January in New York City

They call it the city that never sleeps – and with good reason – this January 12 major events are coming together in New York City for a celebration of performing arts like no other on earth

From 3-22 January APAP|NYC, ISPA, American Dance Platform and nine other major events are all taking place in the city under the banner ‘January in New York City’. An estimated 45,000 arts professionals will visit the big apple to take part in more than 1,500 performances and industry events.

The concept for January in New York City was born out of APAP, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2017. Running from 6-10 January and taking place at the New York Hilton Midtown and the Sheraton Times Square, APAP|NYC is the world’s premier gathering of performing arts professionals. Plenary sessions, professional development, show-cases, performances and networking events will abound as always, this year themed around the concept of ‘flow’. The event itself takes place in the heart of Manhattan, with Broadway, Times Square, MOMA and countless other attractions all within a short walk. 370 exhibitors have signed up to take part in this year’s event, with over 1,000 artists putting on APAP showcases in locations across Manhattan.

‘There is an electricity in the air the moment all of these performing arts professionals and festival-goers descend upon the streets, clubs, performance spaces and conference hotels of New York during the first few weeks of January,’ commented APAP president and CEO Mario Garcia Durham. ‘Our collaboration with organisers of arts conferences and festivals that also take place each year in January has resulted in more awareness of the many ways arts professionals and audiences can take advantage of this special place and time of year for the performing arts.’

On APAP’s heels is New York 2017 ISPA Congress, running from 10-12 January. Under this year’s theme ‘Currents of Change: Arts, Power + Politics’, delegates will explore whether or not the performing arts can be a catalyst for social and political change and, if so, how this might be best achieved. As with APAP, ISPA’s events are hosted along the corridor around Broadway, split between the impressive The Times Center and the Millennium Broadway Hotel. 

But aside from the big two what else is going on in NYC this January? Events, festivals and conferences include American Dance Platform, COIL Festival, Under the Radar Festival Connect Conference, Wavelengths: APAP World Music Preconference, NYC Winter Jazzfest, American Realness, PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now, globalFEST, and Chamber Music America.

The festivals in particular are a real blessing, allowing visitors to take a break from networking and engage with the performing arts as spectators rather than speculators. ‘Festivals are the true cultural exchange – the intersection of artists and professionals, and audiences, creating these very special events,’ commented Under the Radar Festival (UTRF) director Mark Russell. ‘It’s a constant interchange of ideas and people…in January, there’s no reason to go outside, so you’ve got to come in and see for yourself.’

UTRF (4-15 January) features theatre makers from the UK, Belarus, France, Germany, Indonesia and Lebanon, as well as the US. Taking place in venues across the city, highlights include Time of Women by critically acclaimed company Belarus Free Theatre, La Mélancolie des Dragons by French theatre director Philippe Quesne, and The Fever by New York’s own 600 Highwaymen. It’s a great opportunity to step away from the big hotels and glitzy venues, that dominate the conference climate, for a taste of what the theatre scene in New York truly has to offer.

American Dance Platform (3-8 January) returns for a second year, showcasing the best that the US dance scene has to offer, while PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now (5-15 January) does the same for the opera world. PROTOTYPE features the world premiere Matt Marks and Paul Peers’ Mata Hari, while two New York premieres – Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves and David Lang’s Anatomy Theater – will also take place. PROTOTYPE also affords the opportunity of visiting the brand-new Brooklyn venue National Sawdust, which is staging M Lamar’s Funeral Doom Spiritual.

Other festivals include NYC Winter Jazzfest (5-10 January), with performers like Pharoah Sanders and Ravi Coltrane; American Realness (5-15 January), which celebrates boundary-pushing dance performances; COIL Festival (3-22 January), that offers up a plethora of contemporary performance art pieces; and GlobaFEST (8 January), with its diverse programme of ground-breaking sounds.

There are also a number of smaller conferences for those looking to cram as much networking into their NYC visit as possible. These include Chamber Music America (5-12 January), which boasts both talks and performances; Jazz Connect Conference (5-6 January), that brings together key players from across the US jazz arena; while the free Wavelengths: APAP World Music Prec-onference (5-6 January) adds extra depth to APAP’s world music offering.