(July 6, 2017 – New York, NY) Linda Shelton, Executive Director of The Joyce Theater Foundation, announced today that Martin Wechsler, the organization’s long time Director of Programming, will step down on December 31, 2017. For 32 years, first as an administrative assistant and then, for the past 22 years as The Joyce's influential Director of Programming, Wechsler helped shape The Joyce Theater into the world’s leading presenter of dance. An official search for his replacement will commence shortly.
About her multi-decade partnership with Martin Wechsler, Linda Shelton said today, “While I am saddened that Martin will be leaving the Joyce in December, I am thankful for a long and productive partnership with him that has benefited the dance field in so many ways over many years. He has become an invaluable colleague with a long institutional history but also a willingness to explore new projects and programs. I can’t count the number of times I said “go ask Martin”. I will miss working with him on a daily basis but leave the door open for future projects.”
Wechsler added, “In my 22 years as The Joyce Theater’s Director of Programming, I’ve had the privilege and responsibility of providing emerging choreographers with their first residencies at Joyce SoHo; grown up alongside artists like Stephen Petronio and David Parsons; worked with masters like Trisha Brown, Merce Cunningham, and Twyla Tharp; and presented large-scale international companies, including The Royal Ballet, at Lincoln Center. After a restful break, I am excited to pursue new professional opportunities, but I know I will miss working with Linda Shelton to help choreographers and dance companies develop their work and share it with the public.
Martin Wechsler started working at The Joyce Theater immediately after graduating from Oberlin College in 1985, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree with concentrations in Dance and Economics. Starting out as an administrative assistant, he has risen through the ranks to his current position. Mr. Wechsler has served as Director of Programming since 1996.
As the Director of Programming, Mr. Wechsler selects more than 40 dance companies to perform at The Joyce Theater each year. He travels to see dance performances throughout the world in order to select the best companies for The Joyce’s stage. Joyce seasons are carefully constructed to balance dance genres, styles and countries of origin.
In addition to programming The Joyce Theater, Mr. Wechsler is also responsible for Joyce Theater Foundation presentations at other venues, including the David H. Koch Theater (formerly known as the New York State Theater) at Lincoln Center, where The Joyce presents large scale internationally acclaimed dance companies, and public parks throughout New York City, where The Joyce presents free outdoor dance performances.
Mr. Wechsler also oversees The Joyce’s Commissioning program, allocating approximately $75,000 each year to choreographers and dance companies to help fund the creation of new dance works.
Prior responsibilities have included directing The Joyce Theater’s Dance Education Program for which he received a “Partner in Education” award from the New York City Board of Education. The Artist Residency Program, which Mr. Wechsler helped to design and develop, provides creative residencies for two artists each year. Unique to this program, in addition to rehearsal space and a $25,000 commissioning grant, the resident artists receive the services of a rehearsal assistant and a choreographic advisor.
A recognized expert in the dance field, Mr. Wechsler is frequently asked to serve on grant-making and advisory panels for private foundations, government entities and corporations, such as the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Japan Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts. The Australian Arts Council selected him to be one of the inaugural Dance Down Under USA Ambassadors, a program designed to educate American presenters about Australian dance artists and advocate on their behalf. Mr. Wechsler served on the New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Awards Committee for many years and co-produced the Bessie Awards Ceremony. He currently serves on the Bessie Awards Steering Committee.
He has been a guest speaker on dance programming and arts administration at academic institutions and professional associations, including New York University, the State University of New York at Purchase, the Western Arts Alliance and Dance/USA. He served on the jury to select the winner of the 2010 Taishin Arts Award, the most prominent arts award in Taiwan; and as a judge for the 2007 Miss Exotic World Pageant in Las Vegas.