Saturday, March 16, 2019

Okpokwasili and Born's "Adaku's Revolt"

Okwui Okpokwasili
(photo: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)


Adaku's Revolt
Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born
Abrons Arts Center
March 14-24

One young black girl becomes alert to her inner signals, finds the strength to resist expectations, and revolts against efforts to straighten her hair. -- from Abrons Arts Center's website

Out of the blue, a thought visited me over breakfast today:

No, you can't touch my hair. My hair is part of my body. I do not give you permission to touch my body. So, why do you think you can touch my hair?

I'd swear I don't know where that came from, but I do know it's something I should have said, years ago, to one man--the husband of a fellow dance critic--whose white hand shot out and touched my woolly head. Happened so fast, I didn't have time to cringe, flinch or launch a preemptive strike, which I now so wish I had done.

And I also know Okwui Okpokwasili (with director/designer Peter Born) must have triggered something with a new ensemble work, Adaku's Revolt, just opened at Abrons Arts Center. It's not about white people touching Black people's hair, the site of both painful and glorious historical experience and culture. But it is about how white aesthetics touch Black people's hair...and bodies...and values...and lives.

Dear Okwui, as you must imagine, I know all about the perils of getting the "kitchen" straightened with a hot comb. I think you must have reached out and touched a nerve.

Urban Bush Women's dancers are also looking at the Black hair thing this season with Hair & Other Stories. But Okpokwasili's concept and Born's visual design appear to have the potential to help Adaku's Revolt work down into the subconscious in a way that UBW's far more direct piece--with audience participation that keeps our conscious minds centered and on high alert--might not.


Above: Dancer AJ Wilmore as Adaku
Below: Wilmore with Okwui Okpokwasili
(photos: Ian Douglas)


The audience is directed to its place on the stage of Abrons's theater through a back channel and instructed to take seats lining three sides of the performance space. As we enter and get settled, the scene has already been set, a compelling visual atmosphere already built. Before a white screen, four dancers lie on the floor with torsos stiffly arched and heads thrown back. Above them, a large windsock of pearly-white gossamer continuously flows out from a big fan, its hypnotizing, watery fabric reaching for another dancer, our Adaku (AJ Wilmore), who writhes, wriggles, tilts, chops and revs up as she sits in a chair. A dense assemblage of what appear to be ordinary desk lamps lights the area.

Within Born's vision, Okpokwasili's placement and movement of individual and group bodies take the shape of dreams with nonlinear but soul-tugging storytelling. White fabric engulfing and molding itself across faces. Bodies emerging from beneath pulsating fabric. Hips and feet twisting, pelvises rocking and left hands raised high in the air over a captivating--and destabilizing--polyrhythm of music and women's voice-overs and live singing.

I tried to jot down something Wilmore said before her turbulent yet mutually-supportive duet with Okpokwasili, and I think I got it right:

I'm going to open all the doors in my head.

Doors opening bring music and voices--both louder, brighter, undeniable--and the birth-like reclamation of bodies. I think the piece, just under an hour, seemed longer. For me, its conclusion fell short of grace or definitude. But something about it all clearly reminded me to revolt.

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Choreographed and created in collaboration with Peter Born and performers Khadidiatou Bangoura, Peter Born, Audrey Hailes, Breyanna Maples and AJ Wilmore

Adaku's Revolt runs through March 24 with performances at various times. For information and tickets, click here.

Abrons Arts Center
466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street), Manhattan
(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, March 9, 2019

Lime Rickey International presents "Future Faith" at Abrons

Lime Rickey International (aka Leyya Mona Tawil)
(photo: Vesa Loikas Photography)


Future Faith
Lime Rickey International
Abrons Arts Center
March 7-9
"Lime Rickey International is the superconsciousness of Leyya Mona Tawil, an artist working with dance, sound and performance practices. Tawil is a Syrian, Palestinian, American engaged in the world as such. Lime Rickey International emerged as a container for the world of lost homelands. The works of Lime reference Tawil’s training in Arabic dabke as well as decades of work in the realm of contemporary dance, improvisation and experimental performance." -- from publicity for Future Faith 
*****

Syrian-Palestinian-American transdisciplinary artist Leyya Mona Tawil first appears to us drenched in red light, hunched in a corner just to the side of the Underground Theater's staircase. We're finding our seats, and she's taking a private moment, crouched on the floor with the front of her body turned towards a wall. The audience seating has been shifted around from its usual orientation to now afford a view of the theater's door and staircase and part of the balcony. The theater space is not big but, gazing across at Tawil, an onlooker might feel, at once, both distant and invasive.

