Cornfield Dance to Appear at the Harkness Dance Festival 2019

Cornfield Dance is honored to be participating in the Harkness Dance Festival, focused this year to be part of the 2019 global celebration of Merce Cunningham's birth.

The company will be presenting two repertory works, Pas de Detour (2016) and Close-Up (2017) along with the world premier of Portal (2019), performed by the eight formidable dancers gathered for these performances.

Pas de Detour is a richly physical work that combines robust and voracious movements traveling at breakneck speed with an elegant and sensuous dance language. This work physicalizes the idea of obstacles in our lives that detour and derail us, be they our emotions or life events. The dancing is accompanied by live and prerecorded music of ricocheting rhythms and sonorous soundscapes. The brightly colored geometries of the dancers' costumes are coordinated with the video projected on the black backdrop curtain. These elements all combine to create a magical and theatrical universe. The original version of Pas de Detour, choreographed for four dancers, was shortened and expanded to include eight dancers during a Cornfield Dance residency at Rutgers University in 2016. This is the version being performed.

Luscious and playful, Close-Up moves from the grand to the intimate, from the excitement of an explosive leap to the call of a beckoning finger, bringing the viewers "close up" to the eight dancers and their activity. For the Harkness performances, Cornfield is rearranging the dance material from the original stage work in a number of significant ways. Cornfield's structuring of this work was inspired by her company's performance at the Yale Center for British Art in 2018, where the company performed the material in five small gallery rooms all at the same time. For the 92Y's performances, there are several points where these condensed versions are presented side by side in the main space, at the same time. Additionally, the dancers will perform in the large main space as well as at several times during the piece on the small raised stage. Cornfield envisions this presentation as an homage to Merce, whose tradition of presenting "Events," made up of bits of material from different dances put together for a unique performance and adaptable to alternative venues, were an embrace of the unexpected.

In the new work Portal, Cornfield discovers and juxtaposes emotional doorways and openings, using movement as the language, and creating a microscopic mapping of the intangible, our inner life and our emotional patterns. She aims to physicalize iconic emotional rhythms in order to track and describe our behavior and feelings. Performed by seven dancers, the material is organized to wend its way through human character into movement abstraction, from the quotidian to the sacred, through struggles into calm. Portal connotes the passageway from a state of agitation to a state of peace. The music for this piece features the structured improvisation of Andreas Brade, Robert Boston, and jazz saxophonist Duke Guillame.

Each of these dances defines its own world, and the beautiful and expansive Buttenwieser Hall at the 92nd Street Y provides a delightful and unique container in which they will be seen.

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