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Newman Center Reveals 2023-24 Slate of Performances

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Emma Atkinson

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Samara Joy

Singer Samara Joy.

Aisha Ahmad-Post has a challenge for the University of Denver arts community during the Newman Center Presents’ upcoming season.

“People think about their evenings, and what they want to spend their time and their money on, and we tend to go for the safe thing,” she says. “I would hope that in this season, you might find someone that you've never heard of, and take a risk and challenge yourself to see the world through a different artistic lens.”

The 2023-2024 season of the Newman Center Presents is chock-full of diverse acts that showcase both legacy arts companies, like the Martha Graham Dance Company, and up-and-coming artists like jazz singer Samara Joy.

The Martha Graham Dance Company, which will perform at Newman on Sept. 22 and 23, 2023, is celebrating the first of three years that will commemorate the centennial anniversary of the company.

“I’m really excited that they're bringing pieces that I, as a dance lover and somebody who lives and breathes this sort of stuff, was not expecting to see from the Martha Graham Company,” Ahmad-Post says. “This includes a work by a gentleman named Hofesh Schecter. He's a choreographer, and the piece he created for them, called ‘Cave,’ is just radically different from what I think of when I think of Graham.”

Singer Samara Joy will perform Oct. 15. The 22-year-old was named Best New Artist and honored with Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 2023 Grammy Awards.

“Her star is really ascending,” Ahmad-Post says. “People are saying that she might be the next Ella [Fitzgerald], the next Sarah [Vaughan], the next Billie [Holiday]. She's a big deal in the jazz world.”

And among the other performances is a recurring theme of climate awareness and water rights, as told by artists Small Island Big Song, Okaidja Afroso and Okareka.

Ahmad-Post says Okaidja Afroso’s story of water and life in Ghana is particularly compelling.

“He's dealing with the question of climate change and how that's impacting the fishermen of coastal Ghana,” she says. “So, there's somehow this thread of dealing with water and climate crisis, and how artists are sort of engaging with that—and trying to preserve ways of being, and communicating and performing that, I think, is really critical at this juncture.”

The full listing of performances for the 2023-24 season is as follows:


Dog Man: The Musical Sept. 8 & Sept. 9

Martha Graham Dance Company Sept. 22 & Sept. 23

Okaidja Afroso Sept. 27

Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer & Shahzad Ismaily: Love in Exile Sept. 30

Samara Joy Oct. 15, 2023


Compagnie Hervé Koubi Jan. 23

Emmet Cohen Trio Feb. 3

Small Island Big Song Feb. 16

Acrobuffos: Air Play Feb. 18

Joshua Redman Quintet March 1

Okareka March 10

Sphinx Virtuosi March 20

Aoife O’Donovan & Hawktail March 30

Urban Bush Women April 12

TAKT Trio April 19

Maria Schneider Orchestra May 3

Additional information, including individual show descriptions and ticket prices, can be found at