|Left: Emmanuéle Phuon|
Right: Emily Coates
(photo: Pascal Lemaitre)
Emily Coates and Emmanuèle Phuon share an evening of new work. The two choreographers share aesthetic lineages, through working with Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project and Yvonne Rainer.
Emmanuèle Phuon’s Bits & Pieces (Choreographic Donations) looks backward and inward, narrating her personal journey through dance via Cambodia, France, New York, and Brussels with the help of 5 choreographers: Patricia Hoffbauer, David Thomson, Elisa Monte, Yvonne Rainer, and Vincent Dunoyer. Their choreographic donations intersect in an eclectic collage of sounds, dances, childhood wounds, anecdotes, and memories from Phnom Penh to New York, with an open return.
A History of Light, Emily Coates’ new project with MacArthur recipient Josiah McElheny, looks backward and outward: tracing a history of light, by intertwining dance aesthetics and scientific knowledge, and the unique history of the universe through the stories of women who have pushed art, science, and technology ahead. Twentieth century cultural and scientific references inform the work’s content and form.
--from publicity for "Emily Coates & Josiah McElheny / Emmanuéle Phuon: A Shared Evening"
So, backward and inward, backward and outward, all in search of what is unseen or unacknowledged. A particle of light. The story that light can tell. The life of a dancer. The brilliance of a scientist ignored because she happens to be a woman. The subtle strands of connection within dance lineages and webs of influence. The struggles of refugees and of those who devote their lives to helping them. A passionate Black composer less well known to most of us than her world-famous husband. A lighting designer without whom this work--and Phuon's--would be missing a large part of its magic. Our world rushes forward with little awareness or valuing of any of these.
Both artists sharing an evening at Danspace Project--Emily Coates and Emmanuéle Phuon--radiate mature elegance and intelligence in every move as they serve as witnesses and reporters for us.
Coates is the former New York City Ballet dancer whose book on physics and dance, co-authored with CERN particle physicist Sarah Demers, comes out in January 2019. Demers appears as a narrator--though, unfortunately, challenged by audio issues last evening--in A History of Light. Sculptor Josiah McElheny, both integrates his work into the piece and plays a physical role in its scenario, further breaking down borders between disciplines. I especially enjoyed his simple, clear demonstration of relative distances in the cosmos and the profound sense of our planet's humble presence in a cosmos mostly made of dark matter.
"Why are ballerinas always dying?" Coates asks after her own "dying" in front of a filmed Dying Swan sequence. That irritable question lingers in the air, untouched.
Conceived/created by Emily Coates and Josiah McElheny
Performed by: Emily Coates, Sarah Demers and Josiah McElheny
Music direction and composition: Will Orzo
Lighting design: Carol Mullins
Concept: Emmanuèle Phuon
Performed by: Emmanuèle Phuon, Zai Tang
Dramaturgy and Direction: Vincent Dunoyer
Choreography: Vincent Dunoyer, Patricia Hoffbauer, Elisa Monte, Emmanuèle Phuon, Yvonne Rainer, David Thomson.
Sound Design: Zai Tang
Lighting Design: Carol Mullins
Emily Coates & Josiah McElheny / Emmanuéle Phuon: A Shared Evening concludes tonight with an 8pm performance. For information and tickets, click here.
131 East 10th Street (at Second Avenue), Manhattan
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