Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Bessies: Announcing winners and October's nominees



Celebrating 35 extraordinary years, The New York Dance and Performance Awards (The Bessies) organization held its annual reception and press conference yesterday at Gibney. With community luminaries pressed into Gibney's theater at 280 Broadway, the event was so buoyed with feeling that time-conscious announcers repeatedly (sometimes hilariously) cautioned the assembled to wait for all category nominees to be named before applauding. Still and all, we whooped and hollered for each of our faves, proving that nothing can hold back this dance/performance community!

Plan to be at the legendary award ceremony itself on Monday, October 14 at NYU Skirball Center. In the meantime, here's what you need to know about the announced awards and exciting nominations.


2019 Juried Bessie Award
(Jury: Carlota Santana, Pam Tanowitz and Abby Zbikowski)

Alice Sheppard

for boldly and authentically inventing new movement vocabularies full of supercharged physicality and nuanced detail. Working with gravity, mechanics, human connection, and momentum, she creates work of power and empowerment.

2019 Outstanding Breakout Choreographer Award 

Daina Ashbee

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The 2019 Bessie Awards Nominations


Outstanding Production


600 HIGHWAYMEN
The Fever
Co-presented by La MaMa, The Public Theater, and Onassis USA

Kyle Abraham
The Runaway
New York City Ballet
David H. Koch Theater

Nick Cave
The Let Go
Park Avenue Armory

Nora Chipaumire
#Punk 100% POP* N!GGA
The Kitchen

Merce Cunningham with stager Patricia Lent
Night of 100 Solos: A Centennial Event
BAM Opera House

Tania El Khoury
As Far As My Fingertips Take Me
Under the Radar/The Public Theater

Juliana F. May
Folk Incest
Abrons Arts Center and American Realness

Alexei Ratmansky
The Seasons 
American Ballet Theatre
Metropolitan Opera House

Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble (ROKE)
The Art of Luv (Part 6): Awesome Grotto!
Abrons Arts Center

Caleb Teicher
More Forever
Guggenheim Works & Process

Noa Wertheim
One. One & One
Vertigo Dance Company
Baryshnikov Arts Center

Ni'ja Whitson
Oba Qween Baba King Baba
Co-commissioned by Danspace Project and Abrons Arts Center


Outstanding Performer


Xianix Barrera
in Latido by Xianix Barrera
Emerging Choreographers Series at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center

Warren Craft
in Harlequin and Pantalone by Bill Irwin
Dorrance Dance
New York City Center

Leslie Cuyjet
Sustained Achievement with Jane Comfort, Niall Jones, Juliana F. May, Cynthia Oliver, and Will Rawls

Kirsten Davis
in Oba Qween Baba King Baba by Ni’Ja Whitson
Co-commissioned by Danspace Project and Abrons Arts Center

Gabrielle Hamilton
in Oklahoma! choreographed by John Heginbotham
St. Ann’s Warehouse

Samantha Hines
in Attractor by Dancenorth Australia, Lucy Guerin Inc., Gideon Obarzanek, and Senyawa
The Joyce Theater

Tiler Peck
Sustained Achievement with New York City Ballet

Molly Poerstal
Sustained Achievement with Hilary Clark, David Dorfman, Jeanine Durning, Alex Escalante, Juliana F. May, Susan Rethorst, Roseanne Spradlin, and Larissa Velez-Jackson

Nola Sporn Smith
in metamorphosis by Stacy Grossfield
The Kitchen, Dance and Process

Taylor Stanley
in The Runaway by Kyle Abraham
New York City Ballet
David H. Koch Theater

Shamar Watt
Sustained Achievement in the work of Nora Chipaumire

Takaomi Yoshino (aka Varvara Laptopova)
in ChopEniana by Alexandre Minz
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
The Joyce Theater


Outstanding Revival


Deuce Coupe
By Twyla Tharp
American Ballet Theatre
Metropolitan Opera House

Hex
By Eleo Pomare, performed by Dyane Harvey
American Dance Guild Performance Festival, Ailey Citigroup Theater

Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done
By Yvonne Rainer, Deborah Hay, Lucinda Childs, David Gordon, Steve Paxton, Trisha Brown, Simone Forti
Museum of Modern Art


