New York Live Arts (NYLA) kicked off their season in partnership with the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) to present South Africa’s Boyzie Cekwana and Mozambique’s Panaibra Canda’s The Inkomati(dis)cord (September 25& 26) plus Morocco’s Bouchra Ouizguen’s Ha! (September 27 & 28) as part of FIAF’s Crossing The Line 2013 Festival. Ouizguen’s Ha! was by far the most groundbreaking of these performances.
As points for departure, Cekwana and Canada brought the historic Nkomati Accord of 1984, (a non-aggression pact signed by then Mozambican president Samora Machel and South African president PW Botha), and the “Inkomati” river, which spills into the Indian Ocean in Mozambique by way of crossing South Africa and Swaziland. In the beginning, the entire cast Amelia Socovinho, Maria Tembe (an amputee in a wheelchair for at least half of the performance), Cekwana and Canada are masked and in various khaki outfits. Soon they revisit what some historians call the “smokescreen” ploy by Machel and Botha, and Cekwana pose questions and
share thoughts behind a microphone about what the future would bring. “Tell me a future,” “Cross me a river
and tell me my life,” “I have a truth to tell…but it could be a lie,” he offered. Some necessary movement
(traversing the space) came at various intervals, but there was not much more investigation into longer sequences other than a duet between Tembe (out of the wheelchair) and Canda, while Cekwana and Socovinho changed costumes. Cekwana donned a blond wig, bright red t-shirt and beaded necklace, Socovinho a flowered dress, wedged heels and a red wig. The work ends just after Tembe, bound and gagged by masking tape tries to explain her case and each of the others translate. Politics or dance?
Bouchra Ouizguen’s Ha! is the winner here, and so too are the Aita singer-muses for Ha! Maima Sahmoud, Tatima El Hanna, and Kabboura Ait Ben Hmad. These women demand our attention and we would be remiss if we didn’t give them our all. Ha! opens in the dark and all that we see are four bright white things moving, and finally settling into one line. Soon we hear soft breathing (the sound of ha), the breathing sounds build until we are sure it would end, but no, the rhythm changes, the white things we see are their head wraps. Then their heads begin to release with the breath forward and back, forward and back. The rhythm changes again and they move here and there, hands on their thighs to support their full bodies now—they bend fully at the hips, take a step, lift up and just before being upright, a should pulls them back. The rhythm changes again, the lights
come up, and the vocals intensify, they clap, they harmonize, they keep changing patterns and, NO, it still does not end. We are now part of this ritual happening and we don’t want it to end. When the pause comes, close
together, they face the audience and we giggle as the foursome goe through a series of funny facial gestures.
When that was done, they moved around the space slowly, shape-shifting their bodies until they end up in a pile, face down on the floor. When the moment was just right, they started chanting again. Now muffled by the floor, their bodies moving with each breath, their beautiful voices constant, they rose, the lights lowered and we see only their white head wraps when the lights go out. What a blast! This is Ouizguen’s second visit to the US, and we want more!
Liz Gerring Dance Company opened the season at Peak Performances @ Montclair State (September
19-22) with the commissioned work glacier. Known as one of the abstract artist of this time, Gerring’s approach was intelligent and straight forward. We are greeted with a stark white floor, stark white panels that cover the back wall and visibility as far as possibly beyond just the stage. When the dancers do enter, they are outfitted in muted shades of black, grey, and a soft white. The stage was set for what Gerring promised “…simple strung movements, initially of hands and arms, transposing my ideas to a sequence of images.” One by one the dancers would enter, and true to her word, their fine movement did build to sequences. Simple shapes would fold and unfold to larger ones, a walk would change to a balance, legs would begin in one place and circle around to another, all matched by a sound score of a crash, scraping, water, thunder—glaciers? The dancers were exquisite, for instance, at one point when three male dancers shift seamlessly from one movement to another, there was no option but to be caught in their meditation, or conversely be drawn into the momentum of the women when they propel themselves into the space running and smiling. Admittedly it was sometimes hard to stay focused when movements repeated or the score lulled, but then again glaciers do move ever so slowly. Kudos to composer Michael J. Schumacher, production designer Robert Wierzel and the beautiful movers: Benjamin Asriel, Brandon Collwes, Tony Neidenbach, Adele Nickel, Brandin Steffensen, Jake Szcypek, Jessica Weiss and Claire Westby.
