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Topping the list of must-see dance to begin 2014 is the world premiere of Okwui Okpokwasili’s dance-theater work “Bronx Gothic,” playing Jan. 14-Feb. 1 at Danspace Project. Described by Time Out New York as “an arresting artist … ruthlessly clean and clever,” Okpokwasili always presents something to strike our curiosity.
For “Bronx Gothic,” Okpokwasili “uses song and movement to chronicle the sexual awakening and exploits of two 11-year-old girls living in the Bronx. Corner bodegas, Newport loosies and Orchard Beach on fire are a few of the memories that threaten to break the body in this partially true chronicle of one woman’s past. Recalling the West African griot storyteller tradition and the epistolary trope of Victorian Gothic novels, “Bronx Gothic” features an intensely physical solo performance by Okpokwasili—who is best known for her work with Nora Chipaumire, Ralph Lemon and Dean Moss—along with direction and visual design by Bessie Award-winner Peter Born,” according to the release. “Bronx Gothic” is co-commissioned and co-presented by P.S. 122 and Danspace Project. For more information, visit www.danspaceproject.org.
Also this month:
Jan. 7-12: Gotham Arts Exchange returns to the Joyce Theater for a third season of “FOCUS DANCE” with performances by U.S.-based dance companies during the annual Arts Presenters Conference. In four programs, the artists included are Jean Butler; Doug Elkins Choreography, etc.; Kelly Garfield Dance; Mark Haim Dance and Theater; Yvonne Rainer and Group; Vicky Shick and Dancers; Morgan Thorson and Urban Bush Women. For more information, visit www.joyce.org.
Jan. 10-12: Gotham Arts Exchange returns with the eighth annual presentation of “FOCUS 2014: DANCE GOTHAM” at New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. In three programs, artists included are Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Chris Yon, Rosie Herrera Dance Theater, Stephen Petronio Company, Adele Myers and Dancers, Gallim Dance, Paul Taylor 2, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, David Dorfman Dance, Dusan Týnek Dance Theatre, Hubbard Street 2 and LeeSaar the Company. For more information, visit www.nyuskirball.org.
Jan. 17: Dance Theatre of Harlem will perform as part of New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Martin Luther King celebration. Works on tap are “Gloria” by Robert Garland, “Agon” by George Balanchine and “past-carry-forward” by Tanya Wideman David and Thaddeus Davis. For more information, visit www.njpac.org.
Jan. 24-25: Dzul Dance, under the direction of Artistic Director Javier Dzul, celebrates their 10th anniversary with the presentation of “Mexico Maya,” a work that brings together the history of the Maya and Mexico into today’s Western world. Performances will be held at the Baruch Performing Arts Center. For more information, visit www.dzuldance.com.
Jan. 28-Feb. 2: After a 10-year hiatus, Rennie Harris and his company Rennie Harris Puremovement returns to the Joyce Theater in a program of critically acclaimed works from the company’s repertoire, including “Rome and Jewels,” “P-Funk,” “Students of the Asphalt Jungle” and “March of the Antmen.” For more information, visit www.joyce.org.
Jan. 30: Hattie Mae Williams and the Tattooed Ballerinas will present “I Wish I Could Drink Like a Lady,” an evening-length piece inspired by Dorothy Parker and her poetry, at the Irondale Theater in Brooklyn. For more information, visit http://irondale.org/FLICfest.html.
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