Green-Wood Cemetery extends an invitation to dance among the graves in ‘Nightfall: Danse Macabre’

green-wood cemetery danse macabre
Enjoy an old-fashioned celebration at “Nightfall: Danse Macabre” at Green-Wood Cemetery.
Photo courtesy of Green-Wood Cemetery

“The undeniable truth is, we are all going to die. So why not embrace the inevitable and go dancing to our graves?” reads the invitation to “Nightfall: Danse Macabre,” Green-Wood Cemetery’s crowning event of the fall.

Danse Macabre,” or dance of death, is a celebration made up of music, moving images, performances and entertainment all around the graveyard on Oct. 19, and 20, from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. 

The event takes inspiration from Danse Macabre, an artistic genre that originated in Europe — especially in France — in the late Middle Ages, between 1300 and 1500. Danse Macabre works showed people following a medium who personified death, commonly dressed as a skeleton, into a graveyard to have a celebration and dance. From kings and popes to humble families, everyone would join to be reunited with their ancestors and predecessors — and be reminded of their fate. 

In modern-day Brooklyn, visitors to the cemetery can make their way through illuminated paths throughout the evening, and head deep into the graveyard to encounter musicians, storytellers, circus acts and short films across a dozen stages.

“The ambiance of the Cemetery on fall nights creates the perfect environment for artistic expression, celebration, and reflection,” said Harry J. Weil, Green-Wood’s director of public programs and special projects in a statement.”It’s a poignant reminder that the same destiny awaits us all. Until that fateful day, Green-Wood visitors can shake off any fears or anxieties at this celebration of the time we have left together.”
To achieve the underworldly sensation of being hosted by death itself, Green-Wood partnered with the creative teams of Death of Classical, the producers of classical music and opera concerts inside NYC’s crypts, and Rooftop Films, the nonprofit behind the underground movie screening out in the open in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn Army Terminal and Industry City. Together they curated the evening featuring entertainment by the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus, storytelling and show-and-tell by Morbid Anatomy completed with drinks from the Kings County Brewers Collective.

“Nightfall: Dance Macabre” runs on Oct. 19 and 20 from 7-10 p.m. at Green-Wood Cemetery, Fifth Avenue at 25th Street in Greenwood Heights. 21+. $25.