Risa Jaroslow has been a longtime presence in the New York contemporary dance scene since 1974, when she began creating her compassionate choreography rooted in the everyday. When she formed her company, Risa Jaroslow and Dancers, 25 years ago, she dedicated it to merging performance and community engagement; including diverse communities as participants and not just audience.
Celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary season this week at Abrons Arts Center, Jaroslow revives her critically acclaimed Resist/Surrender, which “unites the virtuosity of trained dancers with the contributions of non-trained dancers to create a highly visceral and daring work.”
In addition to four company dancers, Resist/Surrender features a chorus of twelve men from diverse backgrounds including an occupational therapist, a stock analyst, an adult literacy professional and a young Guyanes artist with a day job at Banana Republic. The piece “peels back the veneer of our culture’s assumptions about maleness and masculinity, exposing an explosive physicality.” Deborah Jowitt of The Village Voice praised the piece as a work that “burns itself into your brain, into your gut.”
Scenic and visual artist Perry Gunther’s “wall” supports and impedes the dancers movements, becoming a metaphor for the barriers we meet with either resistance or surrender. The score, by composer Scott Johnson, is based on recorded interviews with NYC firefighters, corporate lawyers, gay teens and senior adults, counselors to men who batter, as well as an-all male poker game, and will be played live by Fireworks Ensemble.
Also on the program is the world premiere of The Middle of Where She Is, a work for three women that investigates the sense of loss that comes with growth and responsibility; Jaroslow takes the stage for this one. Music is written and performed by the violin/viola duo, Charly & Margaux.
Abrons Arts Center // $20, $15 students and seniors // 466 Grand Street // March 9 – 10, 8pm / March 11, 3pm.