We are thrilled to share many new works* created during the pandemic with works-in-process and existing dances that continue to tour. Each recording includes an artist & colleague conversation or an artist introduction as noted below.
LaTasha Barnes’ “The Jazz Continuum” centers the prolific artistry of Jazz music and dance as a cornerstone of Black American cultural forms. Performed by an intergenerational cast of seven Black dancers and six Black musicians, this one-hour performance celebrates the creative power and unapologetic joy of Black music and dance. Barnes reaches back nearly 100 years, facilitating the connection between the dances that sprang from America’s Black Jazz music to today’s House and Hip-Hop dance vernacular. Each performer embodies their personal dance and music journeys, investigating the energetic and generative relationships within Jazz and Lindy Hop; they co-conspire newness, sharing inspiration to one another and the audience. The Jazz Continuum was supported and presented by Guggenheim Works & Process and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in 2021.
Currently on faculty at ASU (Tempe) School of Music, Dance & Theater, Bessie Outstanding Performance award winning Barnes is an ethnochoreologist and internationally recognized performer, choreographer, educator, and Tradition Bearer of Black Social Dance Forms. “To watch LaTasha Barnes dance is to watch historical distance collapse.” – Brian Seibert, NY Times
Selected video excerpts follow a conversation with Artistic Director LaTasha Barnes in conversation with Melanie George, Associate Curator, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and Dramaturg for “The Jazz Continuum”.
Join us in this virtual showcase to learn about a canary torsi|Yanira Castro’s project, COMMUNE: a project that invites audiences into communal action in their own spaces through the embodiment of performance scores. During the showcase, we will share a score that you can enact in your own space, followed by a conversation between artists Yanira Castro and Christopher Nuñez focusing on how the collaborators are embracing accessibility from the inception of this project – as a valuable resource for the creation and appreciation of COMMUNE’s aesthetics. COMMUNE is organized in relation to specific political moments. The first COMMUNE took place during the US presidential transfer of power in 2021. In 2022, it will take place during the primaries and midterm elections and will be a performance podcast. COMMUNE is a means for the public to gather and meditate on collective transformation. COMMUNE is an extension of Castro’s 2020 work created during the pandemic: “Last Audience: a performance manual.”
Associate Curator, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and Dramaturg for “The Jazz Continuum”.
(14 minutes in length)
“A captivating, haunting, and bizarre dreamscape – like Dr. Seuss meets David Lynch on the last days of a bankrupt circus.” – choreographer Sheldon B. Smith, Chair, Mills College Dance Dept
“These Are the Ones We Fell Among” is a one-hour duet performance that takes inspiration from the movements, myths and metaphors of our non-human cousins (from our most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita, to our largest land mammal, the elephant) and reflects upon the dire condition of our climate. Performed by Shinichi Iova-Koga and Dana Iova-Koga, this work grapples with elegance in the face of extinction and looks for humor and grace amid excrement and fear. “A splendid hour – an affirmation of form and content exploded into a new field of sorts. What a tour de force!” – choreographer Margaret Jenkins
The selected video excerpts will be accompanied by an introduction by Ann Carlson.
“Dökk” is a multimedia performance of light, sound, and movement created by Italian digital art studio fuse* and performer Elena Annovi. One-hour in length, “Dökk” is a solo journey through the subconscious, taking audiences into an endless universe. It looks at the circle of life as a search for the balance between light and darkness. Using data collection technology, synthesized through an algorithm, combined with multiple projection layers and Elena’s moving body, every Dökk performance is a unique experience for the audience. “Dökk” is available for dates in North America in a November 2022, touring period. fuse* is a digital design studio located in Campogalliano in Northern Italy.
Documentary interview footage of “Dökk” is followed by selected excerpts from the show.
Lost Dog’s “Juliet & Romeo” reveals the true story of Shakespeare’s most revered couple. In this version, Romeo and Juliet didn’t die in a tragic misunderstanding. They grew up and lived happily ever after. Well, they lived at least. Now Romeo and Juliet are 40ish. At least one of them is in the grips of a mid-life crisis. They feel constantly mocked by their teenage selves and are haunted by the pressures of being the poster couple for romantic love. They have decided to confront their current struggles by putting on a performance in front of a live audience – about themselves. Their therapist told them it was a terrible idea. Directed by Olivier Award-nominated Ben Duke, “Juliet & Romeo” takes on our obsession with youth and the inevitable issues with romantic longevity.
Since its premiere in 2017, “Juliet & Romeo” was featured in the British Council’s showcase at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe and has toured throughout Europe and the UK. It will be presented at the Adelaide Festival March 5-12, 2022. One-hour in length, “Juliet & Romeo” is performed by Solene Weinachter & Kip Johnson and tours with a total of four. Lost Dog Dance is located in East Essex, UK.
Compilation of selected excerpts are followed by Artistic Director Ben Duke in conversation with Raquel Meseguer Zafe, Lost Dog Co-Founder and Associate Artist.
(12 minutes in length)
Guided by the ethos “bringing dance where it doesn’t belong,” Monica Bill Barnes and Co-Creator Robbie Saenz di Viteri share information in this virtual showcase about the company’s two available touring shows with additional comments by Brooke Horejsi, Executive Director, UT Presents and Hollis Ashby, Artistic & Executive Director, Williams Center for the Arts.
