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IMPRESSIONS: YACKEZ's "Give It To You Stage" at New York Live Arts

IMPRESSIONS: YACKEZ's "Give It To You Stage" at New York Live Arts
Deirdre Towers/Follow @spiffmoves on Twitter

By Deirdre Towers/Follow @spiffmoves on Twitter
View Profile | More From This Author

Published on April 11, 2017
Photo: Paul B. Goode

Date: March 31, 2017

Choreographer: Larissa Velez-Jackson  

Composer: Jon Velez-Jackson

Performers: Tyler Ashley, Laurie Berg, Lillie DeArmon, Sarah Holcman, Antonio Ramos, Jon Velez-Jackson, Larissa Velez-Jackson, Ashley R.T. Yergens, with participating seniors:

Dottie Brier, Socorro DeJesus, Sharon Flanagan, Pearl Frisch, Carmen Ithier, Gaetana M. Manuele, Stella Rodriquez-Morales, Marilyn Rosenberg, Dorothea Snyder, Bonnie Yarry, Madge Rosenberg


 
Seniors just want to have fun. Down with bingo and up with zany costume dances - particularly if your gyrations, tango, and conga kicks are greeted with standing ovations, as they were at NYLA. Yackez (Larissa and Jon Velez-Jackson) can’t hide their underlying sweetness, no matter how hard they try to mask it. Despite the clownish eye make-up and an obsession with her microphone, fitness teacher Larissa Velez-Jackson exudes a cheerleader’s pep, irresistible to eleven of her senior students who joined her Queer pro-wrestling dance ensemble for this run at NYLA.
 
Larissa Velez-Jackson crouches and sings into a mic. Two people with wrestling masks stand behind her.
Photo: Paul B. Goode
 
After a bumpy start, Give It To You Stage reached its climax with wrestling schtick, somersaults and fly/attack/fall moves in a simulated ring. Three video screens framed the scene dominated by the sparkly spandexed singer Larissa while her husband Jon hovered on the periphery. The seventies video art with quick shifts of color, tunnel perspective, and layering supported the cartoon atmosphere. Towards the close of the show, the ensemble sang "Yackez Dot Com," a grinch-worthy swipe at ubiquitous self-promotion. 
 
Velez-Jackson was one of five artists chosen to participate in NYLA’s Live Feed creative residency program. The Live Feed program is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional residency for the development of Give It To You Stage is provided by the Watershed Lab residency at Mount Tremper Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Process Space residency, Gibney Dance Center DIP residency, CUNY Queens College Drama Theater and Dance department in partnership with New York Live Arts and funds from Larissa Velez-Jackson’s Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists award (2016).

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