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"Transcending Form" with John Byrne and Cast

"Transcending Form" with John Byrne and Cast
Christine Jowers/Follow @cmmjowers on Instagram

By Christine Jowers/Follow @cmmjowers on Instagram
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Published on June 2, 2011

Choreographer John Byrne Prepares His Multi-layered Evening Length Work For Premiere

John Byrne Transcends Form 

©Christine Jowers 2011 for The Dance Enthusiast

John Byrne frequently collaborates with the surrealist, pop photographic artist David LaChapelle. Most of his choreographic work ,up to this point, has been commercial. Today, Byrne's first non-commercial, full out artistic endeavor, Transcending Form, opens at Theatre 80 at St. Marks Place. He calls it an original dance fable exploring ideas of life, afterlife and the transcending soul. I was invited to watch the piece in rehearsal sans costumes (or lack of...there is some nudity in the show)  and the photographic installation, "Ascending Souls" by LaChapelle. Still, so much was there. I was struck by the strong performances of the eclectic cast that worked beautifully together, as well as by the supple vocals of Gina Figueroa which infused the space with soul. I can't wait to see the work in its entirety.

The Cast with Choreographer John Byrne ( lying down with cap)
Photo by David LaChapelle


Another wonderful aspect of the production is the fact that one hundred percent of the proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Education In Dance and the Related Arts – a not-for-profit organization that brings an integrated movement, music, visual arts, and nutrition enrichment program to preschool through high school students in over sixty New York City area outreach schools yearly. In addition to choreographic projects, Byrne teaches for this group and feels  strongly about its mission. He explained that LaChapelle, who is producing Transcending Form in collaboration with Fred Torres, has always been an arts advocate with a special appreciation for dance and its power especially since his direction of the 2005 film Rize documenting the clowning, krumping dance gangs in South Central LA -kids who turned to dance instead of violence.

Transcending Form premieres at Theatre 80, June 2–August 24, 2011
Performances run Thursday through Saturday, June 2–4, at 8pm; and Wednesdays, June 15 through August 24, at 8pm. Preview performance on June 2; opens June 3.

Performances will take place at Theatre 80, 80 St. Mark’s Place (between First and Second Avenues), in New York City. Tickets can be purchased for 5 online at and are also available at the box office for a 5 suggested donation.




John Byrne ,at work, discusses how Transcending Form came into existence, David LaChapelle's photo installation, his dance history, and the respect he has for his cast


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