To help you navigate this year’s Festival, we’ll be sharing regular posts on some of the “through-lines” of this year’s program. Whether you have a particular interest in dance or site-specific projects or visual art or film, we’ve got a whole suite of projects for you to discover. So buy a pass and start making connections between this year’s artists. In this edition, we shift away from the thematic focus of our past few posts to point out some TBA projects perfect for dance audiences.
Faustin Linyekula, Le Cargo. Photo: Agathe Poupenay.
Each year, we gather dozens of remarkable artists who work at the edges of contemporary practice, at the intersections of forms and styles and mediums. But just because the artists in the TBA Festival cross disciplines doesn’t mean that their work doesn’t have anything to offer the dance purists in our audience. If you’re looking for that virtuosic wonder of bodies moving on stage, look no further—we’ve got you covered with a whole roster of dancers and choreographers putting forward distinctive new voices.
Visionary butoh choreographer Kota Yamazaki will present (glowing), the lastest work by his Fluid Hug-Hug Company. Yamazki’s unique style seamlessly blends contemporary practice with traditional dance forms—in fact, his company’s mission is to promote the free and fluid exchange of diverse creative perspectives, hence their name. This work takes Yamazaki’s butoh background as a starting point for an investigation of both classical Japanese aesthetics and traditional African dances through a collaboration with artists from Senegal and Ethiopia. By turns fluid and energetic, you can expect a bold and graceful performance, a conversation in movement between practitioners from around the world. And, to further entice you to this one-night-only show, dancer Ryoji Sasamoto just received a Bessie nomination for his performance in the work!
Alongside Yamazaki, we also welcome back PICA alum Faustin Linyekula, a truly influential and powerful figure in contemporary dance. Hailing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he runs Studios Kabako in Kisangani, Linyekula’s practice uses dance and movement as a tool to address the complex and tragic histories of his home country. In this TBA performance—his first solo—Linyekula presents a particularly personal look at his youth in the Congo, venturing back to his earliest memories of dance and music as a young boy. Through personal narrative and his compelling choreography, Linyekula will investigate his very relationship with dance.
US-based, Zimbabwe-born choreographer Nora Chipaumire also explores the colonial legacies of Africa, albeit from a very different angle than Linyekula. As the recipient of the 2012 Alpert Award in Dance, she explained that, “My work as a dance maker has been largely about radicalizing the way the African body and art making is viewed at home and abroad.” In Miriam, Chipaumire creates her first character-driven dance to engage the various forces acting on women: the tensions of home and society, imperialist and racist pressures, and sexual objectification. Along with dancer/actress Okwui Okpokwasili, Chipaumire’s performance will showcase her strong, charismatic style in a new more theatrical format.
If you’re interested in dance and movement-based work, you shouldn’t limit yourself to the choreographers listed in the guidebook. Under the direction of playwright Toshiki Okada, Japanese theater company chelfitsch has pioneered a unique theatrical style that pairs colloquial everyday speech patterns with stylized, idiosyncratic movements. The text of Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech concerns the mundane interactions of millennial office workers, but presents this spare, humorous dialogue through a repetitive and exaggerated series of mis-matched gestures. The result of this juxtaposition is a distinct new approach to theater with a feeling more similar to contemporary dance. In other words, it’s a perfect TBA moment: discovering a parallel between artists working across continents and mediums.