A weekly, highly personal and subjective list of performances and artists we want you to know about:
Brian Brooks is among my favorite contemporary choreographers. His movement contains bursts of whirling, fluid energy; elastic and crisp. Yet the pieces are more than just physical; his choices of music, staging, and lights add drama, and the kinetic connections among his dancers are electric. These last few years have seen Brooks’ star rise, from his appointment as the inaugural Choreographer in Residence for the Harris Theater in Chicago to his commission to create a new work for the Miami City Ballet. His special creative partnership with Wendy Whelan also puts him on the road to tour and dance, but – thankfully – he’s coming home to New York this week to the Joyce Theater. His own company, Brian Brooks Dance, will present two works. “Prelude,” his 2017 commissioned work for Harris, is built on dancers deconstructing and undoing movement: unwinding as a creative process. Also on the bill is a revival of 2014’s “Division,” in which the dancers split and recombine space, as they slice geometric planes with the flat wooden panels they carry, while they curl and twist the lines of their bodies. Opens on Wednesday, March 14 at 7:30 pm.
Hannah Cullen danced in the young dance collective (YDC) as a child, then graduated to manage the group when the founder, her mother Kim Cullen, moved on to become executive director of New York Live Arts. In “Mark it in Pencil,” cullen + them, the younger Cullen and her troupe of adult and teenage performers, consider individuality, and how conflict is resolved by listening. The issues they address, in text and movement, are those that divide, but can also link us – including gender and sexuality, among the hottest of adolescent considerations. The idea of writing in pencil allows mistakes, erasing old ideas and finding a new way, by listening and honoring others. The troupe is working their own experience, with energy and possibility, in their mission to “live compassionate lives.” Opens on Wednesday, March 14 at 7 pm.
Cover: Matthew Albert of Brian Brooks Dance. Photo © Erin Baiano.
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