La MaMa Moves! ’11
May 24 - June 21 | Curated by Nicky Paraiso and Mia Yoo
La MaMa Moves! '11 opened its doors to welcome the dance community from across the world to its stages. The festival promised 60 attractions, 37 premieres and four US debuts. Which is to say that La MaMa’s three theaters, The Club, the First Floor Theatre and the Ellen Stewart Theatre rocked with dancing of all kinds--both the traditional and new Hula, contemporary, post modern, modern, and Neo-Baroque performances.
The month’s highlights included a six-day Israel/New York Festival featuring nine different dance troupes headed either by Israeli-based companies or New York-based Israeli expats. The week of performances featured works by the Israeli choreographers Arkadi Zaides, Idan Cohen, Maya Brinner, Tomer Sharabi & Maya Stern and Yossi Berg & Oded Graf. Each is presenting a premiere. The New York-based, Israeli expat groups, LeeSaar The Company and Deganit Shemy, as well as the YelleB Dance Ensemble also be presented premieres.
International attractions, in addition to the Israeli groups, included Anagrama Coreografico from Italy and Nicole Vivien Watson from England. The NYI lineup also included foreign-born artists now working in New York: Sonoko Kawahara (Japan), Erick Montes (Mexico), John-Mario Montilla (Philippines), and Luke Murphy (Ireland). There were full-evening works by Jenny Rocha, Heidi Latsky, Austin McCormick, & A.O. Movement Collective. Using live music performed by the Brooklyn-based band, One Ring Zero and video by Joseph Rivas, Jenny Rocha’s work, “Mandorla,” a world premiere, was a wildly witty satire of the “exploited artist.” The movement mixed hip-hop, with jazz, stomping and various modern dance styles.
Heidi Latsky presented the premiere of “The Gimp Project: IF,” which challenged conventional notions of beauty in dance by incorporating professional performers with performers with various physical disabilities. Austin McCormick’s “Dénouement-A Murderous Masquerade,” offers a riveting vision of a rich society so bored with itself that it looked to murder as an escape from its ennui. Love, hatred, passion, revenge and lust featured prominently in this tension-filled dance drama that takes place at a party where Russian Roulette is part of the scary fun.
“barrish,” a work for five women, is described by Sarah Rosner of A.O. Movement Collective as an exploration of emotional and physical extremism in which tenderness and brutality, nakedness and fortification were some of the topics. Former Trisha Brown principal dancer Lance Gries, whose own choreography has won great praise from critics, presented the premiere of “Etudes for an Astronaut,” a solo created by and performed by Gries.
La MaMa Moves! ’10
June 4 - June 20 | Curated by Nicky Paraiso and Mia Yoo
The fifth year of La MaMa Moves! had a dance card that was the envy of the ball. It was filled with names such as Sara Rudner, Rashaun Mitchell, John Kelly, Ellen Fisher, Judith Sanchez Ruiz, John Scott, Jennifer Monson, and Doug Elkins--in all, over 75 different performers, many of whom appeared at La MaMa for the first time, and some crossed the pond just for a chance to dance on one of its venerable stages.
Dedicated to the 90th birthday of Ellen Stewart, the founder and artistic director of La MaMa, the 2010 festival extended from June 4-20. The year introduced Rosso Bastardo evenings, which featured the United States debuts of seven Italian dance artists including soloists Amina Amici and Elena Giannotti, a duet by Sara Libori and Arianna DeAngelis Marocco, and a trio performance by Benedetta Mazzotti, Eleonora Cantarini and Giovanna Rovedo, all courtesy of Signae Cesarini Sartori Winery in Umbria. Created to celebrate La MaMa’s long association with Spoleto and Umbria, the evenings were an American capsule version of the Rosso Bastardo Live.
Another highlight was the Hula Night, which featured the New York debuts of two of the leading exponents of the art form: hula masters Vicky Takamine and Robert Cazimero, who is also an award winning singer and songwriter, as well as a leading figure in the resurgence of Hawaiian music, dance, language and Hawaiian culture in general since the 70’s.