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Sarah Hart
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Dance Theatre Workshop
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Dance Theater Workshop presents Keith Hennessy / Zero Performance and Melanie Maar, April 2-4, 2009 (New York, NY)

by Sarah Hart
April 2, 2009
Dance Theatre Workshop
219 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10011
Dance Theater Workshop


Keith Hennessy / Zero Performance


Melanie Maar

in a shared program

APRIL 2-4, 2009 at 7:30pm

Dance Theater Workshop presents a shared evening of performances from San Francisco-based Keith Hennessy / Zero Performance and Austrian choreographer Melanie Maar, now based in New York. Award-winning performer, choreographer, and organizer Hennessy performs his newest multi-disciplinary solo, Crotch (all the Joseph Beuys references in the world…), summoning the images and actions of performance artist Joseph Beuys. As Hennessy examines the subject of art - its histories and heroes – he also exposes a deeper level of queer sadness and abandon. Sustained images punctuated by dynamic intensity create a flood of information and imagination as Hennessy's speech and movement ignite the "sacred, violent, and compassionate impulses" (San Francisco Weekly) of human experience. Crotch (all the Joseph Beuys references in the world…) features Hennessy, with the music of Teddy Thompson, Craig Armstrong, Down River, Nirvana, and Emmy Lou Harris, among others.

"Hennessy is that rare artist who succeeds in translating fierce social concerns into artistically satisfying creations that enlighten and entertain. Against all odds he believes in art's power to reassume its ritualistic and healing function." – San Francisco Bay Guardian

In the world premiere of Phenomenal Bodies, Melanie Maar directs attention to the live experience of performance, where musician and dancer both use their moving bodies to transmit physicalized emotions. Their relationship is questioned as they become equally present elements of the choreography. The dancers play with an affinity for theatricality and abandoned influences of their training as part of becoming the bodies they inhabit now. A grounded sensuality drives the collective rhythm of this live dance that features Maar, Mariangela Lopez, Marilyn Maywald, and guitarist Kenta Nagai, with costume design by Kiky Thomanek and lighting by Vincent Vigilante.

"… [Maar's] movement itself oscillates between states of hyperactivity and paralysis, continuity and extreme fracture." – Biba Bell, Studies in Dance: Choreography, Modernity and Mobilization

Performances will take place at Dance Theater Workshop in the Bessie Schönberg Theater, April 2-4, 2009 (Thursday – Saturday at 7:30pm). Dance Theater Workshop's Winter Special ticket offer has been extended for this show. Tickets are $10 online and $15 through the box office and are available online at dancetheaterworkshop.org, over the phone at 212.924.0077, and in person at the box office. Box Office hours are Monday – Friday from 5pm-9pm and Saturday – Sunday from 12pm – 8pm. Dance Theater Workshop is located at 219 West 19th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues.

About the Artists

Keith Hennessy is an award-winning performer, choreographer, teacher and organizer. He dances. Hennessy was born in Canada, lives in San Francisco and works often in Europe. His interdisciplinary research engages improvisation, spectacle, ritual, and public action as tools for investigating and re-visioning political realities. Alone and with others, Hennessy makes politically engaged, soul-touching performance.

Hennessy directs Circo Zero Performance, a performance-making company that sometimes includes circus arts in a cross-disciplinary and body-based approach to performance art. He was a member of the collaborative performance companies: Contraband (85-94), CORE (95-98), and Cahin-caha, cirque bâtard (98-02). His work is featured in several books and documentaries, including How To Make Dances in an Epidemic (David Gere, University of Wisconsin: 2004), Gay Ideas (Richard Mohr, Beacon: 1992), and Dancers in Exile (RAPT Productions, 2000). Hennessy is a co-founder of 848 Community Space/CounterPULSE, a thriving performance and culture space in San Francisco. Hennessy has an MFA in Choreography and is a PhD student in Performance Studies at University of California - Davis. His research is mostly focused on Bay Area performance in life and art during the 1970s.

