American Realness Festival 2017

Cited by The New Yorker as “New York’s preeminent sampler of boundary-pushing performance bordering on dance,” American Realness returns to Abrons Arts Center for its eighth consecutive season with partner presentations at Gibney Dance and MoMA PS1. The 2017 festival presents the US premieres of Meg Stuart’s An Evening of Solo Works, Dana Michel’s Mercurial George, and Ligia Lewisminor matter along with encore engagements of Will RawlsThe Planet Eaters: Seconds, Jen Rosenblit’s Clap Hand, and Juliana May’s Adult Documentary among others.

Masterminded by Thomas Benjamin Snapp Pryor, Realness coincides with the citywide conference of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters — international curators and producers in the market for new work — which returns each year like a recurring dream, or nightmare, depending on your relationship to the idea of shopping for live art.The New York Times

The American Realness Festival is made possible by the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Will Rawls: The Planet Eaters: Seconds

January 5 through January 10, 2017

In this reconfigured study of his previous work The Planet-Eaters, Will Rawls brings new material to his reflection on Balkan folklore and the exhilarating failures of becoming self and other.

Thursday, January 5, 7 PM
Friday, January 6, 8:30 PM
Monday, January 9, 7 PM
Tuesday, January 10, 10 PM

Underground Theater | $20

Meg Stuart: An evening of solo works (US PREMIERE)

January 5 through January 7, 2017

A selection Stuart’s body of solo works, as well as excerpts from evening-length performances.

Thursday, January 5, 8:30 PM
Friday, January 6, 10 PM
Saturday, January 7, 7PM

Abrons Playhouse | $20

Dana Michel: Mercurial George (US Premiere)

January 5 through January 10, 2017

This solo work provides the “ground to test skins” of Dana Michel’s identity; “ideas that may or may not have been imposed.”

Thursday, January 5, 10 PM
Friday, January 6, 8:30 PM
Monday, January 9, 4 PM
Tuesday, January 10, 7 PM

Experimental Theater | $20

Karol Tyminski: This is a musical (US Premiere)

January 6 through January 10, 2017

This is a musical, presents a laboring body in the production of a visceral, discordant and deeply queer electronic fantasy.

Friday, January 6, 5:30 PM
Saturday, January 7, 8:30 PM
Tuesday, January 10, 4 PM

Underground Theater | $20

Jen Rosenblit: Clap Hands

January 6 through January 10, 2017

Clap Hands is a mating call, an over-crowded solo, looking to hail, disguise, displace, reveal and track the disappearance of the body.

Friday, January 6, 5:30 PM
Saturday, January 7, 8:30 PM
Monday, January 9, 10 PM
Tuesday, January 10, 1PM

Experimental Theater | $20

Trajal Harrell: Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church (S)

January 6 through January 10, 2017

Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church is Trajal Harrell’s epic series of works presenting a new critical position on postmodern dance aesthetics emanating from the Judson Church period.  (S)/Small is the first work in the series. A solo for Harrell on the runway.

Friday, January 6, 7 PM
Saturday, January 7, 10 PM
Tuesday, January 10, 5:30 PM

Playhouse | $20

Big Dance Theater: Cage Shuffle (World Premiere)

January 7 through January 8, 2017

In Cage Shuffle Paul Lazar speaks a series of one-minute stories by John Cage from his 1963 score Indeterminacy while simultaneously performing choreography by Annie-B Parson

Saturday, January 7 and Sunday, January 8 at 4 and 7 PM

Studio G05 | $20

Ni’Ja Whitson: A Meditation on Tongues (World Premiere)

January 7 through January 9, 2017

A Meditation on Tongues is a live interdisciplinary adaptation of Marlon T. Riggs’ iconic film Tongues Untied (1989).

Saturday, January 7, 5:30 PM
Sunday, January 8, 8:30 PM
Monday, January 9, 4 PM

Underground Theater | $20

Juliana F. May: Adult Documentary

January 7 through January 10, 2017

In ADULT DOCUMENTARY five performers share their real and imagined histories.

Saturday, January 7, 5:30 PM
Sunday, January 8, 8:30 PM
Monday, January 9, 1 PM
Tuesday, January 10, 10 PM

Experimental Theater | $20

Ligia Lewis: minor matter (US PREMIERE)

January 8 through January 10, 2017

Co-Presented by LUMBERYARD Contemporary Performing Arts (Formerly ADI) 

With minor matter, choreographer Ligia Lewis articulates a sensitive argument for minoritarian politics.

Sunday, January 8, 5:30 PM
Monday, January 9, 7 PM
Tuesday, January 10, 4 PM

Experimental Theater | $20

Ivo Dimchev: Songs and Book

January 8 through January 10, 2017

For this live musical event, Bulgarian performer Ivo Dimchev has selected 15 songs from his past performances to present as independent, individual opuses.

