La MaMa Announces the 2021 La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival, May 13–23, 2021
La MaMa announces the lineup for the 16th edition of La MaMa Moves! Returning for its annual spring season for two weeks in May, the 2021 festival will feature works by Hadar Ahuvia and Tatyana Tenenbaum, J. Bouey, Jasmine Hearn, Tiffany Mills, Ricarrdo Valentine, and Sugar Vendil. Performances will be streamed live from La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre and Downstairs Theatre, with additional performances outdoors at Downtown Art for limited, in-person audiences. The festival will also include a digital showcase featuring the work of several international artists. La MaMa Moves! will take place Thursday through Sunday, May 13–16, and Tuesday through Sunday, May 18–23. Performance times vary. Tickets are pay-what-you-can starting at $5. Tickets on sale soon at www.lamama.org.
This season’s programming continues La MaMa’s commitment to presenting diverse performance styles and approaches that challenge conventions and audiences’ perceptions of dance. Utilizing movement, storytelling, song and sound, the works in this year’s festival address the artists’ engagement with the current social and political moment, as well as honor diasporic histories and legacies, ancestral inspirations, and inter-generational dialogue.
“Performing artists have always proven to be resilient and resourceful even during the most challenging times. Since the pandemic began last March, dance practitioners have been both taking time to reflect and going ahead in doing the creative work they are always doing,” comments La MaMa Moves! curator Nicky Paraiso. “This past year has certainly been painful and frustrating, both mentally exhausting and physically debilitating. Dance artists have, however, continued to make work, and I believe that the artists participating in this season’s La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival are making work that is essential and true to this pivotal moment in time.”
Schedule of Performances
Hadar Ahuvia and Tatyana Tenenbaum
Prayer of the Morning
Thursday, May 13 and Saturday, May 15 at 7pm
Streamed live from the Ellen Stewart Theatre
Prayer of the Morning is a collaborative performance by Hadar Ahuvia and Tatyana Tenenbaum grounded in multidisciplinary modes of their Ashkenazi Jewish lineages. Drawing strength from liberation struggles while interrogating collusion with colonial regimes, they weave and re-cast their cultural pageantries, composing new prosody for this moment.
Hadar Ahuvia and Tatyana Tenenbaum (NYC/Lenapehoking) are interdisciplinary performance makers who have been supporting each other’s work since 2014. Their individual works have taken different pathways toward examining Jewish histories—for Ahuvia deconstructing Zionist folk song and dance and grounding in Ashkenazi liturgical modes; for Tenenbaum the resonant mythology of musical theater. They are recipients of the 2021 New Jewish Culture Fellowship and have received support for their collaboration from Roulette Intermedium, Mount Tremper Arts, and the Center at West Park. They have facilitated collaborative workshops through Earthdance’s Moving Arts Lab, and Brooklyn Jews. Individually, Ahuvia, raised in Israel/Palestine and the US/Turtle Island, has had her work supported by Movement Research, Baryshnikov Arts Center, New Music USA, and the Brooklyn Arts Council, and has been presented by NYLA/DTW, the 14th Street Y, Art Stations Foundations, Danspace Project, and Gibney Dance. Tenenbaum’s work was most recently presented by Danspace Project as part of collective terrain/s, co-organized with artist Jasmine Hearn and curator Lydia Bell. Her past work has been commissioned and presented by The Chocolate Factory Theater, Temple University, Snug Harbor, and Brooklyn Studios for Dance, among others.
untitled: an exploration of grief
Friday, May 14 at 7pm and Sunday, May 16 at 5pm
Streamed from the Downstairs Theatre
J. Bouey explores grief through movement and improvisation. Calling on the grief that exists at the intersections of being Black and queer with mental illnesses, Bouey says they hope to learn the lessons that grief during multiple global pandemics (namely COVID-19 and anti-Blackness) has to offer.
J. Bouey is out here doing their best. Currently moving on pandemic timing and prioritizing rest, Bouey is finding their way back to joy. Bouey is the founder of The Dance Union Podcast, a recent 2021–2022 Jerome Fellow, and is a current Gibney Spotlight artist, Artist-In-Residence at CPR- Center for Performance Research, and 2021 Bogliasco Fellow. Bouey was also a 2018 Movement Research Van Lier Fellow and a former dancer with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. Determined to manifest the dreams dreamt in their youth, Bouey is assuming this responsibility because these dreams sustained them when the sun didn’t shine or shined too bright to see.
Virtual International Showcase
Tuesday, May 18 at 7pm
Tiffany Mills Company
Home Project (excerpts-in-process)
Thursday, May 20 and Saturday, May 22 at 7pm
Streamed live from the Ellen Stewart Theatre
Tiffany Mills Company’s Home Project weaves movement, text, and electronic music together to create an environment inspired by one word: home. Mills and her collaborators take a close look at their relationships with the places in which they live. They draw upon memories of their diverse childhood homes—some stable and constant, some mobile and unpredictable. They source material from their present homes impacted by the isolation of COVID-19 and inspired by the current fight for equality. And they search for the true essence of home as they try to accept who they are and imagine who they might collectively become. Conceived and choreographed by Tiffany Mills. The creative team includes Max Giteck Duykers (composer), Kay Cummings (dramaturge), and Chris Hudacs (lighting design). Home Project will be performed by Mills, Jordan Morley, Nikolas Owens, Emily Pope, and Mei Yamanaka. The evening-length work will premiere in 2022.
