Opera is beautiful but exhausting; the symphony puts me to sleep. What moves me? Dance!
Though not technically on Saint Marks Street, this activist community church named after the saint is close and worth mentioning because it embodies the spirit of the old East Village and the tough grit I believe is fundamental to New York. The church hosts plays, dance performances, Poetry Project readings, punk free markets and puppet performances, and has a sweet garden for a picnic. You can rent the various spaces of the church as well.
Take ballet, tap, modern, or African dance, as well as pilates and zumba, with masters of the forms.
What's NOT to love about the Peter J. Sharp building of the Brooklyn Academy of Music? With free music evenings in a beautiful upstairs, large Afrobeat parties in the main auditorium downstairs, and the BAM Rose Cinemas, this is often the place to be.
As lovely and cavernous within as it appears from above, this beautiful domed Moorish Revival-style building hosts top-notch theater and dance, from ballet to musicals.
Spinning hula hoop goddesses, masked circus performers and lithe modern dancers collide in this truly avant-garde dance practice and performance space. Cirque This! holds their regular quirky circus performances here.
Housed in a cavernous high-ceilinged former horse stable, this former Williamsburg venue known for cabaret, burlesque, variety and music is much lusher in Dumbo, with circular seating for large parties and a fancier bar than before. Weddings are happily situated here, where parties can watch a comedy or trapeze show from seating above in the mezzanine or dance below on the ground floor.
You might see legendary New York performance artists like Julie Atlas Muz under P.S. 122's spotlight, or you might see a tribute to beloved 80s/90s performance artist Tom Murrin. Being a member has been worth it for me -- check out membership prices online.