East Village Dance Project, LaMama Moves! 2012

(Photo By: Robert London)

~Written by R. MacKenzie – May 20, 2012~

My cousins and I used to call it “getting washing-machined.” That’s when you misjudged how the wave was going to break and couldn’t catch it or dive through in time. So you ended up getting smashed down into the hard sand, with salt water up your nose and sand in your bathing suit, at the mercy of the water’s ferocious strength…

That was just one of those recognizable moments in Martha Tornay’s concert performed by students of The East Village Dance Project. Soaked, set to the Talking Heads’ song “Same As It Ever Was,” was set on 9 children and featured in the East Village Dance Project’s annual concert of 10 dances ranging from classical pointe work to authentic jazz. The concert was presented by LaMama Moves! Dance Festival and GOH Productions on East 4th St on May 20th, 2012.

(Photo By: Robert London)

She had those kids looking like waves rolling in and out, side to side. Then suddenly they were a fountain, then a river, then somehow the little boy dove in and surfed right there in front of our eyes. Costumes included swimming goggles, bathing suits, and wonderful hoop tutus made of aquarium print shower curtains. This piece was really fun: The first time I saw it I laughed, the second I cried, the third, I laughed and cried.

This delicious program included a huge range of dancers in age (4-18), dance styles and skill levels, but the key to its sheer quality is the sure direction of Ms. Tornay. The dancers showed some excellent technique, and they have obviously been encouraged to make individual choices and contributions. Then they had been set up within a structure that leaves them the freedom to shine at all levels. Martha provides rocking and elegant musical choices, bright and fitting costumes, but most importantly, she gave the kids permission to have a lot of tun. The teen company developed a piece over eight months with completely original choreography. They explored different directions and made choices entirely their own to produce this work, Alienation Affect, which was accompanied by electric guitar played by a young man named Jack Lazar.

(Photo By: Robert London)

Trained with Mme. Gabriela Darvash, amongst others, Ms Tornay has taught and danced at Bates Festival for many years, but her crowning jewel is the amazing group of dancers she teaches year round in their lovely new home at #55 Ave C Studios. Her choreography is surprising, human, and entertaining, appropriate to the children’s skill levels and so charming! Lucas Rollings-Page, Victoria Roberts-Weirzbowski, and Kiva Dawson, as well as the Teen Company, all made dances, every one a little gem. Lucas’ musical choice was a lovely ballad by Bobby Womack with the refrain of “If you don’t want my love, If you don’t need my love,…Give it back to me.” The girls in his dance were delicate, gentle creatures, who I imagined barely discovering the tragedies and thrills of love. The girls in Ms. Dawson’s dance were skilled and sassy in the humorous jazz number Hot Honey Rag. Don Q-ish, with music by Leon Minkus, was the first mini-ballet on the program and a redux. this work featured Safouane Chestnut, our surfer from Soaked, as the prince, and the sweet and earnest Gianna Bernard as his partner.  The costumes and choreography were excellent, the dancers joyous (India Rogers has a radiant smile in both Don Q-ish and Bal-led), the variations charming, especially the gang of really little ballerinas with giant velvet flowers to offer, dance with, and jump over…

The second ballet Bal-led, to all tunes by Led Zeppelin, was a great original idea. After seeing it, I wondered why Martha isn’t already world famous and doing this season at the Joyce. The piece glides through several of your favorite classic Led Zeppelin songs with group variations and marvelous duets with Afinatou Thiam and Chloe London partnering Bailey Edwards and Lucas Rollings-Page (who each take rocking percussive solos). Bal-led incorporation of a love-seat, quartets, and, towards the end, a magnificent solo by Talia Vilaplana could take one’s breath away. Students in EVDP, from tiny to graduates, are variously stunning, graceful, elegant, self-possessed, and even, at times, funky. However, I’ve never seen a dancer who lives the dance in such a way that it is like a part of her skin like Talia does. This girl is destined to always be a stunning dancer, her technique, musicality, and emotional commitment all add up to be so very magnetic.