The deep red serves as the performer's shield, though; at the start, we can't detect, for instance, the glossy electric-blue/green cyan of her wig or shiny chartreuse of her costume. Later, these items become shields, too, for the human beneath.

There's a persistent drone that--even more than the visual elements--serves notice that we've stepped into altered, potentially hazardous space. Although it comes from equipment near Tawil, it might just as easily stream from her pores. Just who and what are we looking at, anyway, and what is about to happen?

*****
"The choreographers that I know and respect who are pushing dance forward right now are trying to create a model of relationships - not just between dancer and dancer, but dancer and audience, and also dancer and society, and stage and society. So what we're doing onstage is actually a suggestion for how we can treat one another in the world. Contemporary dance is a suggestion about how we wish the world would be. It is less about art reflecting society and more about art going through the wall and creating something more. This is a search for future forms." -- "Leyya Tawil in Conversation with Linda Weintraub" (Critical Correspondence, 2014)
*****

The visual and sonic mood eventually lifts, and we see Tawil more clearly despite the fake hair flopping over her skin. Dancing, she looks robust in her futuristic, kind of goofy costume, a strapping woman freely inventing and reinventing herself and not hesitating to assert herself in space. Her angular moves sprawl every which way, gesticulate as if she were a stick figure engaged in full-body sign language. She flaps and stomps, and I'm reminded that dabke--the name of an exuberant Arabic dance tradition she cites as an influence in her work--literally means the dance of stomping.

I do not know what it means when, late in the 45-minute piece, Tawil's sound swerves back into the threat zone, but it's like the room becomes a paper shredder, and I'm thinking that--what does she call it? superconsciousness?--is something formidable with which we should never presume to get too cozy.

Composition/Choreography/Performance: Leyya Mona Tawil
Live Lighting: Emese Csornai
Costume: Scott Tallenger
Set Design:Tim Clifford
Audio Tech: Ian Douglas-Moore

*****

Future Faith concludes with a 7pm performance this evening. For information and tickets, click here.

Abrons Arts Center
466 Grand Street (at Pitt Street), Manhattan
(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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Friday, February 15, 2019

New York Live Arts presents Westwater's "Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part"

Choreographer Kathy Westwater
opened Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part
last evening at New York Live Arts
in a co-presentation with Lumberyard.


Kathy Westwater
Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part
New York Live Arts
(co-presented with Lumberyard Center for Film and Performing Arts)
February 14-16

It is our universal capacity for pain, and our histories of pain, that offer us hope of ever giving a damn about another being--or even just recognizing the value of doing so. Created by Kathy Westwater and her dancers, Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part, deliberately inflicts nearly unrelenting discomfort and disorder. For the ears, the driven discordance of the late composer Julius Eastman, filled perhaps with the pain of being Black and queer in this society but even more with Black, queer defiance and zest. For the eyes, seven bodies propelled out of everyday, conventional function--how we look, how we walk, when we are doing the things we are asked to do--into states of less rational, conventional control. 

When the audience wanders in to take seats, dancers are already in view, attending to one another in preparation for what their bodies will endure (and achieve). I watched this process during a showing of excerpted material Westwater held at Gibney (a showing, as it happens, that in no way prepared me for the ultimate weight of this production). This time, at the New York Live Arts premiere, I did not enter until very shortly before the dance proper began. So I missed almost all of this prelude. But I remembered its importance and kind of felt it in the air as the dancers rose and moved away from view.

With a dimming of the lights, they returned--a few taking seats in easy chairs tucked into downstage corners; the first explorer, Rakia Seaborn, slowly placing one foot, then the other, in front of her as if testing how, and if, her Black body could relate to the white floor gleaming beneath it.

