Dance New Amsterdam(DNA) welcomes back 2011 – 2012 RAW Directions artists Elke Luyten and Kira Alker, as well as DNA faculty member Kendra Portier, joining for the first of two SPLICE series this season. The series provides a collaborative performance setting that juxtaposes contemporary artists that share a common thread, however subtle or tangential. Luyten and Alker's Studies of Inertia is a world premiere encompassing Inertia, Part I, which was performed as part of DNA's last season's RAW Directions program. After almost a decade of extensive work with choreographers such as David Dorfman, DNA gives Portier the spotlight for her world premiere of Beautiful Weather for an Air Raid. Six performances will run over two weekends, today, November 30 – December 1 and December 7 – 8. All shows are at 7:30 p.m., with additional Saturday matinees at 3:00 p.m.
Luyten's solo, Studies of Inertia, investigates the fundamental difficulties and paradoxes of the act of performing. Directed by longtime collaborator Kira Alker, the piece is a determined approach to the everydayexecution of tasks; the struggles of moving the body from shape to shape. Luyten's desire to distill movement down to its simplest form gives birth to an arresting vulnerability. The team creates a visceral and dramatically charged environment through silence, durational exhaustion and the absence of a narrative structure. This finalized 45-minute piece has seen various performance incarnations, first taking shape during a residency at the Hooyong Performing Art Centre in South Korea and later at Judson Church's Movement Research, Dixon Place's Body Blend series, and the Brooklyn-based FLICfest, in addition to its development as part of RAW Directions and residency with LMCC.
Portier's first professional staging, Beautiful Weather for an Air Raid is a profound inquiry of the body's intangible and kinesthetic response to grief and grace. Based on personal experiences, the work is a tribute to familiessurpassing external and emotional hardship and the hope that propels them out of their internal storms. Hyperaware of the imagination's ability to construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct a new reality of past events that is easier to grasp, Portier's dancers engage in movement that manages to be both fluid and off-kilter. Effortless partnering, dense physicality, and seamless transitions between various groupings, the quintet produces a voluminous and luminous aesthetic that is raw and determined, yet luscious and exposed.
Although Studies of Inertia and Beautiful Weather for an Air Raid varydrastically in staging and movement style, both examine the nuances of memory and performance: the body's varied attempts to reconstruct movement and remembrances has become an infinite breeding ground for all three artists.
"It is our pleasure to welcome these compelling artists, all members of the DNAfamily, to our SPLICE series," says Artistic and Executive Director Catherine Peila. "A vital aspect of DNA's mission is to give horizontal artists such as Elke and Kira multiple residency and performance opportunities, in order for the artists to thrive and grow. DNA is proud to serve as a breeding ground for creativity, offering opportunities for creators to experiment and emerge. We are equally excited to present Kendra's work-as a familiar artist on the Contemporary Stages in New York and abroad, she's a beloved faculty member and recognized artist; DNA is proud to foster such a symbiotic educational and performance relationship."
Duo Elke Luyten and Kira Alker have created collaborative movement performances for nearly ten years. Their work has been showcased internationally at such venues as the REDCAT in Los Angeles, the International Conference on Performance Art Theory in Mexico, the Dream Shot festival in Belgium, and Honen-in Temple in Japan. Luyten, originally from Hasselt Belgium, has worked with Thomas Leabhart, Marina Abramovic and is currently performing in Robert Wilson acclaimed newwork The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic. She is the first to receive the position of Artist Advisor at the Watermill Center in Long Island. Alker will be a featured choreographer at The Kitchen's Dance and Process series in the spring. She is assistant to Sarah Michelson performed in Michelson's Devotion Study #1-The American Dancer at the Whitney Biennial in 2012.
Kendra Portier is honored to currently perform with mvworks, Michael and the Go-Getters, Annie Kloppenberg Dance, Vanessa Justice Dance, Alexandra Beller/Dances, and David Dorfman Dance. She teaches regularly: she is on faculty at Dance New Amsterdam and as a guest artist at a variety of colleges, festivals, workshops, and dance facilities. BANDportier's choreographic endeavors have just begun: solos, commissioned works, collaborative duets, and New Group endeavors.