The Hurtling Return of Arthur Aviles in D-Man

posted by Wendy Perron on Monday, Mar 25, 2013
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Arthur Aviles, 1993, Photo by Gilbert Tourte, Dance Magazine Archives

Arthur Aviles, that flying missile of androgynous human beauty, returns to D-Man in the Waters in a role he created back in 1989. This is the one uncontestedly exhilarating piece by Bill T. Jones, and Aviles was a soaring skidding mass of daring joy in it 24 years ago. As part of his 50th-birthday celebration, he will appear during the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Companny season at the Joyce on March 30 at 2 pm and April 5 at 8 pm. Click here for tickets.

Arthur says that when he came to the Bill T. Jones, he had done plenty of gymnastics, wrestling, swimming and diving—and it was all utilized in the piece. Since he left the company 18 years ago, some of his sections were cut because they were “too physically crazy to do.” Will he restore them this week? He’s doing yoga, zumba, and goes to Crunch to try to make this happen.

As I mentioned in my “New York Notebook,” the dance is inspired by the striving spirit of one of Bill T.'s dancers who was fighting AIDS. “People were dying of AIDS,” Arthur says, "and those people were dropping all around us and I just had to run the gauntlet obstacle course to stay alive for them!!!”

Aviles has gone on to build BAAD, a thriving center for dance and performance in the Bronx, which at the moment is producing a women’s festival. He has also done some beautiful dancing, including a piece using Remy Charlip’s air mail dances, directed by Aviles' mentor, Aileen Passloff. whose own choreography goes back to Judson Dance Theater.

In fact, Marta Renzi made a film, Arthur & Aileen, about Passloff and Aviles' mentor/mentee relationship. If you think that the ballet world has a corner on great coaching, take a look.