La MaMa Moves! 2013 celebrates the dance artists who have performed at the famed experimental theater over the years. While retaining the festival’s vibrant and expansive vision, its diverse range of form, content, style and its international reach, the 2013 schedule features more full-length works, giving artists more of a chance to take root. Ten premieres are scheduled. The Festival takes place June 7 through July 7. Mia Yoo is La MaMa’s Artistic Director, and Nicky Paraiso curated the 2013 edition of La MaMa Moves! as he has done since the festival’s beginning eight years ago.
Among this year’s highlights is Pavel Zustiak’s widely heralded, three-part production “The Painted Bird Trilogy,” whose first section was originally premiered at La MaMa in November 2010. These performances mark the first time the entire trilogy is presented in New York. Inspired by the classic Jerzy Kosinski novel of the same name, The Painted Bird explores displacement, otherness and transformation through an emotionally searing, magical and mysterious melding of dance, theater and music. The four-hour production will be performed in the Ellen Stewart Theatre, June 21-30. Food will be available during the intermissions.
Another festival highlight is Jen Abrams’s “Any Resemblance,” a series of 14 performances, which chronicle a gay female couple’s emotional, psychic and spiritual lives as one of the partners attempts to get pregnant. Applying the principle of TV On Demand to the live performances, which take place in Abrams’s own Brooklyn apartment, the four episodes will also appear online for those unable to see it live. The drama of “Any Resemblance” is intensified by the racial differences between the black and white potential parents. While there is spoken dialogue, movement takes over when words fail to express the characters’ joy and pain as they experience the present and imagine their future.
Chris Yon, whose work has not been seen in New York in five years, returns with the world premiere of “The Very Unlikeliness (I’m Going to Kill You!) [again & again version].” Don’t fret about understanding the title. Yon works as a collagist. The multitude of references embedded in the name of the dance is an example; another is the dance’s sound, which is designed to give a time-worn feeling to the collection of bits and pieces of funk, organ, Latin, jazz, novelty music of which it is comprised. The witty and unpredictable dance is a layered assemblage of movement that references history, popular culture imagery, and is performed by Yon and his wife Taryn Griggs, with the fast-paced urgency of James Brown in deadpan.
The festival features performances by companies from across the sea, more specifically Italy, Scotland and Ireland. Developed at La MaMa Umbria International, Afshin Varjavandi’s “Oceania” (June 12 and 13), which employs a cast of seven Italian dancers from Centro Danza Perugia, will be performed at The Club, followed on July 1 by “A Scottish Dance and Music Night” that includes the live music of the Wild Thistle, a lively band whose vibrant sounds combine with the vitality of The Loch Leven Dancers and Shot Scotch dancing highland fling, the sword dance, reels, jigs and strathspeys. The audience, which is invited to participate, is encouraged to drag out their kilts from the closet. The Scots will perform in the Ellen Stewart Theatre. The Irish perform July 5-7, with the American premiere of “Drenched,” a duet between Luke Murphy and Carlye Eckert that includes a multi-channel video design and installation by David Fishel. The work, which points out the contractions and uncertainties of romance, has been described as having “a sharp edge, and even sharper sense of humor,” and takes place in the First Floor Theatre.
The season also includes a series of double and triple bills at La MaMa’s Club, including two evenings (June 21 and 23) that feature a trio of works by three spectacular ex-New York choreographers now working at the University of Illinois: Jennifer Monson with Niall Jones, Renee Archibald, and Renee Wadleigh, who was an original member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company; Hari Krishnan, Paul Matteson and John J. Zullo (June 22 and 23). Oren Barnoy’s “Angels at the Club” shares shows with Wendell Cooper’s “[BODIED],” a multimedia work featuring rapping, dancing, spoken word, and multiple costume changes that express an effort to simultaneously accommodate and subvert the changing identities enforced outside by society, and inside by oneself (June 28-30).
And finally, once again, young artists from the East Village Dance Project will perform, this year in works by Victoria Roberts-Wierzbowski and Martha Tornay, among others, in the Ellen Stewart Theatre, June 24 and 25.