New York Notebook

March 21, 2011

Mapp Maps Stein

One of those rare postmodern choreographers who can speak easily and wittily onstage, Juliette Mapp offers The Making of Americans at DTW, April 13–16. Mapp, a former dancer with John Jasperse and Vicky Shick, often draws on her own past in her monologues. This time, she focuses on her mother’s family, Albanians who settled in Gary, Indiana—which happens to also be Michael Jackson’s hometown. About her inspiration, Gertrude Stein’s book The Making of Americans, she says, “With the repetition of simple vocabulary, new meanings reveal themselves.” See —Wendy Perron


Underneath It All

Renowned for his collaborations with composers like Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, and Nico Muhly, Stephen Petronio finds his muse in music. The art rock balladeer Nick Cave inspired his enthralling, evening-length work Underland, which has its U.S. premiere at the Joyce April 5–10. “It’s about crime and redemption,” Petronio says, “in a subconscious underworld.”


Using some of Cave’s recordings of “Stagger Lee,” “Wild World,” and “The Weeping Song” as well as original material, Petronio invents a surrealistic world for his 11 dancers. The piece is made all the more haunting by projected images of torrents of shattering glass and animal stampedes, created by visual/lighting designer Ken Tabachnick and Australian video artist Mike Daly. See —Valerie Gladstone


Philly Funk and a ’60s Flashback

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Philadanco offers a triple header at the Joyce including By Way of the Funk, a commission by the intrepid Jawole Willa Jo Zollar about the culture of funk music. Christopher Huggins’ Bolero Too! is sure to be as high-energy as his recent premiere for the Ailey company. And for an extra fun ride, there’s the New York premiere of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, a spoof of a certain pivotal ’60s movie of the same name, by Ray Mercer, a cast member of Lion King. March 29–April 3. See —W. P.



Tara Lorenzen and Julian De Leon in
Underland. Photo by Sarah Silver, courtesy Petronio