(guest) Christal Brown/INSPIRIT, What We Ask of Flesh *
NDP Touring subsidy available
Sat, January 13, 2024, 9:20-9:40am
Christal Brown/INSPIRIT will showcase an excerpt from her NDP-awarded full-length work, “What We Ask of Flesh”. Inspired by the book of the same title by award-winning poet Remica Bingham-Risher, as well as Brown’s own experiences with death and caring for her mother in the last stages of life, “What We Ask of Flesh” premiered in Nov, 2023 at the Mahaney Arts Center Dance Theatre in VT. The performance is abstract and layered, weaving together modern dance, projected images, live music, spoken word, and voice-over.
In “What We Ask of Flesh”, the artists’ bodies become instruments that question, connect and dismantle the tangible and intangible histories present in us all. Connecting personal narratives from the cast, accompanied by a live soundscape with media design, the performance is a physical examination of the capacity of human life and the intricacies of the mind.
Seeing flesh as the veil between the world and the soul, Brown and her company explore what people hold, relinquish and collect to create an identity. The performance merges Brown’s eclectic movement vocabulary, experiential research through movement and interviews, neuroscience, and the literature of black futurist scholars to build an ephemeral experience of spirit, flesh, and soul.
Black and white projected illustrations create a mythical, geometric world that supports the folding and unfolding of time and space. The soundscore reflects and responds to the complexity of shifting identity, while establishing a whimsical environment of call-and-response, through drums, vocals, piano, electronic looping and distortion.
“What We Ask of Flesh” engagements can include an interactive installation that provides audiences inroads into the project’s iterative process. Audiences are invited to write and draw their memories and ancestors’ names on a scroll that will travel to each venue, creating a tapestry of collected memory. Touring company of 10.
Ragamala Dance Company, Ananta, The Eternal
Sat, January 13, 2024, 9:40-10:00am
Acclaimed Bharatanatyam dancers/choreographers Aparna Ramaswamy and Ashwini Ramaswamy will perform an excerpt from their first duet evening: “Ananta, The Eternal.” “Ananta” weaves together threads of body, memory, desire, and devotion, describing the eternal relationship between the deity and the devotee. The experience of beholding the image of a deity with one’s own eyes is a central act of worship and charged with meaning—it is reciprocal and electric. “Ananta” premiered in fall, 2023 and can tour with live music with a total touring company 8, or with recorded score, with a total touring company of 3.
Ragamala Dance Company, Children of Dharma
Sat, January 13, 2024, 10:40-11:00am, at NY City Center, Studio 5
Ragamala Dance Company will present a work-in-progress showing from “Children of Dharma”, their newest large-scale work that will premiere in Nov, 2024 at The Northrop, in Minneapolis. The rippling effects of dharma, or ‘right action,’ can be revealed wordlessly through the body. “Children of Dharma” provokes an immediate emotional response to crises over the ages: from environmental devastation and oppression to unjust wars. Why does war unleash the animal in man? What have we done to our relationship with the natural world? In such an atmosphere, the essence of Bharatanatyam is vitally relevant – to put us back in touch with our roots, to harmonize, to heal, and to reaffirm the existence of beauty and truth.
The choreographers extrapolate from Keerthik Sashidharan’s novel “The Dharma Forest,” a reenvisioning of the global epic, “The Mahabharata,” one of the foundational texts of India. Through a mix of storytelling elements – movement, language, semiotics, music, costuming, projections, and staging—the viewer becomes spellbound at the power of an ancient epic to trace the history of human civilization and divulge, with thrilling accuracy, the mysteries of the human condition.
Monique Martin’s Minty Fresh Circus
Sat, January 13, 2024, 10:00-10:20am, at NY City Center, Studio 5
A work-in-progress showing from “Minty Fresh Circus”, conceived by Monique Martin. “Minty Fresh Circus” will premiere in winter/spring, 2025. “Minty Fresh Circus” is a US-based circus show performed by an all-Black cast, with a majority-Black creative team celebrating the healing power of Black music & movement, infused with the joy & resilience of those who traversed the transatlantic slave trade. With an Afro-futuristic vibe and a steam-punk look, “Minty Fresh Circus” features movement, music, and circus arts in a time-bending journey of redemption. With choreography and movement by Adesola Osakalumi and Traci Bartlow, the acrobat/dancers will perform a range of movement sourced from the African Diaspora, including percussive dance, ritual movement, hip-hop, poppin’ & lockin’, jukin’, rope jumping, hand games, along with flying circus acts. The driving score will be composed by Soul Science Lab, the music and multimedia duo of emcee, songwriter Chen Lo and composer, producer Asante Amin – dedicated storytellers through the medium of Black music.
Inspired by abolitionist Harriet Tubman’s and the survival of generations of African Americans, the central question in “Minty Fresh Circus” is: what does freedom feel & sound like if your only access to it is through your imagination? The journey explores liberation spaces, oasis spaces, and joy spaces where black & brown bodies have found sovereignty. The show celebrates the power of Black music as a healing, alchemical, transformative force; a ritual, a portal to joy and an invitation to tap into your imagination.
Structured in nine rituals via spectacular circus and dance skills, this all-ages show will be 70 minutes in length, touring with 7 circus and dance artists plus 2 staﬀ/crew. “Minty Fresh Circus” will preview at the Apollo Theatre in NYC in fall of 2024. It will receive its world premiere in spring, 2025, at a venue to-be-announced.
