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

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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.

Among them are three outstanding ex-NYC choreographers now working at the University of Illinois: Renee Archibald, Renee Wadleigh, who was an original member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Jennifer Monson (with Niall Jones), who was recently honored at the 2013 Movement Research Gala for her nature-centered site-specific performance work.  They will share a program titled, Jennifer Monson & Friends/NY/Urbana.

Other highlights include the New York premiere of award winning choreographer and director Pavel Zustiak’s highly acclaimed The Painted Bird Trilogy (Bastard, Amidst, and Strange Cargo). Two years in the making (the first section premiered at La MaMa in November 2010) this emotionally charged production is inspired by the classic, allegorical novel of the same name, by Polish-born author Jerzy Kosinski, about a “young boy making his way through war-time Eastern Europe and a brilliantly painted bird that is violently killed by its own flock”.

The Painted Bird Photo Courtesy La Mama
The Painted Bird
Photo by David Kumerman. Courtesy La Mama e.t.c

If you have a bit of performer in you, you can become part of dance history. Zustiak is seeking 60-70 performers of all types to appear in the end of Part I (Bastard). Expect Zustiak’s usual unique mix of dance, video, visual projections and live music to propel his telling of the story. For info on how to get involved, visit Zustiak’s company, Palissimo. The Painted Bird Trilogy and will be presented in its entirety – four hours. Food will be available during the intermissions.

Scottish Dance Night Photo Courtesy of La Mama e.t.c
A Scottish Dance and Music Night
Photo Courtesy of La Mama e.t.c

For more audience participation, there is A Scottish Dance and Music Night. Join the Scottish dance companies The Loch Leven Dancers and Shot of Scotch as they lead the way through the Highland fling, reels, jigs, and strathspeys. The band Wild Thistle plays live.  Dust off your kilts and getting ready to move!

For something completely different, this year’s La MaMa Moves! goes “offsite” to the apartment of choreographer Jen Abrams for her Any Resemblance, a series of 14 performances, which chronicle the emotional, psychic and spiritual lives of a gay female couple as they attempt to get pregnant.

Jenn Abrams  Photo Courtesy La Mama
Jenn Abrams
Photo Courtesy La Mama

La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival // June 7 – July 7 // $15; Student/senior $10  // Any Resemblance Admission is free: reservations are required // The Painted Bird Trilogy, full four-hour production $60; Senior// student $55. Individual segments $25.  / For a complete festival calendar visit La Mama.

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