A weekly, highly personal and subjective list of performances and artists we want you to know about:
When’s the last time you dipped into Samuel Pepys’ remarkable diaries: a detailed, day-by-day description of a full and rapacious life in the 17th century? Choreographer and writer Annie-B Parson found inspiration in this latest of unexpected sources. Using Pepys’ Diaries and larger-than-life personality, she and her partner and frequent lead performer, Paul Lazar, created “17c” for her company Big Dance Theater. Parson and Lazar hurl themselves into their material, creating worlds of text, dance, costume and texture. They aren’t entirely seduced, though, by the engaging point-of-view in the material they source, and in “17c,” Pepys’ large life can’t entirely block out his wife Bess, or his treatment of women. I would follow her rich, lavish eye anywhere, along with the complex Big Dance sensibilities, laced with humor and smarts. And how unfortunately relevant once again. Runs through November 18 in an ideal setting: BAM’s gilt, crumbling Harvey Theater.
Every place Eiko Otake performs is transformed by her. “A Body in Places” is a series of solo performances that started with a 2014 photo exhibit, “A Body in Fukishima” of her dancing in the wasteland of the nuclear disaster of her native Japan. Since then, Eiko’s “Body in a Station” appeared at Amtrak’s Philadelphia 30th Street Station and at the Fulton Street Station that was re-constructed after 9/11. The broad series “A Body in Places” found its way across lower Manhattan as part of a month-long Danspace Platform, and on the grounds of Jacob’s Pillow, among many sites. Her body is deliberate and evocative, seemingly unaware of the passage of time as she inhabits space with gorgeous shifts of muscle. Each movement seems embedded in the soft silk of a tattered kimono or a long red scarf that wafts as if on deep breaths.
Her mesmerizing movement is partnered with hauntingly expressive eyes and face, as if she were drawing in the human condition, and offering back her own humanity. Eiko’s latest “Body in Places” is “The Met Edition,” a series of three performances at different locations of the iconic museum, including a day each at the Cloisters and the recently opened Met Breuer. This Sunday is your last chance to see her dance among the Met’s treasures, when she’ll perform the third of this series in the glass courtyard of the Robert Lehman Wing in the Metropolitan Museum itself. Don’t miss it. The final performance, on Sunday, November 19 from 10:30 am – 5:15 pm, is offered free with museum admission, and will last all day, a visual and psychological feast to enter and leave at your own pace.
Cover: Eiko Otake in “A Body in Places” at Metropolitan Museum Cloisters. Photo © Lev Radin.
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