Contemporary Choreographies

In Performance: Mariana Valencia, ALBUM (American Realness)

ALBUM Mariana Valencia American Realness, Abrons Arts Center Underground Theatre January 11-15 Mariana Valencia spends the majority of ALBUM staring directly at the audience. Her near affectless gaze conjures a tone of observational objectivity which deftly frames the central questions of her personal dance-music-text ethnography: who writes history, and thus decides who makes it into the records, and who is erased? What qualities make a work of art worthy of, say, a Nobel prize, and how do those standards define cultural paradigms of genius? ALBUM proposes an alternative to the norm in the form of Valencia’s own life, driven in part by her Latinx and queer identities. ALBUM asks what might happen if the marginalized rewrote the standards in their own image. While Valencia’s life is the co...

In Performance: Heather Kravas, visions of beauty (COIL)

visions of beauty Heather Kravas COIL, Performance Space New York January 10-13 Described in the program as “punk in attitude, feminist in spirit”, Heather Kravas’s visions of beauty fulfills this promise most unexpectedly, foregoing distorted guitars and raised fists for a tender choreographic minimalism. With an unflinchingly precise and deceptively gentle touch, Kravas’s movement scores use dance foundations as an entry point to expose the implicit labor of form. Upon entering the space, an ensemble of nine dancers is splayed out in a giant starfish formation, each performer touching another at either the hands or feet. While we do not learn the gender identities of any performers, what we see are one female-bodied dancer and eight male-bodied dancers. The relentless tick of a kitchen t...