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La MaMa Presents NICKY PARAISO'S "now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories"

La MaMa Presents NICKY PARAISO'S "now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories"


La MaMa


La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre, 66 E 4th Street
New York, NY


Friday, March 22, 2019 - 8:00pm weekly through April 7, 2019
Sunday, March 24, 2019 - 3:00pm weekly through April 7, 2019



La MaMa

La MaMa Presents
now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories
Conceived and Written by Nicky Paraiso

Directed by John Jesurun

Performed in collaboration with Irene Hultman, Jon Kinzel, Vicky Shick and Paz Tanjuaquio 

March 22 – April 7; Thursday–Saturday at 7pm, Sundays at 3pm 

La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E 4th Street)
Tickets: $30 ($25 students/seniors) plus $1 facility fee
lamama.org; 212.352.3101

La MaMa is proud to present the world premiere of now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories, the newest work from Nicky Paraiso, an award-winning 40-year veteran of the New York City performance community. In a deep exploration of an artist’s life, Paraiso investigates aging, identity, sexuality, class and race. Directed by MacArthur Fellow John Jesurun, now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories is also a multi-disciplinary celebration of an artistic community as it grows older and continues to make work, both individually and with each other. Paraiso is joined by choreographer/dancers Irene Hultman, Jon Kinzel, Vicky Shick, and Paz Tanjuaquio in performance and as collaborators. now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories is scheduled to run at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre (66 E 4th St) from March 22 through April 7.

For 40 years, Paraiso has been a fixture in New York City as an actor, musician, writer, performance artist and curator. His career includes formative years with Jeff Weiss, Meredith Monk, and Yoshiko Chuma; celebrated performances with Anne Bogart, Jessica Hagedorn, Dan Hurlin, Robbie McCauley, and Ralph Peña, to name a few; and a trilogy of autobiographical solos (Asian Boys, 1994, Houses and Jewels, 1994, House/Boy, 2004) that explore his Filipino-American identity, sexuality, and the enduing theme of “home” within immigrant communities. Paraiso is also the Programming Director for the Club at La MaMa and Chief Curator for the La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival.

As an artist, now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories marks Paraiso’s most ambitious work to date and the first time he is leading a company of fellow artists and collaborators. While rooted in Paraiso’s own journey from Queens to the world stages, the intimate, visceral work creates parallels across race and gender while bridging the generational gap that exists between dance and theater communities in New York. 

“I’ve been blessed to work in the companies of vanguard artists who have been mentors and then later colleagues,” says Paraiso. “It has been my dream to collaborate with choreographer/dancers who are at the peak of their creative powers and performance capabilities as I have always been mesmerized by the virtuosity, rigor, and generosity of performers.”  

The creative team for now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories includes Gabriel Berry (costume design), Joe Levasseur (lighting design), Irene Hultman and George Emilio Sanchez (dramaturgy), and Caleb Hammond(production management).

Eleven performances of now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories will take place March 22 – April 7 at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre, located at 66 E 4th Street. General admission tickets, which are priced at $30 ($25 students/seniors) plus $1 facility fee, are available at lamama.org and by calling OvationTix at 212.352.3101. The first ten tickets to every performance are available for $10 each by using the code “10AT10”.

