A Forty Year Experiment
Dance Theater Workshop, Which Celebrates The Beginning Of Its 40th Anniversary, Presents Over 25 Dance Premieres And Original Music In Spring 2005
The spring line-up up at Dance Theater Workshop is shamelessly packed. Over 20 dance companies – ranging from the emerging to the emerged – will take the stage of the 194-seat Bessie Schönberg Theater famous for welcoming risk. How many venues can boast of commissioning and presenting so many artists–all working at the most experimental time of their careers?
“One of the great pleasures of heading an organization so committed to presenting new dance and dance theater works is the shared sense of adventure between public and artist,” said Marion Koltun Dienstag, Executive Director of Dance Theater Workshop. “This spring promises a chance to see some of the brightest talent on the horizon, each determined to set new challenges for himself.”
“The works on stage these coming months highlight the unique and irreplaceable intensity of the physical body as a channel for experience,” added DTW Artistic Director Cathy Edwards. “This season includes new work in dance that demonstrates the dynamic aesthetic range of a generation of dance artists.”
Below are descriptions of this season’s risk-takers, almost all of whom are using original music, some of which will be played live:
Ros Warby, January 6–8: First up is the DTW debut of Australian choreographer Ros Warby, who is readying the American premiere of her new solo “Swift.” In it the choreographer examines the multi-dimensional layers of the female character within an imagined world of fairytale and transformation. Drawn from Warby’s critically acclaimed solo “Eve,” “Swift” is framed by enlarged fragments of Warby’s own moving body shown on 12 different video projections created by Australian filmmaker Margie Medlin. The image-filled dance is accompanied by melodic cello music played live by Helen Mountfort.
Ticket Price: $20; Curtain Times: Thursday–Saturday, January 6–8, at 7:30pm
YANIRA CASTRO + COMPANY AT THE BROOKLYN LYCEUM, JANUARY 7–23: DTW will bypass its own walls in order to present the world premiere of Yanira Castro’s “Beacon,” a starkly lit, site-specific work designed for the historic Brooklyn Lyceum, formerly a 4,000 square foot bathhouse. Audience members will be herded into four separate “viewing pens” surrounded by plexiglass and a curtain suggesting waiting rooms, or at their extreme, “witness boxes in execution chambers.” Examining the confusion, darkness and chaos resulting from catastrophe, the choreography is marked by bursts of sporadic, forceful movement that dramatically reinforce the dancers’ recitation of fragmented text from Aechylus’s “The Libation Bearers.”
Ticket Price: $20; Curtain Times: Fridays and Saturdays, January 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 & 22 at 7pm and 9pm; Sundays, January 9, 16 & 23 at 6pm (Sunday shows followed by a Q&A)
WALLY CARDONA QUARTET, JANUARY 10, 11, 13–15: Eight white cubes are placed on strips of bright white flooring; here and there, patches of synthetic grass; two thin white panels line the walls. It is here that Wally Cardona’s highly dramatic “Him, There, Them” takes place. Anger, intimacy and loneliness are expressed in movement designed to alienate the dancers from each other, making their sudden moments of contact ever more dramatic and touching. Divided into three sections, the dance features live accompaniment by pianist Cameron Grant (playing deconstructed Brahms) and seven snare drummers, as well as a recorded electronic score by Romulo Gaitan.
Ticket Price: $25; Curtain Times: Monday, January 10 at 8pm; Tuesday, January 11 at 7:30pm; Thursday–Saturday, January 13–15 at 7:30pm
ROSEANNE SPRADLIN DANCE, JANUARY 19–22: Set within an artificial arbor and structured as a series of film-like scenes, “Future Past,” RoseAnne Spradlin’s world premiere, is a poetic contemplation of the relationship of nature and spirit. Her theme is echoed in John Bischoff’s commissioned score, which combines electronic music with natural sounds and the ringing of delicate bells. Recorded interviews reflecting on questions of mortality, time and memory resonate through the work.
Ticket Price: $25; Curtain Times: Wednesday–Saturday, January 19–22, at 7:30pm; Friday, January 21, additional show at 10pm
KEELY GARFIELD, JANUARY 26–FEBRUARY 5: While stripped of Keely Garfield’s signature use of narrative and theatrical elements, “Disturbulance” suggests twins whose relationship has been torn asunder. In the dance, set to an original score by guitarist Marc Ribot, Garfield explores the time existing between destruction and reaffirmation. With its punning title typical of Garfield’s dark wit, “Scent of Mental Love” examines the reckless entrances and tormented exit wounds exacted by human love and estrangement. The dance is accompanied by original songs played live by Rachelle Garniez.
