Cynthia Koppe and Tim Bendernagel. Photo by Maria Baranova.

NYU Skirball presents John Jasperse Projects, in the world premiere of Visitation, a new dance that is part seance and part exorcism, on Friday, September 9 and Saturday, September 10 at 7:30 pm. Choreographed by John Jasperse, Visitation was created in collaboration with performers Tim Bendernagel, Cynthia Koppe, and Doug LeCours with original music by composer-collaborator Hahn Rowe and recorded music by Richard Wagner and lighting design by Stan Pressner.

Visitation loosely draws on spiritualism, mesmerism, the occult, hysteria, and the exoticization of myth. The dance vacillates between pensive, introspective sensing and lush, at times even rhapsodic, sequences of cascading movement that verge on camp. By channeling ghosts, the dance moves from present day, into the past, and back again. Original music by Jasperse’s long-time collaborator Hahn Rowe is interspersed with orchestral fragments from various operas by Richard Wagner. 

The complex, polarizing figure of Wagner and his music functions with Visitation as both occasional musical accompaniment and an historical object; as the dance sinks into the sweeping chromaticism of Wagner’s immersive sound, we cannot help but recall how the power of his music, and the emotions that it conjured, were appropriated in support of pivotal historical actions, at times heinously destructive and at other times emancipatory. As we emerge from this musical time-traveling into the present, we are left to ponder how our own feelings carry us into action as we shape our collective future.

John Jasperse has been working as a dance artist in New York City for 37 years. He has created nineteen evening-length works with John Jasperse Projects as well as numerous commissions for other companies including Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, Batsheva Dance Company, and Lyon Opera Ballet. John Jasperse Projects has been presented in 26 U.S. cities and 29 countries. He is the recipient of a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award and two Bessie awards (2014 and 2001), among many other accolades. Jasperse is co-founder of CPR—Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, New York and is Director of Dance at Sarah Lawrence College.  

The creation of Visitation as well as its performances at NYU Skirball and other activities of John Jasperse Projects are supported, in part, by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Cultural Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts, the James E. Robison Foundation, the Kyle J. Mulrooney Foundation, the Lion & Hare Foundation, a Late Stage Production Grant from the Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, and individual contributions. Residency support was provided by Sarah Lawrence College.


NYU Skirball, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, is one of New York City’s major presenters of international work, and has been the premier venue for cultural and performing arts events in lower Manhattan since 2003. The 800-seat theater, led by Director Jay Wegman, provides a home for internationally renowned artists, innovators, and thinkers and presents ground-breaking events ranging from re-inventions of the classics to cutting-edge premieres, in genres ranging from dance, theater and performance arts to comedy, music and film.

NYU Skirball’s unique position within New York University enables it to draw on the University’s intellectual riches and resources to enhance its programming with dialogues, public forums and conversations with artists, philosophers, scientists, Nobel Laureates, and journalists.


Visitation will play Friday, September 9 and Saturday, September 10 at 7:30 pm. Tickets begin at $35. Tickets can be purchased online at Jasperse Tickets, by visiting the box office in person, Wednesday – Friday from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm, or by calling 212.998.4941. NYU Skirball is located at 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square, New York, New York 10012.

Cynthia Koppe and Tim Bendernagel. Photo by Maria Baranova.