Outstanding Sound Design/Musical Composition


Joseph Kubera and Adam Tendler for interpretation of music of Julius Eastman, and M. Lamar for original composition inspired by Eastman
for Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part by Kathy Westwater
New York Live Arts

Leyya Mona Tawil
for Future Faith by Lime Rickey International
Abrons Arts Center

Conrad Tao and Caleb Teicher
for More Forever by Caleb Teicher
Guggenheim Works & Process


Outstanding Visual Design


Design Team: Tei Blow, Sean McElroy, Eben Hoffer, and Hyung Seok Jeon for The Art of Luv (Part 6): Awesome Grotto! by Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble (ROKE). Abrons Arts Center

Design Team: Jeanne Medina and Ni’ja Whitson (Costumes), Gil Sperling, featuring art works by Wangech Mutu and Galvin Jantejes (Video), and Tuçe Yasak (Lighting) for Oba Qween Baba King Baba by Ni’Ja Whitson. Co-commissioned by Danspace Project and Abrons Arts Center

Mirella Weingarten (Set Design) for Xenos by Akram Khan. Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival at Rose Theater


Outstanding Breakout Choreographer
(* indicates award recipient)


Daina Ashbee*
Jonathan González
Stacy Grossfield
Caleb Teicher


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The 2019 Bessie Awards Steering Committee, responsible for setting policy and providing oversight for the Bessie Awards throughout the year, is comprised of Cora Cahan, Beverly D’Anne, Jeanne Linnes, Stanford Makishi, Nicky Paraiso, Carla Peterson, Gus Solomons jr, Paz Tanjuaquio, Judy Hussie-Taylor, Laurie Uprichard, and Martin Wechsler.

The 2018–2019 Bessie Awards Selection Committee: Ronald Alexander, Elise Bernhardt, Charles Vincent Burwell, Diana Byer, Tymberly Canale, Alexis Convento, Parijat Desai, Maura Donohue, Boo Froebel, Angela Fatou Gittens, Diane Grumet, Brinda Guha, Joseph Hall, Mai Lê Hô, Iréne Hultman, Celia Ipiotis, Koosil-ja, Fernando Maneca, Lydia Mokdessi, Harold Norris, Craig Peterson, Doug Post, Rajika Puri, Tiffany Rea-Fisher, Susan Reiter, Walter Rutledge, George Emilio Sanchez, Andrea Snyder, Sally Sommer, Risa Steinberg, Carrie Stern, Catherine Tharin, Tony Waag, and William Whitener.

ABOUT THE BESSIES

The NY Dance and Performance Awards have saluted outstanding and groundbreaking creative work in the dance field in New York City for 35 years. Known as “The Bessies” in honor of revered dance teacher Bessie Schönberg, the awards were established in 1984 by David R. White at Dance Theater Workshop. They recognize outstanding work in choreography, performance, music composition, and visual design. Nominees are chosen by a selection committee composed of artists, presenters, producers, and writers. All those working in the dance field are invited to join the NY Dance and Performance League as members and participate in annual discussions on the direction of the awards and nominate members to serve on the selection committee. For more information about The Bessies, visit www.bessies.org.

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DISCLAIMER: In addition to my work on InfiniteBody, I serve as Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views, strategies or opinions of Gibney.

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Friday, July 5, 2019

Savion Glover returns to The Joyce!

Tony-winning tap great Savion Glover
has a new show at The Joyce Theater.


LADY 5
@
SAVION GLoVER's
BARoQUE'BLAK
TaP Café


by Savion Glover
at The Joyce Theater
July 2-7, 2019

The letters flip up and down--kind of like hoofers' heels and toes--in the titles tap icon Savion Glover gives things. The off-kilter rhythm of the letters jingles and jangles...and jars. Skim across a program page, and your eyes might get snagged on a particular letter or the oddly-true sound a whimsical word makes inside your head. What, exactly, is Half-Our or I Can Here Myself? Tell me there's no part of you smiling at this thought: "Well, I kinda know what that might mean!"

As noted above, the title of Glover's new ensemble production--running now through Sunday at The Joyce Theater--is rendered in his program notes precisely this way:

LADY 5
@
SAVION GLoVER's
BARoQUE'BLAK
TaP Café


It has been several years since Glover, a popular man at The Joyce, has brought a show there. (The Joyce, by the way, is on a roll with tap--now through early January--with luminaries like Ayodele Casel, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards and Michelle Dorrance waiting in the wings. And a tip of the hat to my dear colleague Aaron Mattocks for that programming.) LADY 5 looks nothing like your conventional tap extravaganza. It's so many things and soooo much. It's an illustrative tribute to a wide range of music genres and artists. It's a way of proving to us that dancers are musicians--and that we see through hearing and hear through seeing, or something like that. And it's a transparently messy, headlong plunge into an artist's overflowing psyche.