Ticket Price: $25; Curtain Times: Wednesdays–Saturdays, January 26–February 5 at 7:30pm
VINCENT MANTSOE, FEBRUARY 10–12: Vincent Mantsoe, born in South Africa’s Soweto Township, will present the American premiere of his fiercely intense solo “NDAA.” Critically acclaimed for his work’s transformative powers and contemporary use of African dance vocabularies, Mantsoe draws inspiration from ancestral rituals and modern world cultures. In contrast to “NDAA” is “Motswa Hole,” which playfully depicts a mischievous character magnetically attracted to the magical qualities of water, inspiring a witty and flirtatious game between performer and audience.
Ticket Price: $20; Curtain Times: Thursday–Saturday, February 10–12 at 7:30pm
CATHY WEIS PROJECTS, FEBRUARY 16–26: What’s in a name? Cathy Weis will present the world premiere of “Electric Haiku: Calm as Custard,” a continuation of her 2002 “Electric Haiku.” Combining lighting by Jennifer Tipton and live sound design by Steve Hamilton, Weis once again finds kinetic joy in the mingling of technological magic and human movement. Also on the program is Weis’s 2001 “A Bad Spot Hurts Like Mad,” a duet set to music by Zeena Parkins.
Ticket Price: $25; Curtain Times: Wednesdays–Saturdays, February 16–26 at 7:30pm
AMANDA LOULAKI & SHORT MEAN LADY, MARCH 2–5: DTW SplitStream alum Amanda Loulaki returns with “La la la la, Resistance (The Island of Breezes).” Chaos rules in this world premiere created by the Crete-born choreographer in collaboration with her four-member company, Short Mean Lady. Set against Jason Akira Somma’s video installation, Loulaki juxtaposes intense personal stories with larger world events, using movement that physically reflects psychological states and thoughts. “Resistance” is accompanied by Georgios Kontos’s original sound design.
Ticket Price: $20; Curtain Times: Wednesday–Saturday, March 2–5 at 7:30pm
YIN MEI, MARCH 9–12: Traditional Chinese and Western dance theater merge in the world premiere of Yin Mei’s “Nomad: The River” inspired by the dual natures of China’s Yellow River and India’s Ganges River – mythical holy bodies of water as well as sites of destruction and pollution.
Projected animation by Tennessee Dixon converts the stage into a river, along which a ghostly boat carries the dancers through memories of the past and fantasies of the future. Some of the music comes from the Cultural Revolution, through which Yin lived in her native China.
Ticket Price: $20; Curtain Times: Wednesday–Saturday, March 9–12 at 7:30pm
MOB PRODUCTIONS & ROBBINSCHILDS, MARCH 16–19: MOB Productions and robbinschilds make their DTW debuts in a double feature of world premieres. Created by choreographer Mollie O’Brien with her company, MOB Productions, “This is what I would have felt” uses the body to express verbally indescribable sensations of illness. The work is set to a live original score by Shawn Onsgard. Robbinschilds’s “half space” is an often-funny quintet choreographed by Sonya Robbins and Layla Childs that recalls experiences in empty places, public spaces and imagined time travel. To make their point, the stage will be transformed by carpet runners, piles of chairs and a large chandelier. Composers Rosten Woo and Dan Crane created the dance’s score.
Ticket Price: $20; Curtain Times: Wednesday–Saturday, March 16–19 at 7:30pm
JÉRÔME BEL, MARCH 24–26: Long-talked about by New York dance lovers, but never seen anywhere in the United States, French choreographer Jérôme Bel will finally make his U.S. debut with “The Show Must Go On.” In the 90-minute work, Bel’s choreography literally – and wittily – mimics the lyrics of pop songs by artists ranging from David Bowie to Lionel Ritchie to Queen. Look for eighteen dancers, dressed in street clothes and equipped with earphones. Note: their movement is not as simple as it seems! Through the nostalgia-inspiring music, the minimalist set and occasional absence of activity, Bel redefines the relationship between dancer and spectator, creating a performance that occurs not only on stage, but in the imagination of the audience.
Ticket Price: $20; Curtain Times: Thursday–Saturday, March 24–26 at 7:30pm
DAN FROOT, MARCH 30–APRIL 2: Take contemporary vaudeville and edge it with a slash of dark humor, which is how Dan Froot created Daddy Kleinman, a Yiddish gangster-turned-performer and star of Froot’s hilarious New York premiere, “Shlammer.” Froot (choreographer, writer and performer) combines everything available to him—slapstick violence, props, audience participation and song-and-dance routines—to create this contemporary deconstruction of Jewish masculinity. “Shlammer,” directed by Dan Hurlin, is performed to the live music of the DeLuxe Vaudeville Trio.
