her own choreography at the Symphony Space in NYC tonight. The contemporary music organization Ear to Mind announces its first production, Live Art, featuring the performance by Coco.

We like to feature our dancer`s own choreographies and will continue to share notices of the dancers various adventures. Chris will be in the audience tonight so say hi if you´re there!

Friday, April 22nd, 2011, 8pm
At Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Peter Norton Symphony Space, New York
Get tickets here

Experiencing art “Through Our Eyes”

“Well, I really enjoy it when they tell me a nice story with their choreography”, said Martha while giving me a nudge and a smile referring to my preference for abstract performances…

Last week for the first time Misnomer`s Artistic Director Chris Elam and company dancer Jennifer C. Harmer invited a small group of people for a special event series called “Through Our Eyes”. I was one of the few to join Chris and Jennifer to go out and see a performance at the Dance Theatre Workshop. Afterwards we went to a nice place to have a drink and talk about the show.

What made it so special was – besides having a fun evening enjoying a performance and meeting fellow dance fans – that I got to see the performance also “through the eyes” of the artists Chris and Jennifer.

It was inspiring to get to know the artist´s perspective and opinion on the performance and to hear some stories of their own dance experiences (Ever heard about the one in France when the music stopped? Ask Jennifer!). And of course, everybody was invited to share their experience and exchange thoughts with some like minded people in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.

Painting exhibition of Misnomer opening in Chelsea this week.

Art often inspires Art. Peter Sherman, a painter from Sweeden, has painted a series of 40+ works based on still images from Misnomer’s videos. He has a NYC gallary opening in Chelsea this Thursday, featuring his series of paintings of Misnomer at the Agora Gallary at 530 West 25th St, Feb 10 – 25.

Peter is kindly donating 100% of proceeds to Misnomer from the paintings he sells both at the exhibition in NY and online through the weblink below. Please take a look at the paintings online and share with anyone whom you think might be interested. Paintings are for sell at ARTmine at this link

Here’s an interview by the Agora Gallary of Peter about the works inspired by Misnomer and with some of the paintings.

And thank you to everyone who has been sending me happy birthday wishes! It is much appreciated!

— Chris

Dancing in September

Greetings all!

Summer is nearly over and a lot is brewing for Misnomer this fall. Before we dive in, we’d like to catch you up on some highlights from our summer outings.

Chris gathered with a group of innovative dance companies in Washington D.C. this past June to give a presentation about Engaging Dance Audiences at the annual Dance/USA Conference. Chris enjoyed getting together with dance representatives from across the country to discuss and learn about one another’s experiments and adventures.

On June 12th, Chris got married! Friends and family joined together for three days at a summer camp in upstate NY, where, among other things, there was a Friday night performance, or as he refereed to it, “a curated evening of entertainment”. This included stories, songs and dances, a feature of which was a stunning solo choreographed and performed by one of Misnomer’s dancers, Brynne Billingsley. (Brynne will be performing this solo at Misnomer’s benefit party at Galapagos on Nov 5th in NYC).  Another highlight of the weekend was when a crowd formed around Chris’s grandfather who was dancing it up on the dance floor at midnight. Both Chris’s father and grandmother attested that they had never seen his grandfather dance before in his entire life! Chris’s grandparents have been married for 73 years! That’s inspiring.

After the wedding the newlyweds had their honeymoon in Indonesia, where Chris re-connected with his Topeng dance master for the first time since he lived and studied there 12 years ago. Chris will follow up with more on this in a special upcoming blog post.

Meanwhile, throughout the summer AEP development continued with the testing process for an initial group of artists who lent their time and feedback. This included some alpha testing analysis conducted by Ron Evans, which you can read more about at the AEP blog.