“Happy Hour” is dance-show turned into an after-work office party. Come for the free drink, stay for the hope of a life-changing experience. Dressed in a pair of everyday men’s suits, two women crash an after-work office party playing instantly familiar guys. It’s a subversive move, leading audiences to question expectations of women on stage with a free drink in their hands and microwave popcorn flying through the air. “Happy Hour” is one hour in length, and is suited for audiences 50-400 in size. Since its premiere in 2015, “Happy Hour” has been performed all over the world in various settings from a barn in upstate New York to a villa in Italy.
A 7 year old falls in love with dance at her first recital. 40 years later, she works every day to stay in the game. At 70 she keeps moving. “The Running Show” documents the life of a dancer through movement, interviews, and stories. The show features a large cast of local performers in every city it travels to. Dancers from each community, ranging in age from 12 years old to 84, join Barnes on stage, learning their parts over the course of one week of rehearsals. de Viteri interviews each cast, incorporating their voices and stories into the show giving the audience an unprecedented look into the life of a dancer as a new kind of sports hero, that keeps moving against all odds. “The Running Show” received its covid premiere in Sept, 2021 in Akron, presented by Dance Cleveland. It will next be presented at the American Dance Festival in July, 2022.
“Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim” evokes an elaborate ritual where time is suspended and humans merge with the divine. The dancers conjure the cosmic trinity of Varanasi, India: sacred pilgrimage routes, the Ganges River, and the patron deity Shiva shrouded in the chants of Vedic priests. Ranee Ramaswamy & Aparna Ramaswamy, Artistic Directors of Ragamala, imagine a metaphorical crossing place that enters the world of immortality. They expand upon the birth-death-rebirth continuum in Hindu thought to honor immigrant experiences of life and death in the diaspora. With a saturated lighting design and set by the internationally renowned Willy Cessa, ”Fires of Varanasi” is performed by 11 dancers and is 80 minutes in length. “Ragamala is an excellent company. Their devotion to the Bharatanatyam style and to treating that lineage as a living language is always radiantly clear.” — The New York Times
A site-specific “Fires of Varanasi” premiered on Sept 11, 2021 at the Kennedy Center’s REACH outdoor space before its indoor premiere on Sept 17, 2021 at the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth. It has since been presented at The Joyce Theater and Chicago’s Harris Theater. Selected video excerpts from both indoor & outdoor stagings are accompanied by a conversation between the Ramaswamys and Alicia Adams, Director International Programming, The Kennedy Center.
(work in progress)
“Invisible Cities” reimagines Italo Calvino’s novel of the same name – interpreted through interwoven cultural perspectives – for the stage. As a South Indian artist, Ramaswamy (‘Best of dance 2021,’ The Washington Post) devises mythical, sinuous environments where past, present, and future collide to articulate a timeless space; these worlds capture the disorientation and re-orientation of the immigrant settling into a new land. Her work refracts and reshapes narratives/ways of narrating to create alternative possibilities. Ramaswamy’s choreographic methodology is anchored in the South Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam. For “Invisible Cities,” she collaborates with three dancers of distinct cultural backgrounds/dance lineages (Gaga technique, Contemporary/African Diasporic, and Breaking). In addition, internationally renowned artist Kevork Mourad contributes his technique of live drawing and animation, developing a collaboration in which art, music and movement harmonize with one another. Both haunting and hopeful, ethereal and full of depth, Mourad’s visual architectures provide a dynamic and unpredictable dimension to the stage performances.
Supported by residencies at NCC Akron and The Kohler Center, “Invisible Cities” will premiere at the Cowles Center in January 2023 as part of The Great Northern Festival in Minneapolis in a co-presentation with Northrop. Compilation video excerpts are followed by a conversation with Ashwini Ramaswamy and Kristen Brogdon, Director of Programming, Northrop.
Rafael Palacios’ newest work for Sankofa Danzafro, “Behind the South: Dances for Manuel” is a tribute to the distinguished Colombian writer Manuel Zapata Olivella’s most acclaimed work: “Changó, el Gran Putas,” (“Chango, the Biggest Badass”) in which Zapata documents the Afro-descendent diaspora in the South American continent. A succession of reckless predictions, miraculous births, anticipated tragedies, and libertarian rebellions are staged through powerful Afro-Colombian dance, live music, and dramaturgy. Premiered in Bogota in May, 2021, “Behind the South” is performed by 12 dancers and 3 musicians and is one-hour in length.
Compilation of selected excerpts are followed by a conversation between Artistic Director Rafael Palacios and Cristina Vazquez, Director, Contenidos Artisticos (MEX-US).
On the heels of celebrating its 50th anniversary season, the company shares archival footage of Brown’s iconic “Astral Converted” (1991), with a score by Laurie Anderson and set & costume design by Robert Rauschenberg along with recent footage of the company’s most recent “Trisha Brown: In Plain Site” staging at Wave Hill in NYC for this virtual showcase. The company will be touring “Astral Converted” along with other proscenium works this spring in Europe and for its home season at The Joyce in June, 2022. The “In Plain Site” programs are immediately available for alternative performance spaces, indoor & outdoor. “The program revealed… the adaptable nature of [Brown’s] choreography, its capacity to slip into unforced conversation with a new environment. Wherever it goes, it has a way of fitting in, not an intrusion but an extension of its surroundings.” – NY Times
Selected video excerpts are accompanied with comments from company dancers Amanda Kmett’Pendry and Marc Crousillat.