Erica Essner Performance Co-Op builds vibrant movement from autobiography and theme. Forceful and dynamic, Essner’s work has been described by the San Francisco Examiner as “exceptional…all the drama of story and character while putting movement at center stage.” The key to each dance is the cast; their input and personal history contribute to the final “story.” The Co-Op’s intricate gestures, high-flying partnering, and original music deliver a visceral experience. This collaborative-based company seeks broad audiences. To this end, it offers open rehearsals and forums that provide insight into the company’s creative process.

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Now Touring

Versailles Undone (2016) references the French Revolution and the decline of the monarchy and is loosely based on the fictional novel Farewell My Queen, by Chantal Thomas. The gap between rich and poor and the social unrest around inequality both historically and in contemporary society form part of the exploration in the work. Performers hang, swing, and wrap rope, inspired by the Baroque Dance period. Hanging ropes are used throughout as a metaphor for merrymaking, execution, and as a lifeline for the destitute. (Running time: 50 minutes)

Reflex (2014) Six dancers are featured in this dance of chain reactions where touch is an analogy for the power of language. Competitive, compassionate, and aggressive physicality are played out in this game of communication. The push and pull of the muscles, manipulated joints, elbows and knees, and the articulation of the limbs together create a metaphor for speech. (Running time: 30 Minutes)

Outreach and Engagement

The Erica Essner Performance Co-Op performs nationally and internationally, and provides free public programming, titled the Dance Intersection. Through the Dance Intersection, the company opens up its creative process in a series of ongoing forums and formats in an effort to invite new types of engagement with an emphasis on dance making. The Erica Essner Performance Co-Op Youth Initiative provides Public Schools serving predominately low-income grades (K-12) students with subsidized dance residencies throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The NYC Department of Education Blueprint supports our dance residency program.

Artist's Calendar

Venue / Time
“Pentacle’s Gallery Showcase: APAP 2017”
City Center, Studio 5
New York, NY


Now celebrating its twenty-sixth year, the Erica Essner Performance Co-Op incorporates a physical narrative into its intense and compelling work. This Brooklyn- based dance company has been described by the New York Times as …”consistently, unselfconsciously quirky in the best way.” Erica Essner Performance Co-Op seeks broad audiences who have limited exposure to contemporary dance. To this end, we have recently instituted a new outreach program that offers open rehearsals and forums to provide an introduction to dance composition and the relationship of live music to dance.

The Erica Essner Performance Co-Op was founded in 1990 in San Francisco and enjoyed a decade of performing, teaching and touring in the San Francisco Bay Area. During this period, Essner collaborated with award-winning composer Erik Ian Walker. Together, Essner and Walker enjoyed a highly successful partnership that saw the creation of ten works.

In 2000, Erica Essner moved to New York City and re-established the Company. The Company is still going strong in New York, and is proud to mark its 26th Anniversary this year.

Click here to view EEPCO’s full press kit.