DANCE NEWS: La MaMa Releases Lineup for 17th Edition of La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival
La MaMa announces the lineup for the 17th edition of the La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival. Curated by Nicky Paraiso, the three-week festival will feature new works by nine dance artists/companies with bold and diverse approaches to performance. The 2022 festival will take place Thursdays through Sundays, April 14–May 1, at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre and The Downstairs Theatre, 66 East 4th Street (between Bowery and Second Avenue). Performance times vary. The performances will be streamed following the live presentations.
“This season’s choreographers are working with a myriad of issues: reexamining the meaning of home, researching postmodern dance as a racial construct, and recognizing the essential need for trust in our everyday lives. These concerns have arisen in a time of crisis, uncertainty, and also reflection, questioning the ways we respond with our bodies, our minds, our hearts. The artists in this season’s La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival have taken on these issues in creative, thoughtful, deeply felt ways,” said Nicky Paraiso.
The festival opens with Tiffany Mills Company’s Homing, a dance-theater work inspired by the wealth of experiences that shape and bind us in our homes. Bay Area-based choreographer Gerald Casel will present his company’s newest work, Not About Race Dance, a performance response to the racial dynamics of postmodern dance. From Colombia, Compañía Cuerpo de Indias will present its acclaimed work Flowers for Kazuo Ohno (and Leonard Cohen). Valetango Company will present Confianza (Trust), a work that highlights the choreographic potential of radical interdependency through tango’s legacy of improvisation. And John Scott returns to La MaMa with his latest work, Cloud Study, which uses the idea of clouds as a traveling dreamy mass and carrier of storms to explore the dynamic between two dancers.
There will also be two shared evenings. The first features Johnnie Cruise Mercer and Jesse Zaritt. Mercer’s to land somewhere unfelt is about being free, moving through time, and what Mercer describes as a marathon of forever becoming. Zaritt’s No End of Detail (III) is organized as a series of bodybuilding and body-dissolving rituals that attempt to both make and unmake a self. The second shared program features Pele Bauch and Marina Celander. In A.K.A. Ka Inoa, Bauch explores the gray areas in ethnic identity through visual metaphor. Celander’s Stone She: Space Edition explores our inside/outside worlds and humanity’s disconnect from nature.
As part of the festival, La MaMa and Movement Research will co-present Secret Journey: Stop Calling Them Dangerous #3, a panel symposium and long-table discussion examining stories about oppression, marginalization, prejudice, and profiling. With Yoshiko Chuma and other artists TBA.
Tickets for La MaMa Moves! are $25 in advance/$30 day of show. Students/Seniors: $20 in advance/$25 day of show. Two and three-show packages are available. Tickets are available at www.lamama.org. For La MaMa’s health and safety protocols, visit: www.lamama.org.
Schedule of Performances
Tiffany Mills Company
Homing (World Premiere)
Part of Tiffany Mills Company’s 20th Anniversary Season Celebration
Thursday–Saturday, April 14–16, at 7pm
Ellen Stewart Theatre
Tiffany Mills Company’s Homing is an evening-length dance-theater work inspired by one word: home. Mills and her collaborators take a close look at their relationships to the places in which they live. They draw upon memories of their diverse childhood homes—some stable and constant, some mobile and unpredictable. And they source material from their present homes, impacted by the isolation of COVID and inspired by the current fight for equity and equality. The movement the company explores is vibrant and individualized as its members attempt to expand past their own physical and psychological walls. With references to The Wizard of Oz, TV sitcoms and commercials, the performers navigate the fantasy of media, juxtaposed against their own family histories, as they search for the true essence of home. Conceived and choreographed by Tiffany Mills. Performed by Mills, Jordan Morley, Nikolas Owens, Emily Pope, and Mei Yamanaka. With music by Max Giteck Duykers, dramaturgy by Kay Cummings, video by Theo Cote, costumes by Naoko Nagata, and lighting by Chris Hudacs.
