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Jack Ferver brings an updated version of MON, MA, MES to American Realness and Gibney Dance’s Making Space (photo by Scott Shaw)

Jack Ferver brings an updated version of MON, MA, MES to American Realness and Gibney Dance’s Making Space (photo by Scott Shaw)

Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center
280 Broadway between Chambers & Reade Sts.
January 13-16, $20, 9:30

If Jack Ferver is an acquired taste, then he’s a taste you need to acquire. The Wisconsin-born, New York City–based dancer, actor, choreographer, and performance artist returns to American Realness with Mon, Ma, Mes (Revisité), a revised and updated version of a work he originally presented at FIAF’s Crossing the Line festival in 2012 and American Realness the next year. It’s an hour-long confessional in which you never quite know whether anything Ferver says is actually true, as he performs as “Jack Ferver,” talking about his childhood, his parents, his career, his husband, and his kids while wearing a black shirt, tight black shorts, and high black socks. He sings, dances to Schubert and Chopin, gets sexy, and discusses loneliness, fame, control, love, and collaboration; he skewers various people he’s worked with, including Liz Santoro and composer Roarke Menzies, who was part of the previous iteration of Mon, Ma, Mes, and costumer and occasional coperformer Reid Bartelme. Bartelme had an onstage role in the original production but on opening night at Gibney Dance he was in the audience — where Ferver reminded him again and again that he had been cut from this new edition. Collaboration and its unease, both in private life and the professional world, is perhaps the primary theme of Mon, Ma, Mes (Revisité). Ferver repeatedly reveals his ambivalence about and fear of collaborators as he performs a piece that is impossible without them: Even the audience plays a crucial role in his unique storytelling, beginning with the packed house participating in a riotous Q&A; audience members are seated on three sides of the small room while the fourth side is the long rehearsal room mirror where they can see themselves and everyone else — and where Ferver can revel in reflections of himself, since this is all about self-reflection anyway. Part of the fun is being able to watch other people’s reactions as Ferver, often sitting on a chair, talking into a microphone in the fully lit room, goes about his business of melding personal success and failure with hysterical pop-culture references, making direct eye contact every step of the way. As fresh and exciting as it was four years ago, Mon, Ma, Mes (Revisité) was well worth bringing back, in this case for both American Realness and Gibney Dance’s Making Space program. Ferver (Rumble Ghost, Chambre) can next be seen this summer at the Kitchen with I Want You to Want Me, a piece for ADI about which Ferver says, “I consider myself a populist, but some people really hate my work. They even hate me they hate my work so much. . . . Oh, I also just wanted to say that not everyone is going to make it. I don’t mean make it to the show. I mean make it out of the show alive.”

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