Dancing Up Close to Stephen Petronio Company

Dancing Up Close to Stephen Petronio Company
Christine Jowers/Follow @cmmjowers on Instagram

By Christine Jowers/Follow @cmmjowers on Instagram
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Published on April 25, 2013

Of Rising Spirits, Art and Engineers
A Day with Stephen Petronio Company featuring Gino Grenek
April 25, 2013

Christine Jowers writer and videographer for The Dance Enthusiast
for more video UP CLOSE click here

In Like Lazarus Did Stephen Petronio and his magnificent collaborators (Son Lux on score; Janine Antoni, performance artist and creator of a “living” set; Ken Tabachnick, handling lighting design; H. Petal working costumes with, of course, the brilliant dancers in the company) promise to take us on a journey like no other- an avant-garde spiritual trip- a modern moving contemplation on ancient yet recurring ideas of transcendence, elevation, and regeneration.
In rehearsal, not privy to the full glory of the production, I can already feel the irresistible pull of the Son Lux’s music - text from American slave songs married to electronic beats and mysticism.It feels timeless and necessary. In performance an ensemble comprised of Bon Iver and yMusic and 30 members of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City will realize the score.

Just Say Yes: Gino Grenek Rehearsal Director of Stephen Petronio Company


Stephen Petronio and his magnificent collaborators promise to take us on a journey like no other- an avant-garde spiritual trip...
And the dancing! Energy shifts furiously from one artist to another, from one group of dancers to another, creating a swirling and absorbing cosmos.Nothing is dramatic and overwrought, yet the motion elicits a deep emotional response.


I can’t wait to experience the full-fledged premiere and, apparently, neither can Petronio, who mentions this as I leave his studio at the end of the day. During rehearsal he plays with timings and qualities and wonders out loud how it will all shape up. I suppose all choreographers, at least at the beginning, can only suspect what they are on to and must anticipate the artistic birth as much as we do.

Though a version of Like Lazarus Did was performed at the Ukrainian National Ballroom in June 2012, this Joyce run on April 30th –May 5th will be LLD’s first proscenium stage iteration.There are elements to the production not usual for your typical stage dance performance. Antoni, acting as a sculpture, will hang suspended over the audience in contemplation and musicians, including composer Son Lux, will form a ceremonial procession, moving from 9th avenue and 19th street ,through the Joyce lobby and into the theater each evening to begin the show. Possibly, by spilling work off the stage and into the world, the choreographer wants to remind us of the sacred bond dance, music and art have to one another and to each of us. The plan is that LLD will be an ongoing production, continually “resurrecting” and reshaping itself for new spaces and audiences.

The Power of Movement

How does a choreographer keep a grip on all the moving parts of large production? Stephen Petronio relies on Gino Grenek- a dancer that has worked with him for 13 years-
Perhaps great rehearsal directors are similar to great engineers – using their tools to build solid structures from which poetry can emanate.
to mind the store as far as the dancers are concerned.Grenek, a soft spoken engineering grad from Dartmouth who minored in studio art then went on to receive an MFA in dance from New York University just before dancing Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake on Broadway (phew) is Petronio’s rehearsal director.
In the studio Grenek guides the physical work of the dancers with sensitivity and precision. Petronio’s highly technical, challenging movement flows through him naturally and he is adept at transferring his ease to his fellow dancers enabling them to make difficult steps revelatory of something beyond their mechanics.
Grenek mentions that when he isn’t dancing he loves to build things. It’s his engineering background he points out. He has a closet full of treasured power tools.

Perhaps great rehearsal directors are similar to great engineers – using their tools to build solid structures from which poetry can emanate.

For Tickets and More Information on Stephen Petronio Company and Like Lazarus Did

Stephen Petronio Company

The Joyce Tickets for Like Lazarus Did


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