Please read my AmNews piece on Bill T. Jones/Arnie Dance Company and SITI Company's collaborative new work, "A Rite."
Click here: http://amsterdamnews.com/news/2013/sep/26/riteinspired-music/
Kyle Abraham named one of the 24 EXTRAORDINARILY CREATIVE PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE US ALL:
MEET THE 2013 MACARTHUR FELLOWS
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named its 2013 class of MacArthur Fellows, Wednesday, September 25th, recognizing 24 exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for even more significant contributions in the future.
Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000 (increased from $500,000) paid out
over five years. Without stipulations or reporting requirements, the Fellowship provides maximum freedom for recipients to follow their own creative vision.
“This year’s class of MacArthur Fellows is an extraordinary group of individuals who collectively reflect the breadth and depth of American creativity,” said Cecilia Conrad, Vice President, MacArthur Fellows Program. “They are artists, social innovators, scientists, and humanists who are working to improve the human condition and to preserve and sustain our natural and cultural heritage. Their stories should inspire each of us to consider our own potential to contribute our talents for the betterment of humankind.”
Information about the 2013 MacArthur Fellows, including biographies, videos, and downloadable photographs, are available at www.macfound.org/fellows.
Boyzie Cekwana (South Africa) with Panaibra Canda (Mozambique) in the U.S. premiere of The Inkomati (dis)cord
September 25 - 26
Cekwana and Canada’s The Inkomati (dis)cord “…takes inspiration from both the failed, historic “Nkomati accord,” a 1984 non-aggression pact signed by the Mozambique of Samora Machel and the South African apartheid state, and the “Inkomati” river, which crosses South Africa and Swaziland, ultimately spilling out into the Indian Ocean in
The New York premiere of Bouchra Quizquen’s (Morocco) Ha!
September 27 – 28
Ha! will be performed by Ouizguen and traditional Aïtas Fatéma El Hanna, Kabboura Aït Ben Hmad and Naïma Sahmoud, with lighting by designer Jean Gabriel Valot.
These NYLA presentations are co-presented with the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)’s Crossing the Line 2013 Festival.
Find out more www.newyorklivearts.org
THE METAMORPHOSIS - A Royal Ballet Production
The Joyce Theater
Choreographer/director Arthur Pita’s dance theater reinterpretation of the Kafka novella with the Royal Ballet Principal Edward Watson and designs by Simon Daw. The Metamorphosis was originally produced by London’s Royal Ballet for the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House.
Find out more: www.joyce.org
Andrea Miller’s Gallim Dance in the world premiere of Fold Here
The Alexander Kasser Theater in Montclair, New Jersey
Inspired by Raymond Chandler’s short story “Cathedral” and performed by her company Gallim Dance, “Fold Here considers the conceptual, physical and mystical properties of a cardboard box as a cathedral with which her dancers interact as they construct a work of their own.”
Find out more: www.peakperfs.org
Fall For Dance 2013
New York City Center
September 25 – October 5
The Festival at City Center will consist of five unique programs and will include performances by 605 Collective, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Hispanico, BODYTRAFFIC, Colin Dunne, DanceBrazil, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dorrance Dance, doug elkins choreography, etc., Gabriel Missé and Analia Centurión, HeadSpaceDance, INTRODANS, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Martha Graham Dance Company, Nrityagram, Richard Alston Dance Company, Sara Mearns and Casey Herd, Sidi Larbi
Cherkaoui/Sadler’s Wells London, and The Royal Ballet.