I count almost twenty sections in the 90-minute show, including one where a male tap shoe foot puppet (yes, you read that right) chats up a female footless-tight foot puppet (yes...) at a café table, and another binary-boosting segment (What Kind of MaNz) where aggressive male tap dancers seem to be all but literally humping their slithering female jazz dancing partners. I need to scold Glover for engaging superb dancers like Natrea Blake, Samantha Berger, Monique Smith and Megan Gessner (the last introduced by Glover as "our token white person") in cheesy moments like this. A finale set to Stevie Wonder's "Another Star" ends up slaughtering poor Stevie under Glover, Marshall Davis Jr. and Darrell Grand Moultrie's jet-propelled and amplified drilling. Maybe a single dancer--or these three without amplification--would have been kinder to the singer and his gorgeous song.

As noted before, with LADY 5 one must push aside any longing for the conventional. Glover takes you on a journey that, for reasons not exactly or convincingly clear, opens with a display of antique costumes arranged along a metal walkway above a café-like setting. Along the way, you'll see Smith dancing to spoken word (the brilliant Jae Nichelle on recording) about what it's like to live with anxiety; various and sundry face-offs between ballet and tap or ballet and jazz; and surrealistic vignettes with Glover apparently haunted, obsessed and traumatized by a ballerina's disembodied tutu descending from above. A dancer might be doing her thing downstage while a shadowy figure creeps along the high walkway in the background. The Dalai Lama makes an appearance. (Just dropping that here. Don't fret about it.) There was an impressive, spiky contemporary solo (PHuQSPaCE) performed by Gessner to the stylings of Bjork, and there is the lovely warmth of Blake's solo work in Everything Must Change.

So...a lot. And, although I am far from the kind of critic who needs the conventional, I must say I was grateful for a segment with fabulous, straight-up tap dance to Latin jazz that met percussion with percussion, fire with fire, spotlighting virtuosity in a way nothing else in the show really touched.

A show with turbo-charged ambitions and oddities, and not everything works. But, hey...Savion Glover at The Joyce. It took several years for that to happen again.

LADY 5 @ SAVION GLoVER's BARoQUE'BLAK TaP Café continues through this Sunday with matinee and evening performances. For schedule and ticket information, click here.

175 Eighth Avenue (between 18th and 19th Streets), Manhattan
(map/directions)

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DISCLAIMER: In addition to my work on InfiniteBody, I serve as Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views, strategies or opinions of Gibney.

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Saturday, June 29, 2019

At water's edge: Jennifer Monson/iLAND presents "ditch"

ditch--presented by Jennifer Monson/iLAND
at South Street Seaport Museum's Melville Gallery
(photo: Brian J. Green)


ditch
by Jennifer Monson/iLAND
River to River Festival 2019
Melville Gallery, South Street Seaport Museum
June 26 and 28

Happy hour at South Street Seaport is for something other than paying attention to post-modern eccentrics dressed in plastic materials like creatures ironically stuck inside reusable shopping bags. On this summer evening, folks pass the seaport museum's site or sit nearby or do whatever they do while Jennifer Monson's dancers do whatever they're doing on the cobblestones and iron steps. For a moment, I turn away from the building and, in a little parklet across the pathway, suddenly spy Monson herself. Her look and her positioning on the pavement suddenly remind me of a more familiar, mundane sighting--a pigeon. Like dancers, pigeons exist among us in the urban ecosystem and, to be honest, most of New York and its tourists pass by and pay them no mind. I recently learned that some people--may they burn in Hell--net loads of our pigeons and haul them out of state to shoot for sport.

When I turn back towards the steps to the museum's Melville Gallery, I see that audience is being admitted for the continuance of Monson's ditch--a multifaceted project motivated by the local effects of Hurricane Sandy (2012). I take a seat up front near one of the room's many wooden columns. The space feels confined; the lighting, dim. There's a dancer already in motion--swiveling, dipping, skittering and plié-ing barefooted and barelegged, her torso encased in a misshapen cube of black plastic with lime-green trim. There's a set up for composer/sound artist Jeff Kolar whose sonic communications, performed live over the course of perhaps 45 minutes, ebb and flow from nearly imperceptible, intermittent blips to deepened, driven pulses.

