A weekly, highly personal and subjective list of performances and artists we want you to know about:
Ivy Baldwin’s work is haunting and hard. She pulls no punches, but the movement and emotion in her dance can often be breathtaking, as it was in last year’s tribute in memory of close colleague and dancer Lawrence Casella, “Keen (Part 1).” In a two-week run at Abrons Arts, Baldwin will offer the world premiere of “Keen [Part 2],” co-presented with the Chocolate Factory and Joyce Theater as part of Joyce Unleashed. In the new work, she explores grief further, both through dance and a swirling white installation, created by artists that Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen, that spills from above like a thundercloud of purity – and grief. Baldwin’s dancers include the magnificent Eleanor Smith and Katie Workum (who danced with Casella) and a troupe of equally fine new collaborators. See this; it promises to be something truly special. Starts Thursday, June 1 at 8 pm.
Anna Halprin, Simone Forti, and Yvonne Rainer have been groundbreakers in contemporary dance since the 1960s, after meeting at Halprin’s 1960 dance workshop north of San Francisco. Their work pioneered the quotidian, making everyday movement, improvisation, props and non-theatrical settings elements of their reimaginings of What Is Dance. Their work and interlinked histories are being celebrated in “Radical Bodies,” an exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center that opened on May 24. An evening of their dances, “Radical Bodies,” will also be performed by the UCSB Dance Company – with Forti herself as guest artist – at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. On Wednesday May 31 at 7:30 pm.
LaMama Moves! Dance Festival has been going on since mid-May. If you haven’t gotten there yet, there is still much to see going into its final week. Curated by the omnipresent and omnivorous Nicky Paraiso, any of the offerings are worth trying out. Two that stand out this week include Maura Donohue’s installation “Tides Project: Drowning Planet,” and a split bill evening with Regina Nejman and Ephrat Asherie.
Last week, choreographer-dancer-activist Donohue opened her installation in the Downstairs Theater Lobby – it continues this week. Donohue focuses on the way we are destroying our oceans with plastic throwaways. She uses video screens in an underwater plastic garden, and kelp-like forests of single-use plastic bags. The installation also serves as the set for a dance improvisation (also called “Drowning Planet”) with performers Peggy Chen, Rina Espiritu, and Kirsten Flores-Davis. Donohue is passionate in all of her arenas – choreography, dance, teaching, writing, politics – and the combination of critical global issue and art is a mix you won’t want to miss. At LaMama from June 1-3 at 6:30 pm.
Another highlight of this diverse festival happens this week when Regina Nejman appears in a split bill with Ephrat Asherie. Brazilian-born Nejman uses word-for-word online conversations as the texts for “Beautiful Figure,” about the ideas of beauty over centuries, including the distortions and exploitation of women’s bodies. Asherie’s “Odeon” is a work-in-process using Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth’s early 20th century mix of European sound with African rhythm. Starts Friday, June 2 in the First Floor theater at 7:30 pm.
Cover: Ivy Baldwin Dance in rehearsal for “Keen [No. 2].” Photo © Mary Anne Bodnar.
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