K.J. Holmes, Lance Gries, Jonathan Kinzel, Jimena Paz, Jodi Melnick.
Pivotal marks in life are always worth noting. Former Trisha Brown dancer and Bessie-nominated choreographer Lance Gries has found an exceptional way to celebrate his 50th birthday. He invited fifty New York and European colleagues from his 25 year career to “meet him in a studio” and dance with him—for fifty minutes of course. Luckily, he recorded these encounters — and worked in collaboration with Mike Taylor on the design and editing of the video. The results? The FIFTY Project – a series of beautifully intimate dances on film; duets between Lance and some of the world’s most interesting and creative dance makers.
Robert La Fosse.
Henry Street Settlement opened its doors this past weekend for a festive open house and introduction to their new Director of Education, esteemed dancer and choreographer Robert La Fosse. La Fosse was a long time Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, as well as the New York City Ballet. In addition to his work in classical ballet, La Fosse starred in Broadway productions of Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor.
He will helm a program that offers more than 100 classes a year and has an annual enrollment of more than 500 students. He also is charged with the direction of the Abrons Dance Ensemble and Urban Youth Theater, as well as the Abrons’ extensive programs in New York City public schools. TLD Contributor Royal Young spoke with La Fosse at the open house.
A passionate piano player and full band were installed upstairs where golden afternoon sunlight poured in over drums, cello and violins. There was a silk screen station with Evelyn Donnelly offering free Abrons Arts Center shirts in multi-colored prints. Wine, juice and tea sandwiches were served.
Photo by Lee Brozgol.
Photo: Assisted Living: Good Sports 2 (2011) by Mathieu Malouf.
Renowned dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker, Yvonne Rainer, a seminal member of the highly influential avant-garde Judson Dance Theater of the 1960s, and improvisational dance collective Grand Union of the 1970s, brings three works to Danspace Project this week. Performances will include a reconstruction of a Judson-era work, We Shall Run, (1963) and the premiere of her latest work, Assisted Living: Do You Have Any Money?
Trained as a dancer in New York at the Martha Graham Dance School and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Rainer began to choreograph her own work in 1960. Much like other choreographers of her era, she sought to blur the line separating dancers from non-dancers. Her performances were based on a series of mundane tasks and day-to-day gestures like walking, running, lifting, etc. Her work, and time at Judson, began the birth of a movement that proved to be a vital force in modern dance in the following decades.
Photo by Tom Caravaglia
Local businesses are dusting themselves off and opening back up for the weekend. Here are a few of the happenings:
- Taylor 2, Paul Taylor’s internationally acclaimed dance troupe, is performing a free concert at Abrons Arts Center on Sunday at 3:00pm. The program features Taylor’s classics Airs and Company B. Doors open at 2:30 and seating is first come first served.
- Gallerist James Fuentes’ latest show, ‘I’m Not Pregnant,’ a two-person exhibition featuring Lizzi Bougatsos and Thornton Dial, opens this evening with a reception from 6 – 8:00pm.
Michael Trusnovec, principal dancer for Paul Taylor Dance Company. Photo: Paul B. Goode
We spoke with Paul Taylor Dance Company’s Michael Trusnovec as he was preparing for the New York season at Lincoln Center. As a principal dancer for the company, Trusnovec moves gracefully, fully and with emotion, no matter the role. We discussed the company’s move in 2010 from its longtime headquarters in Soho to its brand new home on the Lower East Side at 552 Grand Street, as well as his own move into the neighborhood—an apartment in the Seward Park Co-ops.
TLD – You’re less than a week away from opening the company’s premier season at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. That must be very exciting and also very intense.
MT – A little bit intense!
TLD – For many years you performed at City Center. Are there any adjustments that you have to make as a dancer?
MT – The Lincoln Center season is new. It is a big change for us from City Center, but an exciting one. There are always new changes; we have new studios, we are touring constantly, going into new spaces. Dancers are quick to adjust on our feet. We also have a crew who goes in a few days before and makes the space feel familiar. The biggest difference is the audience relationship to the stage. City Center is more intimate. I am excited about having to really project.
Photo by Travis Magee.
Choreographer Jody Oberfelder loves to stretch the boundaries of physicality in her work, often combining an array of highly athletic and expressive choreography with ample doses of humor and humanity. Her latest piece, THROB, comes to the Abrons Arts Center this weekend. The piece is inspired by the biological workings of the heart, and grew out of conversations with cardiologist Dr. Holly Andersen about the science of “our most fundamental organ.”
Leave it to choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar to jump-start one big spontaneous improv dance party during her “Black Jam” evening last night at Danspace Project (as part of the Platforms 2012: Parallels series). My iPhone camera could only capture a trace of the energy that was in the air, but when you gather a group of dancers together in a room — well, they dance. Even the “old folks,” as Zollar affectionately called her fellow choreographers, joined in the act: Cynthia Oliver, Blondell Cummings, Bebe Miller–shedding her foot cast which became a welcome prop — not to mention Ishmael Houston-Jones, the mastermind curator behind this Platforms series.
Taylor 2 "Company B - Rum and Coke" photo by by Tom Caravaglia
Paul Taylor’s Taylor 2 dance company will perform two classic pieces at Abrons Arts Center today. They write: Taylor 2 will perform Funny Papers and Airs. “Airs” is part of Paul Taylor’s celebrated collection of dances set to baroque music. Although it tells no specific story, “Airs,” with music by Handel, is chock full of movement invention and comments upon relationships, romance and spirituality. “Funny Papers,” with choreography from several Taylor dances amended and combined by Mr. Taylor, is a series of comic vignettes inspired by “the funnies” and set to some of the most popular novelty tunes ever recorded.
There is no advance ticketing for this event. Seating is first-come, first-served. FREE // Sunday, May 1 // 3pm // 466 Grand Street.
The Artichoke Dance Company is currently at the University Settlement with Lynn Neuman’s “Recession Dances, and so can you!”. The performances draw
from dance styles of previous U.S. 20th Century recession eras, such as
the Lindy Hop (Great Depression) and Hustle (70’s oil crisis),
refashioned with humor and irony.
For twelve full hours of non-stop FREE music, head down to the World Financial Center Winter Garden at 220 Vesey Street on Sunday for the "Bang on a Can Marathon" Co-presented by the River to River Festival, the marathon's schedule includes an "incomparable eclectic super-mix of genre defying music" and has an almost legendary reputation. For the full schedule visit their site here.
The jazz collaborative The Nu Band has released the album "Lower East Side Blues" and received postitive reveiws here and here.