Ticket Price: $20; Curtain Times: Wednesday–Saturday, March 30–April 2 at 7:30pm
DANCE BY NEIL GREENBERG, APRIL 6–16: Like many artists, Neil Greenberg’s work is a continuation and expansion of past fascinations. In “Partial View,” a world premiere, Greenberg incorporates the multiple viewpoints of both live, unedited video and recorded projections with the
dynamic dancing of four performers, further exploring his experiments in combining movement with non-dance texts. The video design is by MacArthur Fellow John Jesurun; Zeena Parkins created the original music. The program also includes the premiere of a companion piece, “partial view solo,” a dance for Greenberg set to original acoustic harp music, also by Zeena Parkins.
Ticket Price: $25; Curtain Times: Wednesday–Saturday, April 6–16 at 7:30pm
MOLLY DAVIES/SAGE COWLES, APRIL 18 & 19: Molly Davies and Sage Cowles will present “Space, Time and Illusion – Issues of film with performance,” an evening featuring excerpts from their film performance pieces, along with a discussion by the artists. The works, dating from 1976 to 1980, were originally presented as three synchronized film projections with live stage movement.
Ticket Price: $20; Curtain Times: Monday & Tuesday, April 18 & 19 at 7:30pm
FRESH TRACKS, APRIL 22 & 23: Although the details are not yet set for this season’s Fresh Tracks performances, expect an unexpected variety of up-and-coming young choreographers in this series that has been launching the careers of artists such as Bill T. Jones, David Parsons and Molissa Fenley since the series began in 1965. More information to come!
Ticket Price: $20; Curtain Times: Friday & Saturday, April 22 & 23 at 7:30pm
CHAMECKILERNER, APRIL 27–30: “Costumes by God,” a world premiere by the Brazilian-born choreographers Rosane Chamecki and Andrea Learner, celebrates what is naturally erotic and sometimes pornographic about the naked body. Questions of beauty, sexuality, vulnerability, gender and culture are examined through the shifting prism of attitudes towards nudity. OK, the costumes are not only by God, but also by Vinoodh Matadin and visual artist Inez Van Lemsweerde.
Ticket Price: $20; Curtain Times: Wednesday–Saturday, April 27–30 at 7:30pm
PAT GRANEY COMPANY, MAY 4–7: The Seattle-based choreographer Pat Graney will present “the Vivian girls,” a New York premiere, inspired by the often disturbingly beautiful, and at times, violent watercolor collages of the reclusive, Chicago artist Henry Darger (1892–1973). Illustrations from Darger’s 15,000-page book, “The Story of the Vivian Girls,” are shown as projected images. The artist’s obsession with the conflict between innocence and danger is mimicked and illuminated by Graney’s choreography. Martin Hayes and Amy Denio’s original composition for fiddle and accordion further intensify the haunting atmosphere that permeates the work.
Ticket Price: $20; Curtain Times: Wednesday–Saturday, May 4–7 at 7:30pm
FAMILY MATTERS: The series returns with three programs for “children and their adults:” Dances by Very Young Choreographers (January 29 & February 5); The Happy Hour Show (March 5) and Drum Calls for Exquisite Escapades (April 9 & 16).
Ticket Price: $10 kids/$20 adults; Curtain Times: Saturdays at 2pm
Where To Go
All tickets, including DTW’s 4 for 40% Club discounts, are available at the box office, by calling 212-924-0077 or online at www.dtw.org. Dance Theater Workshop is located at 219 West 19th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues. The Brooklyn Lyceum is located at 227 4th Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
DTW’s 2005–2006 Season is sponsored in part by Altria, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, NYSCA, National Performance of Network, New England Foundation for the Arts, JPMorganChase, Time Out New York and Con Edition.
DTW’s Family Matters Series is supported by Con Edison.
DTW Digital Programs are made possible with major support from The City of New York, The New York City Council, The Department of Cultural Affairs and The Surdna Foundation.
DTW is grateful to the following public institutions for their continued support: New York City Council, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City Department of Small Business Services, New York State Council on the Arts, New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
With Gratitude: For continuous exemplary support, DTW is grateful to Altria Group, Inc. and JPMorgan Chase.
Among the private foundations providing leadership support to DTW are: Arts Midwest, The Louise and Arde Bulova Fund, Capezio/Ballet Makers Dance Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Ford Foundation, The Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Harkness Foundation for Dance, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, The William Randolph Hearst Foundations, The Jerome Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The National Dance Project through the New England Foundation for the Arts, The National Performance Network, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, The James E. Robison Foundation, The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, The Scherman Foundation, The Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation, The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Inc., The Starr Foundation, The Surdna Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding and The Lila Acheson Wallace Theater Fund of the New York Community Trust.
Additional Endowment Funds are provided by: The Doris Duke Charitable Trust, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.
DTW also thanks its Corporate Partners for their valuable support: Altria Group, Inc., Con Edison, Goldman, Sachs & Co., HX Magazine, Independence Community Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Limited Brands, New York Times Company and Time Out New York.