Many dancers in Martha’s group are really skilled, but Martha’s genius lies in the way that she can put together a choreography for children who are NOT YET accomplished dancers. She can make them look good and make their dance dynamic, exciting, and constructed in such a way that kids will be happy to perform with lots of gusto and confidence. I can say from experience that this always a challenge. Ms. Tornay has shown, year after year, that she is up to it and so much more. BRAVO!

 

The Story of WOW Cafe Theatre

This month FABnyc highlights Member of the Month, WOW Café Theatre. You can read WOW’s story here:

Once upon a time…

WOW started as an international women’s theatre festival in October of 1980. Over the course of eleven days, 36 shows from 8 countries were performed for hungry New York lesbians. Within 18 months the group had a permanent space at 330 e. 11th street, where they began the monster that is WOW today: a year-round festival of women’s and transgender peoples’ performance. In 1984 (or thereabouts), WOW moved to the 1400ft loft space that they inhabit today at 59-61 east 4th street. Those familiar with the downtown NYC theatre scene call the block of east 4th between 2nd ave and the Bowery “theater row,” and WOW is proud to have among its neighbors: New York Theatre Workshop, the Rod Rodgers Dance Company, La Mama E.T.C., and numerous other groups, which are collectively represented by Fourth Arts Block (FABnyc).

WOW Café Theater is a women’s theater collective in NYC’s East Village, which promotes the empowerment of women through the performing arts.

Historically, WOW has been a majority lesbian woman’s space. WOW welcomes the full participation of all women and transpeople in solidarity with women. WOW especially welcomes women and transpeople of color, and women and trans people who identify as lesbians, bisexual and queer. They provide a working theater space to members & the technical support to create and produce works, regardless of economic status.

They acknowledge the links between different kinds of oppressions and strive to be open to all sexualities and spiritualities, to be multilingual and intergenerational, and to challenge all oppressions including racism, classism, ableism, sexism, ageism, and sizeism. WOW’s weekly Tuesday meeting and collective governance structure provide a space for artists to share their ideas, facilitate the exchange of labor and knowledge, and realize their creative visions. (via www.wowcafe.org)

Be sure to stop by and check out WOW Café Theatre’s latest show, Abundance: A celebration of Resistance and Love, featuring Song, story, dance, questions, and lyrical magic – June 14-16 @ 8PM!

 

The Lower East Side History Project: 2012 Village Award Winner

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s Blog “Off the Grid” included a post featuring FABnyc affiliate member The Lower East Side History Project. Read what they had to say below:

Fourth generation Lower East Side resident Eric Ferrara has always been interested in the history of his community. In 2003, he made his commitment to researching, documenting, and preserving the history of the neighborhood official by founding what is now the Lower East Side History Project.  The project will be presented with a 2012 Village Award at GVSHP’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 7th.The Lower East Side History Project (LESHP) provides educational programming to Kindergarten through 12thGrade and university level students, public walking tours, media consultation, research services, and special events, lectures, and presentations. The project has several volunteer staff members and is overseen by a board of ten.

Research and walking tours concentrate on the several distinct neighborhoods that make up what is traditionally the Lower East Side: the East Village, Alphabet City, the Bowery, Chinatown, and Little Italy. One of the most popular tours is Eric’s Mafia tour. It explores the former social clubs, homes, and haunts of some of the most influential 20th century mobsters. Another popular tour is Reel Life, a tour that explores some of the more popular movies filmed in the neighborhood led by the LESHP’s Andrea Coyle. The tour also explores the history of entertainment in area, including the history of Italian and Yiddish theater.

The extensive research LESHP’s staff has conducted on the neighborhood is always made available for the public. In fact, Eric has published two books, including The Manhattan Mafia Guide and The Bowery: A History of Grit, Graft and Grandeur, and several more are in the works.

The Lower East Side History Project will be presented with a Village Award for researching, documenting, and preserving the distinctive history of the East Village and Lower East Side and engaging the public with the neighborhood’s history.  We hope to see you at GVSHP’s 2012 Annual Meeting as we honor the LESHP and seven other awardees who are being honored for their contributions to the Village. Stay-tuned to Off the Grid for upcoming posts on our other 2012 Village awardees.