Johnnie Cruise Mercer | Process memoir 7 (Vol. 5): to land somewhere unfelt
Jesse Zaritt | No End of Detail (III)
Friday and Saturday, April 15–16, at 8:30pm; Sunday, April 17, at 4pm
The Downstairs Theatre
Johnnie Cruise Mercer’s to land somewhere unfelt is a three-night journey built as a coming-out ceremony, a reconciliation between Mercer’s personal embodied history and developing philosophical voice. About this work, Mercer has said: “I am interested in moving through time, allowing myself to get lost, and then publicly landing on a statement about free being-hood. To land somewhere unrecognizable, that’s my goal—to land somewhere unfelt, make a statement and decide to move on from it, a marathon of forever becoming.” to land somewhere unfelt marks the fifth formally presented volume within Process memoir 7: Volumes on Black Philosophy, Othered Possibility, and Freedom (through Rest, Unrestricted Thought thus Imagination).
Jesse Zaritt’s No End of Detail (III) is organized as a series of bodybuilding and body-dissolving rituals that attempt to both make and unmake a self. Zaritt is driven by the mutability of tissue—muscle, bone, blood, organs, and nerves—encased within sonic and textual artifacts of an Ashkenazi American Jewish life. The work is an exercise in how dancing and drawing materialize the radical instabilities of figuration. Choreography, performance, costume, text, and sound design by Zaritt.
Gerald Casel Dance
Not About Race Dance (New York Premiere)
Friday and Saturday, April 22–23, at 7pm; Sunday, April 24, at 2pm
Ellen Stewart Theatre
Dance artist and equity activator Gerald Casel will present Not About Race Dance, a collaborative, choreographic response to the racial politics of US postmodern dance. Despite postmodernism’s popularity, its racial dynamics have gone largely unacknowledged. In Not About Race Dance, Casel and his collaborators occupy a space that has been historically defined by white artists to present a contrasting vision of where Black and Brown bodies belong. When the work premiered this past December, the Fjord Review said that the dancers were “intensely present and riveting…reclaiming the literal and sociological ‘white space’ of postmodern dancing in episodes that are vulnerable, cathartic, clever, and delivered with compelling rigor.” Concept and direction by Gerald Casel. Performed by Casel, Styles Alexander, Audrey Johnson, Karla Quintero, and Cauveri Suresh. Live sound design by Tim Russell, lighting and media design by Aron Altmark, dramaturgy by Rebecca Chaleff.
Not About Race Dance was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Pele Bauch | A.K.A. Ka Inoa (World Premiere)
Marina Celander | Stone She: Space Edition (World Premiere)
Friday and Saturday, April 22–23 at 8:30pm; Sunday, April 24, at 4pm
The Downstairs Theatre
Pele Bauch’s A.K.A. Ka Inoa (also known as the name) weaves supple movement, vivid characters, and personal story together with rope and name tags. It explores the messy gray areas in ethnic identity through visual metaphor. Taking place on a floor carpeted by a sea of discarded name tags, Bauch sifts through these papers. What does it mean to wear a label, to wear a name? This interdisciplinary solo mines Bauch’s experience as a multiracial New Yorker and Native Hawaiian who carries the weight of being named after one of Hawaii’s most significant and beloved deities, Pele, the goddess of volcanoes. Naming someone after her is generally not done. And on top of that, Bauch doesn’t pronounce her name correctly. A.K.A. Ka Inoa uses this name conundrum to unpack our expectations around racial identity and push them against the realities of personal identity. It asks: What does it mean to “represent” one’s race?
Marina Celander’s Stone She: Space Edition explores our inside/outside worlds and humanity’s disconnect to nature. Stone She finds an ancient millstone in a forest while meeting with some fellow nature creatures, causing current undesirable human events to be catapulted, together with the millstone, into outer space. The millstone returns back to earth with a precious gift for Stone She and her friends. Created in collaboration with composer and video editor/projection designer Fredrik Soderberg. Performed by Celander, Asma Feyjinmi, Michaela Lind, and Katja Otero. Millstone design by Emma Oppenheimer, lighting by Federico Restrepo.
Secret Journey: Stop Calling Them Dangerous #3
Saturday, April 23, 1–5pm
La MaMa Moves! in partnership with Movement Research
Special Off-Site Event at Movement Research
This panel symposium includes a long-table discussion and conversation between Yoshiko Chuma and assembled artist/panelists. It will examine stories about oppression, marginalization, prejudice, and profiling. The panel will explore these issues and translate them into something that can be communicated to diverse artists and members of the dance community. It is also a place where emerging artists can learn from established artists, and share work and ideas.
Compañía Cuerpo de Indias; photo copyright of the company
Compañía Cuerpo de Indias
(Professional Company of El Colegio del Cuerpo/The School of the Body)
Flowers for Kazuo Ohno (and Leonard Cohen) (US Premiere)
Thursday and Friday, April 28–29, at 7pm
Ellen Stewart Theatre
Compañía Cuerpo de Indias will present Flowers for Kazuo Ohno (and Leonard Cohen), a contemporary dance piece conceived and directed by Álvaro Restrepo. Choreographed by Marie-France Delieuvin, Ricardo Bustamante, and Álvaro Restrepo with music by Leonard Cohen, it is “six hands” homage for one of the creators of Butoh dance: Kazuo Ohno. Without using Butoh language, the piece is an offering made by its creators through their choreographic and poetic universe. A way of returning the flowers that Kazuo Ohno and his son Yoshito sent Compañía Cuerpo de Indias in Tokyo during a performance for some members of the Japanese imperial family and special guests at the celebration of 100 years of diplomatic relations between Colombia and Japan. Stage design, props, and wardrobe by El Colegio del Cuerpo. Lighting design by Alexander Gümbel.
Confianza (Trust) (World Premiere)
Saturday, April 30, at 7pm, Sunday, May 1, at 2pm
Ellen Stewart Theatre
In Confianza four performers investigate how to listen deeply and open a door to transformation. They ask when trust is a burden and when it is a gift, when well grounded and when elusive, if it’s possible to love powerfully without compromising one’s own center. Confianza, which means trustin Spanish, highlights tango’s main legacy: the radical lead-flow interdependency, and expands it beyond embrace. In tango, even the smallest shift of weight is a step. There are no set counts and no set patterns. There is only a communication of weight, direction, intensity, and timing. The company translates tango improvisation to a broad dance vocabulary imbued with theatrical intent. Confianza delves into the fragile balance of trust and distrust negotiated in ambivalent relationships and explores the impact of trust as a source of meaning and growth. Conceived and created by Valeria Solomonoff, and collaboratively choreographed by performers Rodney Hamilton, Orlando Reyes Ibarra, Alondra Meek, and Solomonoff. Dramatic direction, stage design, and text by Orlando Pabotoy. Lighting design by Charlotte Seeling, costume design by Gail Baldoni.
John Scott Dance
Cloud Study (US Premiere)
Thursday–Saturday, April 29–30, at 8:30pm; Sunday, May 1 at 4pm
The Downstairs Theatre
John Scott returns to La MaMa with his newest work Cloud Study. Called “powerful and mesmerizing” (The Arts Review), the work uses the idea of clouds as a traveling, dreamy mass that floats above everything, witnessing, dissolving, and carrying storms. Two compelling dancers, Mufutau Yusuf (who performed in Scott’s Fall and Recover at La MaMa), an Irish dancer born in Nigeria, and Magdalena Hylak, an Ireland-based Polish dancer, are running to somewhere or from something, speaking English, Polish, and Yorùbá, communicating with their bodies, hand signs, and dance. Music by Ryan Vial, costumes by Justine Doswell, lighting design by Eric Würtz.
Cloud Study was commissioned by Galway International Arts Festival. John Scott Dance is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland.