A tree may grow in Brooklyn, but the avant-garde is flourishing in the Garden State this spring, with Peak Performances once again confirming its singular status as the presenter of some of the most challenging and original performing artists from the US and abroad. Take a look at Peak’s 2012 spring performance lineup, all of which take place at Montclair State University’s Alexander Kasser Theater, located at 1 Normal Avenue in Montclair, NJ.
Scheduled are six world and American premieres by international game changers Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (U.S.), Miguel Zenón (U.S.), Akram Khan Company (U.K.), les ballets C de la B/Alain Platel/Frank Van Laecke (Belgium) and LeeSaar The Company (U.S./Israel), that highlight Peak Performances 2012 season. Each promises a fresh, if not radically new perspective on what it means to be alive in the 21st Century.
Please Note: Green = Music, Blue = Dance/Dance Theater, Purple = Theater
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company
January 21-29, Times: January 21, 28 at 8pm, January 22, 29 at 3pm, January 26, 27 at 7:30pm
Celebrated as a radical choreographer who simultaneously provokes and entertains, Bill T. Jones is also a renowned storyteller, as will be seen in the world premiere of his “Story/Time.” In this full- evening work, inspired by John Cage’s “Indeterminacy,” a performance of 70, one-minute stories, Jones, following in the tradition of Cage and Merce Cunningham, will employ chance procedures to determine the order of his stories, many of which are from his own childhood. The original music is by Ted Coffey; the text by Jones; décor by Bjorn Amelan; lighting design by Robert Wierzel and costumes by Liz Prince. The choreography is by Jones with the company’s Associate Artistic Director Janet Wong and members of the Jones/Zane Company.
Puerto Rico Nació en Mi: Tales from the Diaspora
February 4, Time: 8pm
MacArthur Fellow saxophonist Miguel Zenón, renowned for his fusion of Puerto Rican “plena” music with traditional jazz, will present the world premiere of “Puerto Rico Nació en Mi: Tales from the Diaspora,” a song cycle that celebrates the myriad ways in which Puerto Ricans claim their singular identities. In addition to Zenón on alto saxophone, the musicians include Luis Perdomo, piano; Hans Glawischnig, bass; Henry Cole, drums, and Big Band.
Ellen Hargis (soprano) and Paul O’Dette (lute/theorbo)
The Power of Love
February 5, Time: 3pm
Soprano Ellen Hargis and lute/theorbo player Paul O’Dette will celebrate the “Power of Love” in a program comprised of 17th century English love songs by Nicholas Lanier, Henry Lawes, and John Wilson. The songs tell tales of heroes and lovers tangling with the vagaries, trials and tribulations of love, proving that nothing has changed in Cupid’s capers.
Akram Khan Company
Gnosis and Vertical Road
February 8-12, Times: February 8, 10 at 7:30pm, February 11 at 8pm (Vertical Road) February 9 at 7:30pm, February 12 at 3:00pm (Gnosis)
The London-based Akram Khan Company will present the American premieres of two award- winning, full-evening dances, “Gnosis” and “Vertical Road,” which will be shown at separate performances. Inspired by the story of Queen Gandhari, a character in the Hindu epic “Mahabharata,” “Gnosis,” which is performed to live music, showcases Khan’s renowned, uncanny ability to mine and meld the worlds of modern and Kathak, a form of classic Indian dance in ways that are mutually empowering. Performed by Khan and former Martha Graham principal Fang-Yi Sheu, “Gnosis” received the 2011 South Bank Sky Arts Dance Award. Khan’s “Vertical Road” grapples with reconciling spiritual enlightenment in a fragmented, material world. The original score is by Khan’s longtime collaborator Nitin Swahney.
Les Ballets C de la B | Alain Platel/Frank Van Laecke
March 17-18, 22-25, Times: March 17, 24 at 8pm, March 18, 25 at 3pm, March 21, 22, 23 at 7:30pm
With great emotional power and depth, “Gardenia” tells the transfixing stories of nine transvestites and transsexual friends, most between 55 and 65 years old and a young “outsider.” Originally inspired by the poignant Spanish film, “Yo soy así,” which tells of the final closing night of a transvestite cabaret in Barcelona, “Gardenia” is about saying farewell, transience, hope and illusion. Using an original score by contemporary composer Steven Prengels, the production is based on improvisation by the performers, most of whom had once been professional actors. Their own turbulent, and at times hilarious, stories form the heart and soul of the work. The production is directed by Alain Platel and Frank Van Laecke. The renowned Belgian writer Vanessa Van Durme, who also stars in the production, was part of the original creative team.
Leesaar the Company
March 29-APRIL 1, Times: March 29, 30 at 7:30pm, March 31 at 8pm, April 1 at 3pm
In “FAME,” a world premiere, director/writer Lee Sher, dancer/choreographer Saar Harari, and a multi-cultural cast of six performers explore the mystery of stage illusion, the distinctions between what is seen and what is perceived. Well-known for their extremely physical choreography and theatrical power, Sher and Harari, both former Israelis, have already been awarded numerous honors including a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, grants from the National Dance Project, the Map Fund, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, and the Greenwall Foundation.
The Complete Bartók String Quartets
May 5, Times: May 5 at 4pm & 8pm
Never a group to resist a challenge, the Shanghai Quartet will take on the complete Bartók string quartets–six in all–in a double concert at Peak Performances on May 5. The quartets, written over a 30-year span and filled with humor, a sense of desolation and fierce beauty, are renowned for challenging the traditions of the quartet form.