1. Okwui Okpokwasili: Bronx Gothic
The phenomenal Okwui Okpokwasili brings her solo work Bronx Gothic back to the Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church. The piece, which originally premiered in January as part of PS 122’s COIL festival, tells the story of the relationship between two young girls, but it does not fit neatly into any category of dance or theater. Instead, Okpokwasili draws on the letter writing traditions of Victorian Gothic novels, the oral storytelling traditions of West African griots, and her own cross-disciplinary background as an actress, dancer, choreographer, and writer. Though she’s always a thrilling performer–working with Ralph Lemon, Dean Moss, Young Jean Lee, and most recently Julie Taymour in A Midsummer Night’s Dream–it’s especially worthwhile to see her use all of her talent, and let it roam freely.
2. zoe | juniper: BeginAgain
Led by dancer and choreographer Zoe Scofield and visual artist Juniper Shuey, zoe | juniper makes dances that are visually stunning, with images that stay in your mind long after the performance is over. Unlike many companies that use visual art as a prop or backdrop, zoe|juniper is an equal collaboration between visual and choreographic art, creating a different kind of hybrid performance. Based in Seattle, they return to New York through the Joyce Theater as part of JOYCE UNLEASHED, presenting their work BeginAgain at the 3-Legged Dog in lower Manhattan.
3. Glimpse 2: The Underscore as Performance
This performance has its roots in 1990, when legendary contact improvisation dancer Nancy Stark Smith created the Underscore, a structured improvisation that lasts 3 to 4 hours, with dynamic phases that can include individual, contact, and ensemble improvisation. Since then, the Underscore has spread around the world, including a Global Underscore, as well as a bimonthly dance here in New York City through Movement Research. But until now, no one has explored its inherently performative qualities. Glimpse 1 took place in California in 2012, and now it has traveled east: Stark Smith, a group of dancers, and musician Mike Vargas will spend five days working together before creating a live improvised performance, or in their own words, “somewhere between a 3-D moving art installation, a visit to the zoo, and your living room.” Even if you think you’re not a fan of improvisation, it’s worth coming out to see these experienced performers, who can make you laugh, cry, and want to get up and dance.
Fridays at Noon series: Friday May 9, 12-2, $15.