On either side of the space, pianists began to apply intensity, sharp against ear and mind. One by one, or in duos or groupings, dancers began to layer the space with roughly off-centered, loosely flung and floppy movement tumbling in front of a wide backdrop, Roderick Murray's lighting only slightly revealing ashy streaks rising from a dark, murky surface. Like Westwater's enigmatic title, Seung Jae Lee's visual design compels interest but dances forever out of reach. By the end of the hour-plus piece, past a moment of diminished intensity and complexity, we see things more clearly but still do not gain reliable understanding of what we are seeing.

The work of some dancers stood out for me--Alex Romania, vividly bearing down into giving way into seamless motion; Paul Singh letting his backbone slip; Thomas F. DeFrantz eventually slowing the rush of matters to find his hips, find himself, find his life in the midst of chaos. And, although his gift to the work is relatively brief, countertenor M. Lamar introducing an ambiguity that can be both a place of rest and of lush articulation.

******

Choreographed by Kathy Westwater in collaboration with
the performers

Directed by Kathy Westwater

Performed by Ilona Bito, Thomas F. DeFrantz, Alex Romania,
Rakia Seaborn, Stacy Lynn Smith, Paul Singh and Kathy Westwater

Music by Julius Eastman, performed by Joseph Kubera and
Adam Tendler, with Patrick Gallagher and others; and
M. Lamar, performed by M. Lamar

Set and Visual Design by Seung Jae Lee

Lighting Design by Roderick Murray

Costumes by fufu

Dramaturgy by Melanie George

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Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part continues through tomorrow with performances at 7:30. For information and tickets, click here.

Visitor Information/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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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Camille A. Brown's superheroes write their names in "ink"

Maleek Washington and Timothy Edwards
performing ink by Camille A. Brown
(photos: Christopher Dugan)


ink
Camille A. Brown & Dancers
The Joyce Theater
February 5-10

Do not trifle with Camille A. Brown. The woman knows her mind, and her secure creative imprint has been felt, now, not only on dance stages but on television and Broadway. Ask her a question--as folks did during her audience dialogue at The Joyce's opening night for ink--and, without any hesitation, you get Direct Camille. Her movement might appear, to some, a chain of several interlocking dance genres, but it is not thoughtlessly or simplistically so. Nor can we shove it under a safe, defining label. What to call what she crafts in her work? "It's me," Brown says.

ink exemplifies that. For about 75 uninterrupted minutes, it energizes the Joyce stage under two weathered-looking billboards of collaged images designed by David L. Arsenault. There's the startling thwack of percussion that opens the evening, and a typically atypical solo for Brown whose raptor-like power, adept control of physical isolations and ability to adapt her shape to handle any environment or condition are markers for the intricacies of Black intelligence and creativity, skills for surviving and thriving under duress.

Above: Camille A. Brown's opening solo
Below: Catherine Foster
(photos: Christopher Duggan)

And then comes the spill of movement from her six dancer/collaborators, accented with gestures that have come to bear private meaning, a language accumulating maturity from one dance to the next. It is this precious, complex language, she might say, that gives her people--my people--a fighting chance to stay alive. With movement drawn from the Black diaspora--traditional, contemporary and invented--this artist clears room to write her manifesto across the air, rewriting the lies of so-called history, the stereotypes and limitations thrown on Black bodies and Black culture. Following the previous works of Brown's trilogy--Bessie-winning Mr. TOL E. RAncE and the Bessie-nominated BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play--ink uses solos and duets to expand the way we think about Black possibility, especially as it relates to gender and how people exist with one another.

Juel D. Lane (left) with Beatrice Capote in ink
(photo: Christopher Duggan)

With no boxes around the way souls and bodies are "supposed" to behave and respond to life, there is freedom, and there is caring where division, competition and violence might have been expected. The trilogy ends with an embodied wish for our future, a lesson in what we will need to get there.

