For the better part of this decade, New York audiences have kick-started each new year with their senses and intellects stimulated, challenged, teased, and even assaulted at the American Realness festival, curated by the indomitable Ben Pryor at the Lower East Side’s Abrons Arts Center.
I sit in the third row, center. Synthesized chords, low and deep, reminiscent of an organ, roll out of the speakers. An electric blue light washes over the stage and a smoke machine gradually fills the space with oceanic fogor is it early-morning mist?
According to her longtime friend and colleague Agnes de Mille, contemporary choreographer Martha Graham would often declare: “Wherever a dancer stands ready, that spot is holy ground.”