Past, Present, Future

Since its founding in 1935, 92Y’s Dance Center, named the Harkness Dance Center (HDC) in 1994, has been a focal point of the American modern dance world and a pioneer in dance performance, education and professional development — a place where dance history is made.

The first dance program at 92Y, curated with New York Times dance critic, John Martin, featured Martha Graham, Louis Horst, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman and Hanya Holm. Graham, Humphrey, Weidman and Holm, the “Big Four” of modern dance, were the founding faculty members of the Dance Center’s educational department, with young Anna Sokolow and Bonnie Bird as their assistants. Doris Humphrey became the first director of the center in 1945. A teacher training division was established in 1954, demonstrating the center’s commitment to the dance education profession, and in 1987, a Space Grant program, which provides rehearsal space to dancers each year for the creation of new works, was established.

Each of these priorities continue today. Through the Harkness Dance Festival, Dig Dance weekend performances and Fridays at Noon, HDC continues the tradition of presenting pioneers in the field while educating students and audiences with lecture demonstrations. The Space Grant program, which provides emerging artists with the resources to explore and create new work, continues alongside the Artist-in-Residence program where HDC invests in selected promising choreographers and companies to incubate new work. Recent MacArthur “Genius” Award winners Kyle Abraham and Michelle Dorrance were presented here, and a number of artists at various stages of their careers can claim 92Y as an early supporter of their new works.

92Y’s School of Dance provides instruction and performance opportunities to thousands of children, teens, adults and professional dancers and educators in a variety of genres from modern, ballet, tap, and jazz to hula, Duncan Technique, flamenco, and other forms. The faculty are all committed to 92Y’s philosophy of dance education, and many have professional performing experience and advanced degrees in dance.

The Dance Education Laboratory (DEL), an innovative training and professional development program for dance educators of children and teens, was established in 1995 and is the gold standard of professional development for dance educators. DEL partners with universities and colleges to provide graduate and undergraduate course credit to participants, and with the public schools to create an ecosystem where talented dance educators are identified, supported and placed into the workforce. 92Y’s Dance Therapy Program is another interdisciplinary professional development program which offers dance therapists, psychologists, social workers and educators with America Dance Therapy Association-approved training to enhance their practice. This program is committed to furthering the field through creativity, support and innovation across the dance and therapy professions.

In 2009/10 the 92nd Street Y Dance Center celebrated its 75th Anniversary.

As one of New York's founding institutions supporting contemporary dance and as the oldest U.S. dance institution still in its original location, we have much to celebrate. Therefore, during the next few years the Dance Center will be inviting new and returning dance artists, patrons and lovers of dance of all generations to teach, perform, reminisce and dance with us!

Audio: Arpeggios Doubled, composed by Amir Khosrowpour in honor of the 75th Anniversary of our Dance Center. Listen

Spirit of 92nd Street: The Harkness Dance Center At 75

This mini-documentary celebrates the 92nd Street Y's 75 years of supporting and presenting modern dance in America. Major artists who have performed and taught at the dance center are Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Hanya Holm, Jose Limon, Pearl Lang, Katherine Dunham, Agnes DeMille, Erick Hawkins, Jerome Robbins, Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey and Anna Sokolow, among many others.

Video: Spirit of 92nd Street: The Harkness Dance Center at 75, documentary aired on Channel Thirteen/WNET.


Contact Us:
92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center
1395 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10128

212.415.5552 / Email