Three other dancers appear here and there, sometimes wholly or partially obscured by columns that could be an abstract forest of trees or stalks in a hugely-magnified stand of grasses at river's edge. This is home to sensitive, elusive critters who shed their casings and pitch and swirl in imaginary waters and, surprisingly, ace synchronized scarf juggling. Intelligent and, when need be, well-coordinated beings. Ben Demarest's lighting evokes a natural and changing world while also marking this gallery space as a sanctuary--at once, protected and vulnerable.

  • View the ditch rehearsal trailer here.

Monson premiered ditch on June 23 at the Lower East Side "ecopark" of Pier 35. At sunrise! How I wish I had been there for that or, later that morning and afternoon, for her iLanding Workshop where participants got to "dance, draw and map based on their observations of the movement and living ecologies of the pier, including birds, mussels, fish, plants, humans and other creatures."

Choreography: Jennifer Monson
Performers: Madeline Mellinger, Kaitlin Fox, Courtney Cooke, Jennifer Monson
Music/sound: Jeff Kolar
Costumes: Susan Becker
Lighting: Ben Demarest

ditch is closed. River to River Festival 2019 concludes today. For information on remaining programs, click here.

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DISCLAIMER: In addition to my work on InfiniteBody, I serve as Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views, strategies or opinions of Gibney.

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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Taking Pride! La MaMa's Squirts Festival




Congratulations to Dan Fishback (Director of Helix Queer Performance Network) for another evening of exceeding already high expectations with his annual La MaMa's Squirts festival of queer performance. Fishback, a valiant writer and performer, says the standard Pride Month hooplah--magnified this year with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion--makes him a bit queasy. But he found his happy place at La MaMa in these gatherings of some of our community's most scintillating talents.

"This," he declares now, "is the queer world I always wanted to live in."

Convened by a sharp team of invited curators, Squirts performers span performance genres, generations, races and cultures; this year, it is, says Fishback, "100% curated by transwomen!" Also new this year: 100% free admission. And, honey, you get a lot for that nice price.

Last evening's weekend opener was curated and hosted with unmatched charm by storyteller, actress and health activist Cecilia Gentili. Her sometimes poignant, sometimes humorous entr'acte patter both introduced us to her personal story--living under dictatorship in her native Argentina; embracing the freedom in New York she had envied from afar; learning hard lessons about the dangers transwomen face in the U.S.--while smoothly ushering in one after another of her performers. Most compelling on the bill were Linda LaBeija, delivering spoken word, and Afro-Latin rapper Auset Bennu, each representing Bronx aesthetics in their own commanding, sharp-edged way.

Squirts curators mean business. (I know. I was one last year.) So, I suggest you find out what's up this evening (curated by Charlene Incarnate) and Sunday evening (curated by Mizz June).

One note of caution: The weather outside might be warmish this weekend, but take a sweater and maybe even a cap. La MaMa, for reasons I could not fathom, A/C'ed its theater like a meat locker. Chilled to the bone, I finally, reluctantly and most regretfully fled before the show ended. Still recovering from a wicked cold that had knocked me out since the previous (holiday!) weekend, I was in no shape to withstand La MaMa's deep freeze.

La MaMa's Squirts continues tonight and tomorrow with performances at 7pm. Click here for information and tickets.

La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street (between Bowery and Second Avenue), Manhattan

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DISCLAIMER: In addition to my work on InfiniteBody, I serve as Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views, strategies or opinions of Gibney.

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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Ainesh Madan returns with "Phantasies"



Phantasies

Ainesh Madan
Speyer Hall, University Settlement
May 24-25, 2019

The play of children is determined by their wishes, really by the child's ONE wish, which is to be grown-up.... He always plays at being grown-up; in play he imitates what is known to him of the lives of adults. -- Sigmund Freud, "The Poet and Daydreaming"

Superbly skillful dance artist Ainesh Madan has worked with noted choreographers such as Bill T. Jones, Pramila Vasudevan, RoseAnne Spradlin and Heidi Latsky. He won a 2018 Gibney Work Up residency and intrigued audiences with his developing solo, Phantasies, on a strong program shared with performers Evelyn Lilian Sánchez Narvaez and Marion Spencer. He now lives and works in his native India but is back in New York this weekend with a handsome production of Phantasies.

