La MaMa prepares to go out dancing. This well-known center of international experimental theater is turning itself – upstairs and downstairs, its Club, Annex and First Floor Theatre – into a dance place and space, June 16–July 9, with “La MaMa Moves!” Close to 50 different choreographers and groups perform in six different themed programs – a new project, not short on ambition. All tickets are $10. Nicky Paraiso and Mia Yoo are co-curators.
The three weeks celebrate the close association and mutual influence of contemporary dance and theater, the ways in which experimental theater veers close to dance and dance to theater, with the lines between often blurred. Given La MaMa’s open-armed welcoming to new theater, the venue is a perfect arena for the three weeks of experimental dance.
The evenings, rarely more than 90 minutes long, offer an adventurous survey of risky and imaginative dance happening both in New York and abroad. Thematically organized, the programs include “Duets,” “Dancing Divas,” “Children of UR,” “Burlesque!,” “Mavericks in Motion” and “Border Jumping.”
Who is grouped with whom, and in which space? The festival kicks off in the cabaret setting of The Club, which will be the scene of “Duets,” “Dancing Divas,” “Children of UR” and “Burlesque!” “Duets” couples Tom Pearson and Zach Morris, Jason Dietz Marchant and Lindsey Dietz Marchant, Julian Barnett and Aaron Walter, Peter Sciscioli and Robbie Cook, as well as Patricia Hoffbauer and George Emilio Sanchez. “Dancing Divas” features solo turns by Pat Catterson, Ellen Fisher, Keely Garfield, Sally Gross, Jodi Melnick, Yvonne Meier, Vicky Shick and Deborah Jowitt, who will also emcee the June 17th performance. Then there are the “Children of UR,” whose performers worked together at Williamsburg’s now defunct UR, but who still loosely hang as a group: Asubtout, Karinne Keithley, Jeff Larson, Maggie McBrien, David Neumann, Nicky Paraiso, Zach Steele, Sarah Smith and Chris Yon. “Burlesque!,” a late night variety show, spotlights Julie Atlas Muz, James “Trigger” Ferguson, Miss Saturn and Dirty Martini, among others, in 90 minutes of the unexpected.
La MaMa’s First Floor Theatre will be the scene of “Mavericks in Motion,” a gathering of some of the downtown scene’s determined originals including Monica Bill Barnes, Jonah Bokaer, Abby Chen, Bhavani Lee, Deborah Lohse, Justin Montalvo, Christopher Morgan, Kate Weare and Tami Stronach. Expect a combination of solo and group works.
Reflecting La MaMa’s long commitment to performance that transcends politics and unifies cultures, “Border Jumping” brings together the multimedia talents of international artists now working in the United States: Natasa Trifan from Romania, Guta Hedewig from Germany, Marianela Boan from Cuba and Mei-Yin Ng from Malaysia. Riffing on the title, add two Americans to the mix: Bill Irwin will present a new work on July 6 only with Monica Bill Barnes also on the program. Additionally, an eclectic night of high-energy dance and movement is still under construction for July 8. Plans include a hip hop dance troupe, Cuban folk dance company, martial arts dance company, a cheerleading squad and a capoeira dance group. Stay tuned. “Border Jumping” takes place in the Annex.