Tiffany Mills is choreographer and artistic director of the NYC-based Tiffany Mills Company, which she founded in 2000. Recent New York City seasons include The Flea Theater, La MaMa Moves!, and BAM Fisher. Other highlights include Guggenheim’s Works & Process, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and Lincoln Center Out of Doors. The company’s work has also been presented nationally at PICA’s TBA Festival (OR), Wexner Center (OH), Contemporary Dance Theater (OH), Dance Place (Washington, DC), and internationally in Russia, Italy, Mexico, and Canada. Mills holds an annual Summer Intensive in New York City (2006–present). Most recent awards and residencies include NYU’s Tisch Summer Dance Festival, NCC Akron, CUNY Dance Initiative, The Joyce Theater’s Mellon Anchor Tenant Program, and Baryshnikov Arts Center. Mills received a BA in dance from the University of Oregon and an MFA in choreography from Ohio State University.
Ricarrdo Valentine / Brother(hood) Dance!
All About Love
Friday, May 21 at 7pm and Sunday, May 23 at 5pm
Streamed live from the Downstairs Theatre
Ricarrdo Valentine’s new solo is a personal dance-theater exploration on Black love and healing.
Ricarrdo Valentine is a second-generation Black, Jamaican American/estadounidense, and co-founder, with Orlando Zane Hunter Jr., of Brother(hood) Dance!, a Brooklyn-based dance collective. Brother(hood) Dance! is a 2020 Bessie honoree for Afro/Solo/Man (Outstanding Production & Outstanding Visual Design). They have performed their works at FiveMyles, CPR-Center for Performance Research, BAAD! (Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance), VCU-The Grace Street Theater, DraftWork at St. Mark’s Church, JACK, Movement Research at Judson Church, Colby College, Denmark Arts Center, Universidad de las Américas Puebla/Performática (Mexico), Escuela Profesional de Danza de Mazatlán/Viso Festival (Mexico), Jean-René Delsoins Institute (Haiti), and other venues. Valentine is currently working on a ethno-visual project, Where My People At?, as a 2020–2021 NorthStar Art Incubator Fellow.
Jasmine Hearn / Songs from Pleasure Memory
Sugar Vendil / Test Sites
Saturday, May 22 and Sunday, May 23 at 4pm
Jasmine Hearn shares a short set of three new songs from their soon-to-be-released album, Pleasure Memory. Through movement, sound, and storytelling they wonder/wander how to offer space and time so their body can roam, still, and fly.
Sugar Vendil’s Test Sites is an ongoing series of performance pieces that are experiments in process. Each Test Site involves a short-term process and is an exercise in limits and creativity. Blending voice and movement, her new Test Site 7 will be a release of rage and a ritual for joy. Vendil will also perform Test Site 5: Seedlings for voice, movement, and electronics, and other solo music compositions. An AAPI New Yorker, Vendil says she is making the work as “an inelegant, angry, and urgent response to the current moment.”
Jasmine Hearn is from the ancestral lands of the Karankawa and Atapake people, now known as Houston, Texas. An interdisciplinary artist, director, choreographer, organizer, teaching artist, and a 2017 Bessie Award-winning performer with Skeleton Architecture, they have crafted and shared collaborative dance-theater performances rooted in identity, memory, and the facilitation of creative space for feelings and fantasy. They are currently a company member with Urban Bush Women and a 2019 Jerome Foundation Jerome Hill Fellow. Hearn has creatively collaborated with multidisciplinary artists Solange Knowles, Alisha B. Wormsley, Staycee Pearl, Holly Bass, slowdanger, BANDPortier, and Jennifer Nagle Myers, who have produced performances at the Guggenheim Museum, the Getty Center, Venice Biennale 2019, New York Live Arts, and the Houston Arts Alliance. Hearn’s commitment to dance is an expansive practice that includes performance, collaboration, sound, and garmentry.
Sugar Vendil is a composer, pianist, and interdisciplinary artist based in Lenapehoking/New York City. Her artistic practice is strongly rooted in a rigorous discipline as a musician and has gradually expanded into performance that integrates music, movement, and unconventional approaches to the piano. She is a proud second-generation Filipinx American. Vendil was recently awarded an ACF | Create commission to write a work for Boston-based duo Box Not Found (May 2020) and was awarded a 2020 Fellowship at the National Arts Club. Vendil was a 2019 Artist in Residence at High Concept Labs in Chicago and was awarded a 2019 Chamber Music America commission to write a new work for her ensemble, The Nouveau Classical Project, which she founded in 2008. She was a 2019 resident artist at Mabou Mines and an artist in residence at Target Margin Theater. Vendil has performed at a variety of venues including BAM Fisher, Dixon Place, Knockdown Center’s Ready Room, MoMA PS1, and National Sawdust, among others.
The 16th season of the La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival has been made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, with special thanks to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Ford Foundation; Howard Gilman Foundation; Mertz Gilmore Foundation; the Harkness Foundation for Dance; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Jerome Robbins Foundation; the Shubert Foundation, and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
Photo: Sugar Vendil (Brandon and Olivia Locher)
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