Sunday, January 8, 2012

APAP Diary: A Saturday on the run!

My APAP experience is as much about what I can't get to--inhabiting a human body without superhuman powers--as what I can and choose to attend. It includes smug self-satisfaction ("Oh, esteemed dance critic colleague, you ran to that media-hyped, cooler-than-cool, must-see production and ended up hating it? Well, good for you!") as well as feelings of mental weakness and overwhelm ("Gosh, no, actually, I didn't schedule any of your venue's showings. Frankly, in the crush of information about other events, I simply forgot!"). The cure for all of this personal and programmatic too-much-ness will soon arrive but, in the meantime, let's look at three nice things from yesterday--one of them non-APAP--when I became a mere blur in the lives of my cats who had already been abandoned by their other mother who was checking out the big Degas and The Nude show in Boston.

Michelle Boulé and Phillip Connaughton in Body Duet. Photo (c)Julieta Cervantes


John Scott and his Irish Modern Dance Theatre at La MaMa, The Club:

The pairing of dancers as smart, gifted and game as New York's Michelle Boulé and Dublin's Philip Connaughton made this showing catnip. In Scott's half-hour Body Duet, the collision and tangling of two headstrong body/minds appears to be an attempt to force the reconnection of odd-shaped fragments of a busted relationship--or of a busted self. Within the randomness and illogic of these quirky choreographic and physical juxtapositions, we can enjoy the clarity and fervor for life running through this dance and giving it its measure of hope. Body Duet also offered my very first view of a dance that includes a tablet--presumably an iPad--as prop, prompter and nearly dance partner. And that worried me, since the two humans clutching this electronic gadget between them were lashing around quite a bit. Body Duet will tour Ireland later this year, and Scott's New York fans can expect a new full-length at La MaMa in Spring 2013. See Body Duet this Monday at 3pm or Tuesday at 1pm. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended. For information, click here.

La MaMa
74A Est 4th Street (between 2nd Avenue & Bowery), Manhattan

Cumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance:

After gobbling a quick lunch, I took an APAP-break and caught the R train out to Brooklyn to visit the new Cumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance on Fulton Street, a close neighbor to BAM Harvey, BAM Opera House and the Mark Morris Dance Center. For the center's Grand Opening weekend, all dance and percussion classes for adults and kids were free, and a dance party, featuring a live band and two DJs, was planned for the evening. Up winding flights of red stairs, I found co-directors Dominique Bravo and Jimena Martinez and artistic director Pat Hall with their hands full, greeting a bustling crowd of well-wishers and class-takers. I watched part of master teacher Baba Richard Gonzalez's inspiring Afro-Caribbean/Orisha Dances class, mainly from a big screen television, since the moderate-sized studio itself was packed to overflowing. Two studios and a music room will somehow contain the energy and goodness of Cumbe's program--including classes in Contemporary Dance (Ronald K. Brown), Bomba y Plena (Alma Cruz), Haitian Drumming (Frisner Augustin) and Afro-Colombian (Daniel Fetecua Soto) and so much more.

Cumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance
558 Fulton Street, 2nd Floor, (near Flatbush Avenue), Brooklyn
(map/Subway 2/3/4/5 to Nevins, Q/R to DeKalb or 2/3/4/5/N/D/Q/R to Atlantic Avenue)

Kimberly Bartosik/Roderick Murray at Gibney Dance Center:

Bartosik showed a fragment of an evening-length work-in-progress, You are my heat and glare, in its very early stages. The finished piece, inspired by poet Anne Carson's "The Anthropology of Water," will be structured as three duets for dancer/designer, dancer/dancer and voice artist/voice artist. Its premiere is planned for 2013. In the segment shown yesterday for APAP at the Gibney Dance Center, the dancer pairs with Bessie Award-winning lighting designer Roderick Murray whose hands-on effects and installation bring out a severe, old-time movie star glamor in her natural elegance. The showing, though too fleeting to predict what will come of this work, was certainly lovely and intriguing enough to peak my interest. If you want to see what I mean, you have another two chances: Bartosik and Murray will bring their showing uptown to Barnard College today at 5:30pm and tomorrow, Monday, at 12:30pm. 

Barnard College, Barnard Hall, Studio 305
Broadway and 117th Street, Manhattan

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