OOooooohh…it’s finally, really spring here in the city. The tree outside of my apartment building is in full, glorious bloom and the winter jackets have officially been retired. For the first time in months New Yorkers are showing their skin to the sun and ordering their coffee iced. We are shedding the layers of mental weight that we’ve been carrying around since the final leaves dropped from the branches last year and we are walking lighter.
This mental stripping has given me a sense of renewal. A spring re-birth, if you will. I feel energized and ready. 2 auditions this week (which will, um, be the first that I have attended in over a year). Here we go…
Along with the new season come some events of interest in the NY dance scene. Here are a couple that I will be checking out:
Danze de Contemporanea de Cuba
This company will be performing at the Joyce as part of the citywide !Si Cuba! Festival, a festival celebrating the arts and culture of Cuba. Truthfully, I have never seen this company perform, nor have I heard much buzz surrounding their work, my interest actually lies in the program that they will be presenting. The company will be performing a work by the spectacular Swedish choreographer Mats Ek. I have spent MANY hours watching and re-watching Ek’s work on the net (one favorite being this spectacular work entitled “Wet Woman” performed by the indomitable Sylvie Guillem). The creations of Ek are emotionally charged without teetering into sappiness, musical while maintaining organic suppleness, and wonderfully, artfully constructed. The Danza de Contemporanea de Cuba engagement will be my first opportunity to witness Ek’s work first hand. I AM EXCITED.
Danza de Contemporanea de Cuba will be performing at the Joyce Theater from 5/10-5/22.
The infamous “punk ballerina,” as she was deemed during her performance career, Karole Armitage, will present her company, Armitage Gone!, for a 2 week program (also at the Joyce). Actually, I can only assume that you must already know about this show, as it seems to be that they have spent an enormous amount of money on promotions. Jesus! I mean, there are posters on every corner, blurbs pop up as I browse the web (Google has somehow linked me to them and their advertisements litter my screen constantly). I have seen them before, in ’09, and, honestly, was not terribly impressed. You see, the women (at least from what I remember) TOWERED over the men. It’s possible that I’m prejudiced due to my height (5’10”) but I like a man to be at least of equal height to the ladies on stage. Height issues aside, I’m eager to see what they are presenting this year since the n u m e r o u s advertisements speak about the use of Gaga technique. I’m semi-obsessed with this technique and am curious to see it used in the context of Armitage’s fairly classical vocabulary. We shall see. Check out the website.
Armitage Gone! performs at the Joyce Theater from 4/26-5/08.
To the tune of uncertainty, I shall begin my discussion of Dance Brazil who just concluded their run at the Joyce (jeez, it’s a Joyce heavy entry today) on Sunday. I’ve always been compelled by martial arts, particularly the Brazilian, dance infused Capoeira. Hearing that the contemporary/Brazilian cultural/Capoeira company, Dance Brazil, was in town, my visiting parents and I, looking for some early entertainment, decided to go.
The company, composed of 8 super-human, ultra fit men and 4 sexy, curly haired women, were the physical representation of anatomical perfection. Part of me thinks that just being able to look at those magnificent bodies warranted the ticket price! Dance Brazil presented 3 pieces, broken up by 2 unnecessarily long intermissions. The trio of work left me asking one question in many ways: why? Why does every dance break, and, yes, they felt like dance breaks, have to have either the entire company, or a good part of it, facing the audience and executing trite, poppy, extra smiley movement en masse. Why not utilize the polyrhythms being played superbly by the musicians? Why not just make it a Capoeira show? After all, the entire audience seemed to await the moments when the Capoeiristas took over. Their bodies, glistening with sweat and as perfect as DaVinci’s Vitruvian man, flew through the air at inhuman heights and landed with soundless ease.
I, however, did not leave disappointed, as there was rarely a moment of boredom. No, instead, I departed feeling the childlike giddiness that remains after a circus or an Olympic gymnastics exposition. Is it dance? Dance Brazil could leave the dancing behind, as it was, by far, the weakest aspect of the program. They could fly higher by fully embracing and presenting themselves as a troupe of Capoiristas. Make it the spectacle that it longs to be. Dance=weak. Tricks=wonderful and artfully done. The capoiristas are the heart and soul of this company.
Go to see Dance Brazil for a good time but don’t expect to be moved to tears or inspiration…or at all. That is unless you yourself are one of the super-humans on your way to taking over the planet with your Capoeira skills.
Goodnight to all! Enjoy the fresh blossoms and let the spring shower you with brightness and love. Re-awaken your soul and let the warmth spark your inspiration.