Aunts Is Back, Turning City Blocks Into Dance Floors

This creative performance experiment presents a roving adventure through space with Aunts Goes Public!

It wasn’t just that the barricades were pink, it was the shade of pink: shockingly vibrant, unabashedly joyful. On a steamy evening in June, these barricades were placed at either end of a Long Island City block, not just to stop traffic but to mark territory. For the next few hours, this was an Aunts-only zone. And while it can be tricky to describe exactly what Aunts is — it’s not an institution with a home base — it’s easy to say what it creates: a space for dance to happen.

On June 6, Aunts emerged from the pandemic with a new set of organizers and Aunts Goes Public!, the first of three summer events presented as part of Open Culture NYC, in which dance artists take over a city block. In typical Aunts fashion, the performances bled from one to the next, transforming a long street into a sensorial landscape of movement and sound. Kirsten Michelle Schnittker and Tara Sheena, dashing onto the pavement, echoed each other’s hops and swirling twists in a meditative, architectural arrangement that held their bodies in space — firmly, delicately.

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