Buglisi Dance Theatre and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, in partnership with Dance/NYC, honor the 20th year since the events of 9/11, and current crises that face humanity today, with a livestreamed performance of the Table of Silence Project 9/11, the annual free public ritual for peace conceived and choreographed in 2011 by Jacqulyn Buglisi, artistic director of Buglisi Dance Theatre. Artistic collaborators for this year’s reimagined program are Composer/Music Director Daniel Bernard Roumain, spoken-word poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Buglisi Dance Theatre Co-Founder/Principal Dancer Terese Capucilli and videographer Nel Shelby.
This year’s presentation is part of Restart Stages, the outdoor performing arts center constructed on the Lincoln Center campus to champion the city’s cultural and economic revival and reimagined for our current moment.
The site-specific work had its first presentation on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 on Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center. Since the inaugural performance, more than 1,400 professional dancers, musicians, and singers representing the voices of the NYC arts community in all its diversity have performed to viewership reaching more than two million people across all 50 states and in 229 countries via livestream.
The socially distanced performance will begin this year with an excerpt of Buglisi’s masterwork Requiem, created in 2001 as an immediate response to 9/11. Premiering in the shadow of tragedy, Requiem became a vehicle for collective healing. For the 2021 Table of Silence Project 9/11, the original 10-foot-long silk costumes in vibrant reds, golds and greens will be transformed by costume designer Elena Comendador into tones of alchemic white and silver, to recall the ashes, purity and sacredness of the lost souls remembered on this anniversary.
“Through each iteration of the Table of Silence Project 9/11, we have connected the threads of every passing year since September 11, to weave a more profound and meaningful ritual,” said Buglisi. “Expressing so much of what makes us human, the Table of Silence Project’s message of peace and healing is far-reaching and holds great relevance today. Our goal is to offer a transformative experience that honors the strength and resilience of our collective society.”
“At moments when we come together to mark milestones like this, the arts must help us process, find community and move forward together,” said Henry Timms, president and CEO of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. “Our city has been through so much since 2001, and over this last year in particular. We are honored to host this beautiful work of art to honor those lost and provide solace for fellow New Yorkers and those beyond.”
Table of Silence Project 9/11 is a project of the Arnhold Dance Innovation Fund and is presented as part of Restart Stages, a program of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation-Lincoln Center Agora Initiative with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, which activates outdoor space through artistic and community initiatives that speak to our current moment, and reimagines cultural engagement in public space for a new era.
The live performance feature is the reimagined Table of Silence Prologue ritual, created in 2020, performed live by 32 courageous dancers encircling Lincoln Center’s Revson Fountain with Daniel Bernard Roumain on violin, Marc Bamuthi Joseph performing his spoken word “Awakening” and Terese Capucilli leading the ritual as Bell Master.
The livestream will also include the world premiere of Études II, a film by Nel Shelby Productions that features dancers from around the world in movement stories inspired by the 12 repetitive sacred gestures of the Table of Silence Project; and the full presentation of the 2019 Table of Silence Project 9/11, a public tribute to the events of 9/11 and a call to action for peace in our world.
The Table of Silence Project 9/11 typically features more than 150 dancers who slowly ascend onto Josie Robertson Plaza from multiple directions with the sound of a conch shell’s call to action for peace. Moving to the minimal, plaintive strains of the flute, the “heartbeat” of bass drums, trumpet, bells and the cries of a chorus, the dancers form patterns of concentric circles around the iconic Revson Fountain to create an ancient Peace Labyrinth while repeating 12 symbolic ritualistic gestures. This sacred landscape becomes filled with the transcendent energy of the Mandala for healing, peace and harmony.
This year’s socially distanced performance will be livestreamed from Lincoln Center beginning at 8am on Saturday, September 11, and will be available at LincolnCenter.org and on Lincoln Center’s Facebook page. The video will also be available on-demand on LincolnCenter.org/TableOfSilenceProject and Facebook, as well as Buglisi Dance Theatre’s YouTube channel following the premiere.