Churches >St Marks Church In-The Bowery
131 East 10th Street, New York, NY | Directions 1000340.730219 -73.987127
Varies by event.
Neighborhoods: Downtown, East Village
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.
This 17th-century working church/performance space has risen from the ashes. – Overview
Experimental dance found a home as early as 1911 with the arrival of William Guthrie. After the rector installed marble lions at the entrance, painted the church a lively pink and installed theatrical lighting, his first concert, entitled Ritual of the Zuni Cornmaidens, scandalized decent New Yorkers by presenting barefoot dancers in the church. In 1934, Ruth St. Denis performed her Gold Madonna upon Guthrie's invitation. Forty years later, the church solidified its commitment to dance with the establishment of Danspace, which programs modern dance regularly.
This sanctuary is one of the few venues showcasing contemporary dance alongside 19th-century stained glass. Gracefully curving naval arches echo from floor to ceiling, even in the altar, which most choreographers incorporate into site-specific works. The acoustics are remarkable, and choreographers as diverse as Lucinda Childs and Dan Froot, have turned St. Marks into a nightly religious experience.
Great space, great performances – St Marks Church should be worshipped just for hosting Poetry Project's excellent readings and workshops. The annual New Year's Day poetry marathon is a New York cultural institution.
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