On July 7, 2020, La MaMa presents Café La MaMa Live: La MaMa Moves! Online, curated and hosted by Nicky Paraiso. This edition of Cafe La MaMa Live will be the first in an ongoing process of choreographers exploring the creation/recreation of work for an online platform. This live presentation of works-in-progress by Kevin Augustine (USA), Kari Hoaas (Norway), Anabella Lenzu (Argentina/Italy/USA), Tamar Rogoff (USA) will be streamed on La MaMa’s website and La MaMa’s Facebook page at 7PM (EDT) and will include a discussion with the artists involved. These new works will be further developed and presented again as part of the La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival Online later this summer.
We are in the midst of a global pandemic as well as a call to action against all forms of systemic racism, racial inequity and police brutality. No justice, no peace. Black Lives Matter.
Once the pandemic hit and we were sheltering at home, we canceled all remaining Spring 2020 programs and events at LaMaMa including LaMaMaMoves! Dance Festival 2020, and we began ad hoc weekly online programming in earnest through the inventive resourcefulness of CultureHub's LiveLab format as well as finding innovative ways of using the Zoom format.
For a LaMaMaMoves! program to be presented on Tuesday July 7th at 7pm EDT, I've asked four of our LaMaMaMoves!choreographers to reimagine and rethink their works-in-process for the video camera format, perhaps creating a new form/at entirely. All four choreographers - Kevin Augustine (USA), Kari Hoaas (Norway), Anabella Lenzu (Argentina/Italy/USA), Tamar Rogoff (USA) - are resourceful, unique individual artists with their own idiosyncratic movement vocabularies and vividly visual instincts.
Kevin Augustine utilizes puppetry as movement, carving-out heretofore unknown territory. Anabella Lenzu bravely charts new paths for the body as feminist vessel with courage and fierce intelligence. Kari Hoaas researches humanity's essential need for water with a rigorous movement practice informed by visual beauty and clarity. Tamar Rogoff manifests years of movement research and teaching, forging a new form of dance-theater informed by fearless questioning and rigor, a creative lifetime of working with uniquely different performative bodies.
We hope you enjoy these four artists' work within this still-innovating visual format, created out of necessity and a passionate willfulness.
Kevin Augustine: BODY CONCERT Kari Hoaas: Be Like Water – the distant episodes Anabella Lenzu: The night that you stopped acting/ La noche que dejaste de actuar Tamar Rogoff: A Plague on All Our Houses
Puppet company Lone Wolf Tribe is crossing into the dance world for the first time with this hybrid work. Kevin Augustine’s Lone Wolf Tribe (LWT) offers a new multidisciplinary work where oversized body limbs stripped of their skin become a hauntingly romantic, moving sculpture of muscles, tendons and bone. Achingly animated in an extremely rigorous choreography, Augustine performs solo—bringing his puppets to unusual life with his hands, feet and outstretched legs.
Inspired by Butoh and performed to an original haunting score by Mark Bruckner, BODY CONCERT is a minimalistic spectacle coupling exquisitely sculpted foam-rubber puppets to wordlessly explore our partnership with life, death, nature and each other. Dream-like vignettes (50 min) elevate our shared human journey, highlighting our vulnerability and resiliency as the boundaries of puppetry itself are expanded. Performed without a text and accented with heartbreaking hints of nature, BODY CONCERT poetically resonates: we are all alive with life all around us.
This is LWT’s first NYC production since The God Projekt in 2016, which Laura Collins-Hughes of The New York Times said “pulsates with life”, received a Critic's Pick from Time Out NY and won the NY Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Performance Art Production.
Performed by Kevin Augustine (creator/puppet maker), BODY CONCERT is kinetically supported by Bruckner's electroacoustic score composed with melodic fragments of oboe, cello and piano. Designers include Ayumu Poe Saegusa (lights), Gloria Sun (masks & molds), Ilya Vett (technical advisor & set designer). Le Nouvelliste says, “Augustine takes you to previously unsuspected areas, redrawing the limits of puppetry while proposing a reflection on the discipline as well as the theme of his conscious dream.”
BODY CONCERT is a co-production with Canadian company Les Sages Fous. It was developed at artist colonies, Yaddo, Djerassi & Wildacres; awarded performance residencies in Norway (Ella Fiskum Danz), Quebec (Les Sages Fous) and NYC’s St. Ann’s Puppet Lab; funded by The Jim Henson Foundation, The Brooklyn Arts Council and a touring grant from USArtists International under the auspices of The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation.
