Images of Alison Chase Performance
This weekend at 92Y, Alison Chase Performance presents a repertory dedicated to developing dramatic forms of physical expression.
92Y Social Dance, New York City, 1955
DID YOU KNOW: We’ve been offering dance classes, performances and parties since 1935. 92Y has nurtured exceptional talent including dance pioneers like Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Anna Sokolow, Alvin Ailey and more.
Photo credit: Julie Lemberger
Amelia Sanders, a homeschooled sophomore and a scholar in 92Y’s Recanati-Kaplan Program for Excellence in the Arts, interviewed Harkness Dance Festival artist, Ronald K. Brown and his dance company, Evidence, in advance of this weekend’s performance.
In 1985 a nineteen-year-old Ron Brown, with his friends as his dancers and his family as funders, put on the first performance of what would become Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company. Since then, Brown has gone on to win great acclaim in the dance world for his inventive movement, inspired by traditional dances from Africa and elsewhere, and his powerful, human stories. His work caught my interest a couple of years ago when I first saw Evidence perform. When I got the opportunity to visit some rehearsals, I was more than a little nervous at the prospect of meeting these dancers I admire. But everyone was so kind and welcoming. The atmosphere was very warm and friendly and I found myself laughing out loud more than once as they laughed with each other. They are like one big, dancing family.
Video: Faye Driscoll dance rehearsal
Emilie Stoll, a scholar in 92Y’s Recanati-Kaplan Program for Excellence in the Arts, interviewed Harkness Dance Festival artist, Faye Driscoll, for this week’s feature. Emilie will be attending Connecticut College this fall as a dance major.
Sunlight streamed through a wall of windows at the Baryshnikov Art Center dance studio, illuminating Faye Driscoll’s rehearsal. In the middle of the studio, three female dancers and two male dancers were submerged in full body contact, using each axis of their bodies to lean, pull, and push, as an amoeba-like motion began to synthesize. Each dancer completely trusted the other dancers, providing necessary support for the group to fully experience the intense physicality of moving as one being in a seamless way.
Ariel Romage, a senior at Clara Barton High School and a scholar in 92Y’s Recanati-Kaplan Program for Excellence in the Arts, interviewed Harkness Dance Festival (starts Feb 22) curator and opening artist, Doug Varone. Here is her report.
When Doug Varone was a young boy, he was fascinated by musical productions. He got his foot in the door with tap dance and began his lifelong journey in the arts. Growing up, a young Varone watched artists such as Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly and enjoyed thinking of life as a musical. Varone was compelled by dance and always felt the need to be creative. Musical theatre captured his heart and he realized his destiny was in the arts.
Joan Acocella in The New Yorker on this past week’s Fridays at Noon performance of New Dance Group works:
The “New Dance Group Celebration,” a series of remounted pieces by the members of that early modern-dance collective (1932–1955), was presented at the 92nd Street Y’s Harkness Dance Center, on February 1st, and it was an eye-opener. First, it showed you just how political the art of that period was. The New Dance Group was founded in one of the worst years of the Great Depression. Many members of the N.D.C. were proud Communists—their F.B.I. files swelled annually—and you can certainly tell from their work. Second, this concert of pieces that are rarely, if ever, shown today provided something that is sorely missing from dance history: a context for the dances that survived.
We look at Martha Graham’s early choreography and we say, How pioneering! Those sharp lines, those flexed feet, those big squats! And if we then look at the N.D.G. dances—let me name the choreographers represented in the concert: Joseph Gifford, Charles Weidman, Mary Anthony, Pearl Primus, Jane Dudley, Anna Sokolow, Hadassah, Eve Gentry, Valerie Bettis, Daniel Nagrin, Sophie Maslow, and Jane Dudley—you see a lot of same things. I’m not saying that Graham stole these people’s stuff; they may have stolen some of her stuff. Furthermore, hers may have been the dances that did not die because they were better. But boy, was she part of a movement.
Finally, some of the now forgotten work was wonderful: passionate in an uncorny way, and beautifully structured, often with a chaste simplicity. (Later, American dance vanguards, such as Judson Dance Theater and the Grand Union, emphatically did not share this fondness for the classical. To trample on it was their joy.) At the same time, the dances were good representatives of modernism, or one variety of it: blunt, heavy, angular. Every one looked like a sculpture by Gaudier-Brzeska.
The Harkness Dance Festival begins on Feb 22.
Dejando Huellas (Traces): A Sephardic Woman’s Ancestral Journey in Flamenco Dance
Inspired by the story of her Jewish and Persian ancestors and by her experience with the flamenco art form, acclaimed flamenco dancer Leilah Broukhim has created Dejando Huellas: an intimate and original expression of Ms. Broukhim’s roots, her personal journey and the history of her people. The result is a moving and unforgettable work of music, dance and art, which reminds us that the traces of our past define our present and our future. This performance is part of the Flamenco Festival 2012. See it at 92Y on February 25.