Find out more: http://www.nycitycenter.org/tickets/productionNew.aspx?performanceNumber=7520
Dance returns to Central Park – Fall For Dance 2013
Dance lovers celebrated the unofficial beginning of the season, and 10 years of City Center’s Fall For Dance (FFD), the annual evening of varied and shared programs for a bargain price, September 16 and 17 at The Delacorte in Central Park hosted by The Public Theater. To mark this anniversary, Arlene Shuler (President & CEO – City Center) with Oskar Eustis (Artistic Director – The Public Theater) came together to bring dance back to The Delacorte and it was a success!
Topping off an already crowd-pleasing event, these two evenings of free performances featured FFD alumi: New York City Ballet, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence and STREB Extreme Action Company.
Eustis opened the evening by welcoming dance back to The Delacorte, and Shuler followed confirming that dance had not been there since the 60s, 70s and 80s.
STREB Extreme Action Company’s Human Fountain (2011) was up first. In red unitards, the STREB dancers enter between the audience and their backdrop/prop/dance partner – scaffolding raised 40 feet high, separated into four levels— on the ground, in front of the scaffolding were gigantic mats, about 3 feet high. They mount at different levels, and then we hear someone yell “dancers are you ready”? So it begins, and one by one, they fall from each level, thump, thump, pause, thump, into the mats. The timing has to be just right. And, like cascading red streaks of paint redesigning every moment, they swoop through the air. We hold our breaths.
We applaud them for the adventure. And we want more. Ronald K. Brown/Evidence followed with a spirited rendition of Upside Down (1998). Joining the dancers were musicians Wunmi Olaiya (also the costume designer), Farai Malinga, Alinoune Faye and DJ Tommy Bones. The bare chested men is flowing blue pants, were matched by the women in bright yellow, purple or orange dresses of different lengths that seemed to
fire-off, or capture their every move. As the dancers of Evidence often do, they consumed the stage, legs
flying, torsos twisting, arms raising and reaching, all the while pulsing beautifully to the rhythms. This was a stand-out cast. Next up was Ulysses Dove’s Red Angels (1994) performed by New York City Ballet’s Maria Kowroski, Jennie Somogyi, Adrian Danchig-Waring and Chase Finlay. Offering yet another pulse to the evening – their off-centered balances, hip thrusts and deeper than “usual” plies, all on pointe reeked of Dove’s signature ballet with a twist. The talented electric violinist, Mary Rowell deservedly garnered a great deal of the applause. Ahhh…Esplanade (1975)…this is simply a lovely dance. Yes, this Paul Taylor masterpiece has alternate sections where the energy is not as upbeat, but that too is so beautifully choreographed. The running, the skipping, the playfulness, the patterns, the tender duets and Taylor’s consummate attention to music all add up to joy as presented by the Paul Taylor Dance Company. This was a lovely evening of dance outdoors
Don’t miss Fall For Dance 2013 at City Center – September 25 – October 5. The Festival at City Center will consist of five unique programs and will include performances by 605 Collective, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Hispanico, BODYTRAFFIC, Colin Dunne, DanceBrazil, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Dorrance Dance, doug elkins choreography, etc., Gabriel Missé and Analia Centurión, HeadSpaceDance, INTRODANS, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Martha Graham Dance Company, Nrityagram, Richard Alston Dance Company, Sara Mearns and Casey Herd, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui/Sadler’s Wells London, and The
Find out more: http://www.nycitycenter.org/tickets/productionNew.aspx?performanceNumber=7520
The International Association of Blacks in Dance announces
Call for Participation - APPLICATIONS ARE NOW AVAILABLE!
wanting to present Creative and Innovative Workshops
wanting to moderate or be on Panels
AUTHORS, HISTORIANS, PUBLISHED ARTICLES, MANUSCRIPTS
of interest to the General Dance Community
CHOREOGRAPHERS, MUSICIANS, DESIGNERS with Collaborative Ideas
The world premiere of Liz Gerring’s glacier
The Alexander Kasser Theater in Montclair, New Jersey
Commissioned by Peak Performances “…glacier signals a major new step for choreographer Liz Gerring. Larger in scale and choreographically more complex than her previous works…”
“I began making ‘glacier’ with a series of gestures,” Gerring said.” “The simple strung movements, initially of hands and arms, transposing my ideas to a sequence of images. Gradually the work unfolded, gestures expanding into fuller body realizations, into a layering of movement as it gathered momentum. I really felt simultaneously both the solidity and the
evanescence inside the sound score as we developed the work in residence at the large space at the Kasser Theater at Montclair.”