About the artists

Nicky Paraiso is an actor, musician, writer, performance artist and curator. He has been Director of Programming for The Club at La MaMa since 2001 and is responsible for its surge of theater, performance, dance and cabaret programming. He is also Chief Curator for the annual La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival, celebrating its 14th season in May 2019. Paraiso is a graduate of Oberlin College / Conservatory and holds an M.F.A. from New York University's Graduate Acting Program. He has been a prolific actor at La MaMa, and in New York downtown theater and performance, since 1979. He has worked as an actor and musical director with playwright/actor/director Jeff Weiss and his partner Carlos Ricardo Martinez since 1979. He has also been a member of Meredith Monk/The House and Vocal Ensemble (1981-1990), touring extensively throughout the US, Europe, and Japan, and he has performed with, and been a member of, Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks since 1988. Paraiso has also enjoyed working as a performer with artists/creators as diverse as Anne Bogart, Laurie Carlos, Richard Elovich, Dan Froot, Jessica Hagedorn, Fred Holland, Dan Hurlin, John Jesurun, Jeffrey M. Jones, Robbie McCauley, Susan Mosakowski, Ralph Peña, Mary Shultz, Theodora Skipitares, and many others. Paraiso is also a critically-acclaimed solo performance artist, whose one-man shows Asian Boys, Houses and Jewels, and House/Boy have been presented at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, Dixon Place, Performance Space 122, Dance Theater Workshop, and on tour in the US, Europe and Asia. House/Boy was presented at the Dublin Theatre Festival in October 2007, and subsequently at the Initiation International Festival 2007 in Singapore. Paraiso's awards include a 1987 New York Dance & Performance "Bessie" Award, a 2004 Spencer Cherashore Fund grant for mid-career actors, and a 2005 New York Innovative Theater Award for his performance in Theodora Skipitares' Iphigenia. Paraiso has served on various theater, dance and music panels, including the Village Voice OBIE Judges Panel in season 2013-2014, as well as being a long-standing member of the New York Dance and Performance Awards “Bessies” Selection Committee since 2006. Paraiso is a recipient of the 2012 BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange) Arts & Artists in Progress Arts Management Award as well as a 2018-2019 recipient of the TCG Fox Fellowship as an Actor of Distinguished Achievement. His writing appears in the anthology Love, Christopher Street: Reflections of New York City (Vantage Point, 2012), edited by Thomas Keith.


John Jesurun is a writer/director/media artist living in New York. His presentations integrate elements of language, film, architectural space and media. 1976-79, Television Content Analyst for CBS Television.1979-82, Assistant to producer, Dick Cavett Show, producing shows on John and Mackenzie Phillips, Alberta Hunter, John Hammond Sr., Odetta and Tito Puente. In 1982 he began his theatrical career in New York with his groundbreaking serial play Chang in a Void Moon, now in its 61st episode. (Bessie Award). Since 1984 he has written, directed and designed over 30 plays including: the media trilogy of Deep Sleep (1986 Obie Award, White Water and Black Maria, Red House, Shatterhand Massacree, Faust/How I Rose, Everything That Rises Must Converge, Slight Return and Snow. He is the recipient of numerous awards including fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, NEA, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Asian Cultural Council, US-Japan Friendship Commission. He is a 1996 MacArthur Foundation Fellow. His company has toured extensively in Europe and the United States. Recent projects include: Liz One at the Chocolate Factory, Firefall at DTW, Stopped Bridge of Dreams at La Mama. Other projects include: Harry Partch’s opera “Delusion of the Fury” at the Japan Society, Jeff Buckley’s “Last Goodbye” music video, Philoktetes at Soho Rep, Roy Nathanson’s Jazz Suite“Fire at Keaton’s Bar and Grill” w/Debby Harry and Elvis Costello at St. Ann’s, Brooklyn and Royal Festival Hall, London. Upcoming projects include a collaboration choreographer Juliette Mapp. Upcoming projects include a collaboration with choreographer Juliette Map and new episodes of Chang in a Void Moon. His project Fuel on the Fire with actor Antonio Cerezo will premiere in Mexico City in Fall 2019. Jesurun's continuing web serial Shadowland can be seen on Vimeo. Visit https://sites.google.com/site/johnjesurun/ for more information.