Coming Out Muslim: Radical Acts of Love!

Coming Out Muslim: Radical Acts of Love! is being presented by Member of the Month: WOW Café Theatre. This performance explores the experiences of being both Muslim and queer, while highlighting stories of how it affects views of oneself, one’s faith, and interactions with others.

Come out and see Coming Out Muslim: Radical Acts of Love June 7-9 @ 8 p.m. Artist AlSarah will be appearing 6/7 & 6/8. Tickets can be purchased online in advanced $8- $40. Or you can also purchase your tickets in advanced at the FABnyc offices located at 61 East 4th St. Stop by between 10 a.m. and 6p.m. to grab your tickets! To ensure availability, please call in advanced 212.228.4670.

~Shauna DeFord (intern at FABnyc)

 

 

 

 

Things To Do In Lower East Side

So you’ve ever been to the Lower East Side, or you’ve recently moved here and you don’t know how which are the most interesting places to go to and the coolest things to see here. Not to worry, we East Village Arts is here not only to shed the light on the importance of art and culture in the area, but also to bring you face to face with the best places that define this area.

 

How Spot For Everyone

First of all, the Lower East Side used to be the official gateway to all of the immigrants that came to America in the 20th century. So from this point of view, it has always represented a location many appreciated throughout the decades. In the 21st century however the Lower East Side turned into a truly hot spot where everyone wanted to come, visit, and eventually move into. Even today you can refer to the area as a genuine cradle for entrepreneurs looking to kick start their businesses. An impressively rich number of art galleries, barns and restaurants, cozy boutiques, all of these are part of the scenery here. But the Lower East Side has many more hidden treasures that everyone interested in better knowing the area should get to visit at least once in their lifetime.

 

Best Places To Go To In The Lower East Side

The Tailoring Room is the place to go when you need some tailoring to be done fast, efficient, and at some affordable rates. You can find The Tailoring Room on 42 Clinton Street between Rivington and Stanton Streets – you will definitely enjoy working with a team of professionals who will always help you out with a soothing smile on their face – often times just what you need after a hectic day at the office.

 Do not expect any tall buildings to create that feeling of living in an overcrowded place. The sense of being stacked like sardines that often times can be best associated with Manhattan is not yet present here. You will notice 5-story high buildings and spring is the best time to be here and admire the amazing architecture of some of these buildings. You should never go to the Lower East Side without checking out Clinton Street. The pear trees that are in bloom during the springtime will definitely inspire the artist in you or at least help you feel one with the nature, even if it is for just a brief time.     

 The Essex Market is another excellent location you cannot miss when visiting. The Essex Street Market is located on 120 Essex Street right between Rivington Street and Delancey.  And if you really have that sweet tooth, the Economy Candy is just the place for you. The charm of this shop will definitely completely mesmerize you and you can find it on 108 Rivington Street, between Ludlow and Essex streets.  

And if you come home after a lovely afternoon spent in the Lower East Side and you discover you have accidentally locked yourself out, you can use the contact information you can find n the 247locksmithservice.com site. Enjoy fast and reliable locksmithing services at affordable rates no matter what area you might live in.

Things To Do In Lower East Side

So you’ve ever been to the Lower East Side, or you’ve recently moved here and you don’t know how which are the most interesting places to go to and the coolest things to see here. Not to worry, we East Village Arts is here not only to shed the light on the importance of art and culture in the area, but also to bring you face to face with the best places that define this area.

 

How Spot For Everyone

First of all, the Lower East Side used to be the official gateway to all of the immigrants that came to America in the 20th century. So from this point of view, it has always represented a location many appreciated throughout the decades. In the 21st century however the Lower East Side turned into a truly hot spot where everyone wanted to come, visit, and eventually move into. Even today you can refer to the area as a genuine cradle for entrepreneurs looking to kick start their businesses. An impressively rich number of art galleries, barns and restaurants, cozy boutiques, all of these are part of the scenery here. But the Lower East Side has many more hidden treasures that everyone interested in better knowing the area should get to visit at least once in their lifetime.

