Jenny Thomas
Director, Marketing and Communications

APAP announces UP NEXT! artists for 2024.

18 artists will pitch new, diverse, exciting, tour-ready works at the UP NEXT! Artist Pitch Session at APAP|NYC 2024

November 2, 2023---The Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) announced earlier this week the 18 artists from across the U.S. and around the globe selected by an APAP panel to pitch their new work at the annual UP NEXT! Artist Pitch Session at the APAP|NYC 2024 conference. The UP NEXT! Artist Pitch Session will take place on Friday, January 12 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. at the New York Hilton Midtown, as part of the 67th annual conference which runs from January 12-16, 2024 at the Hilton and in venues near the Hilton and across New York City.

APAP|NYC is produced by the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, the national service, advocacy and membership organization for the presenting, booking, and touring field. The annual convening attracts nearly 4,000 professionals---artists, agents, managers, producers, presenters and more---from around North America and the world to New York City every January for inspiration, networking, performance showcases, and the world's largest performing arts marketplace and EXPO.

Admission to the UP NEXT! Artist Pitch Session is limited to conference registrants. The APAP|NYC Conference is a members conference.

To join APAP or renew membership, visit
To learn more and register for the APAP|NYC 2024 Conference, visit

Media may pre-register for media credentials to the APAP|NYC 2024 conference here.
The artists and the new work selected for UP NEXT! 2024 are:
Tour of "(L)Este"
(Porto Alegre, Brazil)

This project is a journey to the past and the future, a crossover between Chamamé in all its metaphysical essence with Baroque music, through the arrangements of Fernando Cordella, one of the principal harpsichordists and Baroque conductors of today, and chamamés composed by Brittes. In the project «Tour of "(L)Este"», the quartet of Alejandro Brittes (accordion), André Ely (seven-stringed guitar), Carlos de Césaro (upright bass) and Fernando Cordella ( harpsichordist) will collaborate with existing ensembles at the tour venues (colleges, conservatories, festivals, etc.) over the course of several days utilizing sheet music arrangements of the repertoire of the album "(L)Este".
(Brooklyn, NY)

American Patchwork Quartet (APQ), led by multi-Grammy award-winning guitarist/vocalist Clay Ross, binds timeless American folk songs with jazz sophistication, country twang, West African hypnotics, and East Asian ornamentation. APQ’s sound is a masterful confluence of tradition and innovation, transcending culture, politics, and ideology.
The Vanishing Elephant
(Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK)

This story, inspired by true events, comes to life through large-scale puppetry, illusion and magic. Jenny, a young elephant born in Bengal, India, is full of curiosity about the world. One day she is captured and learns the cruel ways of humans, but she befriends Opu, a young boy. When Jenny is sold to a circus in America, she meets Harry Houdini who plans to make Jenny disappear from the stage of the Hippodrome in New York. Opu, now an old man, journeys to New York and together, he and Jenny are part of an amazing theatrical vanishing.
Their Eyes Were Watching God
(Memphis, TN)

"Their Eyes Were Watching God" is a ballet adaptation of the celebrated novel by Zora Neale Hurston. The production follows ballet-theater tradition (proscenium staging, sets, costumes, original music, spectacle, and narrative told through choreography) but the work expands the genre with its female African American central character and depiction of Black life in the American South in the early 20th century. The plot and characters are engrossing, and the work ingeniously activates conversations about female empowerment, gender roles, Black culture, and economic disparity. Moreover, it inspires greater literacy and curiosity among people not previously invested in concert dance.
Arms Around America
(Los Angeles, CA)

"Arms Around America" is a devised, community-based performance project. It fosters dialogue about how Americans enact fear, power, identity, loss, and love through our relationships with guns. AAA is comprised of six theatrical vignettes based on oral histories of families around the country whose lives have been shaped by guns. Staged as a radio theater company performing a live broadcast, four actors navigate a forest of microphones while voicing dozens of characters, accompanied by a “Foley” sound effects artist, an immersive sound design, and a live rock-n-roll band.
The Breakdown with Dara Starr Tucker
(Philadelphia, PA)

Dara Starr Tucker is an award-winning singer, songwriter, social media commentator and satirist. Her music and her social commentary has earned her coverage via HBO,, FX, OWN TV and Microsoft. Tucker's signature series on her social media platforms is called "The Breakdown." For her newest effort, The Breakdown Live, Tucker will present her arrangements of classic songs from the Great American Songbook and beyond alongside her catalyzing social media commentary on classic music and film.
(New York, NY)

TRUCE is David Dorfman Dance’s meditation on the perils of peace and power as we seek joy in this world. It paints a kinetic picture of how our world might look, and how we might feel, if traditional truces were extended by a day, month, then years – ending one war on humanity at a time. DDD’s trademark risky, frisky, and vulnerable movement, accompanied by an original music score, will mine the depths of our power-crazed world, looking for our foibles and laughter, perhaps our most “power-full” tool. With this evening, dancing bodies serve as conduits for a momentary peace.
(Akron, OH)

Aftermath explores the lives of four Black male characters after police violence has torn apart their community. This 60-minute work combines live jazz and hip hop music with Moore-Dunson’s choreographic style of “Urban Midwest Storytelling”. Seated in the round, the audience gets an intimate view of the healing process needed in many black communities today

The creation of Aftermath was shaped by one-on-one interviews between Moore-Dunson and community stakeholders, police officers, and criminal justice workers.
(Sardinia, Italy)

eVenti Vertical’s SPHERE is a 30-minute performance delivered by 5 aerialists, suspended from a crane some 30 feet above the ground. The performance begins with the transparent sphere deflated and shapeless with one aerialist suspended inside. The sphere is raised by the crane, becoming a gigantic, fully inflated stunning globe, transforming into a place where everything comes alive. Five aerialists (one inside and four on the outside), take the audience on a journey reflecting on our miraculous lives here, on our planet earth.
New Ghost
(Chicago, IL)

