BWW Reviews: Dancemopolitan Shared Artist Series at Joe's Pub
Looking to take your grandmother out on the town for some New York theater and dance? Well then this year's DANCENOW Dancemopolitian shared program series at Joe's Pub is not for you.
This past Friday, November 7th, Joe's Pub presented a shared program featuring unique, abstract, and diverse pieces by Gregory Dolbashian, Jordan Isadore, and Deborah Lohse. Far from traditional, these pieces took the audience out of their comfort zones, and blindly dropped them off at the corner of racy and liberal.
Make no mistake; this unconventionality remained attention grabbing and entertaining all night, filling the stage with both talent and emotion. Pure technique and strength were consistently displayed, physical storytelling was painfully relative, stereotypes were continuously challenged, and rap music remained blasting, all in a 60-minute restaurant style theater. What else could you ask for?
Deborah Lohse opened the night by taking the stage as her alter ego, TruDee. She told stories (while sporting a mullet in a backwards nightgown) through dramatic movements and audience involvement. Her dance movements consisted of jazz hands and head nods, hip thrusts and the every once in a while low kick. She moved along to hits ranging from current tracks by The Wanted, to past singles by Fiona Apple, and collected the desired laughter from all ages in the crowd.
With a piece called "You're a Virgin Who Can't Drive," Jordan Isadore graced the stage next, alongside other guest performers. His choreography throughout the night reflected his memories of the Y2K by imitating actions such as passing notes in class, bickering with friends, and testing sexual orientation. The performance took place on and off stage as dancers filtered in and out, with each move and innuendo as unsuspected as the one before.
Gregory Dolbashian's piece, Awkward Magic, was a breath of fresh air scattered throughout the night. This narrated work told the story of a confident boy auditioning for a dance company and the obstacles along the way. The one-man-show played multiple characters and poked casual fun. His professional training shined throughout his chosen dance language of urban movement, whether intentional or not, and brought a sense of reality back to the stage that had just been pushing extremes unrelatable to some.
These highlighted artists of the night had just one thing in common: they were each DANCENOW festival challenge winners, from 2012 and 2014. Their works have since then been commissioned by DANCENOW's Dancemopolitan Commissioning Fund, a program that supports the creation of new work specifically for Joe's Pub. DANCENOW's programming embraces creativity and encourages artists to think outside the box. Its mission is to support new dance innovators and to make connections between the audiences and artists, which it successfully accomplished through Gregory's, Jordan's, and Deborah's unapologetic performances last week.
Take the time to check out their work, but leave the conservatives at home.
Image by Yi-Chun Wu