About the Artists
Lone Wolf Tribe (LWT) is helmed by artistic director, Kevin Augustine. Harnessing visual storytelling with Augustine’s virtuosity as writer/director/performer & sculptor, LWT’s signature feature is its breathtaking tribe of hand-carved, foam-rubber puppets. Blending meticulous craft, physical rigor and decidedly dark humor, our mission is to investigate, challenge and spellbind with fearless original stories that speak compassionately to the human experience. Augustine has written and performed 8 full-length Tribe shows since 1997, traversing monotheism’s ancient beginnings to the U.S. Veteran suicide epidemic.
Along with creating a new cycle of solo shows, Augustine continues to perform his roving clown pantomime, Clarion Call on American streets (since 2012) in partnership with Veterans for Peace, silently exposing the true costs of war. Offering monthly puppet workshops at LWT's company headquarters in Brooklyn, Augustine also puppeteers at the Metropolitan Opera in Anothny Minghella's Madama Butterfly (since 2006). www.lonewolftribe.com
Be Like Water – the distant episodes
Be Like Water – the distant episodes is a series of digital dancehaiku´s created in response to the isolation and uncertainty we are all facing as humans in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. As danceartists we can no longer share our work through live performance and touring. At this moment we have embarked on creating this series of digital mini dancepoems, premiering a new poem each Sunday. We offer these works as short contemplations on time and place; on listening and seeing, noticing the interplay of light, shadow, movement and sound, and what is.
Be Like Water – the distant episodes is based on choreography from the original stage work Be Like Water (2015) which was supposed to have been touring to the USA when the pandemic hit. These video´s began as a way to continue to work and offer our work to the world during this time of isolation. Each video is a solo created for a specific site with each of the dancers in the Be like Water production. Be Like Water is the first dancework by Kari in an ongoing cycle of works about our relationship to nature. Created in an impressionistic and poetic vein, Kari used Bruce Lee´s famous quote as a starting point for the choreography, investigating different ways of moving through our changing world, negotiating obstacles, taking risks and finding opportunities for transformation.
About the Artists
Kari Hoaas Productions was established by the award winning Norwegian choreographer Kari Hoaas in 2005, upon her return to Oslo after more than a decade working in New York City. She is known to create physical and complex performances that allow for ambiguity and contradiction, while retaining a profoundly human quality connected to our broader culture. Be Like Water (2015) is her first work in a cycle of works exploring our relationship with nature, responding to climate change.
Kari Hoaas is an award winning Norwegian choreographer, dancer and teacher. In 2005 she established Kari Hoaas Productions in Oslo, upon her return after more than a decade working in New York City. She is known to create physical and complex performances that allow for ambiguity and contradiction, while retaining a profoundly human quality connected to our broader culture. She has created ten evening length productions for KHP, touring in twenty countries on three continents, in addition to numerous shorter works, commissions, site specific projects and collaborations with other artists. She is Associate Professor at Christiania University College, Institute Norwegian College of Dance in Oslo and teaches internationally. More information: www.karihoaas.com.
Credits Be Like Water – the distant episodes:
#1 POND Premiere May 30th, 2020 Dancer: Katja Henriksen Schia Photo and video: Marius Hauge Costume: Signe Vasshus Music: Fennecz Concept and choreography: Kari Hoaas
#3 BRANCH Premiere June 14th, 2020 Dancer: Gerd Kaisa Vorren Photo and video: Marius Hauge Costume: Signe Vasshus Music: Fennesz and Ryuichi Sakamoto Concept and choreography: Kari Hoaas
#2 FALL Premiere June 6th, 2020 Dancer: Andrea Winsnes Photo and video: Marius Hauge Costume: Signe Vasshus Music: Björk Concept and choreography: Kari Hoaas
#4 LEAVES Premiere June 21st, 2020 Dancer: Magí Serra Music: Kayhan Kalhor Video and photo: Ignasi Castañé Direction choreography: Kari Hoaas
The night that you stopped acting / La noche que dejaste de actuar
The night that you stopped acting/ La noche que dejaste de actuar, is a one-woman show which confronts the absurdity and irony of life, while being an artist and a spectator in today’s world. My work reflects my experience as a Latina/European artist living in New York and comes from a deep examination of my motivations as a woman, mother, and immigrant.
