“This marvelous space dedicated to dance and performance in Long Island City, Queens, has just purchased a permanent facility in the neighborhood, but for the time being its forward-thinking presentation will continue at its current home.” —Gia Kourlas, New York Times
Follow your bliss. Depending on your mood, that phrase is either enlightening or exasperating. Both could be used to describe Michelle Boulé’s latest work, “The Monomyth,” which takes partial inspiration from the writer and mythologist Joseph Campbell, who coined the saying. It also refers to his vision of a hero’s journey: Embark on an adventure, face a crisis, and, in the end, emerge transformed.
Rebecca Davis has a long relationship with material. Her dancers have worn shoes wrapped in newspaper, leaving smudges of black ink on white paper. They’ve sported unraveling sweaters, the trailing yarn making a sculptural design. She’s covered walls of a theater in security envelopes from floor to ceiling. In the final hands count beginning sounds, Davis moves on to a new source. The body itself is now her canvas, her material.
I have followed the work of Yanira Castro/a canary torsi ever since 2013, when I participated in early versions of “The People to Come,” a work that drew me in as I had never been drawn into a performance before. The piece took the audience and asked them to incorporate parts of their own stories into the dance,. This wasn’t just an immersive performance; we were being asked to co-create it. I was transfixed. In every a canary torsi piece, especially the magnificent “Court/Garden,” Castro has continued to redefine what it means to be part of a performance, for everyone from performer to audience. And from the audience, I never felt so essential to the creative process.
Yanira Castro is a structural obsessive. She is an art scientist. She sees the rules and patterns lurking just beneath the surface of things. The stuff that’s easier not to see. Her company—a canary torsi—is an anagram of her name. This should tell you almost everything you need to know: chaos staring at itself in the mirror, finding order.