Travel to New York City with Deborah Riley!

Friday, April 15 – Saturday, April 16

Get the inside story on the mecca of global dance! The evolution of Soho, the downtown dance scene and new innovations in dance/social justice work.


Friday, April 15

11am Depart DC from Union Station

3pm Check into Holiday Inn Hotel-Chelsea

5pm Dinner with Kim Chan, formerly with Washington Performing Arts and Paul Taylor Dance

7:15pm Sleep No More, immersive dance-theater performance “a cult hit”, “a theater show with a dance company in the middle.” Please be prepared to walk or stand during the entire performance

Saturday, April 16

10:30am Visit to founding dance loft in Soho, home of Douglas Dunn & Dancers

11:30am Stroll through Soho

1pm Tour of Gibney Dance, hub of downtown dance – performances, studios and outreach to domestic violence survivors

3pm Lunch

6pm Depart NYC from Penn Station

Sunday, April 17

7pm Performance by Jody Oberfelder Projects (NYC) at Dance Place

For more information and to sign up contact or call 202-269-1601.



Sleep No More is the New York City production of a site-specific, interactive work of theater created by British theatre company Punchdrunk, based on William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It is staged at a warehouse referred to as The McKittrick Hotel.

Sleep No More adapts the story of Macbeth, deprived of all spoken dialogue and set primarily in a dimly-lit, 1930s-era establishment called the “McKittrick Hotel”: the website of which claims it has been recently “restored” but is actually a block of warehouses in Manhattan, transformed into a hotel-like performance space. Sleep No More‘s presentational form is considered promenade theater, in which the audience walks at their own pace through a variety of theatrically designed rooms, as well as environmental theater, in which the physical location, rather than being a traditional playhouse, is an imitation of the actual setting.

Sleep No More tells the story of Macbeth, though the audience is given no program and there is no speaking from either the actors or audience. The actors (unlike the audience members) wear no masks and perform in passionate, silent, group settings; solitary scenes; and, sometimes, choreographed dances. Audience members are instructed to remain silent and masked at all times once they have boarded the hotel’s elevator up until the time they return to the Manderley Bar; however, they may move freely at their own leisure for up to three hours, choosing where to go and what to see, so that everyone’s journey is unique; they may also exit the premises at any point. Audience members may thus follow one or any of the actors throughout the performance, or they may independently explore the many rooms of the building; in groups or alone. The audience is also encouraged to investigate by opening drawers, examining the numerous written diaries, letters, and other props found throughout the set. Recorded music plays steadily throughout the building at all times.

Sleep No More won the 2011 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience and won Punchdrunk special citations at the 2011 Obie Awards for design and choreography.

Douglas Dunn performed with the Merce Cunningham Company and with the avant-garde improvisational group The Grande Union. Douglas is considered a preeminent artist that came out of the famed “Judson Dance” period that led to post modern dance. His loft has been and continues to be an important venue for experimentation, rehearsals and performances in the dance community. Among many awards, the French Embassy in New York, presented Douglas Dunn with the insignia of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, inducting him into the Order as a “Chevalier,” who has “significantly contributed to the enrichment of the French cultural inheritance.” Deborah Riley performed with the company 1978 – 1987 while living in NYC, including an evening-length duet with Dunn as well as participation in multiple European tours.

Gibney Dance Center is an important anchor of the downtown dance community in NYC with its three components: the physical Center, the performing Company and Community Action programs. The combined range of artistic programming includes a performing series, creative residencies, professional training certificate program, international visa program, rehearsal space rentals, consultancies for artistic and arts administration and a robust schedule of classes for dancers all over NYC. Created by Gina Gibney, the center is home to her performing company Gibney Dance whose members direct outreach programs to adults and youth. This includes choreographic workshops as well as ongoing work with survivors of domestic and dating violence.