 

Best Places To Go To In The Lower East Side

The Tailoring Room is the place to go when you need some tailoring to be done fast, efficient, and at some affordable rates. You can find The Tailoring Room on 42 Clinton Street between Rivington and Stanton Streets – you will definitely enjoy working with a team of professionals who will always help you out with a soothing smile on their face – often times just what you need after a hectic day at the office.

 Do not expect any tall buildings to create that feeling of living in an overcrowded place. The sense of being stacked like sardines that often times can be best associated with Manhattan is not yet present here. You will notice 5-story high buildings and spring is the best time to be here and admire the amazing architecture of some of these buildings. You should never go to the Lower East Side without checking out Clinton Street. The pear trees that are in bloom during the springtime will definitely inspire the artist in you or at least help you feel one with the nature, even if it is for just a brief time.     

 The Essex Market is another excellent location you cannot miss when visiting. The Essex Street Market is located on 120 Essex Street right between Rivington Street and Delancey.  And if you really have that sweet tooth, the Economy Candy is just the place for you. The charm of this shop will definitely completely mesmerize you and you can find it on 108 Rivington Street, between Ludlow and Essex streets.  

And if you come home after a lovely afternoon spent in the Lower East Side and you discover you have accidentally locked yourself out, you can use the contact information you can find n the 247locksmithservice.com site. Enjoy fast and reliable locksmithing services at affordable rates no matter what area you might live in.

A win, win, win, win situation.

I have worked with Dance Block, a subsidized dance rehearsal space rental program at Fourth Arts Block for the last three months. In this very short period of time a number of things have taken place:

  1. I can now rattle off the importance of community-driven, sustainable resource sharing with greater confidence – and feel a sense of pride that I am a part of this growing trend throughout New York and the rest of the country.
  2. I am now more self-conscious of my own needs, what resources I own to fulfill those needs, and what resources I own either in surplus or as reusable tools that I can share with my friends and family (my community).
  3. I am now even more aware of how responsible the rest of the world is being with their available resources, what actions they are taking to make themselves more sustainable, and keeping alert to any new, formerly unforeseen opportunities for small businesses and/or organizations to reuse, repurpose and redistribute their resources with each other.

On Monday night, June 11, 2012, Dance/NYC, OurGoods, and Fourth Arts Block, along with curious members of the community, will come together for a Town Hall discussion of resource sharing in NYC dance. All will join in the downstairs theater of PS122 to share an initial and inherent resource – their ideas. Through their extremely hard work and creative planning, FABnyc has scored a major win for young and independent choreographers in New York City (read my blog about it here) and will definitely have a good number of additional strategies to offer. Members of OurGoods, a “barter network for the creative community,” will undoubtedly enlighten all involved on true resource sharing and the ethical responsibility behind it, something to stand behind, both as an artist and a human.

Interested in getting involved? Don’t really know much about what makes a sustainable business or what a barter network really entails? Have a revolutionary idea but have no idea how it could be executed? Come one, come all. Listen, absorb, contribute and learn, and all the while you will be expanding and strengthening your own community. It’s a win, win, win, win situation.

That’s the simple truth. We all want to be winners.

RSVP on Facebook or at Dance/NYC

- Written by Erica Reich Program Assistant @ FABnyc

Start June Covered in Rainbows!

HyperGender Burlesque Presents: Camp: Queer! – their queerest celebration of camp, or campest celebration of queer.

Start June covered in rainbows!

Camp: Queer!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Host JZ Bich, the queerest of them all, is accompanied by…

J Mase III, our favorite Philly Cupid

MargOH! Channing, everyone’s favorite drag chanteuse

Sweet Lorraine, producer of Oshun Returns, year long exploration of African American women’s sexuality

Bianca Dagga, all grown up now and bringing some amazing stuff to you!

Faux Pas, the mischievous, provocative, gender blender

Leta LeNoir, cute, funny sexy and HyperGender staple

Mercedes Matilda, the newest addition to queerlesquers in NY, and…

I.R. Marin, the videographer who makes you laugh and scratch your head at the same time.

Get ready (and get tickets now!)