Every year, the DANCE NOW Festival challenges artists working in various genres to choreograph a clear and complete piece, no longer than five minutes, for the tiny stage at Joe's Pub. But walking into a rehearsal for ZviDance's festival submission,you would never know the company was preparing for a performance in a smaller space.
As dancers Alex Biegelson and Chelsea Ainsworth rehearse an excerpt from Zvi Gotheiner's LIKE, they never shy away from expansive movements, wrappingaround one another and lifting each other off the ground, sometimes upside down. However, Gotheiner and his dancers say they are excited to present the duet in an intimate space, as the audience will have the opportunity to experience the subtle nuances of the pair's onstage relationship.
Dancer/choreographer Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie's background is a melting pot of cultures from all over the world—which you can vividly see reflected in her work. But the recent Harkness Promise Awardee attributes the cross-pollination of genres in her work to more than just her background.
Sara Mearns' #arabesqueseries captures her in the iconic pose as she tours to festivals and galas around the world. Photo via Instagram
For many of today's top dance artists, summer layoff has turned into series of solo tours. We can often catch a peek on their Instagram posts, where their candor about the long hours, sore bodies and early morning flights to and from festivals does nothing to diminish the glamor of leaping through some of the most breathtaking venues. But these summer appearances are a feat of determination.
The dancers themselves meticulously organize these tours. They are in charge of fielding requests aligning schedules and flight itineraries, securing their own costumes and music, and then rehearsing for their guest roles—sometimes with an entirely new partner.
What is "dance theater"?Is it Pina Bausch's raw examinations of everyday life? Is it performance that mixes movement and text? Is it dance that tells a story? Dance Magazine talked with four choreographers who use elements of dance and theater—but whose work escapes easy categorization—about playing with narrative, integrating movement and words, and what "dance theater" means to them.
Dance theater, to me personally, means that there's no hierarchy of materials you can use to make a piece. Movement is not more important; text and narrative aren't more important. I feel this complete free range as I try to express something, to use a whole variety of theatrical elements, like relationship, cause and effect, clothes, dance, singing, talking, found text, plays, literature—this cornucopia of theatrical possibilities.