Who am I? Who are you? Who are we? Struggling for a stable identity and steadiness in an unsteady world where barriers are falling away and rising at the same time, the international lineup in the 2019 La MaMa Moves! dance festival-Yin Mei, Bobbi Jene Smith, Dan Safer, Hari Krishnan, Gruppo Nanou, Sin Cha Hong, Jesca Prudencio, Mia Habib, and Colleen Thomas-challenge such issues with unique urgency and originality. Their responses, alternately brightly witty, dead-on serious, and/or dark-humored, emerge from their singular historic and current cultural perspectives.

"Although it has been said that 'it takes village,' this year's La MaMa Moves! affirms that it takes a world," said Nicky Paraiso, whose been the festival's irrepressibly creative curator since its beginning in 2006. "In keeping with La MaMa Theater's storied history, we again reached across international borders to tap into our shared humanity to explore our personal and communal identities in this fast-spinning world."

"What gives hope in this global state of dislocation that rocks our world, is a much-needed sense of community that artists are trying to make sense of by sharing their creative responses. These choreographers do so with originality, intelligence and rigor!" said Mia Yoo, artistic director of La MaMa.

Below hints at what to expect:

Title: we want miles, in a silent way
Date and time: April 26 @8pm, April 27 @8pm, April 28 @5pm
Theater: The Downstairs

The Italian-based company Gruppo Nanou opens the 2019 festival with the world premiere of a quintet, "we want miles, in a silent way." Working with Davis's classic musical "Kind of Blue," but eliminating the Davis's trumpet from the score (hence the dance's title) freed choreographers Marco Valerio Amico and Rhuena Bracci to explore the "choreographic language" of Davis's structural melodies. The dance portends to physically realize the composer's interest in expressing the ancestral relationship between music and dance.

Title: but the sun came up and we were here
Dates and times: May 3 and May 4 @ 7pm; May 5 @ 3pm
Theater: Ellen Stewart Theatre

In "but the sun came up and we were there," a U.S. premiere, choreographer Colleen Thomas poses the question of belonging in a world defined by rapidly developing political and social unrest. With nine dancers from Poland, Ukraine, Belarus and the U.S., Thomas explores the possibility of self-perception and human connection as an antidote to the fracturing world we face. The music is an original score by pianist/composer Robert Boston.

Title: All-a physical poem of protest
Dates: May 3 & 4 @8:30pm; May 5 @ 5pm
Theater: The Downstairs

Using a core group of her own performers, which the Norwegian choreographer Mia Habib is augmenting with auditioned members of the New York community, Habib explores the "physical mass of the human body." Comprised of the performers--ranging in age between 20 and 80 years old, who run and walk naked in a circle for anywhere between one to twelve hours, "All-a physical poem of protest" challenges its participants-strangers to each other-to negotiate their emotional and physical space. The work has been seen in outdoor sites, inside theaters and galleries throughout the world. At La Mama, "Protest" will last one hour.

Title: Peony Dreams: On the Other Side of Sleep
Dates: May 9 & 10 @ 7pm
Theater: Ellen Stewart Theatre

Consider Yin Mei, a child of China's Cultural Revolution, who through hundreds of sent and unsent letters written during that tumultuous period, discovered and saved by her parents, dreamed of another world, and managed to make her way to America where she realized her dream of becoming an independent artist. Yin's "Peony Dreams: On the Other Side of Sleep," which parallels and mingles the classic 16thCentury Chinese tale of a woman who creates her lover through dreams and Mei's own dream of a new world in which she would be free to create her own art. The work, a world premiere, includes text drawn from Yin's teenage writings.

Title: Skin
Dates and times: May 11 @ 7pm; May 12 @ 3pm
Theater: Ellen Stewart Theatre

Hari Krishnan's "Skin," a program comprised of four different dances, including "Skin," "Mea Culpa," "Uma," and "Holy Cow(s)! which, each in its own winking way explores gender, identity and cultural appropriation. "Skin" a gay duet, is a "lust-filled no-strings attached tryst," while "Mea culpa," inspired by a photograph of Ted Shawn's 1926 "The Cosmic Dance of Siva" satirically comments on what the choreographer calls "cultural re-miss/appropriation." "Uma" presents a tongue-in-cheek look at the tradition of Indian female impersonation, and the sextet "Holy Cow(s)!" is a spoof on culture-specific taboos.

Title: Lost Mountain
Dates and times: May 16, 17 and 18 @ 7pm; May 19 @ 3pm
Theater: Ellen Stewart Theatre

Bobbi Jene Smith, a distinguished alumnus of Ohad Naharin's Batsheva Dance Company and the subject of the Tribeca Film Festival's award-winning documentary, "Bobbi Jene," adds her "Lost Mountain" to this year's La MaMa Moves! lineup. Employing an international mix of ten dancers, musicians and actors, "Lost Mountain," a world premiere, while abstract in its delivery, is intensely visceral in its impact. With natural forces serving as a metaphorical analogy, "Lost Mountain" argues that our perception of what appears to be immobile is not, and what appears a unique natural occurrence or individual experience is really collective and inherited.

Title: Surveys the Prairie of Your Room
Dates and times: May 18 @ 8:30pm; May 19 @ 4:30pm
Theater: Ellen Stewart Theatre

Using original music by Heather Christian and text by Jeremy O. Harris, Dan Safer's "Surveys the Prairie of Your Room," a world premiere, grapples with questions such as: In this upside down world where left is right and "there is no truth," according to former Mayor Rudolf Guilliani, how do we do what's right; how can we be happy? Safer's partial command: Dance!. The dance was co-created by Ae Andreas, who performs the duet with Safer.

Title: Calling: a dance with faith
Dates and times: May 23 and May 24 @ 7pm
Theater: Ellen Stewart Theatre

Jesca Prudencio describes her "Calling: a dance with faith" a "documentary dance theater piece." The duet presents the emotional, artistic and spiritual conflicts that two Muslim women, Natsumi Sophia Bellali and Hala Shah, faced as they tried6for the first time to join their careers as creative dance artists with the strictures of their Muslim faith. "Calling: a dance with faith," a world premiere, is the result.

Title: Mirror
Dates and Times: May 25 @7pm; May 26 @ 3pm
Theater: Ellen Stewart Theatre

"Mirror," the Korean-born Sin Cha Hong's contribution to the festival, asks "Who Am I?" When the choreographer first posed the question to herself in 1975, she sought the tutelage of Shree Raineesh and Ramana Maharshi in India, where she remained for three years before returning to her adopted home in the U.S. In "Mirror," a U.S. premiere, Sin employs her unique blend of American contemporary dance and Asian theatrical values, to also turn the question of "Who am I? " onto the audience itself.

Tickets for all La MaMa Moves! performances are $25 for adults; $20 for students and seniors. The first ten tickets for every performance are available for $10 each (advance sale only with code 10AT10) as part of La MaMa's 10@$10 ticketing initiative. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling OvationTix at 212-352-3101. The La MaMa box office is open one hour prior to every performance.

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