Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A warm(er) New York City welcome for APAP

This year, New York has welcomed the annual APAP (Association of Performing Arts Presenters) conference with the kind of "winter weather" that makes chasing down performances and showings all around town a whole lot easier than anticipated. I like that I can take post-dinner strolls across town to The Joyce for FOCUS DANCE--the series offered by Gotham Arts Exchange and the Joyce and curated, this year, by Jodee Nimerichter (director, American Dance Festival). I'll only get to the first two of FOCUS's four programs, but I'd like to shake the hand of the man or woman who can manage to get to everything invited to or, for that matter, worth seeing during APAP season.

Last night's show at the Joyce featured work by Jodi Melnick and Stephen Petronio. Melnick's Solo, Re(Deluxe), Version (2012), premiered last spring at New York Live Arts and set to the ecstatic, jagged chugging of Steven Reker's rock band, People Get Ready, finally came into focus and took off for me when the choreographer teamed up with another outstanding dancer, Hristoula Harakas. The two women proceeded to slip within and against the space with moves of silk and sophistication, switched on and attuned to one another's force and timing. Everything on that raw stage suddenly warmed up. It looked like love and intuition and mad stellar skill. Also, mad stellar are Gino Grenek and his fellow dancers from Stephen Petronio Company who offered excerpts from three sculpted pieces--Like Lazarus Did (LLD), a work in progress, The Architecture of Loss (2012) and Underland (2011). I'm always drawn to this ensemble's earth-angel quality: You can see how disciplined they are, but they show honor to the body and materiality--and humanity--by playing with gravity, never straining to escape it. Whatever they're dancing, they are sharing this specific time and place with us. Something so arresting and emotionally moving in this for me.

Tonight? Camille A. Brown & Dancers--to see where Brown's going with the provocative Mr. TOL E. RAncE--and Brian Brooks Moving Company (7:30 at The Joyce Theater). For information on the remaining FOCUS DANCE programs through January 13 at the Joyce--including work by Rosie Herrera Dance Theater, Doug Varone and Dancers, Eiko & Koma and John Jasperse--click here and here.

The Joyce Theater
Eighth Avenue at 19th Street, Manhattan

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