The supremely talented Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet is celebrating its tenth anniversary with three wide-ranging works at the Joyce from May 7 to 12. The strong, highly physical company, led by artistic director Benoit-Swan Pouffer, ballet master Alexandra Damiani, and spectacular dancer Jason Kittelberger, will present the New York premiere of Jiří Kylián’s Indigo Rose, which the Dutch choreographer originally created for the twentieth anniversary of Nederlands Dans Theater 2 in 1998; the piece includes a long sheet that casts shadows and silhouettes as the dancers move to music by J. S. Bach, John Cage, Robert Ashley, and others. The evening also includes the world premiere of Horizons by Greek dancer and choreographer Andonis Foniadakis, which examines the personal and the public, action and reaction, with a score by composer and visual artist Julien Tarride. And the company looks back at its past with Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite’s Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue, a 2008 piece in which five dancers rotate into ten duets that examine the theme of rescue through movement, visuals, music, and narrative. There will be a Dance Chat with members of the company after the May 8 show, a Joyce Pre-Show discussion led by Susan Thomasson prior to the May 9 performance, and Joris Jan Bos will lead a DANY Master Class (open level, $15) on May 10 at 10:00 am. Cedar Lake, which is based in a warehouse-like space on Twenty-Sixth St. in Chelsea, rarely fails to thrill, combining inventive staging with amazingly athletic dancers, highlighted by Kittelberger along with Jon Bond, Acacia Schachte, and Nickemil Concepcion.
French Institute Alliance Française (and other venues)
Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th St.
Le Skyroom, 22 East 60th St.
Tinker Auditorium, 55 East 59th St.
May 1 – June 1, free - $40
After having explored the art and culture of Africa, Haiti, Lebanon, and Morocco in past years, FIAF’s 2013 World Nomads festival heads to Tunisia this spring for a month of multidisciplinary programs that look at the history of the small North African nation, particularly within the context of the recent revolution that led to the downfall of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The now-biennial festival begins on May 3 ($35, 8:00) with a concert in Florence Gould Hall featuring singer Sonia M’Barek and the Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture ensemble, followed by a reception with Tunisian delicacies. Also on Friday night (free, 7:00), brother-and-sister choreographers Selma and Sofiane Ouissi will debut a twelve-minute video in Tinker Auditorium about Tunisian women potters. On May 4 (free), visitors are encouraged to add their own message of peace to a canvas supplied by Tunisian graffiti artists eL Seed and Jaye at the New Museum’s Ideas City street festival on Rivington St. On May 6 ($40, 12:30), Syhem Belkhodja, Dora Bouchoucha, Kenza Fourati, Lina Lazaar Jameel, and Leila Souissi will gather at FIAF for the English-language panel discussion “The Role of Women in Tunisian Society,” which includes lunch and wine. The next afternoon (free, 1:00), Belkhodja, Bouchoucha, Lazaar Jameel, and Amna Guellali will be joined via Skype by Hélé Béji and El Iza Mohamedou for the “Women in Tunisia” talk “Art, Women & Politics” at White Box, which is also hosting a free Tunisian photography exhibition highlighting work by Héla Ammar, Amine Boussoffara, Wassim Ghozlani, Amine Landoulsi, Zied Ben Romdhane, Rim Temimi, and Patricia Triki that is part of the World Nomads visual arts program “The After Revolution.” Tuesday in May ($10), FIAF will screen Tunisian movies curated by Bouchoucha as part of its weekly CinémaTuesdays series, including such films as Moufida Tlatli’s The Silences of the Palace and Hinde Boujemaa’s It Was Better Tomorrow. Tinker Auditorium will be turned into a traditional Souk, or Tunisian craft market, May 8-10 (free, 5:30 – 8:00), with food and crafts available for purchase. On May 9-10 ($25, 8:00), choreographer Jonah Bokaer delves into his relationship with his Tunisian-born father in the meditative The Ulysses Syndrome, set to a Mediterranean soundscape. On May 12 (free, reception at 6:00), eL Seed and Jaye will be at 5Pointz in Long Island City to create a mural with Meres One and others and screen a film about them. On May 14 ($25, 8:00), Radhouane El Meddeb will perform the solo piece Sous leurs pieds, le paradis, which honors the role of women in Tunisian society, set to music by Oum Kaithoum. Singer Ghalia Benali will take the stage at FIAF on May 15 ($25, 8:00), Tunisian DJs will spin at CATCH Roof on May 15 (free, 10:30), and Emel Mathlouthi will perform previously banned songs on May 22 ($25, 8:00) at FIAF. In addition, throughout the festival the FIAF Gallery will host a multimedia exhibition with works by Héla Ammar, Amel Ben Attia, Nicène Kossentini, Mouna Jemal Siala, and Mohamed Ben Slama that focuses on women artists and the aftermath of the revolution.
