Performances You Should See: American Realness

I’m spending the next month and a half locked in the library, studying for an upcoming exam, and won’t be getting to see nearly as much dance  as I would like. However, there are an overwhelming amount of opportunities to see interesting dance in the city right now, thanks to the presenters’ festival APAP and other concurrent festivals, so I’m going to offer some brief suggestions on what YOU might want to see.

Among them, the American Realness Festival (which started yesterday and runs through Jan. 20) offers a chance to see a number of fantastic contemporary dance and performances which you may have missed the first time around. As an added bonus, the majority of the performances are held at the charmingly historical Abrons Art Center (what can I say, I’m a sucker for shutters!)

Turbulence (a dance about the economy)Photo Credit: Ian Douglas

Turbulence (a dance about the economy)
Photo Credit: Ian Douglas

Below are some of the offerings that I had a chance too see last year, and would highly recommend checking out in the coming days (full schedule here). Click on the performance titles for what I thought about the pieces the first time around:

Keith Hennessy, Turbulence (a dance about the economy) (dates/info here)

Turbulence (a dance about the economy) blew my mind when I saw it in October. Drawing inspiration from Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, Judith Jack Halberstam’s The Queer Art of Failure, and a myriad of other unlikely dance sources, Turbulence reinserts bodies into our discourse about the economy, while simultaneously investigating its own economies. It was a wild ride, but an inviting one. I’m sure your experience of Turbulence will be entirely different from the one I had, and that’s exactly why you should go.

Faye Driscoll, You’re Me (dates/info here)

Another must-see. One of my favorite performances of 2012, and one I wish I could see again. Driscoll seems to hit on something manifestly contemporary with this messy blend of awkwardness and exuberance.

Maria Hassabi’s SHOW (dates/info here)

I saw this as part of the River to River Festival downtown this summer. The performance then “was truly part of the life of the street,” and I’d be interested to see how this translates into an indoor space.

Trajal Harrell, Judson Church is Ringing in Harlem (Made-to-Measure)/Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church (M2M) (dates/info here)

This is the final offering in choreographer Harrell’s Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church project, which asks the question “What would have happened in 1963 if someone from the voguing ball scene in Harlem had come downtown to perform alongside the early postmoderns at Judson Church?” While the first half of the piece is tedious (and intentionally so), the sometimes ecstatic second half leaves us with a number of unanswered questions and possibilities, as Harrell masterfully imagines new ways of thinking about and following up on these two lineages.

Also on offer is another work in the series, in the (L) “size,” in which Harrell presents an “all-male version of Sophocles’s Greek tragic drama Antigone.

So, go! See some dance! I’m jealous already!

Imaginary Encounters: Trajal Harrell at Danspace

Over at Warscapes, I reviewed the latest installment in Trajal Harrell’s Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church series. The series, which comes in various “sizes,” this one being M2M (made-to-measure), asks the question “What would have happened in 1963 if someone from the voguing ball scene in Harlem had come downtown to perform alongside the early postmoderns at Judson Church?”

(l to r) Ondrej Vilar, Trajal Harrell, and Thibault Lac in Harrell’s Judson Church is Ringing in Harlem (Made-to-Measure)/Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church (M2M)
Photo Credit: Miana Jun

“By evoking and re-contextualizing the historically-laden traditions of voguing and postmodern dance, and blurring the lines of traditions often thought of as racially-specific, Harrell imagines new possibilities in which these lineages intertwine.” Read the full review.