Review: THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM WORKS & PROCESS PRESENTS 'DANCE IS LIFE'

Works & Process presents “Dance is Life” on Monday, December 4 at 8 p.m. at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as part of the Works & Process Fall 2023 Season.

By: Dec. 06, 2023
Review: THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM WORKS & PROCESS PRESENTS 'DANCE IS LIFE'

 

Dance is Life is a feast for the eyes and soul. Curated by Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process program, the immersive dance party is an experience for all the senses. Booming music, flashing disco lights, pink and purple colors on the walls, and joyous smiles draw everyone in to turn off their phones and simply dance. Dance is Life has built a community committed to incluvisity and having fun. Laughter, encouragement, and join-in conga lines are spread up and down the spiraling floors of the museum. Everyone is present and ready to dance; you can’t help but get up and begin grooving with a friend or stranger. At Dance is Life, enjoyment is infectious.

Review: THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM WORKS & PROCESS PRESENTS 'DANCE IS LIFE'

Curated collaboratively between Abdiel Jacobsen, professionally known as Abdiel, and Natasha Diggs, Dance is Life was originally created to help foster creative connection during the pandemic when in-person artistic communities desperately lacked engagement. Diggs, renown DJ and “vibration shifter” is best known for her soul and funk mixes. During the early stages of Dance is Life, Diggs played sets virtually, hosting remote dance parties on social media alongside Abdiel, former professional dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company. The evening event surprised the audience with a pop-up performance by Abdiel and legendary Broadway veteran Kristine Benduel, appearing on the lobby floor dressed in full costume gowns. Their mutual trust and technique equates into a graceful, whistful performance circled by people at every angle. After a quick change, Abdiel moves in the center of commotion stylishly dressed in a long, flowing red skirt and colorful tie-dye turtleneck tank top. At every moment, Abdiel is sharing the floor with someone new.

Review: THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM WORKS & PROCESS PRESENTS 'DANCE IS LIFE'

Inspired by the legendary Latin Hustle danced at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park for over 50 years, Dance is Life appears in multiple spaces, ranging from public parks to museums in New York City. Dance is Life grew attention quickly through mutual friends and social media, and sometimes through New Yorkers’ curiosity passing by their public dance parties in Central Park. Everyone is welcome: attendees range from professional dancers, multi-generational salsa dancers, friends simply along for the ride, and everything in between. No one is left out, emphasizing the fun and inclusivity of learning how to dance. The event begins with a free Latin Hustle dance class taught by professional Latin Hustle Dance Champions Veronica Castilla and Ahtoy Juliana. “Our goal is to welcome you into the Latin Hustle community by showing you a few basic steps,” says Juliana, who proceeds to lead the beginner dance class alongside Castilla.

Review: THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM WORKS & PROCESS PRESENTS 'DANCE IS LIFE'

The music of Latin Hustle originates with fast yet smooth-moving tunes, typically danced through disco’s 4/4 beat in music. Most dancers on the floor are partnering, swaying, and spinning quickly through each other’s arms and negative spaces to the mixes from Hustle veteran DJ Nelson "Paradise" Roman. A conscious and elegant flow is present on the dance floor between partners, communicating through gaze and lead. Partnering in Latin Hustle welcomes gender-neutral partnering with a long-standing tradition of non-gendered approach to who leads and follows between two dancers. Some dancers see the event as a healing process, others as a regular celebration. 

Review: THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM WORKS & PROCESS PRESENTS 'DANCE IS LIFE'

Co-Creators: Natasha Diggs and Abdiel Jacobsen 

Music by: DJ Nelson "Paradise" Roman 

Photo Credit: David Grinage (DG Noble)  



Videos