Okwui Okpokwasili's BRONX GOTHIC Adds Second Week of Shows at Danspace Project, 1/28-2/1
As part of the ninth edition of the COIL festival, Performance Space 122 and Danspace Project present the world premiere of Okwui Okpokwasili's Bronx Gothic. Using song, stories and movement, Okpokwasili chronicles the sexual awakening and exploits of two 11-year-old girls living in the Bronx. This solo performance features direction and visual design by Bessie award-winner Peter Born. Due to popular demand, a second week of performances has been added, January 28, 30-February 1.
Performances of Bronx Gothic will now take place January 14-February 1 (see schedule above) at the Danspace Project. Critics are welcome as of January 14, which will also serve as the official opening. The running time is 75 minutes with no intermission. Danspace Project is located inside of St. Mark's Church at 131 East 10th Street in Manhattan. Tickets, which are $20 ($15 members), are available online at danspaceproject.org and by phone at (866) 811-4111.
Corner bodegas, Newport loosies, and Orchard Beach on fire are a few of the memories that threaten to break the body in Bronx Gothic, a partially true chronicle of one woman's past. Recalling the West African griot storyteller tradition and the epistolary trope of Victorian Gothic novels, this world premiere features an intensely physical solo performance by Okpokwasili.
Okpokwasili premiered the first iteration of Bronx Gothic in the Platform 2012: Parallels series at Danspace Project. She continued to develop the piece as a 2012 MANCC choreographic fellow, a Studio Series Artist at New York Live Arts, an artist in residence at the Park Avenue Armory's Under Construction Series and a participant in LMCC's Extended Life Program.
Okwui Okpokwasili is currently performing in the Julie Taymor-directed production of A Midsummer Night's Dream and touring with Nora Chipaumire in Miriam, which had its New York premiere at BAM Fisher in the 2012 Next Wave Festival. Her previous piece, Pent-Up: A Revenge Dance described as "ruthlessly clean and clever" by Time Out New York, premiered at PS122, was also directed by Peter Born and received a 2010 New York Dance and Performance "Bessie" Award. The New York Times has described her as "incandescent".
Okpokwasili's work in multidisciplinary performance is best exemplified by her ongoing artistic collaboration with Ralph Lemon, the Bessie Award winning Artistic Director of Cross Performance. After completing the 2010 tour of Lemon's How Can You Stay..., she performed an extended duet with Lemon in the Atrium at MOMA in conjunction with the exhibit, On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century. She also received a Bessie Award for her performance in the final part of Ralph Lemon's Geography Trilogy, Come Home, Charley Patton.
As an actor, Okpokwasili has performed in work by Richard Foreman, Young Jean Lee, Kristin Marting and Richard Maxwell, among others. She has collaborated with artists Annie Dorsen and Dean Moss. Okpokwasili is a graduate of Yale University.
Peter Born has shot, edited and produced various short films, promotional videos (clients include Moleskin and Sadie Nash Leadership Project) and video for use in theater. He is working toward completing his first feature length documentary "Das Federkleid/the Featherdress." Peter is the Bessie award-wining director of "pent-up: a revenge dance," a performance piece that premiered at PS 122. He currently works as an art director and prop stylist for fashion videos and photo shoots for clients such as Estee Lauder, Barney's Co-op, Karl Lagerfeld and "25" magazine with collaborators including Barney Roper, Santiago and Mauricio Sierra, and Kanye West. He is a former NY public high school teacher and graduate of Yale University.
Bronx Gothic was co-commissioned by Performance Space 122, Danspace Project, LMCC and a 50th Anniversary Grant from the Jerome Foundation with residency support from Under Construction at the Armory, New York Live Arts, Baryshnikov Arts Center and as part of LMCC's Extended Life Dance Development program. Additional commissioning support was provided by Le Mallion in Strasbourg, Théâtre de Gennevilliers in Paris, Theatre Garonne in Toulouse and Zagreba?ko Kazalište Mladih (ZMK), the Zagreb Youth Theatre in Zagreb, Croatia as part of the PS122 GLOBAL program.