Looking forward, Misnomer is excited for an active season ahead! Next weekend, Misnomer will be performing the first piece that Chris ever created for the company, entitled “Misnomer”, from which the company got its name back in 1998. The performance will be for one night only, and will open the program for the closing night of the annual DanceNOW[NYC] Festival at Dance Theater Workshop. The program also includes the works of several other dynamic choreographers from the NYC dance scene, so be sure to get your tickets soon for the September 11th performance at 7:30pm.

We’ll write more soon about some of our upcoming events, including the Columbia Business School’s Social Enterprise Conference (Oct 8), TEDxGotham (Oct 15), and Misnomer’s benefit performance & party at Galapagos Art Space (Nov 5, save the date: tickets online soon). You can always get info at our events and facebook pages, and can sign up for email updates, which are more in-depth than our blog.

We hope you’ve had a great summer, and look forward to sharing some art with you at an event soon!

Helen Lee

Misnomer Dance Theater

Misnomer Live from Symphony Space

Thanks for joining us last night at Symphony Space! We’ve posted a full rebroadcast of our performance from Symphony Space below, which featured the world premiere of “Cellophane.”

(If you’d like to view the video in a larger format, visit our livestream page).

Don’t miss a step – follow us on twitter and facebook for the latest!

You can still catch the last two performances on April 9th & 10th, live at Symphony Space. Buy tickets on the Symphony Space website.

Let’s go see Misnomer!

Misnomer @ Symphony Space

Misnomer @ Symphony Space

New Season Opens April 2nd at Symphony Space! Great atmosphere, incredible art. Bring your friends and prepare to be stimulated 🙂

More info, visit:

On Your Mind: Misnomer, Unraveled

Deaton Jones, a student at Columbia University who grew up in the South, shares with us his thoughts on a recent performance by Misnomer Dance Theater. While the troupe’s name declares a cheeky skepticism towards audience members’ or critics’ attempts to interpret what they’re observing on stage, we think Deaton’s done a pretty swell—and brave—job of offering up his perspective. It’s not everyday in NYC that you come across a mind unjaded, and so we’re excited to hear more from Deaton as he explores the city and its cultural offerings with an unusually fresh and open eye.

A few days ago, I attended a performance at the Baryshnikov Arts Center by the Misnomer Dance Theater. Rather than marveling at graceful pirouettes or effortless lifts, I found myself captivated in a search for the dances’ meanings.

Modern dance is still relatively new to me, as I have only a little bit of first-hand experience in hip hop and ballroom. Interpretive in style, the Misnomer performance served as medium for storytelling. The performance reminded me of the music of band The Dirty Projectors. The Dirty Projectors are an indie/experimental rock band out of Brooklyn – they’ve been around for quite a few years now, but I only recently started exploring their music. I am often caught off guard by the group’s juxtaposition of octaves and unsuspecting use of instruments.

The Misnomer performance echoed this emphasis on juxtaposition. The abstract performance took place in a studio named after one of the greatest ballet—a type of movement considered more traditional—dancers of all time. The performers’ outfits ranged from everyday wear to full on, alien-like costume. I was often caught off guard by Misnomer’s interpretation of what constitutes “prop.” At a point in the performance, one of the dancers crawled on top of another dancer and then wrapped himself horizontally around the other dancer before shimmying his way to the floor. I would have never thought to use another person as a type of “pole” before seeing this take place.

I applaud the Misnomer Dancer Theater for promoting innovation. It was obvious that the choreographer and dancers pushed themselves to achieve a unique performance aesthetic. Audience members may not always understand, spot-on, the meaning of their performances, but they can be sure of one thing: attending a Misnomer show means bearing witness to something refreshing and unusual.

– Deaton

A reply from Chris Elam, Misnomer’s Artistic Director:

Hi Deaton,

Thanks for attending our show and for writing your post. I don’t know if you know this, but if not, it’s ironic that you mentioned the Dirty Projectors in your post about our show. They were actually in the audience that day 🙂

Glad to share the art with you and appreciate your curiousity!

– Chris Elam

You can read this article and respond to it here.