Arts Watch: La Mama Moves! Dance Fest Kicks Off June 7

Jennifer Monson  Courtesy La Mama

Jennifer Monson
Photo by Valerie Oliviero. Courtesy La Mama e.t.c

The month long La Mama Moves! Dance Festival 2013  kicks off this week and it looks like a great one. This year’s 8th annual festival celebrates dance artists who have performed at La MaMa through the years, and features ten premieres, including several full-length works, by an exciting international line-up of emerging and seasoned choreographers.

Arts Watch: Yvonne Meier’s “This is Not a Pink Pony 1+2″

Photo Courtesy Yvonne Meier

Photo Courtesy Yvonne Meier

I have always been mesmerized by the dances that choreographer Yvonne Meier creates.  Her dancers move like school kids on a playground during recess, with incredible high-speed, total physical commitment and no fear. It is nothing for them to bounce off of walls, floors or each-other.  They might dance in a darkened maze of cardboard boxes, or fling themselves into a pile of dirt and walnuts with ropes tied around their waists (just a few of the props she has cleverly used over the years); all in a choreographed, controlled chaos, usually set to a wildly experimental musical score.

Movement Research’s Fall Festival at Danspace Project

Photo: Levi Gonzalez and luciana achugar in “Hit Again,” based on “Hit” performed at The Kitchen, 2002 © Levi Gonzalez and luciana achugar. The pair will perform “HIT Again” on Friday, December 7 at 8pm at Danspace Project, as part of Movement Research Festival, Fall 2012: BACK TO BASIC, curated by Juliette Mapp and Jen Rosenblit.

Experimentation is alive and well this weekend at Danspace Project thanks to Movement Research, one of the world’s leading “laboratories” for dance. Its annual Movement Research Festival opens on Thursday with a group of acclaimed experimentalists showcasing their varied explorations into dance and performance.

Juliette Mapp and Jen Rosenblit, accomplished dancers, teachers and choreographers in their own rights, curate this year’s festival. The theme, “back to basic,” focuses on the notion of the “body as a vehicle that connects us emotionally, physically and historically to each other.”

Festival highlights include: “Getting Along,” in which artists are invited to discuss relevant issues in their creative lives and/or create together during the week’s events and “Historical Pairings,” which places artists who have been intimately and creatively connected together on stage, in performance or in an improvisational conversation.

Acclaimed Dancer Returns to LES for Special Performance

In the world of professional dance, Amar Ramasar is a rising star. The New York Times said his joy in dancing is infectious. Dance Magazine praised his “eloquent, expressive dancing and his engaging, ebulliant personality.”  So it’s understandable that a lot of arts enthusiasts on the Lower East Side are anxiously anticipating a special performance by Ramasar, principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, this coming Sunday at the Abrons Arts Center (part of the Henry Street Settlement).

The event. “An Afternoon to Celebrate Amar Ramasar & Friends,” is notable on its merits. But because this is a homecoming of sorts, the benefit concert for one of our neighborhood’s most venerable arts institutions, carries special meaning.  It was nearly 20 years ago at Abrons that Ramasar, a 10-year-old boy, first fell in love with dance.