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Director/Choreographer: Camille A. Brown in collaboration with the dancers

Dancers: Beatrice Capote, Timothy Edwards, Catherine Foster, Juel D. Lane, Yusha-Marie Sorzano, Maleek Washington and Camille A. Brown

Music Director: Allison Miller

Musicians: Juliette Jones, Allison Miller, Scott Patterson, Wilson R. Torres

Dramaturgs: Daniel Banks, Kamilah Forbes, Talvin Wilks

Lighting and Scenic Design: David L. Arsenault

Sound Design: Justin Ellington

Costume Designer: Mayte Natalio

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ink continues at The Joyce through Sunday, February 10. Hurry and click for schedule information and tickets!

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, February 2, 2019

Dance and Social Justice: UBW, Ananya Dance Theatre and me

Urban Bush Women
BRIC
January 31-February 9

Here's one of those productions that people are going to be talking about for a very, very long time. But when I talk about Hair and Other Stories it, I don't even know how to label it, because it's not a dance show. It's a spectacle, a marketplace, a cultural archive, a community chat about race, a hot dance party, a chance to get your hair trimmed by a really smooth barber and, I guess, anything that you--as an engaged audience member--are willing to get yourselves into. You are an essential part of it. All of this unfolds at BRIC, where Urban Bush Women has been enjoying a residency, and hooray for BRIC for this exciting curation. I danced some (to the irresistible DJ-ing of The Illustrious Blacks), and I also sat in rapt admiration as members of Urban Bush Women threw down some of the most vibrant, urgent and gorgeous performing I've seen from them or from anyone in a very long time. Performing to meet the needs of our times--direct, uncompromising, utilizing the far reaches of their physical and expressive energies, and presenting issues of race and culture inside a multilayered, multifaceted context that emphasizes the expansive richness of what it means to be Black. Choreographed by Chanon Judson (whose intense performance seared me) and Samantha Speis in collaboration with UBW. Bessie nominations to the team on this one, please. Hair and Other Stories INFO/TICKETS


Urban Bush Women in
Hair and Other Stories

Ananya Dance Theatre in
Shaatranga: Women Weaving Worlds
(photo: Randy Karels)


Symposium on Dance & Social Justice
Dance Department, Mason Gross School of the Arts
Rutgers University
February 1

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening on the Rutgers campus, the guest of dance artist Ananya Chatterjea of Ananya Dance Theatre, who is wrapping up a residency at Rutgers's Mason Gross School of the Arts, and cared for graciously by Dance Department Chair and Artistic Director, Julia Ritter, Ph.D and MFA in Dance Director, Jeff Friedman, Ph.D. Chatterjea had invited me to join her panel on dance and social justice* which included Hui Nui Wilcox, Ph.D, educator and Ananya company member; Zaneta Rago-Craft, Director at Rutgers's Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities; and Lela Aisha Jones, dance artist and Founding Director of Lela Aisha Jones│FlyGround.

Afterwards, I enjoyed a soul-warming dinner and conversation with some fun table-mates--among them, Jones and Donia Salem (Executive Director, The Outlet Dance Project). Then we all took in ADT's Shaatranga: Women Weaving Worlds (which concludes at Rutgers's Loree Dance Theatre this evening). Chatterjea's vision for her all-women ensemble blends contemporary with classical Indian movement, serene visual design and formal choreography with a confident infusion of the rebellious personal and political spirit she first observed in the theatrical street demonstrations led by Indian women and trans femme activists. Learn more about ADT's residency here.

⚫⚫⚫

*My opening remarks from the day's panel

The arts have always been my refuge--from a sometimes difficult home; from an often difficult society. Up until recently, I was able to say out loud how much I counted my blessings to have work that would always surround me with artists.

That was true for my work as a dance writer and certainly even more true now for my work as a curator for a major dance center.

Artists were my bulwark, my grounding force, my heat shield. But is that what artists are for?

Not today.

I have an old friend out on the West Coast, a former New Yorker, who is Black and indigenous and queer, a poet and visual artist. One day when I was complaining to her on Facebook Messenger about the general run of things in Grump’s America, she reached into that multifaceted basket of hard experience and wisdom to remind me that it’s actually an honor to be alive now in this challenging time.

And I flashed back to what the poet June Jordan wrote, “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” It truly says something fierce about us--and about some committed vow that we must have made before being born--that we are right here and right now with our eyes open and our skills sharpened. Ready to rumble.

