Ishmael Houston-Jones and Miguel Gutierrez in Variations on Themes from Lost and Found (photo by Ian Douglas)

The American Realness festival, now in its ninth year, aims to present contemporary performance that is daring, subversive, and new. To its credit, this year the lineup of performers is diverse and not especially well known. Curated by founder Thomas Benjamin Snapp Pryor, the festival runs only one week, putting on 17 performances across Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Queens, and Brooklyn, including at Gibney Dance, Abrons Arts Center, and SculptureCenter. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to see the performances, as they will be impressively staged a total of 89 times.

Among the highlights is a tribute to John Bernd, a New York–based choreographer and dancer who died in 1988 of AIDS complications. A project by Ishmael Houston-Jones, Variations on Themes from Lost and Found will cobble together dances by Bernd while revisiting moments of his life. In another tribute, I <3 PINA, at Abrons Arts Center, Neal Medlyn shares what he discovered in his intimate conversations with dance professionals and fans of the imitable Pina Bausch. Finally, at the same venue, Lil BLK will give a solo performance that tells the story of a “fairy boi, child of god, little black girl, performer, and activist,” while drawing on queer ballroom culture, punk, and more.

When: Tuesday, January 9–Tuesday, January 16
Where: Various locations

More info here

Elisa Wouk Almino is a senior editor at Hyperallergic. She is based in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.