The dance event of the season, understandably, happens to be a film. WHEN WE FELL—choreographed by Kyle Abraham and directed by Abraham and Ryan Marie Helfant—was commissioned by the New York City Ballet and was shot inside their Lincoln Center home.
The film is introduced by dancer-choreographer Wendy Whelan, Associate Artistic Director, New York City Ballet. See link below for free streaming details to the film as well as the short RETURN TO FORM: CREATING KYLE ABRAHAM’SWHEN WE FELL.
Jessica Emmanuel presents ‘kwirē/, a new solo, multimedia dance work that “considers a dystopian world where the majority of historical and ancestral information has been destroyed.”
The wealthy have left the planet and few humans survived. A dance and sound retrieval system has been created to help us restore our connection to our memories and the history that is stored in our DNA. Guided by Emmanuel’s ancestors, she gathers and collects information, nurtures the soil and roots that are used to restore the earth for those left behind.*
Filmed on the REDCAT stage and available to watch this week online, the work takes place in a sculptural installation created in collaboration between Emmanuel and Trulee Hall.
From top: Jessica Emmanuel, ‘kwirē/; Emmanuel in Reflections of the Vastness Within at TheChronicles of LA: Chapter 2:Self, 2018; Emmanuel in Trilogy: Witnessing Her + Decolonize That Mind + Proliferation of Joy, Teatr Studio, Warsaw, 2018; Emmanuel in Poor Dog Group, Dionysia (aka Satyr Atlas), Getty Villa, 2011.
This year, the CalArts Winter Dance—presented with Redcat—will be online, “an immersive, digital performance… synthesizing the embodied memories of the faculty and students… charting [their] personal and shared histories with fresh insights through cutting-edge cartographies, [imagining] new dances in new forms through new technologies”*
Maybe within the museum dance can have another rhythm, temporality, be made more elusive. Dance could then escape the heavily prescribed regime often found in theaters, with concise beginnings and ends and a required length. Here then it could even be made “ghostly.”
Even then, I can attest to my general feelings of unease with the weight of History and the collecting of objects within the museological frame. This unease also bears on questions of site/sight as it pertains to the museum as space for viewing dance and performance. I have become increasingly more comfortable and, let’s say, provoked by the role of seeing and being seen by an audience. This relation to an audience is crucial and in large part where the resistance lies in my work. — Ligia Lewis*
As the Hammer Museum, the Huntington, and an art-starved public wait for the chance to experience Made in L.A. 2020: a version in person, artist and choreographer Ligia Lewis has created a video documenting deader than dead, her work for the biennial.
Performed by Jasper Marsalis, Jasmine Orpilla, Austyn Rich, and Lewis, deader than dead “began with an intrigue-based inquiry into deadpan, an impassive mannerism deployed in comedic fashion in order to illustrate emotional distance. Utilizing this expression as a type of stasis, Lewis initially developed a choreography for ten dancers that remained expressively flat or dead, resisting any narrative or representational hold tied to a climactic build or progression. Lewis had relegated deader than dead to this corner of the gallery (a kind of ‘dead’ space) where the dance would ostensibly emerge, although deadened in its repetition, limited in its fate, as it ricocheted from wall to wall.
“[Lewis] abandoned this recursive ensemble of death due to COVID-19, reducing the cast to four performers and pivoting to a more traditionally theatrical presentation. In this new work the dancers use Macbeth’s culminating soliloquy (‘Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,’ a reflection on repetition and meaninglessness) as the beginning of a work that unfolds in modular parts, each one an illustration or parody of death, stasis, and the void, each one tied to its own carefully selected soundtrack or sample.”**