Saturday, August 20, 2016

the CURRENT SESSIONS: Currently at wild project

Choreographer Fana Fraser presents work this weekend
along with other artists for the CURRENT SESSIONS at wild project.
(photo: Quyn Duong)

Movement Currency will focus on how bodies produce, exchange, and perform within systems of value, drawing on figurative and ethnographic practices to consider the lineage of choreographies which qualify our social identity.
--from promo for the CURRENT SESSIONS's new season Volume VI, Issue II: Movement Currency
With New York's fall dance season looming up ahead--and, believe me, it's looming--we can enjoy a breather for a few more weeks. But if you're still craving dance with some bite to it, Alexis Convento's team, the CURRENT SESSIONS, might have just the thing for you.

Last evening's presentation was organized around the concept of Risk--"from fragility to preservation, harm to survival...risk as a performative dimension which trades personal safety for choreographic opportunity." Tonight's show will tackle Debt, and tomorrow's 3pm matinee and 7pm performances, respectively, spin off from Savings and Credit. Each feature a concise mix of emerging artists guest curated by Ali Rosa-Salas, Justin Cabrillos and Sasha Okshteyn.

Risk--well-paced and clocking in at 45 minutes without break--offered work by dance artists Katrina Reid, Jessica Pretty and Amanda Hunt and filmmaker Ben Hagari. Of these four, all intriguing, I found Pretty and Hagari the most compelling.

Hagari's tour de force, Potter's Will (2015), is a sensuous and yet nightmarish ballet for wet clay, hellish fire glow, a man's clay-smeared body and the madly swirling camera of cinematographer Boaz Freund. Set, quite appropriately, to Ravel's La valse, it draws the viewer ever closer to danger--immolation, extinction and perhaps, at this great cost, unimaginable transformation.

Pretty's solo, the third., images a powerful wanting and not having. The dancer is a Black woman with hands often splayed in front of her gentle face, shielding her squinting eyes from the fierce glare of an imagined light source. She moves and folds and shapes her body like a tangle of brambles in big expenditures of energy and motion. She's a powerful, satisfying dancer--all the more reason that the empty platform stage seems confining, as does that invisible light source. Sudden, insistent bursts of song--Kanye West's "Nobody to Love," with its weird exhortation to just "grab somebody" from the party--both kind of name her situation and fragment it into any number of problematic realities.

Movement Currency's series resets the lineup for each show, with some repeats. So, your experience may be different but always an opportunity to discover, engage and be challenged.

Volume VI, Issue II: Movement Currency continues through Sunday, August 21. For programming information and ticketing details, click here.

wild project
195 East 3rd Street (between Avenues A and B), Manhattan

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Friday, August 19, 2016

FRINGE BENEFITS: Emily Carding--and you!--in "Richard III"

Emily Carding as Richard III
in Brite Theater's Richard III (a one-woman show)
at FringeNYC
(photos: Dixie Sheridan)

Instead of paying actors to play Shakespearean roles, Emily Carding gets them to work for free. By that, I mean most of the people in her small audience, each one sporting a lanyard ID--her "Duke of Buckingham," her "Lady Anne"--and occasional looks of uncertainty as Carding's masterful Richard III shares cynical confidences with one or gruffly orders around another. As the tale of bloody power grabs unfolds, condensed to under an hour, no one in attendance--even those without named roles--can fully relax. We know that Carding's Richard might suddenly lock eyes with us, requiring something of us, find us wanting.

We are not safe, Clarence. We are not safe.

What's more, Clarence, we can easily be offed by little more than an arsenal of office supplies.

An anticipated highlight of this summer's FringeNYCBrite Theater's Richard III (a one-woman show) comes to New York bearing awards from the Fringes of Prague and Edinburgh. And, by Richard's will and Carding's skill, it will conquer in its US premiere. The set-up of the new-ish Alpha Omega studio on East 4th Street provides just enough space for Carding to pace or impatiently push off on the wheels of her office chair while maintaining intimacy and a tyrant's grip on her audience.

This Richard's world of scheming and endless violence is our own, where battleground reports come via text message and leaders can instantly document their narcissism with selfies.

The narrow runner of space between two rows of seating--accommodating perhaps 25-30 people--is charged with the energy of Richard's malevolence and excess. Directed by Brite's founder Kolbrun Bjort Sigfusdottir, Carding interprets Shakespeare's Richard--a man of visible disability--with bearing and even speech that I'm greatly tempted to call dance. Dark business suit and skinny red tie askew, her body seems, at once, frozen and propelled in multiple directions even when still. And her speech, if failing in rhythm, moves with varying, unpredictable angles of attack. Deep into the performance, Carding seems to drop into a flow state from which she yields improvised snark--snapping at an unexpectedly stubborn "Lord Grey," Well now I know what you are getting killed for!--or minute, quite convincing facial expressions of fear and disintegration.

Make Richard III (a one-woman show) one of your priority stops along the Fringe. See it today at 4:30pm or tomorrow, Saturday, at 5pm. For information and tickets, click here.

And here's a special note to Fringe veterans and newbies alike: Happily, there's ample AC at Alpha Omega. In fact, you might want to bring a little wrap to throw over your shoulders.

Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company
70 East 4th Street (Lower Level), between Bowery and 2nd Avenue, Manhattan

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