As children are torn from their parents at the southern border or mis-educated in their schools or shot to death in those same schoolrooms, artists are not, for me or for any of us, just something to lean upon or hide behind or be distracted by.

Artists are knights, armored up and charging forward into the worst of things. Because how can they not?

Their capacity to honestly witness, process, analyze, dream up, brainstorm and collaborate and build with others are what we need now, because we are coming up out of a deep and deeply-troubled sleep, roused by multiple monsters of oppression.

And what of our artists?  If they are not, themselves, prone to the American way of denying, hiding, numbing the self or following addictive distractions down all sorts of sinkholes, our artists are doing their work despite the fact that they themselves might be on the verge of nausea, or they somehow manage to keep going with only that one. last. good. nerve.

A dance artist I once interviewed noted how much Black/lesbian/poet/warrior/mother Audre Lorde influenced him. He remembered that she would always ask, pointedly, “Are you doing your work?”

Most of the artists I know and respect are doing just that--their work--with more focus and determination than ever before. Which does not make it nice and easy for the rest of us. It provides no hiding place. One of the dancers of Urban Bush Women said it best last night at the premiere of Hair and Other Stories: “Safe space is not comfortable space.”

The windstorm kicked up by those knights artistic as they charge past us cannot be ignored. We are caught up in it, too, swept along to the battleground.

As my West Coast friend would say, There are no mistakes. We are meant to be here. We are the ones we have been waiting for. Let’s do our work.

-- Eva Yaa Asantewaa


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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, January 18, 2019

In step with Joséphine: Julia Bullock at The Met

Soprano Julia Bullock
(photo: Kevin Yatarola)

Julia Bullock
Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine
The Great Hall
Metropolitan Museum of Art
January 16-17

The two-page, finely-written program notes Julia Bullock contributed for her production, Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine, performed on the stairs of the Metropolitan Museum's Great Hall, takes me back to a practice I abandoned a couple of years ago--saving programs from all the shows I see. I no longer save them much beyond the year of their season, but this one, this one, will live with me, just as the life, struggles and example of Joséphine Baker clearly live with Bullock, a Black opera singer of profound insight and commitment to social justice.

Bullock--the Met's 2018-2019 Artist in Residence--starts her notes by quoting famed New Yorker writer Janet Flanner whose references to Baker's "caramel-colored body" and "lovely animal visage," the "dawning intelligence" of her look, along with Baker's apparent failure to have "heard of Mozart" are like textbook examples of white supremacist arts criticism. Dropping this nightmare on the page, Bullock then proceeds to hail Baker for achieving superstar--and super-paid--status during Jim Crow when her level of success was unimaginable for any Black performer. Further, for anyone obsessed with the image of caramel-colored Baker dancing in a costume made of bananas, Bullock notes Baker's role in the French Resistance and our own Civil Rights movement, and even the way the entertainer turned her simplistically-eroticized image--her skin turned into a costume, as she says, her body a "shattered object" that wants a home, wants to be owned--into one of self-defined, self-determined Black power and woman power.

The essay--which goes on to detail a creative process encouraged by director Peter Sellars with a team of remarkable collaborators--ends in a proud, uncompromising affirmation of the complexity of human nature, Baker's and Bullock's as well. Both women aim to rip our stereotypes right out from under us.

Is it possible to not only save program notes forever but stand up and give them a rousing cheer?

Bullock's soprano has depth and edge; it draws you into a resonant cave. When she first comes into view, high on the Great Hall's grand staircase, she stands stockstill, an icon draped neck to toes in formal black, her hair a dark-russet 'fro which will eventually be lit to halo-ing effect. Remote and rigid, she seems an apparition from the grave, her face, seen from a distance below, a cloudy blur that does not resolve into recognizable features.

That will change. Bullock does descend, at times, to a mid-point landing to join the work's composer Tyshawn Sorey (percussion/piano) or to the lower steps where members of International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) craft a sinuous and textured sonic fabric for her plainspoken testimony as Baker, channeled by writer Claudia Rankine. "One day, I realized I was living in a country where I was afraid to be Black," Bullock says, as Baker. And she calls the US "barbarous."

