Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Anita Durst and Nicky Paraiso to be honored at Movement Research’s 2016 Spring Gala at Judson Memorial Church on April 11

Photos by Victoria Sendra

Photos by Victoria Sendra

Movement Research, one of the world’s leading laboratories for the investigation of dance and movement-based forms, is honoring Anita Durst and Nicky Paraiso at its 2016 Spring Gala at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South in New York on Monday, April 11, 2016. Click here to purchase tickets, and here for more information.

This year’s honorary co-chairs are Jessica Hagedorn and Sarah Michelson. The evening kicks off with cocktails at 6pm, dinner at 7pm, and performances at 8:30pm featuring Mark Bennett, David Cale, Yoshiko Chuma, Simon Courchel, Robert Een, Marjani Forté, Lance Gries, Taryn Griggs and Chris Yon, Patricia Hoffbauer, Raja Feather Kelly, Jon Kinzel, Jodi Melnick, Meredith Monk, Julie Atlas Muz, Despina Stamos, Dane Terry, David Thomson, Edisa Weeks…and other surprise guests!

followed by Dance Party with DJ LVJjay (Larissa Velez-Jackson).
Anita Durst

Anita Durst

Anita Durst is the founder and Executive Director of chashama. Her passion for renovating space began in 1989 through her collaborations with Annie Hamburger of EnGardeArts, and Reza Abdoh of Dar a Luz. Anita has assisted more than 12,000 artists through space grants, production stipends, and administrative and technical support. She has produced and presented over 2,500 productions and has transformed over 85 temporarily vacant buildings into multi-arts complexes. She was awarded a “Young Visionary Award” by The Alliance of New York State Arts Organizations, and was honored by A.R.T./New York in 2008. Anita has taught theater workshops in the Balkan Region, as well as created an original musical that toured Croatia, Slovenia, and Macedonia. At chashama, Anita is responsible for the vision and direction of the organization.

Nicky Paraiso. Photo by Lia Chang

Nicky Paraiso. Photo by Lia Chang

Nicky Paraiso is an actor, musician, writer, performance artist and curator. He has been Director of Programming for The Club at La MaMa since 2001, and is responsible for its surge of theater, performance, dance and cabaret programming. He is also Curator for the annual La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival, celebrating its eleventh season in May 2016. Nicky is a graduate of Oberlin College/Conservatory and holds an M.F.A. from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program. He has been a prolific actor at La MaMa, and in New York downtown theater and performance, since 1979. He has worked as an actor and musical director with playwright/actor/director Jeff Weiss and his partner Carlos Ricardo Martinez since 1979. He has also been a member of Meredith Monk/The House and Vocal Ensemble (1981-1990), touring extensively throughout the US, Europe and Japan, and he has performed with, and been a member of, Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks since 1988. Paraiso has also enjoyed working as a performer with artists/creators as diverse as Anne Bogart, Laurie Carlos, Richard Elovich, Dan Froot, Jessica Hagedorn, Fred Holland, Dan Hurlin, John Jesurun, Jeffrey M. Jones, Robbie McCauley, Susan Mosakowski, Ralph Peña, Mary Shultz, Theodora Skipitares, and many others. Nicky is also a critically-acclaimed solo performance artist, whose one-man shows Asian Boys, Houses and Jewels, and House/Boy have been presented at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, Dixon Place, Performance Space 122, Dance Theater Workshop, and on tour in the US, Europe and Asia. House/Boy was presented at the Dublin Theatre Festival in October 2007, and subsequently at the Initiation International Festival 2007 in Singapore. Paraiso’s awards include a 1987 New York Dance & Performance BESSIE Award, a 2004 Spencer Cherashore Fund grant for mid-career actors, and a 2005 New York Innovative Theater Award for his performance in Theodora Skipitares’ Iphigenia.

Nicky has served on various theater, dance and music panels, including the Village Voice OBIE Judges Panel in season 2013-2014, as well as being a long-standing member of the New York Dance and Performance Awards “Bessies” Selection Committee since 2006. He is serving on the “Bessies” Steering Committee for the current season 2015-2016. Nicky is a recipient of the 2012 BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange) Arts & Artists in Progress Arts Management Award. His writing appears in the anthology Love, Christopher Street: Reflections of New York City (Vantage Point, 2012), edited by Thomas Keith. Paraiso will present a new dance-theater work, now my hand is ready for my heart, to premiere at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre in Fall 2017.

movement research is one of the world’s leading laboratories for the investigation of dance and movement-based forms. Valuing the individual artist, their creative process and their vital role within society, Movement Research is dedicated to the creation and implementation of free and low-cost programs that nurture and instigate discourse and experimentation. Movement Research strives to reflect the cultural, political and economic diversity of its moving community, including artists and audiences alike.

Click here  for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

Lia Chang is an award-winning filmmaker, a Best Actress nominee, a photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek, which will screen at the Disorient Film Festival in Eugene Oregon in April. She is profiled in Examiner.comJade Magazine and

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2016 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

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