Roy Assaf Dance to Make New York Debut at Baryshnikov Arts Center
Israeli company Roy Assaf Dance makes its New York debut at Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) with a double bill featuring Assaf's award-winning works Six Years Later and The Hill. Performances are Thursday, October 12, and Friday, October 13, at 7:30pm, at BAC's Jerome Robbins Theater, 450 West 37th Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues) in Manhattan.
One of today's most sought-after emerging choreographers, Roy Assaf has been commissioned by companies across the globe including Batsheva Dance Company, the Royal Swedish Ballet, National Dance Company Wales, and L.A. Dance Project. This fall, he brings a program of intricate and nuanced works to BAC.
Six Years Later (2011) is a quiet, embracing duet performed by Assaf with dancer Madison Hoke. Set to music by Beethoven, Handel, and the '60s pop group Marmalade, the work explores a mysterious connection between two people. In an interplay of gestural and fluid movement, the dancers stay in close contact as the mood shifts from tender to playful to elusive. Ora Brafman of The Jerusalem Post writes that the work "creates unparalleled intimacy between two people, sharing equal amounts of fortitude and vulnerability." Six Years Later was awarded first prize in choreography at the Fifth International Choreography Competition in Copenhagen in 2011.
Also on the program is The Hill (2012), a powerful all-male trio inspired by experiences of war veterans. The title refers to Givat Hatachmoshet (Ammunition Hill), the battle that took place in Jerusalem during the Six-Day War, as well as the title of Hebrew folksinger Yoram Taharlev's song, which serves as music and narration for the piece. A highly physical and evocative work, The Hill creates a kinetic and psychic camaraderie between the dancers. The Hill won first prize in the 27th International Competition for Choreographers in Hanover in 2013, as well as receiving both the jury and audience awards at [re]connaissance danse contemporaine in France in 2015.
Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online or by phone at bacnyc.org / 866-811-4111. Running time: 50 minutes.
Roy Assaf Dance's premiere U.S. tour, with partnering performances at Baryshnikov Arts Center (NYC), CityDance (Bethesda, MD), and Dance Place (Washington, DC), is made possible through the ArtsCONNECT program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Generous support has also been provided by the Israel Institute, Washington, D.C. and Israel's Office of Cultural Affairs in North America.
Roy Assaf was born in 1982 in the rural community of Sde Moshe in southern Israel. Though he did not train formally, Assaf has been dancing and creating for as long as he remembers. In 2003 he started working with Emanuel Gat and danced alongside him until 2009. In 2005, Assaf created his first work, We Came for the Wings, Stayed Because We Couldn't Fly, as part of the Shades In Dance competition in Tel Aviv, winning the Judges Choice and Audience Favorite awards. From 2006 to 2009, Assaf worked as assistant choreographer for Emanuel Gat, developing new works and restaging existing repertoire throughout the world. In 2010 he was appointed artistic associate at the NND company in Groningen, for which he created Rock. In 2011 he created and danced in Six Years Later, which was awarded first prize in choreography at the Fifth International Choreography Competition in Copenhagen. The following year, he created and danced in The Hill, which won first prize in the 27th International Competition for Choreographers, Hanover. Girls & Boys, his commission for Staatstheater Tanz Braunschweig, premiered in 2014. More recently, his invitation by CCNR to participate in the seventh edition of [re]connaissance danse contemporaine with The Hill resulted in being awarded first prize from both the jury and audience.
Assaf continued to explore the theme of gender with two distinct full-length works, Girls (2014) and Boys (2015), both supported by the Intima Dance Festival hosted by Tmuna Theatre in Tel Aviv. In 2014 he created II Acts for the Blind for L.A. Dance Project under the direction of Benjamin Millepied, which premiered at the Biennale de Lyon, followed in February 2015 by Ballader, a collaboration with the Swedish pianist and composer Roland Peter Pöntinen for the Royal Swedish Ballet. 2016 saw the creation of Adam, a work for 12 dancers, for the Batsheva Dance Company and Profundis, a work for nine dancers, for National Dance Company Wales. In early 2017, Assaf remade II Acts for the Blind into a full evening with his own company in Israel. In September he will create a new piece for GöteborgsOperan using Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, followed by a new work for the Juilliard School premiering in December. Roy Assaf Dance's U.S. tour includes performances at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (U.S. debut, July 2017), American Dance Festival, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and Dance Place (DC).
BAC is the realization of a long-held vision by artistic director Mikhail Baryshnikov to build an arts center in Manhattan that would serve as a gathering place for artists from all disciplines. BAC's opening in 2005 heralded the launch of this mission, establishing a thriving creative laboratory and performance space for artists from around the world. BAC's activities encompass a robust residency program augmented by a range of professional services, including commissions of new work, as well as the presentation of performances by artists at varying stages of their careers. In tandem with its commitment to supporting artists, BAC is dedicated to building audiences for the arts by presenting contemporary, innovative work at affordable ticket prices. For more information, visit www.bacnyc.org.