Wednesday, March 23, 2011

AFTER-THOUGHTS: Jawole Willa Jo Zollar Curates at 92Y's Harkness Dance Festival

I was a bit underwhelmed by Zollar's curated program, but so grateful to witness some really beautiful dancing from new faces (for me).

Please put Souleymane Badolo, Lacina Coulibaly and Samantha Speis on your radar.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Introducing a New Weekly Column: "Weekend Roundup" A List of Dance Happenings in NYC

Weekend Roundup: March 18-20, 2011
(Note: This weekend's list only includes contemporary dance events, but look for more genres soon!)

Top Pick:
WHO: Vicky Shick
WHAT: Not Entirely Herself
WHEN: Friday-Saturday, 8pm
WHERE: The Kitchen 512 W 19th St between 10th & 11th Ave. (Subway: C,E to 23rd St.)
TICKETS: 212.255.5793 ext. 11,, tickets $15
INFO: Shick and guest artist Neil Greenberg will perform a coda at the end of the new work.

WHAT: Harkness Dance Festival 2011
WHO: Souleymane Badolo and Maria Bauman
WHERE: 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave. between 91st and 92nd Sts. (Subway: 4,5,6 to 86th St.)
WHEN: Friday-Sunday, 8pm/3pm Sunday
TICKETS: 212.415.5500,, tickets $15
INFO: Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (Urban Bush Women) curates the closing week of the festival.
..........................................(Above: Vicky Shick).................

WHAT: Perforations Festival New York
WHO: Mladinksi Theater, Damned Be the Traitor of His Homeland
WHERE: La MaMa E.T.C. Annex 74A E. 4th St. between Bowery & 2nd Ave. (Subway: F to 2nd Ave/6 to Bleecker St.)
WHEN: Friday-Sunday, 10pm/8pm Sunday
TICKETS: 212.475.7710,, tickets $15, $10 senior/student
INFO: Movement-based performance works by artists from the Balkans.

WHAT: BAAD! Ass Women Festival 2011
WHO: Fierce Kickers: BAADass Woman 2011 Dance Concert featuring Toni Renee Johnson, Sasha McCarter, Djuna Passman, Denise Perry, Dawn Robinson, Meli Sanfiorenzo and Sandra Passirani, Simone Sobers and Marya Wethers
WHERE: Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance 841 Barretto St. 2nd Floor between Garrison and Lafayette Ave. (Subway: 6 to Hunts Point Ave)

.......(Above: Souleymane Badolo)...............................................................

WHEN: Saturday, 8pm
TICKETS: 718.842.5223,, tickets $20
INFO: Eleventh annual festival featuring a diverse line-up of female contemporary choreographers.

Honorable Mentions:
*Laurie Berg + Aynsley Vandenbroucke-"Body Madness" @ Dancespace Project (
*Trisha Brown Dance Company-"For MG: The Movie," "Foray Fôret" and "Watermotor" @ Dance Theater Workshop (
*Yvonne Rainer-"Assisted Living: Good Sports 2" and "Spiraling Down" @ Baryshnikov Arts Center (
*Mark Morris Dance Group-"The Muir" and "Petrichor" @ Mark Morris Dance Center (
*Juilliard Dances Repertory: Nijinska, Feld and Morris @ Peter Jay Sharp Theater (
Bronislava Nijinska's Les Noces will be performed by the Juilliard ensemble.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Jennifer Muller/The Works

The Dance We Share: An Evening for Mothers and Daughters
Friday, March 11, 2011

Last night I attended a private event by Jennifer Muller/The Works at their loft studio in Chelsea. It was a lovely evening--I reconnected with a dance peer I hadn't seen since my undergrad days--and chowed down on some yummy sushi, cheese and fruit.

The company showed 5 excerpts from past works, including a sneak peak of a work-in-progress that will premiere at their gala in June. Of note was the highlight from Edge (2007). Muller's use of Zap Mama music successfully showcased her signature emotive movement. The powerful polyphonic rhythms sung by Marie Daulne isolated the well-crafted solos, duets and trios.

In the Q&A with Muller and the dancers following the 45 minute program, executive director John Louis Bryant announced that the Muller Technique is featured in a new German book presented by Tanztechnik that compares 7 different contemporary dance techniques. Muller calls her technique a "polarity technique" that "contrasts a relaxed and grounded plié with an extenuated and energized up.” I'm now desperate to get my hands on that book, as literature on dance technique is few and far between. I have to say that Muller's dancers are beautiful, but I'm not sure a technique informed by "groundedness" really translates into the body. It's no secret that I prefer Klein technique, because it's informed by human anatomical structure in order to achieve "groundedness." But to be fair, I should take a Muller class and pass judgement then.

Also, one audience member asked if there's a difference between modern and contemporary dance (Muller favors contemporary). I thought that was a great question, especially after living in London where it's only called "contemporary dance," yet when I was studying dance in high school and college in the US, it was definitely "modern dance." I think that would make for an interesting debate and future blog post!

You can catch the world premiere of Muller's new evening-length piece, The White Room, at the Cedar Lake Theater--547 W. 26th Street--from June 22 - 26, 2011. Tickets are $49 and will be available beginning April 1 at 212-868-4444 or Gala tickets are available at (212) 691-3803. A Gala Dinner and Silent Auction at Chelsea Art Museum, 556 W. 22nd Street, NYC, will follow the Opening Night Gala performance. The Gala honors Phoenix Partners Group, lead corporate sponsor for the company's education programs.

The White Room begins in a large featureless space, which alters as the piece progresses, influenced by the attitudes and actions of those inhabiting it. In the beginning, the room echoes the innocence of a young girl; The White Room is her story. She is both damaged and transformed by encounters with a diverse cast of characters. The piece concerns the corruption of innocence, contrasting purity with heartless self-interest and questioning the value systems of our times. The music is a compilation of cello-based music from traditional sources including Yo-Yo Ma and contemporary composers Zoe Keating, Break of Reality, Gordon Withers, Matthew Schoening and Julia Kent. Costume and stage design by Stageworks, lighting design by Jeff Croiter and projection design by Kevin Harkins.