Sunday, January 8, 5:30 PM
Monday. January 9, 10 PM*
Tuesday, January 10, 7 PM

Underground Theater | $20

Mx. Oops / Wendell Cooper: Carrying Capacity (World Premiere)

January 8 through January 10, 2017

Mx. Oops / Wendell Cooper performs a multimedia ritual using sound meditation, urban dance, video projection, and rap, within an installation by sculptor Jasmine Murrell; featuring guest choreography and performance by Slim Ninja.

Sunday, January 8, 7 PM
Monday, January 9, 5:30 PM
Tuesday, January 10, 8:30PM

Abrons Playhouse | $20

Tina Satter / Half Straddle Ghost Rings

January 8 through January 10, 2017

In Ghost Rings a narrative of friendship and family-making unfurls through a pop song cycle that burrows and soars with a mix of deadpan magical realism and a thoroughly feminist worldview.

Sunday, January 8, 10 PM
Monday, January 9, 2:30 & 8:30 PM
Tuesday, January 10, 2:30 PM

Abrons Playhouse | $20

Discourse

The American Realness 2017 DISCOURSE series has been curated by Ali Rosa-Sales. Across five writing commissions for READING and four public conversations, Rosa-Salas offers festival audiences ruminations, critiques and public dialogues across a range of issues and ideas presented in the performance program and facing the world at large. Taking the shape of performance lectures, workshops, and artist talks, DISCOURSE emphasizes the urgency of critical artistic practice, viewership and scholarship as they concern race, aesthetic politics, cultural equity, and more. Life is more real than ever these days, and the work is palpable. Let’s talk it out.

READING
Curated by Ali Rosa-Salas, READING offers commissioned essays by Katie Brewer Ball, Maya Harakawa, Danielle Jackson, Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi, and Kieran Swann. The pieces situate the American Realness 2017 performance program within an interdisciplinary dialogue and consider the political, conceptual, and aesthetic strategies brought to bare in the work of the festival artists.

shift/shape
Tara Willis with Ligia Lewis, Dana Michel and Ni’Ja Whitson
Monday January 9, 11 AM – 1 PM
Underground Theater | Free
RSVP to AmericanRealness@gmail.com

A conversation bringing together performance-makers—Ligia Lewis, Dana Michel, and Ni’Ja Whitson—who contend with the symbolic, corporeal, and affective terms of blackness, each from distinct approaches to practice and performance. Bodies navigating through (and as) the emotional and historical landscapes of racial politics; shape-shifters activating and fragmenting recognizable identity signifiers and the stage’s familiar conventions. How do black bodily experiences arrive in the intimacy (and alienation) of the present moment in performance?

The Incomprehensible Negro
M.Lamar in conversation with Jaamil Olawale Kosoko
Tuesday January 10, 11 AM – 1 PM
Underground Theater | Free
RSVP to AmericanRealness@gmail.com

“I came to theory because I was hurting-the pain within me was so intense that I could not go on living. I came to theory desperate, wanting to comprehend-to grasp what was happening around and within me. Most importantly, I wanted to make the hurt go away. I saw in theory then a location for healing.”
Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks

Structured as a conversation collapsing strategies of performance as life practice, theory, and public discourse, The Incomprehensible Negro reveals the internal life worlds and creative practices of two artists whose creative work have been deeply inspired by the black radical tradition. Over the course of a 75 minute performance-discussion, artists M. Lamar and Jaamil Olawale Kosoko expand upon how Black theory, scholarship, literature and music have influenced them as performance makers and thinkers.
*The Incomprehensible Negro is a concept coined by M. Lamar


CREDITS

AMERICAN REALNESS / tbspMGMT
Created by Thomas Benjamin Snapp Pryor (tbspMGMT) in partnership with the Abrons Arts Center in January 2010, American Realness is a festival of contemporary dance and performance. An internationally recognized platform for the discovery of new works from subversive artists, tearing at the boundaries of their forms, American Realness commands attention for the proliferation of choreographic and performative practices transcending the traditions and rewriting the definitions of American dance and performance. In 2014 the festival expanded its scope to include the work of international artists, engaging in a global dialogue on the practice and presentation of contemporary dance and performance.

tbspMGMT is an experiment in new models of management, curation, and presentation for new dance and contemporary performance. tbspMGMT builds support to produce and diffuse artists’ projects through a network of national and international residency centers, contemporary art centers, festivals, universities, foundations, and municipalities. Through the maintenance of ongoing dialogues between artists and institutions, tbspMGMT works to identify and strengthen these networks through partnerships around new research and artistic production.