New Ghost is a multimedia dance exhibition by footwork artist Jamal “Litebulb” Oliver. It explores the history & development of Chicago Footwork - a style of dance developed on the West & South sides of Chicago - through an examination of a foundational footwork move called “The Ghost.” In this installation dance piece which includes photography, lighting design, film projection, original music & footwork, Litebulb encounters legends of footwork– some living, some deceased– bringing him on a movement journey exploring the development, impact, & innovation of “The Ghost.”
Encounters With Beauty
(Los Angeles, CA)

'Encounters With Beauty' is a new work in collaboration with LA-based chamber ensemble Salastina, conceived of and choreographed by Rukhmani Mehta and Seibi Lee. This cross-genre work weaves together the evocative sounds of the string quartet, Hindustani classical vocals, and the percussive footwork and dramatic movement of kathak dance. Commissioned in part by the Newman Center for the Performing Arts, 'Encounters With Beauty' features music by acclaimed composers Reena Esmail and Derrick Skye, amongst others.
love fail
(Boston, MA)

“love fail is a meditation on the timelessness of love that weaves together details from medieval retellings of the story of Tristan and Isolde with stories from more modern sources. The music and libretto pull together narratives of love from such sources as Lydia Davis, Marie de France, Gottfried von Strassburg, Béroul, Thomas of Britain and Richard Wagner.” —David Lang

This breathtaking performance features an expanded 8-voice version, written for Lorelei Ensemble with new choreography by acclaimed Pilobolus Co-Artistic Directors Renée Jaworski and Matt Kent heightens this live performance with contemporary, physical expressions of love lost, and endured.
(Albuquerque, NM)

MESTIZX is a unique full-evening length work produced for Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company, made in collaboration between the company’s Artistic Director Joaquín Encinias, Choreographer Marisol Encinias, Theater Director Alejandro Tomás Rodriguez, and Filmmaker Christopher Roybal inspired by Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s 1987 book “Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza.” This production explores issues of immigration, racism, injustice, reclamation of power, and the impact of both psychological and geographical borders within our current society through the art of flamenco. This production will be performed in April 2024, then will be ready to tour in the 2024-2025 season.
Rogue Gestures/Foreign Bodies
(San Francisco, CA)

Rogue Gestures/Foreign Bodies is a bharatanatyam, experimental movement, and live music production that explores the labor and lived experiences of South Asian immigrant women in the US. Inspired by the oral histories of Indian nurses who arrived as a result of the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, choreographer Nadhi Thekkek, and her collaborators explore the heavy and enduring work of immigrant women and the worlds they traverse between.

Rogue Gestures/Foreign Bodies is an ensemble work of 7 dancers with a live original score by Roopa Mahadevan, Kalaisan Kalaichelvan, and others. Rogue Gestures/Foreign Bodies is produced by Nava Dance Theatre.
Pram People
(Melbourne, Australia)

A celebration of community, "Pram People" rolls out the red carpet for every pram (strollers in the US!), big or small. Pram-users assemble en masse, following curious and wonderful prompts through headphones, secret messages and even other participants. Performers delight and intrigue, adding to the fun as families weave amongst and around each other. Pram People offers a playful and welcoming approach to community participation through joyful movement and connection, using the most universal of vehicles – the pram. Hilarious, serious, and surprisingly moving, this immersive, colorful spectacle reclaims the pram as an asset to public space and society.
Quarteto Nuevo's C.R.E.E.D. Project
(Los Angeles, CA)

Quarteto Nuevo's C.R.E.E.D. Project explores the connection of jazz to geographical and cultural locations! Band members are composing five new movements for each state they visit during the 2023-24 season. These will be added to four previously composed movements thereby completing their Jazz Road Suite (Western States). ASU Kerr Cultural Center will produce a live video/audio recording of the completed suite. Quarteto Nuevo recently won a $40,000 grant from South Arts “Jazz Road Creative Residency” program in support of C.R.E.E.D. The completed Jazz Road Suite (Western States) will be available for nationwide touring in 2024-25.
(Pittsburgh, PA)

Brouhaha is an immersive outdoor spectacle bursting with rollicking music, dazzling imagery, and audience participation. At the center is the Squonkcordian, an enormous musical instrument of behemoth bellows with towering tuba bells. Squonk invites the audience to play this foghorn organ, welcoming the joy of a brass band and fireworks of community. Squonk’s musicians add vibrant keyboards, wild winds, and powerful guitar riffs to the Squonkcordian’s rich brassy sound. Squonk’s music weaves together the comic with the celebratory. The show ends with a 30-foot head of brilliantly colored banners, comically blinking its eyes and shooting smoke out of its ears.
Comfort Girl
(New York, NY)

Stephanie Chou is an American jazz composer/saxophonist/singer who blends influences from her Chinese heritage with Western jazz and pop to create a bracingly original sound.

COMFORT GIRL is a song-cycle inspired by true stories of Asian "comfort women" abducted into sexual slavery during WWII. It is not only a groundbreaking fusion of East-West musical traditions, but has also sparked public dialogue on a formerly taboo subject that still resonates globally for women today. Based on survivor testimony, the jazz-opera/song-cycle gives voice to the 400,000+ women and survivors who were silenced for 50 years.

“A stunning work[...]feels inspirational for contemporary listeners.”—DownBeat