I have been working on a new dance-theater piece The night that you stopped acting / La noche que dejaste de actuar since July 2019, and it was planned to have its world premiere on June 6 & 7 at La Mama Moves Festival in NYC, but due the circumstances of the pandemic, we adapted the stage piece to create a new dance film!
Choreographer and Dancer: Anabella Lenzu Direction: Daniel Pettrow Videographer and Technology Advisor: Todd Carroll Dramaturgy: Naoko Maeshiba
About the Artists
Originally from Argentina, Anabella Lenzu is a dancer, choreographer, writer, and teacher with over 30 years of experience working in Argentina, Chile, Italy, and the USA.
Lenzu directs her own company, Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama (ALDD), which since 2006 has presented 390 performances, created 14 choreographic works, and performed at 100 venues, presenting thought-provoking and historically conscious dance-theater in NYC.
Her choreography has been commissioned all over the world for opera, TV programs, theatre productions, and by many dance companies.
Lenzu has written for various dance and art magazines, and published her first book in 2013, entitled Unveiling Motion and Emotion. The book contains writings in Spanish and English on the importance of dance, community, choreography, and dance pedagogy. Her second book, Teaching Dance through Meaningful Gestures, is expected in 2020 and explores basic exercises, visualization exercises, active imagination, and artistic application. The book explores how technique is a philosophy and a theory, and how the body is an instrument for expression.
Currently, Lenzu conducts classes at Peridance Center and NYU Gallatin and is Artist-in-Residence at CUNY Dance Initiative, 2019-2020.
A Plague on All Our Houses
For La MaMa Moves, I am presenting A Plague on All Our Houses, 12 minute excerpts from a work in progress. It is my choreographic medicine to treat the loneliness, absence of touch and isolation of Covid-19. In the shock of a known world suddenly gone missing, A Plague on All Our Houses looks through dance and documentary to bring 4 performers in relation to their homes and the larger world, into focus.
The means available to us to theatricalize this highly dramatic situation we are now in are startlingly mundane. In the blunt instruments of the dancers alone at home, doing their own camera work, and the unreliable electronics that two dimensionalize the depths of the body and give us all eye strain, we must search for and find a silver lining.
Everything on the screen is important whether a bar of soap, a burn mark on the couch or a pile of cans to be recycled. Making choreography in the intimacy of homes seems invasive. I ask the dancers to open their closets, use their bathrooms as sites, look through their drawers. Their environment is for me an extension of their being, an integrity to be respected. The audience becomes voyeurs into an entire life. The dancers understand that everywhere they place the camera brings a new perspective--a POV, an unfolding of another side of themselves. There is no artifice of set or lighting design to hold boundaries in place.
A Plague On All Your Houses is a hybrid. The La Mama Moves excerpt will be part pre-recorded and part live, part scripted/choreographed and part improvised. It is a merger of fiction and documentary.
COVID-19 is an equalizer. Humans are faced with loneliness, fear and uncertainty. A Plague on All Our Houses draws on this collective experience to see how 4 dancers navigate their balance when what they know is gone.
In the quiet or sometimes chaos of their homes I gain access to an essence of them that would have been absent previously. For a choreographer obsessed with intimacy this often clumsy process is the silver lining. Looking at 4 dancers off stage and out of context, contextualizes us in the presence of an out of control pandemic. It is a rare opportunity to mine the quarantine to further community.
