Past Performing Arts | Performing Arts | Dance

Abby Zbikowski

abandoned playground Watch Party and Conversation

with Ohio State’s Crystal Michele Perkins and Momar Ndiaye


Five dancers moving across the floor

Catch a special virtual viewing of choreographer Abby Zbikowski’s recent evening-length movement work abandoned playground, and stick around for a postshow Q&A and conversation between Zbikowski, an Ohio State alumna, and Crystal Michele Perkins and Momar Ndiaye of Ohio State’s Department of Dance.

Inside the intimate stadium setup of abandoned playground, nine dancers rip through complex sequences of hyperphysical movement, pushing their capabilities and endurance. The Bessie Award–winning Zbikowski highlights each of her dancers' unique strengths in this evening-length work while simultaneously forging an intense ensemble connection through vocalizations and the channeling of communal energy. Like life, no overstated purpose is given, but as New York Times dance critic Siobhan Burke surmises, "the effort justifies itself."

Zbikowski’s bold, high-intensity, precisely rhythmic choreography emerges from her background of hip-hop, tap, West African, and postmodern dance styles; her deeply rooted punk aesthetic; and her close collaboration with her dancers.

More about abandoned playground

Overhead view of nine dancers
Dancer with back to the camera throwing their head back, with arm outstretched above their head. Three other dancers on the floor surrounding the dancer in center

About the Artist and Panelists

Abby Zbikowski chevron-down chevron-up

Abby Zbikowski created her company Abby Z and the New Utility in 2012. She is a 2020 United States Artists Fellow and received the 2017 Juried Bessie Award for her “unique and utterly authentic movement vocabulary in complex and demanding structures to create works of great energy, intensity, surprise, and danger.” In 2018, Dance Umbrella UK awarded her a “Choreographer of the Future” commission. A current artist-in-residence at New York Live Arts (2018–20), she was an inaugural Caroline Hearst Choreographer-In-Residence at Princeton University (2017–19) and worked in residence at Bates Dance Festival, American Dance Festival, and the STREB Lab for Action Mechanics. Zbikowski is an assistant professor of dance at the University of Illinois, on faculty at the American Dance Festival, and has both taught and studied internationally. She has performed with Charles O. Anderson/Dance Theater X, Momar Ndiaye, and the Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project, and is slated to stage her latest project, Radioactive Practice, in Columbus in March 2021. Zbikowski holds a BFA in dance from Temple University and an MFA from Ohio State.

More on Abby Zbikowski and The New Utility

Crystal Michelle Perkins chevron-down chevron-up

Crystal Michelle Perkins is a choreographer, teacher, and performer who served as the associate artistic director of the renowned Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC). Previous to her appointment, she was a dancer with DCDC’s touring company for nine seasons, served as resident choreographer, and was charged with maintaining an extensive repertory of masterworks by beloved African American choreographers including Donald Byrd, Donald McKayle, and Dianne McIntyre. In 2014, she received the Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council and the Josie Award, which recognizes exceptional performance in the art of dance. Ms. Perkins holds a MFA in dance from Ohio State, and a BFA in dance performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She is a member of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters inaugural class of Leadership Fellows, and a member of the OhioDance Board of Trustees. 
More about Crystal Michelle Perkins

Momar Ndiyae chevron-down chevron-up

Momar Ndiaye is an internationally recognized dance artist from Senegal who has taught and toured his work both in the US and abroad. Ndiaye has worked with many well-known choreographers from Africa, Europe, Asia, and America through the program Aex. Corps initiated by the Association Premier Temp in Senegal. Since 2010, Ndiaye has danced for Dakar-based choreographer Andreya Ouamba and was selected as a Dance Web participant at Impuls Tanz Festival in Vienna, Austria, in 2012. He has been developing work with his own company, Cadanses, since 2004 and has created and toured several staged contemporary dance works, including the evening-length Toxu, a finalist laureate in the Danse L’Afrique Danse Festival in St. Louis and Senegal. In 2016, he was selected to participate in two intercultural projects, Shifting Realities (Germany) and 1space (Slovenia and Portugal). Ndiaye received his MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he taught contemporary and traditional African dance forms as well as video dance documentation.
More about Momar Ndiyae

Greater Columbus Arts Council
American Electric Power Foundation
The Columbus Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Huntington Bank
Nationwide Foundation

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Kaufman Development
Cardinal Health Foundation


Past Artist Talks

Abby Zbikowski