This solo, now roughly 40 minutes, is episodic, stark sections tightly spliced together by changes in Emma Matters's lighting and distinguished by unexpected imaginings of ways in which props (coins, umbrellas) can be used. Apparently tireless, Madan seems suspended between adulthood and childhood--his rendering of a Sigmund Freud quote, above, about child's play inspired the piece--drawing a palpable vitality from being in that liminal state.

His choreography for the piece, though informed by contemporary aesthetics, invokes qualities of classical Indian dance--percussive force and sweep and a breathtaking precision and speed of arm and hand gestures conveying a narrative. Only, with Madan, that narrative often remains elusive. Why Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee?" That music drops into the atmosphere like a memory, and might well be one, the significance of which we're left to imagine.

The piece, which opens with the sharp-pitched sounds of song birds, reads like a long series of random journal entries--or short-short stories, or a cycle of songs--each entry its own shiny facet in the diamond.

Here, by the way, is the original text of the quote from Freud's 1907 talk, "Creative Writers and Day-Dreaming."
A child’s play is determined by wishes: in point of fact by a single wish–one that helps in his upbringing–the wish to be big and grown up. He is always playing at being “grown up,” and in his games he imitates what he knows about the lives of his elders. He has no reason to conceal this wish. With the adult, the case is different. On the one hand, he knows that he is expected not to go on playing or fantasying any longer, but to act in the real world; on the other hand, some of the wishes which give rise to his fantasies are of a kind which it is essential to conceal. Thus he is ashamed of his fantasies as being childish and as being unpermissible. 
In that talk, Freud also spoke of the way artists learn to draw a veil across personal elements in their work, sparing us what we might perceive to be TMI. I think it's possible to enjoy Phantasies without gaining entrance to all that's going on within it--which is surely a lot--and to leave that to the dazzling performer at work.

Phantasies concludes this evening with an 8pm performance. For information and tickets, click here.

Speyer Hall, University Settlement
184 Eldridge Street (between Rivington and Delancey), Manhattan
(map/directions)

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DISCLAIMER: In addition to my work on InfiniteBody, I serve as Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views, strategies or opinions of Gibney.

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Sunday, May 19, 2019

"Surveys the Prairie of Your Room" opens at La MaMa

Ae Andreas (front) with Dan Safer
in the premiere of Surveys the Prairie of Your Room at La MaMa
(photo: Maria Baranova)


Surveys the Prairie of Your Room
Witness Relocation/Dan Safer
La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre
May 18-19, 2019

Not a person shifted place during last night's performance of Surveys the Prairie of Your Room, though Dan Safer--who collaborated on this bold duet with his Witness Relocation colleague Ae Andreas--invited us to move anywhere around three sides of the perimeter of their crisply delineated rectangle of performance space. Standing in a single, constrained line curved around that space--I had one of several folding chairs--viewers were encouraged to look at the performers' duet from any number of angles.

And we did not. We stayed where we were planted. Which is kind of okay. The piece--Safer's first full-length duet--looks just fine from a stationery viewing point. Certainly, it moves enough, itself, for dozens of people. And there's enough excitement when a dancer's arm, sneaker sole or backside gets within a foot of your face. The intimacy of the setting--wide but shallow liminal space betwixt the theater's entrance and the back of its seating rows--heightens a sense of drama, urgency and potential. This "prairie" in a box has got a lot going on.

David Bowie's "prairie of your room" (from "Eight Line Poem") had its "tactful cactus." Andreas has a chair--a hard, unsparing one--and they are mighty restless not only sitting on that metal chair but sitting within their body in its man's suit.

At the top of the 45-minute piece, Andreas darts past the rectangle's white tape that keeps the audience sidelined, and they sit on the chair, their left foot instantly jittery. Turbulence ensues. Their hands shove their jaw this way and that. From the chair to the floor, their body wriggles, writhes, twists and stumbles, a mess of angles. And when Safer--shadow, partner, instigator, supporter, challenger--melts into the scene, also suited-and-sneakered-and-contradictory, all of this trouble is doubled and magnified.

