BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance
Co-founded in 1998 in the historic Banknote Building in Hunts Point by the celebrated and award-winning dancer/choreographer Arthur Aviles and writer/activist/publicist Charles Rice-Gonzalez, BAAD! (The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance ) began as a home for Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre, a contemporary dance company that explores works on the margins of Latino and queer cultures.
The programming grew from the community of artists that Aviles and Rice-Gonzalez had in their circles – dancers, queer artists, artists of color and women. With the support of the local Hunts Point community, dancers, a local gay organization and the partnership of sculptor Cassandra and performer/Drag King Elizabeth “Macha” Marrero, Aviles and Rice-Gonzalez first built a performance space by clearing and cleaning 3500 square feet of unused, abandoned warehouse space in Hunts Point’s American Banknote for Aviles’ dance company Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre (AATT). Then they began inviting artists to present work in the space and began hosting multi-disciplinary annual arts festivals (BAAD! Ass Women, Out Like That!, The BlakTino Performance Series, The Boogie Down Dance Series) and presenting the annual holiday play Los Nutcrackers: A Christmas Carajo. Those have all been vibrant and active since 2001. In 2010, they added a film and event series called Get Tough! Get BAAD! which was in response to a series of gay bashings around the city and the Bronx.
BAAD! continues to be the home of the award-winning contemporary dance company Arthur Aviles Typical Theatre and in 2002 formed the Bronx Dance Coalition to support professional Bronx dance and which published the Bronx Dance Magazine, which since 2002 has chronicled the history of dance in the Bronx. BAAD!’s newest program, the BAAD! Muse/Artist in Residency Project foster the development of artists who are creating challenging art, dance, and performance in the Bronx.
After 14 years of building community, creating an identity, and contributing to the transformation of the Hunts Point neighborhood, BAAD! was forced to leave its home due to increasing rents.
Aviles and Rice-Gonzalez preserved and like a phoenix rising from South Bronx flames, they moved in October 2013 to the gothic revivalist building on the grounds of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Westchester Square. Without skipping a beat it continued its programming and service to artists.
Since its inception, BAAD! has garnered local and national attention for blazing a path for professional dance and art in the Bronx. In 1999, The New York Times crowned BAAD! “a funky and welcoming performance space” and Theater Journal has said, “they have created a space for art in an environment that seems antithetical to that act.” The organization has been the subject of works and books by scholarly writers and has received many awards including a Mayor’s Art and Culture Award. BAAD! has had major feature articles and reviews in The New York Times, The NY Daily News, New York Post, EL Dario, The New Yorker, Dance Magazine, Time-Out New York, and in major television and radio outlets.
BAAD! has bloomed into a nationally-recognized arts organization firmly situated as a stakeholder in the Bronx that brings a queer perspective to the socio-political/cultural dialogue of our borough and city. BAAD!’s arts programming gives voice to artists from underrepresented demographics and aids in dismantling paradigms of social injustices including sexism, racism, and homophobia in the Bronx and beyond.