A French accent will resonate through La MaMa Moves! this spring when four Gallic dance troupes, along with 11 other experimentalists from around the world, commandeer all three theaters at La MaMa for three and a half dance-packed weeks, May 2-25.
At least 13 new dances –– nine world premieres and four New York premieres –– are being readied for the ninth edition of the festival. The French artists appear in partnership with Danse: A French-American Festival of Performance and Ideas. The Festival is curated again by Nicky Paraiso.
Before embarking on their individual choreographic careers, the French artists achieved critical acclaim as dancers in some of the world’s greatest companies. Examples include former Batsheva dancer Shlomi Tuizer and former Lyon Opera Ballet principal Edmond Russo, who formed their own company, Affari Esteri, in 2004. At La MaMa, they will present their duet, “embrace,” a US premiere featuring text by American writer Christina Clark and music by Oren Bloedow, also an American.
One of Merce Cunningham’s most noted dancers and a featured alum of the Lyon Opera Ballet, Ashley Chen returns to US shores with “Habits/Habits,” a solo whose simple beginning phrase accumulates in complexity as it proceeds in time and space. Chen shares a program with former Cunningham dancer Dylan Crossman, who will present “Every Me Sees Thou a Little Differently,” a trio that explores the complexities and contradictions in our perception of others.
Cedric Andrieux, whose pedigree includes dancing with Merce Cunningham, the Lyon Opera Ballet and Jerome Bel, teams up with Christophe Ives to present “Les Communs,” a duet between Andrieux and Ives, a former performer with Daniel Larrieu, Boris Charmatz and Christian Rizzo, among others. Performed in silence, “Les Communs” examines the breadth and depth of their personal relationship.
“Like all past festivals, this year’s La MaMa Moves! features works of veteran artists such as Yoshiko Chuma, as well as young choreographers such as Chase Brock and Kia Labeija,” said La MaMa Artistic Director Mia Yoo. “It is part of La MaMa’s ongoing mission to celebrate the work of all generations and the inestimable contribution that each makes to the other.”
Japanese-born Miki Orihara, a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company since 1987, is committed to celebrating the continuity of modern and contemporary dance. To this end, she is presenting a program of classic and contemporary solos including Martha Graham’s “Satyric Festival Song” (1932); Jose Limon’s “Maenad” (1971); Martha Clarke’s “Nocturne” (1991); as well as new works by Orihara (“Prologue”) and Adam Barruch (“Memory Current”). Senri Oe will perform on piano. On May 7, Orihara presents a special benefit, Dancing for Japan 2014, the proceeds of which will go to the Tsunami Relief Fund.
“Life is a cabaret, ole chum,” belted Liza Minnelli, and at La MaMa Moves!, life becomes a dance cabaret of “Particular Mysteries” when the diverse crowd of artists, Elena Demyanenko, Dai Jian, Emmanuelle Huynh, Ellen Fisher, and Kia Labeija, take over the La MaMa Club. The program features Elena Demyanenko’s “Looped;” Ellen Fisher’s “Please Come Out;” Emmanuelle Huynh’s “Zorba;” Dai Jian’s “Round#1;” and Kia Labeija’s “Breaking.”
Well-known for combining hot political issues with dance, Yoshiko Chuma premieres “How to Deliver an Afghan Hat” in a shared program with Rebecca Lazier, who will present “There Might Be Others,” loosely set to Terry Riley’s classic 1964 minimalist score “In C.” Although a non-narrative work, “How to Deliver an Afghan Hat” promises great emotional impact in its subject matter: how audiences perceive and understand the emotional, spiritual, financial and cultural impact of war. Lazier’s piece springs spontaneously to life as the dancers, who begin with 21 modules of movement, follow a set of rules resulting in a new dance each night.
The festival concludes with a double bill of world premieres, one by Chase Brock and one by Chris Masters. Brock describes “The Song That I Sing; or, Meow So Pretty,” performed by the Chase Brock Experience, as “equal parts Blue Ridge and Brooklyn, with a restless, sexy, strummy mash-up of tap, finger tutting, clogging, hip-hop, parkour, square dance, step dance, jump style and jazz.” The wild combo of dance forms is set to The New Christy Minstrels. In his “Willful Host,” Chris Masters uses his four dancers to investigate a multitude of issues that beset human relations including the ways in which we empower ourselves through our connections and misconnections to others. The accompanying score is composed and performed by Sven Britt.Prior to each of these programs, choreographer Wendell Cooper will lead a pre-show meditation with the audience.