In our May 2012 interview with the great Jack Ferver, he tantalizingly described what he was working on next, a piece entitled All of a Sudden. “It is loosely inspired by Tennessee Williamsʼs Suddenly, Last Summer and explores the similarities between the artist/dramaturg and the patient/therapist relationship,” he said. “ Of course, it was a play before the film, but having played Cleopatra this past year [in Me, Michelle], I feel I am being haunted by Liz in some way.” Ferver has previously brought his unique interpretation, melding dance, theater, confessional, psychoanalysis, and multimedia elements, to such disparate films as Notes on a Scandal, Poltergeist, Black Swan, and Return to Oz. This time he has set his sights on the steamy story about an institutionalized woman and her sordid southern family, which debuted on Broadway in 1958 and was made into a film the next year by Joseph L. Mankiewicz with an all-star cast that included Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, Katharine Hepburn, Albert Dekker, and Mercedes McCambridge. Ferver collaborated with Joshua Lubin-Levy on the new show, which will be performed by the two men along with Jacob Slominski; music and sound design is by regular Ferver composer Roarke Menzies, with set design by Marc Swanson (Ferver’s Two Alike) and costumes by Reid Bartelme (Mon Ma Mes). Ferver has an endlessly inventive imagination that is thrilling to watch onstage; he’s never afraid to take chances as he opens up his heart and soul — and injects ample amounts of his wicked sense of humor — in fabulously entertaining and deeply personal ways. All of a Sudden runs May 2-4 at Abrons Arts Center, and you’d be doing yourself a great disservice if you missed it.
Update: Jack Ferver blurs the lines between audience and performer, creation and execution, and straight and gay in All of a Sudden, his latest multimedia work to use film as a way to tell a more personal story. This time Ferver focuses in on Tennessee Williams’s 1959 melodrama Suddenly, Last Summer, in which Catherine, a southern woman played by Elizabeth Taylor, is in a mental institution, being treated by a doctor (Montgomery Clift) who is trying to get her to remember a tragic event before her aunt (Katharine Hepburn) forces her to get a lobotomy. The show opens with Ferver, as Catherine, overemoting and Jacob Slominski, as the doctor, underemoting, as Joshua Lubin-Levy sits in a chair across the stage, carefully watching and taking notes. It soon becomes apparent that the three men are in the midst of creating the piece, which is far from done, discussing various elements and possible changes. At one point Slominski goes off to call his wife while Ferver and Lubin-Levy look at clips from Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s film on an old television set that mimics a theatrical dressing-room mirror, and later Ferver and Slominski break off into duets that include lots of kissing. They also at times directly address the audience, acknowledging that they are being viewed while still, in essence, rehearsing. It’s all great fun, but with more than a touch of seriousness to go with the humor. The set, designed by Marc Swanson, features a group of ropes dangling from above in one corner, evoking death and suicide, while Reid Bartelme’s costumes for Ferver are spectacularly beautiful, from ridiculously tight and tiny green body-hugging shorts to an elegant, sparkling red sequined dress. As always, Ferver adds an occasional level of discomfort to the fanciful proceedings, keeping the audience on edge, never knowing quite what is going to happen next as fantasy morphs into reality and back again, art and life becoming one and the same.
