Rustchuk Farm

    Weird Classrooms

    Learning with bodies // a plaything initiated by Alex Borinsky

     New York, NY, United States
    This is a Fiscally-Sponsored Project

    Fiscally Sponsored by Fractured Atlas


    In November 2016, as part of my residency at University Settlement, I started leading dance classes on Sundays -- "dance for writers." I had proposed making a project on experimental education, and so rather than thinking about classrooms, I decided to try to make one, doing something I loved but didn’t quite know how to do.

    Can we learn together when we start from a place of shared not-knowing?

    Those Sunday dance classes have evolved over the last year and become a place to think about labor, language, structure, togetherness -- and, more generally, what it might mean to know things with a whole body, and not just with part of a body (a brain).

    As a culminating gesture, I'm inviting a broader audience to experience something like our ongoing investigation,over the course of an afternoon. There will be art projects, and dough, and music, and various tent-like structures. I’ve commissioned a number of artists and thinkers to craft different parts of the show.


    I’ve spent a lot of the last year wondering how to reconcile the pace of making theater with the pace of the news cycle. The news cycle spits out questions, demands response. This project has been a lesson in how to insist -- sometimes -- on asking one’s own questions -- returning to them -- turning them over -- trusting them -- letting them fertilize the soil -- inviting something to grow. I do think we need to be growing something, even as we’re dealing with our national society of the spectacle.


    Our budget is modest. And 75% of it is going towards people, not things.

    This is a piece that came out of gathering and moving and talking. It's not a play I wrote. It's the product of a year of explorations, with other people, together. Their insights have enriched my thinking, and I hope they will enrich yours, too. 

    At the heart of the project are a series of commissions. 

    I've asked artists, teachers, and organizers I love to conceive different sections of the piece. Some have been dancing with us since the beginning, some have joined more recently. I've also brought on a producer and a stage manager to help manage the many moving pieces, and to make sure the right humans -- performers and audience -- find each other.

    "What are you hoping to achieve with this show?" one of my collaborators asked, early on.
    And in my head I was like, "Er. What am I hoping to achieve? What does any performance achieve?"
    Because this collaborator isn’t primarily a theater-maker. She's a labor organizer. So she wasn't assuming that making a show was an inherently meaningful thing.
    "I want people who wouldn’t otherwise meet to experience a change in how it feels to be in a room together.”

    This performance is a beginning, not an ending. A proposal – an incitement – not discourse, or exploration.

    An action, not a representation.

    Let me know if you want to talk more about the nitty gritty of any of this.

    a plaything

    November 18 & 19 @ 3:30 pm
    University Settlement

    Created by Chuey Aparicio, Jordan Baum, Alex Borinsky, Pete Casanave, Patrick Costello, Corinne Donly, Mitchell Dose, Sarah Einspanier, Jahna Ferron-Smith, Ryan Gedrich, Jess Goldschmidt, Anne Haney, Joyce Khadijeh, Daniel Lupo, Masrah Ensemble, Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, Bryce Payne, Jacob Perkins, Brian Rady, Hazel Sharhan, Charly Simpson, Kassandra Sparks, Sakiko Sugawa, Chris Tyler, and others.

    More info at

    Produced by Rustchuk Farm and the Performance Project at University Settlement, with the support of the Center for Reproductive Labor. 

    Rustchuk Farm is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of Rustchuk Farm must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.  


    A Facebook Poem

    Donate $25.00 or more

    Amount is fully tax-deductible.

    Particularly lavish thanks. And a custom-composed Facebook poem, singing your honor down the newsfeeds of posterity. 

    A personalized Art Film, starring Gus

    Donate $50.00 or more

    Amount over $5.00 is tax-deductible.

    Gold star thanks, and acknowledgement in the program. 

    Also, a personalized (short) art film, with a rare cameo appearance by Gus the cat. Cinema history + digital collectible. 

    Dinner in your Home

    Donate $100.00 or more

    Amount over $20.00 is tax-deductible.

    I, Alex, will come over and cook dinner for three in your home some night. Candles included. 

    (Limited to homes within reach of the NYC MTA.)

    Plus much gratitude, and acknowledgement on FB and in the program. 


    Donate $200.00 or more

    Amount is fully tax-deductible.

    At $200 you're paying one of our artists' commissions. This lets the show be a conversation, and not a monologue. Huge thanks, plus acknowledgement in the program.

    We'll also share a sneak-preview of Rustchuk Farm's upcoming projects.