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La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival

Bobbi Jene Smith's 'Broken Theater'.
Bobbi Jene Smith's 'Broken Theater'.

La MaMa announces the lineup for the 18th annual La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival. Curated by Nicky Paraiso, the 2023 festival features new and recent works by 12 choreographers and companies with varied approaches to performance. Utilizing movement, storytelling, visuals and sound, the works in this year’s festival reflect the artists’ engagement with the times we live in, questioning, challenging and inspiring conversation through dance. The festival runs April 6-30, at La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre, The Downstairs Theatre and the newly renovated The Club. Performance times vary.

The festival opens with the world premiere of Shadowland by Norwegian choreographer Kari Hoaas. The work for six dancers is a response to an increasingly unstable post-pandemic world through the beauty and athleticism of contemporary dance. The same weekend brings the U.S. premiere of Forced Beauty by another Norway-based artist, Nela H. Kornetová and T.I.T.S. An audiovisual physical performance, Forced Beauty explores power structures, violent aesthetics and the strangeness of empathy.

The 2023 program also features the New York premiere of Bobbi Jene Smith’s Broken Theater, which will run for two weeks in the Ellen Stewart Theatre. This evocative dance, theater and live music piece explores themes of power, love and trust in the midst of the theatrics of rehearsal. Bessie Award-winning choreographer Kayla Farrish, a current artist in residence at La MaMa, will present the second iteration of her new group work, Put Away the Fire, dear. And La MaMa’s resident dance puppet theater company, Loco7, will present its acclaimed work Lunch with Sonia.

There will also be two shared evenings. The first, a co-presentation with the New York Arab Festival, features Leyya Mona Tawil’s Malayeen Voices and a collaborative work by Nora Alami and Jadd Tank inspired in part by virtual reality technology. The second shared program will feature the dynamic artist duo Baye and Asa in their 2022 work Suck it Up and Wendy Perron’s The Daily Mirror 1976/2022, featuring choreography by Perron and Morgan Griffin, with film and photography by Babette Mangolte.

“This season’s festival artists exemplify research and resilience, perseverance and testimony, they give witness to the uncertain times we live in, not necessarily in an overt punch-in-your-face way, but certainly with a deeply felt personal approach that our dance audiences will remember and not easily forget. We are living perhaps in a not yet totally post-pandemic world where emotional response continues to remain tender and raw,” said Paraiso. “From the lush melancholic movement meditations of Kari Hoaas and the fierce feminism of Nela Kornetová, both from Norway, to the passionately propulsive duets of Baye and Asa, and the rigorous choreographic remembrances of Wendy Perron with Morgan Griffin, from the intense virtuosic individuality of Kayla Farrish to the luscious extravagance and shared visceral humanity and community of Bobbi Jene Smith’s Broken Theater, we include and embrace all of our participating choreographic artists. We are also graced by three Arab American choreographers, Nora Alami, Jadd Tank and Leyya Mona Tawil, as an integral component of the refreshingly welcome New York Arab Festival. La MaMa resident dance/puppetry company Loco7, representing several international countries, reprises its moving tribute to closely knit family ties and the perennial remembrance of those who are the most present and influential in our coming-of-age lives. We are blessed to have these dynamic choreographic artists in our 18th dance festival season.“

La MaMa will also host a panel, Stop Calling Them Dangerous #5, Cinema Has Power, featuring a conversation on the power of cinema and a film screening including works by groundbreaking artist Yvonne Rainer. The panel is organized by dancer/choreographer Yoshiko Chuma and will be moderated by choreographer, writer and dance historian Wendy Perron.

Tickets for La MaMa Moves! are $30 (general), $25 (students/seniors). The first 10 tickets are $10 (limit two per person). Two- and three-show packages are available. Ticket prices are inclusive of all fees. Tickets are available at www.lamama.org.

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