It's haunting, confusing, disturbing when she reveals that her dancing was actually a form of running. Would that mean fearful escape? Or would it mean resistance? Or some combination? How are we to understand this Joséphine (or this Julia who identifies so closely with her)?

The long-ago familiar--a dancing of the Charleston, a warbling of "Bye Bye Blackbird"--are rendered with an insistent, high-strung dissonance. Bullock's training in dance becomes clear immediately, but the entirety of the performance rests on her skillful ability to move various energies of feeling through her body--from the initial, regal dignity to mischief to brooding quiet to unnerving thunderclaps of anger and power.

Creative team:

Julia Bullock, soprano
International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE):

  • Alice Teyssier, flute
  • Ryan Muncy, saxophone
  • Rebekah Heller, bassoon
  • Daniel Lippel, guitar
  • Jennifer Curtis, violin 

Conceived by Peter Sellars
Tyshawn Sorey, composer, percussion, and piano
Zack Winokur, director
Claudia Rankine, text (featuring the words of Josephine Baker, adapted by Julia Bullock and Zack Winokur)
Michael Schumacher, choreographer
Mark Grey, sound design
John Torres, lighting design
Carlos Soto, clothing design

Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine concludes this evening with a performance at 8pm. Seating is very limited and likely sold out, but for information, click here.

Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue (enter at 81st Street main entrance), 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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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Sounding off with Miguel Gutierrez at The Chocolate Factory

Center: Dance artist Miguel Gutierrez
brings his new work,This Bridge Called My Ass,
to The Chocolate Factory Theater
(photo: Paula Lobo)

Miguel Gutierrez
This Bridge Called My Ass
American Realness at The Chocolate Factory Theater
January 9-19

Before the messy mound of fabric scraps, chairs, step stools, electric cords and other discards at center space gets picked through for eccentric props; before festively-colored lights blink on and draw attentions to unexpected places; before dancers, without a shred of self-consciousness. display more and more bare flesh and sexual inclinations, there is sound.

In the beginning of This Bridge Called My Ass, there is the word--or many, really--some written by Miguel Gutierrez. A Spanish call-and-response--all the performers are of Latin American heritage--and a kind of chant that seems derived from an elementary school classroom or a language lesson for the non-Spanish speaker. The pacing and forceful energy of the choral readings of this text sound like a choir filled with conviction. But not a choir without the capacity to be flippant; if you were placed just right, you would have noticed a sly gaze-and-grin passing between Gutierrez and Oakland burlesque dancer Xandra Ibarra.

As things spread out--and lordy, how they do spread out--so does resonant sound of voice, music, props making bizarre impact against the floor and each other. As things spread out, they sometimes come in precarious contact with other things or nearly so. I worried much over the safety of so much unprotected flesh in the presence of hard metal wielded with abandon and also fretted over the safety of a MacBook with a rather large step stool weirdly balanced on the edge of its opened cover. Who takes this kind of risk?

Sprawling over the mess, toying with it, the dancers get tangled apparently without any of the fear I, from the relative safety of my front row seat, was feeling. Nor do they inhibit themselves or others. Soft and hard things are just things. Things are just things, and you might find yourself hallucinating that the inanimate is animate, and very much vice versa. These juxtapositions are truly audacious, monstrous connections. You have to give yourself over to the in-the-moment pointlessness and futility of it all, because the dancers definitely do.

Presented without intermission, the piece is about 90 minutes and feels really endless. Towards the end, though, there's an interesting shift that I resist interpreting. In fact, I resist interpreting anything here. All I will say is that the execution of it has--again, the best words I can find for this show--energy, resonance, to an impressive degree. There's something here that lives beyond the initial mess.

Created by Miguel Gutierrez and performed by Gutierrez with Alvaro Gonzalez, John Gutierrez, Xandra Ibarra, nibia pastrana santiago and Evelyn Lilian Sanchez Narvaez

Dramaturg and assistant director: Stephanie Acosta
Lighting design: Tuçe Yasak

This Bridge Called My Ass runs through January 19. For information and tickets, click here.

The Chocolate Factory Theater
5-49 48th Avenue, Long Island City, Queens
(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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