Jon Kinzel has presented his work, including numerous commissions and solo shows, in a variety of national and international venues: receiving critical praise for Responsible Ballet (2009) at the La MaMa Moves! Festival; Responsible Ballet and What We Need Is a Bench to Put Books On (2010), a multigenerational ensemble piece at The Kitchen, completed with a Movement Research Artist In Residence grant (2009-2011) and a Martha Duffy Memorial Fellowship at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (2009-10); Someone Once Called Me A Sound Man (2013) at The Chocolate Factory (Best of 2013 in Artforum); hurry (2013) at Danspace Project; The Generalist (2013) at the Dublin Dance Festival; Provision Provision (2015) at La MaMa; COWHAND CON MAN (2015) at Gibney Dance/Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center; Atlantic Terminus (2016), an installation at The Invisible Dog; and At Night (2017) at Beach Sessions. He has contributed to publications such as SCHIZM Magazine and the Movement Research Performance Journal, received support from the Harkness, Puffin, and Mertz Gilmore foundations, and residencies at Gibney Dance Center, The Yard, NYLA/New York Live Arts, and EMPAC/Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. Most recently he has collaborated and performed with Vicky Shick, Jodi Melnick, Jennifer Miller, and Cathy Weis, created sound design for Elena Demyanenko, and completed several projects with visual artists Nina Katan and Jarrod Beck. His work directing and mentoring Northern Thai dance master Ronnarong Khampha, and world-renowned Irish step dancer Jean Butler, took a progressive look at representing gender and cultural traditions anew. He has accepted invitations to curate – currently for the series Sunday’s on Broadway – and serve as a movement dramaturge for John Kelly and Patricia Hoffbauer. He has taught at Barnard College, NYU, Yale, GWU, LIU, The New School, the Merce Cunningham Trust, and Lincoln Center Education, and is on the faculty at Movement Research. 


Iréne Hultman is a native of Sweden and a NY-based choreographer, educator and dancer. Between 1983-1988 she was a member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company and returned as rehearsal Director 2006-2009. She was Artistic Director of Iréne Hultman Dance, touring nationally and internationally from 1988-2001. She has choreographed seven opera productions, participated in artistic collaborations and received commissions. She is currently involved in the global discourse of dance and performance. Hultman is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography and a Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts Award among others. Hultman is a member of The Bessie Committee and Artist Advisory Board at Danspace Project and serves as faculty at Yale University.


Vicky Shick has been involved with the New York dance community for over three decades. During her six years with the Trisha Brown Company she received a New York Dance and Performance Award, a “Bessie,” for performance. She has been making dances since the mid-eighties, and received a second Bessie for collaborations with artist, Barbara Kilpatrick, and sound designer, Elise Kermani. Shick has taught and restaged Trisha Brown’s work in festivals and at universities in the United States and Europe, including her hometown, Budapest. Colleges where she has created dances on students include: Arizona State University, Barnard College, George Washington University, and Bryn Mawr College.  For the last few years she has worked closely with Meg Harper, Jon Kinzel, Juliette Mapp, Jodi Melnick, Jimena Paz, Sara Rudner, Marilyn Maywald Yahel and Cathy Weis. In the New York City area, Shick has taught at Princeton University, The New School, Fordham University and, regularly, for the Trisha Brown Company, Hunter College and at Movement Research. She is a 2006 grant recipient from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and a 2008-2009 Guggenheim Foundation Fellow.  This year she is a Gibney DiP grant recipient.


Paz Tanjuaquio is a choreographer, dancer, curator and visual artist, based in NYC since 1990. Her own work has been presented by Harkness Dance Festival at 92Y, Fisher Landau Center for Art, La MaMa Moves, Danspace Project, among others; nationally, San Diego Trolley Dances, ADF Int’l Screen Dance; internationally, at Le Commun, Bâtiment d'Art Contemporain in Geneva, Switzerland and at residencies in Cambodia, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines, her birthplace. As a dancer, she has performed with Molissa Fenley, Dean Moss, George Emilio Sanchez, Carl Hancock Rux, among others; and has collaborated with visual artists Todd Richmond and Manuel Ocampo. She received her MFA in Dance at NYU Tisch School of the Arts; BA in Visual Arts at UC San Diego. Paz currently teaches Dance at SUNY/Nassau Community College and has taught at NYU Tisch/Experimental Theater Wing and as guest artist at numerous schools. In 2000, she co-founded TOPAZ ARTS, Inc. with Todd B. Richmond – a creative development space for contemporary performance & visual arts. www.topazarts.org


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