Who: New Dance Alliance
What: Online performance festival
Where: Facebook and Instagram
When: May 4-31, free
Why: New Dance Alliance’s thirty-fourth annual Performance Mix Festival is being called “Remotely Yours,” as the participating artists will be presenting live experimental programs consisting of archival videos, text, photos, and new work from wherever they are sheltering in place. Every day from May 4 to 31, an individual artist or company takes over NDA’s Facebook and Instagram pages at noon (although some will happen at other pre-announced times). The first week features NOT for reTALE | Emily Smith on May 4 at 8:30, Maya Orchin on May 5, Marion Spencer on May 6 at noon, 4:00, and 8:00, Juli Brandano on May 7, Julia Antinozzi on May 8, Nami Yamamoto on May 9, and Karen Bernard on May 10 at 3:00. The lineup for the second week is Birgit Larson, Racoco, Emily LaRochelle & Sarazina Joy Stein, Kameron Chatman, Annie Heath, MOLLY&NOLA, and Remi Harris + Mark Schmidt, the third week roster is Degenerate Art Ensemble, MAYDAY, Diana Crum, Bob Eisen, Cynthia McLaughlin and Company, Hanna Satterlee, and Camilo Godoy, and anchoring the fourth week are Anh Vo, Nate Yaffe, Tanja London alias qualia-c, Liberty Styles, Sarah Toumani Dance Co, Krista DeNio and Debra Disbrow, and Kyla Kegler. NDA describes itself as “an arts service organization whose mission is to actively promote emerging forms of innovative dance, music, video, and interdisciplinary performance. NDA’s initial aims were to support an artistic community which has limited institutional resources, and to provide that community with increased opportunities to share experimental works with the public.” That goal is even more critical during the coronavirus pandemic, so feel free to donate if you can, as the money helps provide artists with studio space, residencies, and workshops.
Who: Netta Yerushalmy
What: Dance series with performance and live discussion
Where: Netta Yerushalmy website
When: May 4-9, free, 3:00 (videos with Q&As will remain online through May 24)
Why: Last year, New York City-based choreographer and dancer Netta Yerushalmy presented her full six-part, four-hour series, Paramodernities, at New York Live Arts. Each work, which had been previously individually staged at such locations as Judson Church, the National Museum of the American Indian, Live Artery at New York Live Arts, the 92nd St. Y, and Madison Square Park, deconstructs and re-creates a classic dance piece through performance, text, and discussion, with dancers and scholars participating. I was fortunate to catch several iterations (#s 2&3, rehearsals for #5), which all proved to be captivating and involving; the choreographers who get the Yerushalmy treatment are Vaslav Nijinsky, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Alvin Ailey, Bob Fosse, and George Balanchine. Every day from May 4 to 9 at 3:00, Yerushalmy will stream one work, followed by a live discussion and Q&A with special guests.
The wide-ranging, diverse cast consists of dancers Michael Blake, Gerald Casel, Marc Crousillat, Brittany Engel-Adams, Joyce Edwards, Stanley Gambucci, Taryn Griggs, Magdalena Jarkowiec, Nicholas Leichter, Jeremy Jae Neal, Hsiao-Jou Tang, Megan Williams, and Yerushalmy, with scholars and writers Thomas F. DeFrantz, Julia Foulkes, Georgina Kleege, David Kishik, Carol Ockman, Mara Mills, and Claudia La Rocco. “This project requires people to really care about different kinds of knowledge and to want to implicate their bodies in this very different kind of space and to be vulnerable,” Yerushalmy says about Paramodernities, which will be a new experience when viewed from our homes, where we are sheltering in place, unable to be physically together. I can’t recommend Paramodernities Live highly enough; it is an innovative platform that explores the past, present, and future of dance through a sophisticated and experimental historical context that will leave you in awe.
