From Tunis to Ithaca

Inverting the world. Photo: Bénédikte Longechal

Jonah Bokaer performs his The Ulysses Syndrome with his father, Tsvi Bokaer, May 9 and 10, during the French Institute's World Nomads Festival. Ithaca is the island in the Ionian sea that Odysseus (aka Ulysses) left when he armed himself for the Trojan War, and it’s the place he returned to after ten postwar years of wandering. Ithaca, New York, is the city where Tsvi Bokaer finally settled … [Read more...]

Journeying Along Interior Trails

Souleymane Badolo in his Barack. Photo: Ian Douglas

Souleyman Badolo and Cynthia Oliver at New York Live Arts, April 25 through 27 At one point in Suleymane Badolo’s new solo, Barack, on the opening night of his season at New York Live Arts, Badolo dances with his back to the audience, clapping his hands together vigorously; when he stops, from the audience comes a small-voiced echo of his action (maybe two pairs of hands clapping) that … [Read more...]

Life Eats On

Liony Garcia dines on Melissa Toogood's hair. Photo: Julieta Cervantes

Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre, Baryshnikov Arts Center, April 18 and 19, 2013 Anyone who has ever felt fragile or off balance might be heartened by Rosie Herrera’s Dining Alone. Here’s one of many memorable passages. A woman (Ivonne Batanero) holds a stack of white dinner plates; a man (Liony Garcia), crouching beside her, takes the plates, one by one, from the pile and places them on the … [Read more...]

Giselle, Meet Hanako

Yasuko Yokoshi in Hanako's final transformation. Photo: Ian Douglas

Three barefoot women wearing long, deep-blue tutus; tight, white blouses; and blue stirrup socks confront a visitor. She is spectacularly attired in an embroidered kimono over a red velvet garment that terminates in pantlegs so full that they look like a skirt. Her wig is red and so is her lipstick. She has entered with the tiny, smooth steps of a Japanese Kabuki performer; the women in tutus have … [Read more...]

What Do You See? Look Again

Paul Dunbar shows his stuff in Untrained. Photo: Julieta Cervantes

The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Fisher Space in its compact new building is proving to be dazzlingly adaptable. The seating has been configured differently for all four works that I’ve seen there as part of BAM’s 30th Next Wave Festival, and that design, in turn, influences scenic possibilities and alters the audience’s angle of vision and relationship with the performers. Lucy Guerin’s Untrained … [Read more...]

Portaging the ’60s into 2012

Simone Forti finding the words and the moves. Photo: Ian Douglas

Here’s how Simone Forti laid out her 1961 From Instructions: “One man is told that he must lie on the floor during the entire piece. Another is told that he must tie the first man to the wall.” (I like picturing the possibilities inherent in this structured improvisation.) In her wonderful 1974 book, Handbook in Motion, Forti mentions that the room in which From Instructions was first performed … [Read more...]

Shadowing the Planets


i Eons ago, a solar eclipse made people fall to their knees or consider sacrificing some handy victim. Even when you know astronomy, a rare solar eclipse can feel ominous and a lunar one eerie, but the cosmos is full of smaller eclipses most of us don’t see. A distant planet’s orbiting moons can cast their shadows on one another or on their host. It’s that slow cosmic game of dodge ball that … [Read more...]

Shadow Presences, Tangible Absences

Jonah Bokaer in his Curtain. Photo: Liza Voll, courtesy Jacob's Pillow Dance

The back story:  Jonah Bokaer and David Hallberg were working together on a duet—the postmodern dancer-choreographer and the adventurous ballet virtuoso, the dark-haired guy and the blond one. Hallberg broke his foot shortly before the piece was to premiere at the Avignon Festival. Steps were taken. The show went on. Now I’ll shut up and talk about Curtain as it was at Jacob’s Pillow, August 1 … [Read more...]

Consider the Body

Burr Johnson and Benjamin Asriel (seated) in John Jasperse's Fort Blossom revisited. Photo: Ian Douglas

Maybe this is something you haven’t scrutinized before; maybe it’s a familiar sight. But I imagine you haven’t noticed an asshole in quite this way. To begin John Jasperse’s Fort Blossom revisited, Benjamin Asriel begins an arduous trek on his belly across the floor of New York Live Arts; arms at his sides, he undulates along by a smooth process of humping and arching. Depending on where you’re … [Read more...]

Architectural Grazing

Kneeling: Lawrence Casella and Molly Poerstel-Taylor; seated Eleanor Smith. Photo: Yi-Chun Wu

I don’t know whether Ivy Baldwin roams around looking for images that will nourish her choreographic appetite, or whether she simply goes about her life and things suddenly catch her eye. Her new Ambient Cowboy was clearly fed by sources very unlike those that produced her Here Rests Peggy (as in Peggy Guggenheim, the deceased art patron). Baldwin has let it be known that Ambient Cowboy began … [Read more...]