Abrons Arts Center, Studio 1
466 Grand St. at Pitt St.
January 7-11, $20
Festival continues through January 17
In a 2011 Movement Research conversation with Jodi Bender, choreographer and performer Heather Kravas said, “I’ll work on a solo because I feel like I need to ask a pretty intimate question. Not even one that is necessarily something I can articulate. But, I need to go to a pretty internal place or I need to investigate something that is not as defined.” It does not get a whole lot more intimate and undefined than dead, disappears, a solo work making its New York premiere at the American Realness festival at Abrons Arts Center. The sixty-minute piece takes place in Studio 1, a rehearsal room for dancers that includes barres at two levels along one wall and mirrors of varying size on the other walls. Using Richard Serra’s “Verb List Compilation: Actions to Relate to Oneself” as a jumping-off point, Kravas, a 2015 Doris Duke Impact Artist, incorporates spoken word, dance, music, technology, and performance art to create often uncomfortable, sometimes very funny situations in which she covers herself with a plastic garbage bag and walks on her tiptoes shouting out such words as “bimbo” and “peephole”; rolls around the floor attacking a pillow; asks an audience member for help when trying to pull off a particularly difficult body position; and puts a small bucket near the center of the room, hovers over it, and — well, we’ll let you experience that yourself. It’s an angry, emotional, provocative work with a lot of loud, violent acts resulting in nervous laughter, a little fear, and plenty of unexpected twists. Sitting in folding chairs on three sides of the room, the crowd of forty — including many dance professionals at the 5:30 show on January 9 — ate it all up, celebrating the bold, raw nature of the work and Kravas’s brave performance, putting herself out there as both subject and object. Perhaps what was most impressive is that Kravas was scheduled to do it all over again at 8:30.