Born in Newark and based in New York City, choreographer Stephen Petronio is taking to the streets for his latest evening-length piece, Like Lazarus Did (LLD 4/30). The creator of such works as Underland, The Architecture of Loss, and I Drink the Air Before Me examines religion and resurrection in LLD, which will begin at Nineteenth St. and Ninth Ave., where composer Son Lux, trumpeter C. J. Camerieri (yMusic, Sufjan Stevens), violinist Rob Moose (Bon Iver, yMusic), and four choristers will lead a procession into the lobby of the Joyce, where they will make an invocation, all before the “official” dance starts inside onstage. Inside the theater, visual artist Janine Antoni will be suspended in a helicopter stretcher hanging over the audience. “Almost every religion promises some kind of rebirth or resurrection,” Petronio says in a promotional video for the show, “and how odd that the only thing that you can’t prove is the thing that drives the marketplace of all these religions.” A major collaborative effort that will have unique, site-specific elements at each venue it plays, LLD will be performed by the Stephen Petronio Company — Julian De Leon, Davalois Fearon, Joshua Green, Gino Grenek, Barrington Hinds, Natalie Mackessy, Jaqlin Medlock, Nick Sciscione, Emily Stone, and Joshua Tuason — in addition to thirty members of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City (directed by Francisco Núñez), Son Lux, and members of Bon Iver and yMusic, with costumes by H. Petal and lighting by Ken Tabachnick. The April 30 and May 1 shows will include a preshow musical performance in front of the Joyce as well. Ticket holders are encouraged to come early every night to experience Antoni’s unique installation. The May 2 show will be preceded by a talk led by Susan Thomasson at the neighboring Sushi Masaru restaurant and followed by a Dance Chat with members of the cast and crew.
Update: Stephen Petronio throws himself quite a New Orleans-style funeral in his latest evening-length piece, the site-specific Like Lazarus Did. The show begins outside the Joyce as musicians C. J. Camerieri, Son Lux, and Rob Moose play the slave song “Like Lazarus Did,” which features the oft-repeated refrain “I want to die / like Lazarus did.” Inside the theater, the curtain is lifted slightly above the stage, revealing a barefooted Petronio in a black suit, lying flat on his back as if dead. Meanwhile, performance artist Janine Antoni hangs over the audience, remaining stock-still in a helicopter stretcher surrounded by body parts, holding a light as if beckoning Petronio to rise up and join her in an ascent to the unknown. What follows is sixty minutes of bold and beautiful movement, with small hints at a narrative involving birth, death, and rebirth and heaven and hell, particularly when the back wall is illuminated in red with a stark, disinviting entrance and later when cords fall from above like the hands of God. Son Lux’s memorable score ranges from the traditional to the avant-garde, from pure gospel to cutting-edge experimental, with glorious contributions from the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, conducted by Francisco Núñez. The dancers are uniformly excellent, with a standout performance by Davalois Fearon, but they do so in some very silly costumes (loose-fitting smocks and skirts) by H. Petal and Tara Subkoff that actually detract from the overall impact of the show. Otherwise, Like Lazarus Did is a dazzling funeral procession that is well worth being a part of.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
900 Washington Ave. at Eastern Parkway
Saturday, April 27, and Sunday, April 28, $15-$20 (children under twelve free)
Last weekend, we were in Washington, DC, where we were delighted to see that the cherry trees were in bloom, filling the streets with their beautiful pink and white blossoms, even though it was still unseasonably cold down there. The weather should be a whole lot milder this weekend for the annual Sakura Matsuri at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, with temperatures nearing seventy for the always charming Cherry Blossom Festival. Over the course of two days, there will be workshops, live music and dance, martial arts demonstrations, flower arranging, arts & crafts, food tastings, art exhibits, comedy, book signings, origami lessons, manga drawing, games, museum tours, and more. Below are only some of the highlights of one of the most enjoyable, though usually extremely crowded, festivals of the year; most programs are held both days.
