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DESIGN

Moxy Times Square Hotel's Queer Contemporary Dance Commission

DESIGN

Moxy Times Square Hotel's Queer Contemporary Dance Commission

To celebrate Pride, the design-forward hotel taps the Madboots Dance company

by David Graver
on 22 June 2018

Less than a year ago the Moxy Times Square Hotel opened with design and attention to detail as two primary areas of focus—in a neighborhood (technically, just below a neighborhood) that isn't known for either. There's a human touch to the 612-bedroom destination, something we've observed from other Moxy Hotels. For Pride, they've taken all of the aforementioned and channeled it into the queer community. Today, for a brand to support the LGBTQ community, it requires more than just rainbow flags. Honesty, transparency and financial support mark true commitment—and this was visible with the Moxy's Pride offerings. In particular, the hotel commissioned all-queer contemporary dance company Madboots Dance to develop a series of 20-minute performances—and debut them throughout the hotel. It's immersive, supportive, out of the ordinary and it coincides with the company's Joyce Theater debut.

For those who perceive of dance as an oblique art, Madboots Dance defies this in two inspiring ways. First, their intimate performances are driven by remarkable athleticism. There's a bewildering beauty to the movement of the dancers' bodies in such a way. Second, there's a directness to the troupe's storytelling, with characters often embodying the angelic—a simple nod to those lost in the LGBTQ+ community. Co-artistic directors Jonathan Campbell and Austin Diaz captivate as they explore the medium.

The Moxy performances commence in the lobby but traverse other areas of the building. Toyda, Friday 22 June, the work will debut at 5PM, a second performance will commence at 8PM. Madboots will offer two more performances on Sunday 24 June, also at 5PM and 8PM, and all of them are open to the public. At time of publish, one performance remains of the Madboots Dance Joyce Theater production.

"We put our budget into people who make a difference," Michael Fragoso, Director of Culture at Moxy Hotels, explains to us. "I asked the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project—which documents places around the US that are a part of our history—to provide tours of the West Village to our guests. We commissioned the LGBTQ+ artists of Madboots to provide a 'flash mob' experiential moment at the hotel." Fragoso was thinking of Nick Cave's performances at Grand Central when he commissioned the dance company. "The work they are doing for us is a commitment to NYC's local community, and a testament to our commitment to bring the outside in."

Art and design beyond the commissioned performances should be mentioned, for guests and those interested in exploring the space during any other weekend. A rather chic "urban camping" concept has been executed throughout, with acclaimed design firm Yabu Pushelberg the vision behind the rooms. Rockwell Group did the venue's restaurants. And both worked on the bars and lounges. All of this is introduced in the lobby with "Bear," an installation by Japanese studio Sawada. It's composed of hand-strung black plastic and mirror fragments, and is visible in 360 degrees from two floors.

Spaces like Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge and Bar Moxy Lounge (on the second floor) provide vibrant and social environments, both playful and textured. The roof even features a carousel and a miniature golf hole. There's a lot to enjoy on a property that's ever-developing in a brand that's forever reaching out to its youthful traveler demographic. And actual commitments to the queer community demonstrate this with honesty.

First dance image by Daniel Roberts, second by Scott Shaw, all others courtesy of the Moxy Times Square Hotel

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