When 24 Hours Are Not Enough
Sneak Preview of CPR - Center for Performance Research (March 8)
Two premieres at the Abrons Arts Center (March 12–16)
Focus of Spring Issue of 2wice (March 14)
Curating Performances for Armory Show (March 28–29)
Commission from Robert Wilson for “Faust” (October 26, 2008)
For Jonah Bokaer, there are 25 hours in a day. No, make that 26….at least. Look at what the 26-year-old choreographer, dancer, activist and social entrepreneur is up to in the next couple of months.
He recently returned from Warsaw, where he spent a week creating the choreography for Robert Wilson’s newest work, Charles Gounod’s five-act opera “Faust,” which is scheduled to premiere at Teatr Wielki in Warsaw on October 26th. He came back to New York City in the nick of time to prepare for:
(1) SNEAK PREVIEW OF CPR – CENTER FOR PERFORMANCE RESEARCH Together with choreographer John Jasperse, Bokaer, who was a founder of the Brooklyn arts organization Chez Bushwick, is creating a new space for dance and performance art, CPR – Center for Performance Research, located on the first floor of Greenbelt, a four-story residential condominium currently under construction. On March 8, there will be a sneak preview of CPR, offering the public a first look at its potential uses. The Saturday night festivities include free performances by a slew of downtown luminaries such as Ann Liv Young, Kayvon Pourazar, Amanda Loulaki, Matjia Ferlin, Aimar Perez Galí, and Bokaer himself in collaboration with Michael Cole.
(2) “THE INVENTION OF MINUS ONE” and “FALSE START,” two premieres by Bokaer, will be presented at the Abrons Arts Center, March 12–16. Embodying the adventurous spirit of the 21st century, Bokaer’s dances marry cutting-edge technology with the physical beauty of human movement, celebrating their capacity to transform the look and meaning of the other while posing philosophical questions about each. For “The Invention of Minus One,” Bokaer has enlisted the talents of past and present stars of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. They include Holley Farmer, Rashaun Mitchell and Banu Ogan. The costumes are by Isaac Mizrahi; the virtual décor by Michael Cole, a Cunningham alumnus; and the lighting is by Bessie award winning designer Aaron Copp. The music is an original electronic score by Christian Marclay. Inspired by Jasper Johns’s iconic painting of the same name, “False Start,” is a solo choreographed, animated and performed by Bokaer. The dance, recalling the early motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge, questions the ways in which the dancer simultaneously erases his presence while creating a sequential moving image.
(3) 2WICE, the award-winning arts publication, uses Bokaer as its single subject for its spring edition (to be published March 14). With Joachim Ladefogaed’s unblinking camera lens as his silent witness, Bokaer enacts ”False Start” in its entirety, using a mirrored floor as a revealing partner to reflect and create new aspects of reality. The book is designed so that the individual painterly portraits of Bokaer moving can be viewed as single images or as a flip-book; the creative choice is up to the viewer.
(4) PULSE Contemporary Art Fair invited Bokaer to create public programming at Pier 40 in association with the New York Armory Show. The exhibitions and events planned include Bokaer’s performance of “The Invention of Minus One” and a program by artists whose work cross into the realm of visual art performance. Bokaer is also planning a series of youth workshops taught by him and other professional dancers geared to engage younger audiences in the experience of installation-based artwork.
The CPR Performances begin at 7pm. The art fair takes place March 28 and 29.
Where To Go
CPR is located at 361 Manhattan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
ABOUT JONAH BOKAER: When Bokaer joined the Merce Cunningham Dance Company after graduating from the North Carolina School of the Arts in 2000, he became the youngest dancer ever to perform with the Company. While with the Cunningham Company, with whom he performed until October 2007, Bokaer completed a double major in media and visual studies at The New School. During that period, he also co-founded Chez Bushwick in an industrial loft space in Brooklyn, which he converted into a column-free dance studio, renting out the space at low cost to other choreographers for rehearsals and performances.
Born and raised in Ithaca, NY, Bokaer danced with the Ithaca Ballet as a teenager. His many roles included the lead male in “La Bayadere.” He also studied at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Washington Ballet, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. His fascination with the potential of digital technology, which began while performing with Cunningham, led him to explore new choreographic frontiers, employing motion capture, 3D animation, video art, and installation work. Recognition of his accomplishments have resulted in a Human Rights Award from the City of Winston- Salem (2000), a Fellowship from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (Dance & Media, 2005-2006), the inaugural Gallery Installation Fellowship from Dance Theater Workshop, and one of four Dance/Access Scholarships from Dance/USA, with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For his work with Chez Bushwick, Bokaer has accepted the “Passing It On” Award from the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and a Special Citation from the 2007 New York Dance & Performance/Bessie Awards.
The Invention Of Minus One is made possible, in part, with funds from the Danspace Project 2007-2008 Commissioning Initiative with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Invention Of Minus One is a National Performance Network Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Danspace Project in partnership with DiverseWorks and the National Performance Network. NPN and the NPN Creation Fund is sponsored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Altria, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information: www.npnweb.org. Production support for The Invention of Minus One and Jonah Bokaer/Chez Bushwick, Inc. has been realized, in part, through contributed funds from 2wice Arts Foundation, Cowles Charitable Trust, Freedom Forum, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Goldman Sachs, Prospect Hill Foundation, and the Family Foundations of Jerome L. Stern, and Anne & Joel Ehrenkrantz. Special thanks to galleries Metro Pictures Gallery, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Shoshana Wayne, Sikkema, Jenkins & Co. CPR – Center for Performance Research has received Executive Capital Funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.