Dancing on the Rail
Anniversaries are in the air this October. Urban Bush Women, the Brooklyn-based company that presents dance theater based on black women’s experiences, celebrates its 20th anniversary at Danspace Project St. Mark’s (October 8–10, 8:00 pm). The Anna Sokolow Dance Theater also marks a major milestone—the 50th anniversary of groundbreaking choreographer Sokolow’s postmodern dance classic, Rooms, a dance theater work investigating loneliness and solitude in the city (Danspace Project St. Mark’s, October 28–31, 8:30 pm). Other veteran choreographers will also be presenting seasons this fall. Molissa Fenley restages her 1983 work Hemispheres at The Kitchen (October 6-9), and Jane Comfort, another Brooklyn-based choreographer, adapts the Persephone myth in a new work of dance theater at The Joyce Theater (October 5–10). But anniversaries and seasoned choreographers aside, there are other works by choreographers who are forging new forms of dance, adding their idiosyncratic, always interesting, and sometimes even hilarious choreographic voices to the dance mix. Below is a list of the different kinds of dance coming in October.
All in the Family
Sharing home movies is an act of intimacy, if not embarrassment. But Everett Dance Theatre (EDT), a multicultural dance company based in Providence, Rhode Island, has no qualms about screening clips and images from cast members’ private reels as part of Home Movies, a new work premiering at Dance Theater Workshop October 14 through 16. Home Movies grew out of a response to 9/11 and the idea that family, in times of crisis, is “comforting…something that is indestructible and that represents the important, the secure, and the peaceful,” explains Dorothy Jungels, artistic director of EDT. Combining personal narrative, video, and dance, the work explores varying notions of family, community, and tradition while it points to the company’s diversity, presenting “different households” and thus “different sides of the city.” Home Movies ultimately attempts to show how family remains the tie that binds across culture, class, and race.
Tickets: $20. October 14–16
Dance Theater Workshop
219 West 19th Street
tel: (212) 924-0077
Dance of Death
Taking mainstream film as her subject, Koosil-ja uses multimedia and dance to explore our society’s fascination with death and dying in deadmandancing EXCESS. She creates a collage of images to critique the violent in our movie-obsessed culture. In so doing she uses dance and technology as performance and as a vehicle for cultural critique. Tickets: $15
October 14–17 and 19–23 at 9:00 pm
Danspace Project’s Out of Space series
33 Wooster Street
tel: (212) 375-0186
Terry Dean Bartlett (of STREB) and Katie Workum (of Workum/Garrett Dance Theater) team up as cohosts of DanceOff, a modern-dance variety show to be presented regularly at various venues around the city. This month’s kick-off performance is at P.S. 122, and the cabaret-inspired evening eschews solemnity—a sentiment normally associated with postmodern dance—for wit and humor, along with new works by site-specific choreographer Noemie LaFrance and downtown dance notables like David Neumann, Jenny Seastone Stern, Clare Byrne, Danny Clifton, and Leigh Garrett. Bartlett and Workum are hoping that DanceOff will help to open dance to wider audiences, proving that dance, far from always being heady and heavy, can also be hilarious.
150 First Avenue at 9th Street
tel: (212) 477-5288
Monica Bill Barnes
The Happy Dance (or what started out ok)
A duet forms the dance basis of this new work by Brooklyn-based choreographer Monica Bill Barnes. A comic tragedy that merges postmodern dance with the kitsch and cheekiness of musical theater, The Happy Dance follows the two leads (Barnes and Tami Stronach) through a landscape of dance showgirls. Meant to explore hopelessness via rather humorous means, the piece involves a dance jig that becomes a mounting obsession.
October 21–24, 8:30 p.m.
Dancespace Project St. Mark’s Church
131 East 10th Street at 2nd Avenue
tel: (212) 674-8194
VANESSA MANKO was the former Dance Editor for the Brooklyn Rail.
27. October 17, 1961, a train platform in Dartford, EnglandBy Raphael Rubinstein
NOV 2022 | The Miraculous
Living only one street apart in a London suburb, two 7-year-olds strike up a friendship that lasts until they are 11 and one of them moves away. In the years that follow, their school careers diverge (one begins attending university, the other enrolls in a local art school) but their musical tastes are oddly similar, as they discover when their paths finally cross again on a train platform in their hometown.
The State of the Plague
SEPT 2021 | Field Notes
For this issue of the Brooklyn Rail, Aminda Smith and Fabio Lanza interviewed Chuang about their first book, Social Contagion and Other Material on Microbiological Class War in China, forthcoming in October as one in a series of new titles from the historic Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company.
79. (Brooklyn Navy Yard, Columbia County)
NOV 2021 | The Miraculous
An artist in his mid-30s living in New York and working in a 300-square-foot studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, finds himself consumed by frustration and anger. Although he is having exhibitions, after the shows close his paintings inevitably return to his studio, unsold. Hes not sure he wants to go on being an artist. A psychiatrist he consults helps him to understand that his anger revolves around his feelings about race, class and entitlement. Eventually the psychiatrist recommends that he begin working with a physical trainer, who has him start boxing and working out with a punching bag. Around the same time the artist, who is half-Choctaw and half-Cherokee, has been meeting with traditional Native American artists who tell him how the practices of dancing, drumming and beading have saved their lives. These experiences lead him to make a breakthrough in his work. Instead of focusing on painting, he begins to adorn Everlast vinyl punching bags like those he has been using at the boxing gym in extravagant styles inspired by Native American beadwork, pop culture, and everyday life. Along with beads, he adds tassels, sequins, brass and steel studs, yarn, chains, and sundry items. Some of the bags feature beaded texts quoting everyone from Simone de Beauvoir to Public Enemy.
Mark Bradford with Katy Siegel
JUNE 2023 | Art
There is a sense of mutual trust and affinity when Katy Siegel and Mark Bradford are in conversation, as they have been for more than a dozen years. On the occasion of Bradfords current exhibition at Hauser & Wirth, New York, Siegel joined the artist at the gallery shortly after the installation was complete. In this conversation they discuss the evolution of Bradfords latest body of work, how he maneuvered through COVID closures, and what it means to imbue works of art with hope and faith.