10 Reasons to Leave Your Cozy Apartment in January

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A documentary about legendary jazz musician Jaco Pistorious, "Jaco," screens at the Jazz Connect Conference this month. Jaco's pictured here, slapping the bass in 1970.

From January 5th to the 19th, the performing arts world converges in one place: New York City. Drawing an international crowd of up to 45,000, the January in NYC festivals feature art, dance, theater, opera, music, informational sessions, an expo hall, and more at various venues. With so much to see, it can be a overwhelming. Here are just a few highlights from this month's festivals to lure you away from your radiator and enjoy the wintry city. 

1. The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival (January 6-17) Schedule
In its 12th year, the festival features 18 new productions from five countries focusing on contemporary theater. Highlights include, Escuela, by Guillermo Caldérone, which is set in Chile in the late 1980s as activists are preparing a coup against the Pinochet dictatorship. Also, Samedi Détente, a show from Dorothée Munyanez, tells the story of her childhood in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, using music, dance and testimony from the killings.

2. American Dance Platform at the Joyce Theater (January 12-17) Schedule
A showcase of eight companies, both emerging and established, perform American modern dance. One example, Martha Graham Dance Company, a leader in the contemporary dance world for generations, will showcase masterpieces and newly commissioned works. Performances on Tuesday, January 12 at 7:30pm; Sunday, January 17 at 7:30pm.

3. Jazz Connect Conference (January 14-16) Schedule
Presented by JazzTimes and Jazz Forward Coalition, the conference is a series of more than 20 panels and workshops addressing social media, radio airplay, media coverage, booking opportunities, and more, all focused around the "Fresh Horizons" theme. Dee Dee Bridgewater will give the keynote address, and don't miss the screening of the documentary, Jaco, about the bassist Jaco Pastorius, who's known to many as the last great instrument innovator in jazz. The film includes interviews with Sting, Herbie Hancock, and Joni Mitchell. The New York Chapter of the Recording Academy is sponsoring the screening on Friday, January 15. 

4. COIL 2016 (January 5-17) Schedule 
Performance Space 122's COIL features 16 live performance events, including contemporary dance, theater, media and virtual art at various venues throughout the city. The works challenge notions of boundaries and juxtaposed concepts like life and death. One example is Confirmation, a solo show that looks at the phenomenon of "confirmation bias," where our ideas are confirmed by what we're listening to and what we're watching. The show features writer/performer Chris Thorpe in conversation with a white supremacist. The director is Rachel Chavkin, and runs from January 13-17.

5. PROTOTYPE (January 6-17) Schedule
Co-produced by Beth Morrison Projects and HERE, "Prototype: Opera/Theater/Now" features opera and theater works from New York City and around the globe. Founded and led by three women, the festival includes a 50/50 ratio of women to men composers. There will be a world premiere of the opera-theater work, Angels Bone, from librettist Royce Vavrek and composer Du Yun that centers on two angels who are brought back to earth and discovered by a couple who want to nurse them back to health. It runes on various dates between January 6-17.

6. NYC Winter Jazzfest (January 13-17) Schedule
Over the course of five days, the festival will feature more than 120 groups comprised of over 600 musicians on 12 different stages, showcasing today's diverse and thriving jazz scene. The Winter Jazzfest Marathon features over 100 group performances in and around Greenwich Village on Friday, January 15 and Saturday, January 16. The marathon will include performances from Amir Elsaffar, Jose James, Takuya Kuroda, Marc Cary, Lakecia Benjamin, Dawn of Midi, Cyrus Chestnut, Julian Lage, Sexmob, Chargaux, Gogo Penguin, Cory Henry, James Francies, Sarah Neufeld, and jazz veterans Christian McBride and Dr. Lonnie Smith. Multi-instrumentalist, composer, and arranger Ibrahim Maalouf will play on Saturday, January 16. 

 

7. Wavelengths: APAP Global Music Pre-Conference (January 14-15) plus globalFEST (January 17) Schedule
Wavelengths is free and open to the public (though you need to RSVP), and aims to generate conversations about the shifting world, and update professionals involved in the global music community. globalFEST is a one-night festival/showcase event featuring 12 artists from around the world on 3 stages in Webster Hall. 

The lineup includes: Tribu Baharú (a Afro-champeta party from Colombia's Caribbean coast). Fendika: Masterful dancer Melaku Belay leads Ethiopia's traditional music revival. Mariana Sadovska (from the Ukraine, reinventing traditional songs). Astrid Hadad: Extravagant Mexican cabaret with soulful songs and outrageous visuals. Ginkgoa (Vintage Paris chic meets New York cool in swinging electro-beats). Debauche (Russian mafia ballads get a New Orleans punk makeover). Lakou Mizik (Powerhouse collective invigorating Haitian roots and grooves). Somi (Lush Afrobeat inspired). 

8. APAP/ NYC 2016 (January 15-19) Schedule
The Association of Performing Arts Presenters' annual conference located at the New York Hilton Midtown and Sheraton New York Times Square. The conference features development sessions, keynote speakers, pre-conference forums, and over 1,000 artist showcases all around New York City. Many of the events will be live streamed. One of discussions is a community forum called "Our Global Community: What is the Role of the Arts Presenter in a Community in Crisis." It reflects on crisis issues affecting communities today and how to generate arts-led, solution-oriented strategies. January 15 at the New York Hilton Midtown from 9am-3pm.

There will also be two plenary sessions with Ahmad Sarmast, founder and director of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM). Sarmast was supposed to speak in 2015, but was injured in a suicide bomber attack in Kabul while his students were performing at the French Cultural Center.

9. Circus Now: International Contemporary Circus Exposure 2016 (January 14-16) Schedule
The three-day festival at NYU Skirball Center brings together circus companies from around the world who are creating new works and redefining what "circus" means to audiences. On Thursday, January 14, Acrobatic Conundrum from Seattle will perform The Language of Chance. Then, Company Okotber, featuring three of France's leading circus talents, presents their show, Ocktobre.

(The Language of Chance performed at SANCA Theatre in Seattle, WA. January 2015. Video Footage: Adam Bailey. Editing: Terry Crane)

10. The Exponential Festival (January 13-30) Schedule
This festival offers up different theatrical performances at venues throughout Brooklyn. At the Bushwick Starr, Banana Bag and Bodice presents, LongYarn, described as a "shaggy-dog folktale" written by Jason Craig with music by Dave Malloy. (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812).