About the Artists
Tamar Rogoff is a New York based choreographer who explores the outer limits of how people negotiate extreme circumstances. She combines and juxtaposes unlikely company members, always on the lookout for magical and tender ways to tell difficult stories. Rogoff’s large scale site works, films, and more traditional proscenium performances house her life-long experimental process to search for balance in the ungainly positions in which she finds herself. Angle of Ascent was performed on a tower rising 25 feet above the plaza in Lincoln Center, while huge water tanks were built there for In Deep. The Ivye Project (1994) took place in a forest in Belarus, surrounding the mass graves of Rogoff’s relatives and others killed in the Holocaust. This later became the subject of the documentary made by Rogoff and Daisy Wright called Summer in Ivye, which was screened at the Hamptons International Film Festival. Demeter’s Daughter, another large scale site-work performed on the streets of the Lower East Side, used community gardens, rooftops, and an abandoned schoolyard. Rogoff’s proscenium piece, Daughter of a Pacifist Soldier, was based on the year-long relationship between her company and a community of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Rogoff choreographed a solo dance piece at P.S.122 for actor Claire Danes. Rogoff has taught at LaMama, P.S. 122 and at NYU’s Experimental Theater Wing. Rogoff also acts as a movement coach for film. She coached Claire Danes in HBO's Emmy award winning movie Temple Grandin and lead actor Thomas Horn in the film Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
She is a five-time recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, and has been generously funded and commissioned by Dancing in the Streets, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Rockefeller MAP Grant, the Trust for Mutual Understanding, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Harkness Foundation, and is a Guggenheim Fellow. Rogoff was also a Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program Fellow. She worked with Daisy Wright on a film about the training of Gregg Mozgala as he prepared to dance the role of the Faun. Rogoff’s methods of release through unorthodox body practices address Mozgala’s cerebral palsy, as together they forge an intimate and vibrant relationship. The film, entitled Enter the Faun, toured festivals in both the United States and abroad, winning the Gran Prix at Belgium’s Extraordinary Film Festival. Tamar’s next film, a short called Wonder About Merri, won “Most Daring Film” at the Dare to Dance in Public Film Festival, and was screened at the REDCAT Theater in Los Angeles. Find out more at https://tamarrogoff.weebly.com and http://www.enterthefaun.com
Emily Pope is a performing artist, teacher, choreographer, and video artist. She is an alumni of the North Carolina School of the Arts. She received her BFA in Dance Performance/Choreography from The Ohio State University and her MFA in Dance/Choreography from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (2007). She currently performs with White Wave Young Soon Kim Dance Company, Hilary Easton + Co., Tamar Rogoff Performance Projects, Tiffany Mills Dance Company, and Douglas Dunn and Dancers. She created HoverBound Productions in 2006, and her choreography and video work has been produced in New York at The DUMBO Dance Festival, Wave Rising Series, Cool NY Festival, St. Mark’s Church, Mulberry Street Theatre, Chez Bushwick, 3rd Ward, and The TANK.
Nik Owens was raised in Altadena, California, and is a New-York based performing artist and dancer who is interested in pieces that involve multidisciplinary storytelling and combine elements of text, movement, and theater. He is an alumni of Wesleyan University where his major was geared towards composition and choreography. In the past, Nik has worked with people such as Kyle Abraham, Tania Isaac, and Nicholas Leichter, and has performed in works with Gierre Godley Project 44, Helen Simoneau Danse, Bryn Cohn + Artists, and Raja Kelly's The Feather Theory. He currently dances with the David Dorfman Dance Company, and is also working on projects with Kayla Farrish/Decent Structures Arts and Huma.
Guanglei Hui is a choreographer, dancer, and teacher from China. He studied at The Bishkek National University of the Arts named after B. Beishenalieva from 2001 to 2003, where he earned a degree in Choreography, Russian Classical Ballet Performance, and Education. During his studies, he competed in the Bishkek International Dance Competition, earning second place overall. In 2005, he joined Guangdong Modern Dance Company, the first ever modern dance company in China. Since then, he was worked with dance companies such as the Yokohama Dance Collection, the White Wave Young Soon Kim Dance Company, Shen Wei Dance Arts, and Yinmei Dance. In 2017, he began teaching at Queens College. In 2018, he also received the Artist Commissioning Program Grant from Queens Council for the Arts and started teaching at the Peridance Capezio Center.
Michelle Mantione earned a B.S. in Physically Integrated Dance from the CUNY Baccalaureate Program. As a disabled dancer, Mantione has performed with Heidi Latsky Dance, Infinity Dance Theater, Mark Travis Dance, New York Deaf Theatre, Steve Paxton, and Susan Marshall. As an arts administrator and advocate, Mantione is a member of the Dance/NYC Symposium Programming Committee and contributor of the NYC Department of Education/Office of Arts and Special Projects: Arts and Students with Disabilities Online Resource Compendium. Other past positions include Audio Description Associates training and Manhattan Neighborhood Network media advocacy training which led to a partnership with former Disabilities Network of NYC’s DISLABELED TV/Film Series and the NYC Commission on Human Rights.