Monday, May 4
Paramodernities #1: The Work of Dance in the Age of Sacred Lives
A response to Vaslav Nijinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (1913)
with special guest Jack Halberstam
Tuesday, May 5
Paramodernities #2: Trauma, Interdiction, and Agency in “The House of Pelvic Truth”
A response to Martha Graham’s Night Journey (1947)
with special guest Pam Tanowitz
Wednesday, May 6
Paramodernities #3: Revelations: The Afterlives of Slavery
A response to Alvin Ailey’s Revelations (1960)
with special guest Tracy K. Smith
Thursday, May 7
Paramodernities #4: An Inter-Body Event
with material from Merce Cunningham’s Rainforest, Sounddance, Points in Space, Beach Birds, and Ocean (1968-90)
with special guest Fred Moten
Friday, May 8
Paramodernities #5: All That Spectacle: Dance on Stage and Screens
A response to Bob Fosse’s Sweet Charity (1969 film)
with special guest Jeremy O. Harris
Saturday, May 9
Paramodernities #6: The Choreography of Rehabilitation: Disability and Race in Balanchine’s Agon
A response to George Balanchine’s Agon (1957)
with special guest Peter N. Miller
Who: Kiki Abba, Erin Bednarz, Alyza DelPan-Monley, Nick Spencer, Ayo Tushinde, Faye Driscoll
What: Live watch party with preshow chat and postshow wrap-up
When: Wednesday, April 22, free, 7:00
Why: When Seattle arts organization On the Boards kicked off its 2019-20 fortieth anniversary season last year with the theme “In the Future’s Wake: Rituals, Ceremonies, and Happenings,” it could never have conceived what the future did in fact hold for them and the rest of the country (and world). On April 22, the company will be hosting a highly relevant watch party on Instagram, streaming the first part of Faye Driscoll’s Thank You for Coming: Attendance, recorded with four cameras at Danspace Project in 2014. Driscoll followed Attendance with Play and Space, an endlessly creative trilogy that ingeniously shatters the boundaries between audience and performer. The work takes on a new meaning in the age of Covid-19, with the relationship between audience and performer changing again — and among the performers themselves, since they can’t be together in the same place, instead relegated to individual boxes on a screen — as we are all hunkered down at home, seeing one another only through our phones and computers and communicating via live chats. This online presentation of Attendance begins with an introduction and preshow chat at 7:00 with the Bounce House, a cohabitating collective that consists of Kiki Abba, Erin Bednarz, Alyza DelPan-Monley, Nick Spencer, and Ayo Tushinde, followed by the performance and a wrap-up at the end. The show will be streamed on DelPan-Monley’s Instagram.
Since May 2001, twi-ny has been recommending cool things to do throughout the five boroughs, popular and under-the-radar events that draw people out of their homes to experience film, theater, dance, art, literature, music, food, comedy, and more as part of a live audience in the most vibrant community on Earth.
With the spread of Covid-19 and the closing of all cultural institutions, sports venues, bars, and restaurants (for dining in), we feel it is our duty to prioritize the health and well-being of our loyal readers. So, for the next several weeks at least, we won’t be covering any public events in which men, women, and children must congregate in groups, a more unlikely scenario day by day anyway.
That said, as George Bernard Shaw once noted, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”
Some parks are still open, great places to breathe in fresh air, feel the sunshine, and watch the changing of winter into spring. We will occasionally be pointing out various statues, sculptures, and installations, but check them out only if you are already going outside and will happen to be nearby.
You don’t have to shut yourself away completely for the next weeks and months — for now, you can still go grocery shopping and pick up takeout — but do think of others as you go about your daily life, which is going to be very different for a while. We want each and every one of you to take care of yourselves and your families, follow the guidelines for social distancing, and consider the health and well-being of those around you.
We look forward to seeing you indoors and at festivals and major outdoor events as soon as possible, once New York, America, and the rest of the planet are ready to get back to business. Until then, you can find us every so often under the sun, moon, clouds, and stars, finding respite in this amazing city now in crisis.
Film Forum is celebrating the eighty-ninth birthday of the one and only Carmen de Lavallade with a special screening of Linda Atkinson and Nick Doob’s 2006 documentary, Carmen & Geoffrey, along with rare footage of de Lavallade and Alvin Ailey dancing the ballet from Porgy and Bess in Howard Beach for a 1960 television show. Carmen & Geoffrey is an endearing look at de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder’s lifelong love affair with dance — and each other. The New Orleans-born de Lavallade studied with Lester Horton and went to high school with Ailey, whom she brought to his first dance class. Trinidadian Holder was a larger-than-life gentle giant who was a dancer, choreographer, composer, costume designer, actor, director, writer, photographer, painter, and just about anything else he wanted to be.
