Even if 34 year old Jonah Bokaer had begun choreographing the year he was born, he would have had to have created one and a half dances a year to reach the 55 he has already created, and that’s not counting, also co-founding two pioneering performance and rehearsal spaces in Bushwick and Williamsburg before he turned 28. Add to that developing four dance apps, performing in theaters, art galleries and museums, and creating visual arts exhibitions all over the world, while accumulating awards, commissions, and honors for his accomplishments, most recently a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and a US Artists Fund Award. He is a choreographer on the move…………
2016, clearly a banner year for Jonah Bokaer, began with the May 17 world premiere of “Rules Of The Game” at the Soluna International Music & Arts Festival in Dallas, TX, where it was greeted with a packed audience in the 2,200 seat Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House and received glorious reviews.
Following the Dallas show were engagements at the Brisbane Festival in Australia, September 14-17 and La Biennale de la Danse de Lyon, France, September 28-30. “Rules Of The Game” premieres at the Next Wave Festival at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House, November 10-12; UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles, February 10, 2017 and the Krannert Performing Arts Center in Champagne, IL, Spring 2017.
Bokaer’s visual artistic gifts, as well as his choreographic talent, were recognized by the Parrish Art Museum in Watermill, NY, which selected him as its 2016 Platform artist and where both aspects of his talent will be visible, July 9-January 16, 2017.
The Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium will present the world premiere of Bokaer’s version of “Scheherazade,” which Bokaer spells “Shahrazad” performed by a cast of over 14 members of the Antwerp-based company on October 22 in Ghent. The ballet will then be performed 15 times in theaters throughout Belgium through December 2.
RULES OF THE GAME
SOLUNA INTERNATIONAL MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL, DALLAS, TEXAS, MAY 17BRISBANE FESTIVAL, BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA, SEPTEMBER 14-17BIENNALE DE LA DANSE, LYON, FRANCE, SEPTEMBER 28-30BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC NEXT WAVE FESTIVAL, NOVEMBER 10-12ROYCE HALL, LOS ANGELES, FEBRUARY 10, 2017KRANNERT PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, CHAMPAGNE, IL, SPRING 2017
Loosely based on Luigi Pirandello’s “Six Characters in Search of an Author” and “The Rules Of The Game,” Bokaer’s dance was created in collaboration with his long-time artistic partner, visual artist and filmmaker Daniel Arsham, and new to the team, composer and producer Pharrell Williams, who created an original score played by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Academy Award-winning composer, arranger and orchestrator David Campbell arranged and orchestrated the Pharrell music, which Campbell conducted at its world premiere.
The eight dancers perform against a kinetic backdrop created by Arsham’s film of ancient busts and a ceramic encrusted basketball that suggests the craggy face of the moon as it travels distances from far to dangerously close up. Alternately witty, alarming, poetic, violent, loving, “Rules Of The Game” suggests time past or time future. At times, a merging of the two.
The program also includes “RECESS” in which Bokaer performs a duet with a towering roll of white paper whose origami shape-changing is the result of Bokaer’s dancing, the paper itself, and the unexpected intrusion of a stranger. The other work on the program, “Why Patterns,” has a cast of four dancers and thousands of ping pong balls, each with a witty and unruly mind of its own.
A gala dinner, “Breaking the Rules,” to benefit Jonah Bokaer and Chez Bushwick follows the opening night performance. This year’s gala honors Diana Widmaier Picasso.
PARRISH ART MUSEUM
WATERMILL, NYJULY 9-OCTOBER 16 – January 16, 2017
As the Parrish’s first performing artist appointed for its Platform series, Bokaer uses the Museum as his muse. Everything about the Parrish serves as inspiration: the inside and outside design, the exhibitions within, as well as the unique architecture and the fields that stretch beyond the museum walls. Bokaer’s response includes 122 choreographic drawings based on the musical score of Morton Feldman 1977 opera “NEITHER” (libretto by Samuel Beckett). Suspended in space and unframed, the delicate Mylar drawings move with the air currents in the Museum, thus creating a dance of their own.
Additionally, Bokaer created a two-channel projection of a new choreographic work for film, shot within the panoramic vistas of the museum and shown against an outer wall of the Parrish.
At 6pm on July 22, Bokaer performed a solo, “Disappearance Portraits” on the southern field of the Museum. Using the Parrish’s South Meadow as his set and the the sun and sky as his lighting, Bokaer describes the site specific work as “a living installation.”
ROYAL BALLET FLANDERSANTWERP, BELGIUMOCTOBER 22 and 25
“Scheherazade” is an unlikely subject for a ballet by Bokaer, a minimalist by temperament and training. But leave it to his adventurous and boldly imaginative mind to take on the classic Rimsky-Korsakov score and its associations with Michel Fokine’s lush 1910 ballet (the first ever commissioned by Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes) and make something radically new. What Bokaer does with the ancient tale and its late 19th century music in his work commissioned by the Royal Ballet Flanders is something to anticipate.
The Tunisian/French fashion designer Azzedine Alaia is outfitting the 20-member cast, which begins seven weeks of rehearsals with Bokaer prior to the ballet’s world premiere in Ghent, October 22-25. The Royal Flanders Opera Symphony Orchestra will play live. https://operaballet.be/en/programme/2016-2017/west
ABOUT JONAH BOKAER
Jonah Bokaer has worked as a choreographer and exhibiting artist since 2002, creating 55 works in a wide variety of media (dance, video, drawing, motion capture, interactive installation, mobile application, and film.) His work has been produced in venues around the world, including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Le Festival d’Avignon, Spoleto Festival, La Triennale di Milano, and SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival. Bokaer has performed his work at the Guggenheim Museum, P.S.1 MoMA, and The New Museum in New York City. He co-founded Chez Bushwick in 2002, and CPR – Center for Performance Research – in 2009.
Bokaer, the youngest performer to be recruited by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company with whom he danced from 2000 to 2008, has collaborated with major artists in a variety of fields including Anne Carson, Merce Cunningham, Robert Gober, Anthony McCall, Tino Sehgal, Lee Ufan (Guggenheim Retrospective 2011), and Robert Wilson. He choreographed many of Robert Wilson’s works, including six operas: Faust (Polish National Opera), Aïda (Teatro dell’Opera di Roma) and On The Beach (Baryshnikov Arts Center). Bokaer has collaborated with visual artist Daniel Arsham on ten works since 2007.
In 2015, Bokaer received the United States Artists Fellowship in Choreography and was named a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow in Choreography, and in 2016, he was awarded Italy’s Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship in the Visual Arts category. He is a 2016 Resident Fellow at New York University Center for Ballet and the Arts.
Lead Commissioners: Dallas Symphony Orchestra, SOLUNA International Music & Arts FestivalCo-Commissioners: BAM | Brooklyn Academy of Music; Krannert Center for the Performing Arts; Center for the Art of Performance at UCLAMajor Presentation Support: La Biennale de la Danse de Lyon; Brisbane Festival, AustraliaRules of The Game in New York City was made possible thanks to generous funding from: The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the ArtsBreaking The Rules Gala is generously supported by: Champagne Thiénot and Artnet