Bonsai Basics for Home Gardeners, Steinhardt Conservatory, 10:00 – 5:00
Ikebana Flower Arrangements with students of master Fumiko Allinder, Rotunda, 10:00 – 5:00
Vintage Kimonos: YokoDana Kimono, Magnolia Plaza, 11:00 – 5:00
Wagashi Japanese Sweet Shop: Minamoto Kitchoan, Magnolia Plaza, 11:00 – 5:00
Uncle Yo: Anime Stand-up Comedy, J-Lounge Stage at Osborne Garden, 12 noon
Manga Drawing and Book Signing with Misako Rocks, Osborne Garden, 12 noon – 4:45
Nihon Buyo classical dance: Dancejapan with Sachiyo Ito, Cherry Esplanade Stage, 1:00
Shogi: Japanese Chess, with New York Shogi Club, Osborne Garden, 1:00– 5:00
All-female marching band: Zakuro Chindon Band featuring vocalist Maiko, Cherry Esplanade Stage, 3:00
Traditional Tea Ceremony: Urasenke Chanoyu Center, Auditorium, 3:00
The BBG Parasol Society Games, J-Lounge Stage at Osborne Garden, 4:30 (preregistration required 2:00 – 4:00)
Hana Kanzashi Hair Ornaments, Magnolia Plaza, 11:00 – 5:00
DJ Saiko Mikan’s Tokyo Teleport Station, J-Lounge Stage at Osborne Garden, 11:00 – 5:30
Harie Paper Collage Exhibit, with artist Junko Yamada, Members’ Room Annex, 1:00 – 5:00
Meet Puzzle Craftsman Maki Kaji, Osborne Garden, 1:00 – 5:00
Kuni Mikami and East of the Sun: Jazz-inspired renditions of traditional folk songs, Cherry Esplanade Stage, 2:00
Moku Hanga Woodblock Printing Demonstration with April Vollmer, Steinhardt Conservatory, 2:00
Ukiyo-e Illustration with Jed Henry, Osborne Garden, 3:00
Samurai Sword Soul, Cherry Esplanade Stage, 3:45
Magician Rich Kameda, J-Lounge Stage at Osborne Garden, 4:00
Tribeca Family Festival Street Fair: Greenwich St. between Chambers & Hubert Sts., free, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day: North Moore St. between Greenwich & Wall Sts., free, 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
The Tribeca Film Festival celebrates the TriBeCa neighborhood with its annual downtown street fair on April 27, a full day of special activities for children and adults. There will be signature dishes from such local chefs as Morimoto of Tribeca Canvas, Jehangir Mehta of Mehtaphor, Keith Klein of Milk Truck, and Rachel Thebault of Tribeca Treats, along with specialties from Bubby’s, Kutsher’s Cavaniola’s, Grandaisy Bakery, and others; live performances by the Amazing Max, Judy Pancoast, Jody Prusan, LAVA Brooklyn, TADA!, Noel MacNeal, Rolie Polie Guacamole, and the casts of Rock of Ages, Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, Motown: The Musical, Cinderella, and Kinky Boots; plenty of arts & crafts booths; a green-screen studio backlot and other film-related activities; and a free screening of The Smurfs, with an appearance by Christina Ricci and a sneak peek at The Smurfs 2. Meanwhile, Tribeca/ESPN Sports Day will be taking place nearby, featuring a full slate of sports-related events, including live performances, demonstrations, competitions, and lessons involving basketball, hockey, badminton, fencing, flag football, cricket, jump roping, lacrosse, Ultimate Frisbee, women’s baseball, golf, soccer, sailing, and more, with street teams from the Rangers, the Mets, the Red Bulls, and others.