The two met when they both were cast in Truman Capote and Harold Arlen’s Broadway show House of Flowers in 1954, with the six-foot-six Holder instantly falling in love with de Lavallade; they were together until 2014, when he passed away at the age of eighty-four. Atkinson and Doob combine amazing archival footage — of Eartha Kitt, Josephine Baker, Ulysses Dove, de Lavallade dancing with Ailey, and other splendid moments — with contemporary rehearsal scenes, dance performances, and interviews with such stalwarts as dance critic Jennifer Dunning (author of Geoffrey Holder: A Life in Theater, Dance and Art), former Alvin Ailey artistic director Judith Jamison, dancer Dudley Williams, and choreographer Joe Layton (watch out for his eyebrows), along with family members and Gus Solomons jr, who still works with de Lavallade. The film was made on an extremely low budget and it shows, but it is filled with such glorious footage that you’ll get over that quickly.
“The funny thing about marriage over time is I was very focused on locking it in, and now I just feel locked in,” Sara Juli says in her one-woman show Burnt-Out Wife, which makes its New York premiere February 21-22 and 27-28 at Dixon Place in conjunction with the American Dance Festival. The comedic dance-theater work takes place in a peppy pink bathroom designed by Pamela Moulton, with Juli wearing a range of household costumes (or not much of anything) created by Carol Farrell as she sings, dances, and riffs on relationships while sharing intimate moments and eliciting audience participation. Juli, a Skidmore graduate with degrees in dance and anthropology whose previous shows include The Money Conversation and Tense Vagina: an actual diagnosis, lived in New York for fifteen years before moving in 2014 with her husband and two children to Maine, where she produces the contemporary dance series Maine Moves and runs the fundraising consulting practice Surala Consulting, among other artistic ventures. In preparing for Burnt-Out Wife, Juli and her husband went to marriage counseling, covering as many bases as possible as she explores commitment in deeply personal yet funny ways from a distinctly feminist perspective. The seventy-minute presentation, which involves cake, an original song, and plungers, features dramaturgy by Michelle Mola, sound by Ryan MacDonald, and lighting by David Ferri; tickets are $19 in advance and $23 at the door.
If you haven’t seen Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Rosas perform in New York City, you haven’t been paying attention. She and her company have presented A Love Supreme at New York Live Arts in 2017, Six Brandenburg Concertos at Park Avenue Armory in 2018, and Transfigured Night at Baryshnikov Arts Center in 2019. This week de Keersmaeker and Rosas are performing the North America premiere of Mitten Wir Im Leben Sind / Bach6Cellosuiten (In the Midst of Life / Bach’s Cello Suites) at NYU’s Skirball Center, a series of solos accompanied by master French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, who plays a 1696 cello by Gioffredo Cappa, with de Keersmaeker joining each dancer for a duet.
The two-hour piece, which debuted at the 2017 Ruhrtriennale in Germany in 2017, consists of six Bach sections written between 1717 and 1723 (BWV 1007-1012) — the allemande, courante, sarabande, two minuets, and gigue — created with and danced by Boštjan Antončič, Marie Goudot, Julien Monty, Michaël Pomero, and De Keersmaeker. The stark staging, in which the dancers move across a black space around a seated Queyras, with swirling white chalk marks and green and red tape placed on the light-colored floor, features costumes by An D’Huys, sound by Alban Moraud, and lighting by Luc Schaltin. The title comes from Martin Luther’s version of the Latin antiphon “Media vita in morte sumus”; the Lutheran hymn reads, in part: “In the midst of life / We are in death / Who shall help us in the strife / Lest the Foe confound us? / Thou only, Lord, Thou only!” In addition, Bach wrote a freestanding chorale (BWV 383) based on Luther’s three-stanza liturgy; de Keersmaeker has also discussed how she saw the Luther quote on the tombstone of legendary choreographer Pina Bausch. The February 14 show will be followed by a talk with de Keersmaeker and Queyras, moderated by Center for Ballet and the Arts founder and director Jennifer Homans.