(guest) Kayla Farrish, Put Away the Fire, dear *
NDP Touring subsidy available
Sat, Jan 13, 2024, 10:20-10:40am
Kayla Farrish will showcase an excerpt from her NDP-awarded full-length dance-theater work: “Put Away the Fire, dear”. “Put Away the Fire, dear” is a performance mapping the journey of six BIPOC and marginalized characters taking the reins of their narrative. As choreographer and filmmaker, Farrish applies filmmaking techniques in narrative formation, employing camera movement and editing to witness these characters in full humanity.
Through old-Hollywood plot frameworks, the live performance plays out along these arc structures as the characters disrupt their oppressive tropes of their designated scripts. Jumping through portals spanning reality and cinema, “Put Away the Fire, dear” uproots power and history across generations of the American landscape to rupture the leading socio-political narratives living in American Cinema of the 1930s-60s.
Toni Morrison defines “The Master Narrative” as the lens of a dominant power and our consumption of inherited stories that depicts us all in archetypes of identity. Bursting tropes and filling missing storylines, the performers endeavor to write new narratives of ranging humanity and power. The six characters traverse scenes and worlds through dance-theater, ranging storytelling, set design, and a score of reclaimed exploited Black American music.
A Black Woman contrasts her archetype of disappearance, with potent will. Various characters shift the lens and redirect storylines across eras of thriller, film-noir, romance, and musical. Remixing dance-theater, storytelling, cinema’s gaze, voice, and music, they disintegrate archetypes as they live their inaccessible range of humanness. Disrupting erasure as a Black American Woman from the South, Farrish’s radical dreaming carves an immersive eye through time-hopping from her grandmother’s perspective, to her trapped house between real and myth, onwards to fantastical cinematic plots. Farrish and her company boldly take the pen, release the flame, setting fire to the structures that be.
NDP touring subsidy available!
Yanira Castro|a canary torsi, i came here to weep
Sat, January 13, 2024, 11:00-11:30am, at NY City Center, Studio 5
Experience the “weep” score with creator Yanira Castro, from her multimodal, interactive project: “I came here to weep.” Enacted by the public, “I came here to weep” is made up of participatory scores with corresponding materials and environments that examine US territorial possession through the redaction, deconstruction, and performance of absurdist colonial texts. In this showcase, you will have the opportunity to enact the “weep” score – or to observe.
With “I came here to weep”, Castro has created a project that serves as an iterative platform investigating the complex relations of citizenship vis-à-vis Borikén (Puerto Rico) and the United States.Supported by a Creative Capital grant, “I came here to weep” received its premiere at The Chocolate Factory in NYC in fall, 2023. A portion of the experience was presented in San Francisco at ODC: “I came here to weep” is “a collective awakening, the meeting of a performance cult, a shelter-building exercise for strangers, leaves the closing night audience at ODC Theater in a stunned silence.” – Jen Norris for Jen Norris Dance Reviews
“I came here to weep” proposes audience assembly, transmission, and revenge and invites the public into multiple forms of witnessing and activating the work. Those modes are: Open Hours dedicated to the public’s independent exploration of the project’s scores and environments; Group Activations/collective performances with Yanira Castro; Communal Meals with invited local Boricua artists/activists/thinkers; and a Tea Ritual developed with local Boricua teens. The touring company is comprised of 5 people in total. Engagements can be customized accordingly.
Sankofa Danzafro, Behind the South: Dances for Manuel
Sat, January 13, 2024, 11:30-11:50am, at NY City Center, Studio 5
From Medellin, Colombia, the Afro-Colombian dancers and musicians of Sankofa Danzafro (Rafael Palacios, Artistic Director) will present an excerpt front the full-length work: “Behind the South: Dances for Manuel” (Detras del Sur: Danzas para Manuel). A tribute to the distinguished Colombian writer Manuel Zapata Olivella’s most acclaimed work: “Changó, el Gran Putas,” (Chango, the big badass) in which Zapata combines his creative genius and meticulous writing documenting the Afro-descendent diaspora in the South American continent.
“Behind the South: Dances for Manuel” is composed of five acts, following the structure of Zapata’s novel. Through choreography and dramaturgy, the performance references reckless omens, miraculous births, and libertarian rebellion; expressing the pain of losing connection with the motherland and the nostalgia of no return. Vicissitudes of enslaved men and women intertwine with the presence of their ancestors, their dead, and the orishas Yemayá, Elegba, and Changó, forgers of their destinies. “Behind the South: Dances for Manuel” celebrates the vital force of the muntu (the African people) and their use of the dancing body and music as ritual to invoke Changó, the son of Yemaja and the mother goddess, protector of birth in the Yoruba tradition and religion.
“Behind the South: Dances for Manuel” (60 minutes) premiered in May, 2021 as a co-production with the Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo in Bogotá. It tours with a total of 18 people: 12 dancers; 3 musicians; and 3 staff/crew and will presented by Montreal’s DanseDanse Feb 20-24, 2024 and at The Joyce Theater Feb 27 – March 3, 2024 before the company’s tour in Europe.
Everyone attending, participating, or working any part of the showcases at City Center in Studio 5 MUST BE MASKED AT ALL TIMES – unless they are performing or speaking/addressing the event.