Andreas and Safer
(photo: Maria Baranova)

Longtime Witness Relocation collaborator Heather Christian contributed an intriguing music-scape evoking diverse moods, and writer Kate Scelsa worked found text into a voiceover rendered by actress Grace McLean into soothing seduction in sharp contrast to the dancers' agitation. In a soft, moist tone, McLean touts the amenities of a luxury hotel and, if you're like me, you'll fixate on the apparently hundreds of pillow variations on offer--from anti-allergy to duck down.

There are two people here, but this appears to be a journal of one life, a long stretch of unpaved road with some exhilarating views along the way. It's handsome and danced with all-out exuberance, and you have only one more chance to line up around the rectangle--this afternoon!

Directed, choreographed and performed by Dan Safer
Co-preated and performed by Ae Andreas
Original music by Heather Christian
Original text by Kate Scelsa
Voiceover by Grace McLean
Suits by Ministry of Supply
Lights by Juan Merchan

Surveys the Prairie of Your Room, presented by La MaMa Moves! dance festival, concludes today with a 5pm performance. Tickets are limited. Hurry and click here.

And La MaMa continues to move! Now through May 26, in fact. For schedule and ticketing information for this annual dance festival, click here.

La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street (between Bowery and Second Avenue), Manhattan

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DISCLAIMER: In addition to my work on InfiniteBody, I serve as Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views, strategies or opinions of Gibney.

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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Eiko Otake: Distance is Malleable

Eiko Otake
at Middle Collegiate Church, East Village
during Danspace Project Platform 2016: A Body in Places
(photo: Eva Yaa Asantewaa)

This year's Soshitsu Sen XV Distinguished Lecture on Japanese Culture--presented by Columbia University's Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture--was given by venerable dance/interdisciplinary artist Eiko Otake who showed up fully as Eiko Otake, a body in places. The place, in this case, was the lobby of Columbia's Miller Theatre.
Fukushima is everywhere.
-- Eiko Otake
She showed up, as always, a wound in motion. Trailing crimson cloth behind her. Thwacking a yellow CAUTION WET-FLOOR sign on the tile floor. Darting out into the daylight of Broadway. Dropping white sheets of manifesto poetry from the theater balcony like a lazy snowstorm.

And only then talking. But not without images from her epic collaboration with photographer William Johnston that help her help us bridge the nearly 7,000 miles between New York and Fukushima, sites of mass trauma, of what she calls "fast violence and slow violence."
There's a sense of agitation in me, in finding two places so connected in me.
-- Eiko Otake
Her lecture--Distance is Malleable--gave us a mini-tour of her work of recent years, including residencies, installations and performances at Danspace Project (2016) and The Cathedral of St. John the Divine (2016-2017) that I was fortunate to attend. It came with the poetic manifesto that a reader could drop into at any point and swim for a long, long time. All told, Otake's poem and her holistic performance--I will refrain, now, from calling it a lecture--offered valuable insights into this woman and artist I have long admired.
I don't want to dance in studios. Going to places is my choreography.
-- Eiko Otake
I now more clearly grasp the consistency of her presence and witness, how she seeks to interrupt societal trance and avoidance, to archive and deliver evidence through ragged and asymmetrical aesthetics, to reshape time and distance through her body so that we, in turn, might reshape what we think important enough to care about.
People make things not knowing what to do when they break.
-- Eiko Otake
I suddenly, and enviously, get the radical freedom she has long claimed for herself--Decide where to go, when, with whom, how and for how long/Decide where to learn, when, with whom, how, and for how long--and I marvel at it. Self-curation! That's what she calls it, excitedly adding that exclamation point. (In Nguzo Saba terms, I have long exclaimed the Kwanzaa principle called Kujichagulia, self-determination, my favorite.) Otake's Self-curation! strikes me as bearing a double-meaning. Exercising your right to do what you want and need to do in your own way, yes, but also fundamentally curating a self--and doing that your way, too.

When she next writes of how the student chooses the teacher (not vice versa), I feel the strength of her determination. She knows her own mind. She has been on this path a long time and is an excellent teacher to choose.

Follow Eiko Otake's work here.

Learn more about the illustrious history of the annual Sen Lecture here.

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DISCLAIMER: In addition to my work on InfiniteBody, I serve as Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney. The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views, strategies or opinions of Gibney.

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