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Periapsis Music and Dance

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Executive / President
Jonathan Katz, Artistic Director; Executive Director

Periapsis Music and Dance believes in the artists of today and in the body of work that they are creating. The extraordinary choreographers and composers of our time have the vision, voice, and skill to create collaborative works of intrinsic artistic value worthy of performance, study, and preservation. Our mission is to cultivate this new concert repertoire at the intersection of dance and music by actively contributing to it with our ensemble and by facilitating and encouraging such collaborations in the community.

This is an exciting time for music/dance collaborations! Individuals throughout the arts world are discovering the invigorating creative energy that comes when choreographers and composers collaborate, and when dancers can perform with live music. And artists and audiences alike are reveling in the new visual, musical, and theatrical possibilities that come with such combinations. But beyond discrete performance projects, a handful of grantmakers, and the mission of some individual artists, no organization has stepped forward to treat this burgeoning genre in a comprehensive way, both as a laboratory for artistic exploration and as a community resource. This is the role we envision for ourselves as Periapsis grows and develops.

Periapsis Music and Dance was founded in the fall of 2012 by composer/pianist Jonathan Howard Katz and dancer/choreographer Leigh Schanfein in response to the growing gap between dance performance and live musical performance in the NYC arts scene. Inspired by our own experiences creating art together, we wanted to give others in the dance and music communities opportunities to collaborate on new performance pieces. Jonathan and Leigh created several new repertoire works together, including two that they had first developed pre-Periapsis, as well as some pieces with other collaborators.

As we began our third season, we welcomed choreographers Erin Dillon and Hannah Weber to our company. Erin had been a guest choreographer in our first season, and Hannah started with us as a featured dancer in Laid upon the children. Both participate in the ensemble as dancers, too, and the contrast between their unique artistic styles have enriched our repertoire. Leigh departed from the ensemble in the winter of 2015, and our core company coalesced into an ensemble of six dancers and six musicians.

In our early seasons, we shared our programs with numerous guest choreographers who would bring their own dancers but work with our musicians to set music by living, mostly emerging, composers. For many of these choreographers it was a first time in the professional world to work with live music, or with a composer they could meet in person. However, this format limited both our ability to develop our own company and its repertoire, and our capacity to serve a wide range of artists. So in our third season we shifted our production resources to focus on our own work, but at the same time we found new ways to facilitate collaborations in the community. First came the online resources for choreographers and composers, and as we grow we expect to create performance opportunities and other programs to serve the dance and music communities together.

Please explore our website to learn more, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter and connect on social media to stay informed!