Recent awards include a Goldie (2007) and the Alpert/MacDowell Fellowship in Dance (2005). Recent commissions include Arsenic, Lausanne (Crotch, 2008), Centre Chorégraphique National, Belfort (Sol niger, 2007), Les Subsistances, Lyon (Sol niger 2007, Homeless USA, 2005), Les Laboratoires, Paris (American Tweaker, 2006), FUSED (French-US Exchange in Dance), and Lower Left Performance Co, San Diego (Gather, 2005). Keith's 2008 teaching includes UC Davis, Orvieto (Italy)/ Zipfest, Vienna/imPulsTanz, Moscow/TSEH, Montreal/Circuit Est, Toronto/IDA, Chicago/NPN-Columbia College, and talks at CI36 events in Berlin and Juniata College PA. In 2009 Crotch will tour to Dance Theater Workshop (New York) and TNT (Bordeaux). For more information, visit circozero.org.

Melanie Maar is a New York based choreographer, dancer and teacher originally from Vienna, Austria, She grew up in her mother's dance studio training in modern dance, ballet, flamenco and martial arts before entering the contemporary dance world and moving to New York in 1996.

She has since presented her choreography in New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Vienna, Berlin, Glasgow, Oslo, and Lisbon. Maar's dances are driven by curiosity about the embodied cognition of the dancing body and the desire to create performative situations for a shared experience with the audience. Throughout the last two years, Maar has simultaneously developed and performed a series of solos and duets called Transformation Dances - Lower, Sisyphus and Stoned. She often performed these dances with visual artist Edith Greutmann, a woman in her sixties. The live birth of a small stone egg was a connecting element in this series.

In June 2008 she was selected for a Movement Research exchange residency in Denmark where she began developing material for Phenomenal Bodies. Through Dance Theater Workshop, Maar was awarded a residency at Kaatsbaan in March 2009 as part of the process. Most of the rehearsals for this piece will take place at her own space in Brooklyn called The Loft.

In early 2008 her duet DOPA (with Mariangela Lopez) was presented at Danspace Project/ DraftWork, The Austrian Cultural Forum, the Movement Research Festival, and APAP/The Young Ones. In 2006 and 2007, Maar toured her piece Off and On, (music composition by Douglas Henderson) to various international Movement Disorder Congresses in Europe and The US. The piece was conceived as a result of growing up with her father who lives with Parkinson's disease. These engagements led to her continuing studies in Cognitive Science and exchanges with the scientific field. In late 2006 Maar was selected for the Kitchen Works in Process series, curated by Miguel Gutierrez. She was a 2005/2006 Movement Research artist in Residence.

A collaboration with film maker Kenji Ouellt led to the solo Frictious, presented at Vienna Tanz Quartier and Berlin Tanzfabrik in 2005 and 2006. In 2004 Maar collaborated with choreographer Kate Weare on their piece Two Cell Series, which was performed at Vienna Kosmos Theater, ODC San Francisco, and Dance Theater Workshop.

Maar's work has also been seen at Dixon Place, Movement Research at Judson Church, Dancspace Project/ Food for thought, various AUNTS events, PS1/ Hot house, The Issue Project Room, Body language, BAX, and Chashama Gallery, Clemente Soto Cultural Center. As a performer, Maar has continuously worked with New York Dance and Performance "Bessie" Award winning choreographer Luciana Achugar, as well as performed in works by RoseAnne Spradlin, Daria Fain, Levi Gonzalez and Luis Lara Malvacias among others.

Phenomenal Bodies is commissioned by Dance Theater Workshop's Commissioning and Creative Residency Program with support from the Jerome Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Jerome Robbins Foundation. This project is supported by the New York State DanceForce, with funding from the New York State Council on the Arts Dance Program and the Altria Group, Inc.

Crotch (all the Joseph Beuys references in the world…) was commissioned by L'Arsenic in Lausanne Switzerland.
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