photo: Goodyn Green
niv Acosta was born May 1988 in New York City to a 15 year old single Black Dominican woman. niv was raised in Manhattan and the south Bronx by his mother, part by his grandmother and in the foster care system. niv exhibited interest in movement and performance at a very young age, 4yrs old, but wasn't to pursue "official" training until age 12. By that age niv was mainly interested in rocket science so continued education with a focus in Math, Science and Technology. Dance became subpar to niv's education until he began studies at Washington Irving High School where he majored in dance under the direction of Leslie Zema. During High School niv became involved with after school activities at Washington Irving and also at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance where he was a scholarship student for two years (2005 & 2006). Alongside his studies at the Graham School niv danced with Gestures Dance Ensemble (2005), a pre-professional dance ensemble. After Graduating HIgh School niv attended California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles (2006-08) where he focused in dance and choreography. In the summers while still at CalArts niv attended American Dance Festival, a dance intensive at Duke University in North Carolina. There niv became enchanted with post modern dance concepts and truly began to find his voice as a choreographer. From early 2009 until late 2010 niv took a pseudo hiatus from dance to discover himself and lived in Philadelphia. During this time niv came out as transgender and began to understand so much of what had felt hard about identifying as a female dancer within our very conventional ideas of them. In 2010 niv began to choreograph again, applied for funding and was a awarded an Art and Social Change Grant from the Leeway Foundation with collaborator, iele paloumpis, to produce and organize a show at Studio 34 Yoga| Healing| Arts Center in Philadelphia. Soon after that niv moved back to New York to continue his choreographic research and growth. shortly after moving to new york niv began work on a new incarnation of denzel, "denzel superstructure", which was later performed at the Community Education Center in Philadelphia and then also in Open Performance through Movement Research at Dance Theater Workshop. During the summer of 2011 niv was recommended to audition for Fresh Tracks at New York Live Arts and began work on yet another denzel piece. This time he was excited to be working with his roommate and good friend, Cason Bolton, a street performer, his, at the time pregnant mother, Yessenia Acosta, and fellow dancer, Joey Kipp. By the end of 2011 niv was asked to be a resident artist at New York Live Arts through the Fresh Tracks program for the fiscal year of 2011-12. Through this program niv was given the opportunity to show his work in the theater at New York Live Arts, attend professional workshops and continue workshopping his own work. Directly after his show at NYLA, December 2011, niv presented the first draft of yet another incarnation of denzel, "denzel mini petite b a t h t u b happymeal", at The Secret Loft for AUNTS Regular. In early 2012 niv was asked to be a part of Ralph Lemons, "Marathon. The End" (Febuary 2012), event at Danspace Project where he showed a new project called "excerpt hearts", an 'under rehearsed performance cover band' he began with performer Tess Dworman. In March of 2012, niv premiered the full length work of "denzel mini petite b a t h t u b happy meal" at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, then in April of the same year showed this piece again through DraftWorks at DanSpace Project. With performer, Jules Skloot, niv showed a revised version of "excerpt hearts" at The Tank in NYC (April 2012). niv traveled "denzel mini petite b a t h t u b happy meal" to Los Angeles where he performed a solo version of the work at Pieter Performance Space. In the late summer of 2012 niv showed "excerpt hearts" at the Meulensteen gallery in Chelsea, Manhattan along with performer Tess Dworman. Throughout the summer of 2012, niv began developing the final incarnation of the denzel series titled "i shot denzel".
He performed an early version of the work at Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, curated by Lindsay Clark. In the fall of 2012, directly after the city wide devastation of superstorm Sandy, niv performed with Deborah Hay at MOMA during Ralph Lemons 'Some Sweet Day' series in the MOMA Atrium. Later in the winter of 2012 niv began working as a performer in Vanessa Anspaughs work slated to premiere at DanSpace Project in the February of 2014. In the same winter niv was commissioned by Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade to create a new piece titled "the panther" where he then presented at MOMA PS1. In January of 2013 niv showed "i shot denzel" at Judson Church through Movement Research with back up vocalists, Lydia Berg-Hammond and Caitlin Marz. he latered showed an excerpt of "i shot denzel" at MOMA PS1 for Randy Magazines Issue #3 launch in which he is a featured artist interview alongside Jen Rosenblit. In the spring of 2013 niv traveled through Paris, London, and Berlin to harness connections with arts communities and start an international dialogue with new friends and artists alike. Later this same spring Carla Peterson invited niv to mount "i shot denzel" at New York Live Arts in the winter of 2014. Throughout the summer of 2013 niv rehearsed intensively with Vanessa Anspaugh on Governors Island through her Lower Manhattan Community Council space grant. In the fall of 2013 niv became the subject for a student documentary about his work titled "impossible bodies". Leading up to the world premiere of the final version of "i shot denzel" niv toured with Anspaugh to Vermont and upstate New York. Soon after the premiere of niv's, "i shot denzel" and, Anspaugh's, "We Were An Island" niv began development on his new work DISCOTROPIC slated to premiere in 2015.