The multi-channel music, “Glacier,” is by composer Michael Schumacher, set and lighting by Robert Wierzel and costumes by Marion Talan.
Find out more: www.peakperfs.org
Jessica Chen Project presents the premiere of
Never was Broken: a dance through life and death and life
Salvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance
Saturday, September 21
An evening-length work, Never was Broken… is conceived and directed by Jessica Chen in collaboration with dancers, recording artist Dennis Diaz and choreographer Nicole Smith. The cast includes company members Jessica Aronoff, Flannery Houston, Lindsay Hall, Sandy Shelton, Yahui Lu, Rafael Sanchez, Aslan Rolston and guest artist Norbert De La Cruz III
Says Chen, "Never was Broken: a dance through life and death and life examines the concepts of living, letting go of and recreating your life. This work is inspired by my horrific near fatal car accident in August 2012, which left me in a coma for 13 days. I've learnt to have faith in turning challenges into victories. It is clear that a slight
shift of perspective can change your world, because the idea of "being broken" is only one-way of looking at a situation or a person.”
Find out more: http://jchenproject.ticketleap.com/neverwasbroken
John J Zullo Dance/Raw Movement
Danspace Project at the St. Mark's Church
Thursday – Saturday, September 19-21
The evening will include works from John J Zullo Dance/Raw Movement's repertory: ALL what THIS
do HAS you HAPPENED see? BEFORE, and the world premieres of this Exquisite diversion/mysterious Skin and project Xiii, with guest performers Barry Blumenfeld, Jeff Rebudal and others.
The evening is part of DANCE: Access, a self-production series administered by Danspace Project
that serves independent choreographers and dance companies.
Find out more: http://johnjzullodance.com
Mexican Flamenco artist Maria Elena Anaya’s presents
Eclipsis Flamenco: Encounter of Two Worlds
Fridays and Saturdays – September 13 - 28
“This world premiere production is an original intensely passionate dance theatrical piece documenting the historical merging of the Pre-Colombian and Spanish cultures that birthed “mestizaje,” (mixed cultures) the very foundation of Mexican life.”
Find out more: www.dixonplace.org
Motley Dance and Center for Performance Research Presents
Center for Performance Research
“Drill Piece, examines military custom, ritual and tradition in relationship to performance. Brought up in a military family, choreographer Motley considers how much of the Marine Corps lifestyle has carried over to her art practice. The work draws comparison between the choreography and ritual that is present in both the military and an ensemble of female dancers, live music and projected animation.”
Find out more: http://motleydance.net/
Below is the letter written on Dance New Amsterdam's website (http://dnadance.org/) by Executive/Artiscic Director, Catherine A. Peila -
Update on Bankruptcy and Closure as of Friday, September 13 @ 3:00pm
Dear DNA Community,
On Thursday we reached an agreement with our landlord, Fram Realty, that allows DNA to remain at its current location through mid-October, after which DNA has agreed to leave 280 Broadway. However, Fram Realty has agreed, in good faith, to continue to listen to any viable proposals DNA presents to it. Our
agreement is being documented and submitted to the Bankruptcy Court for approval.
Classes and rentals will be running through October 13.
Know that we continue to work on a solution to support the DNA teachers, students, artist, audiences, etc.; but as of yet, we have not been able to secure a partner or find another solution that would allow us to meet DNA’s business responsibilities and remain at 280 Broadway.
The DNA Community is more than a 280 Broadway space; it exists regardless of where we work, dance, teach, create, and perform. For our part, we will help keep the lines of communication open between teachers, students, artists, and community supporters while looking for ways to keep our programs alive.
In the meantime, please come take class and rehearse!
With great respect and awe,
Catherine A. Peila
Please choose a color:
I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a faculty member at Hunter College, Kean University, Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member of The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."