A weekly, highly personal and subjective list of performances and artists we want you to know about:
Classical Indian dance is as varied as the subcontinent: there are a million details in distinction but a common thread of devotion to a divine inspiration. The World Music Institute’s “Dancing the Gods” festival at Symphony Space has given New York an in-depth look at the art for five seasons. This year, the festival travels south to the state of Kerala and its mohiniyattam dance, a form that celebrates the female avatars of Hinduism. On Saturday, April 22 at 8 pm, Neena Prasad, a top mohiniyattam dancer, will perform original works, including one on Amrapali, a dancer and renowned courtesan at the time of the Buddha, who became part of his inner circle of monks. On April 23 at 7 pm, Sanjukta Sinha will perform kathak, a percussive, whirling style, including “Angika, Journeys in Love,” that springs from Sufi mysticism. Come early and stay late: an hour before curtain there will be a lecture by the incomparable co-curator Rajika Puri on the two styles of dance, and after you can have tea and talk with the artists.
In collaboration with contemporary dance greats Ralph Lemon and Vicky Shick (neither of whom should ever be missed), Jimena Paz has created “Yellow” for The Chocolate Factory Theater, exploring what “foreignness” means, using Paz’s life stories from her native Argentina. The work will play two hours before sunset in Queens over two weekends. The lighting, by Joe Levasseur, is likely to also be special, since it will combine Levasseur’s creative genius with those of a higher power – when Paz says “sunset,” she means it: the show opens on Friday, April 21 at 5:41 pm and runs through April 30.
Doug Elkins’ background as a b-boy still energizes his work, alongside his inspiration from some of the greatest of literary artists. Peak Performances at Montclair State presents an evening of his work, including a new commission for him and his company, doug elkins choreography, etc, to be offered in its world premiere: “O, round desire.” The piece was inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera — that one can love many people at once for different reasons and in different ways. Also premiering will be a new film by Elkins, produced on location in Montclair, “A Hundred Indecisions,” and sparked by questions posed in T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” Finally, the evening will be rounded out by Elkins’ compelling take on Othello, “Mo(0r)town/Redux,” a great mash-up of voguing, street dance, and ballet, born out of Elkins’ admiration for Jose Limon’s “The Moor’s Pavane.” It’s hard to leave a program of Elkins’ without your heart pounding. Opens Thursday, April 20 at 7:30 pm through April 23.
Cover: Kyle Marshall in “Mo(0r)town/Redux.” Photo © Julieta Cervantes.
Got something to say about this? Sound off here