The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Friday, February 3, 2023


Up on the roof, flesh and blood dancers move and connect
Nic Petry, left, Amber Sloan, Tommy Seibold and Chelsea Ainsworth of the Bang Group, perform on St. Marks Place in the East Village on Aug. 28, 2020. A new performance series, Arts on the Roof, affords some of the few opportunities to watch live dance in New York this summer and fall. Douglas Segars/The New York Times.

by Siobhan Burke



NEW YORK (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- Dancer Chelsea Ainsworth stood before a small outdoor audience Friday night, about to perform live for the first time in 25 weeks. Beneath her tap shoe-clad feet was a plywood stage that she and her husband, visual artist Kyle Netzeband, had spent the past two days constructing by hand. The elevator in their East Village building was broken, so they had to lug materials up six flights of stairs. But that wasn’t going to stop them: They were determined to bring dance to a live audience, on the rooftop where the finished stage now stood.

“It’s time to put people in front of other people and really connect with one another, even if that means we’re 6 feet apart and wearing masks,” Ainsworth, 32, said in an interview earlier that evening. “That’s what we’re good at.” In just a few minutes, she would change into costume and begin welcoming guests — with an infrared thermometer, hand sanitizer, waiver forms and disinfected pens — to the first dance event of Arts on the Roof, a new performance series affording some of the few opportunities to watch live dance in New York this summer and fall.

Four years ago, Ainsworth and Netzeband, together with singer Adrian Rosas, founded Arts on Site, a multidisciplinary arts center on St. Marks Place (in the same building that housed the once bustling, now permanently shuttered school Yoga to the People). Largely advertised through word-of-mouth, the space became home to frequent performance parties, during which audience members would crowd into one of the three studios, drinks in hand, around a small clearing for performers. (Since March, the parties have been held online twice a month.)

When the coronavirus pandemic brought in-person performance to a halt in New York, Ainsworth and Netzeband, who live in the Arts on Site building, migrated upstate, where they run a more rural arts residency and retreat center near New Paltz. While quarantining there with a group of artists, Ainsworth, a Juilliard School graduate, created a dance film with her friend and collaborator Jessica Smith. But she felt eager to get back in front of a live audience.

“I’m not trained to show my work on a screen, to reach through the screen,” she said. “I’m trained to perform on a stage.”




In looking for ways to safely present live dance, Ainsworth and Netzeband requested rooftop access from their landlord, thinking he would say no. “Normally it’s like, ‘Don’t ever go on the roof,’ ” Ainsworth said. But to her surprise, he agreed to their proposal for an outdoor performance series, provided they took certain precautions. They now have performances scheduled through September — a mix of music and dance — and permission to use the roof through November.

For the inaugural dance shows, Ainsworth chose the Bang Group, a percussive ensemble led by David Parker (with whom she has danced since 2010), and Dual Rivet, her collaborative duo with Smith. Parker, 61, whose troupe appeared Friday in a serendipitous break between rain showers, hadn’t performed since January 2019 because of a knee replacement surgery, a hiatus that was supposed to have ended in April. He returned with a version of Merce Cunningham’s “50 Looks,” a collection of poses, mostly for the upper body, to which he added an undercurrent of tapping feet.

While the process of learning and adapting this solo kept him engaged through the isolation of spring and early summer, creating group dances remotely was more challenging.

“I realized I don’t like to make decisions in some sort of abstract mental space,” he said in an interview after the show, reflecting on “Sparkle Again,” a new piece he presented. “I like to be working things out with the dancers.” In tap shoes, point shoes and bare feet, the work’s cast of six follows a score by Pauline Kim Harris, written for shoes as rhythmic instruments. To create it, Parker met with the dancers in pairs, bringing the full group together for only two rehearsals.

While Dual Rivet, on Sunday, offered works full of daring physical contact — Smith and Ainsworth have been living together for five months, making them comfortable throwing, catching and climbing all over each other — the members of Bang Group didn’t touch. In their first moments onstage, several masked dancers stood silently in a circle and raised their arms, fingertips nearly meeting but not quite, an apt metaphor for the evening’s reconvening.

© 2020 The New York Times Company










Today's News

September 2, 2020

Ashmolean uncovers painting from Rembrandt's workshop

Clyfford Still: The Late Works catalog investigates the artist's late works in painting and drawing

This unsung genius has a solo show in Georgia

City of London reviews monuments linked to slavery

Gandhi's iconic glasses sell for $340,000 in UK

Tom Joyce joins Gerald Peters Contemporary

Rothschilds' portrait of young Elizabethan adventurer falsely accused of being part of the Gunpowder Plot comes to aucti

Roanoke's 'lost colony' was never lost, new book says

The Chinese Art Market: Christie's Education announces virtual international academic conference

Joe Ruby, a creator of 'Scooby-Doo,' is dead at 87

Aldir Blanc, lyricist who pushed Samba's boundaries, dies at 73

The 1938 Superman comic book that helped take down a cheap imitator called Wonder Man heads to auction

There'll be a theater season. But how and where and when?

Adirondack Experience Museum announces building project to create new space for fine art collection

Fairuz: the Arab world's most celebrated living voice

Bruneau & Co. announces results of Estate Fine Art & Antiques Auction

Petzel appoints Ricky Lee as Director of Communications

Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino's new gallery tower to feature expansive, interactive art program

The Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson presents a new commission from Jibade-Khalil Huffman

Up on the roof, flesh and blood dancers move and connect

Whimsical, romantic exhibit opening at Missoula Art Museum

Guild Hall announces outdoor installation by inaugural community-artist-in-residence Monica Banks

New Orleans Museum of Art unveils commissioned work by Roberto Lugo

Tips on How to Get a Job for College Students

Helpful Tips for Storing Art Properly




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful