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April Thibeault
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Heidi Latsky Dance Company Premieres ON DISPLAY, Nov. 15 at NYU’s Skirball Center

by April Thibeault
October 6, 2015
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square
New York, NY 10012
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Heidi Latsky Dance (HLD) continues to redefine the notions of dance, beauty, and virtuosity through new genre-shattering, cutting-edge performances under the artistic leadership of internationally renowned artist Heidi Latsky (a former dancer with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company). In a shared program with AXIS Dance Company at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts on November 15th, HLD presents three daring, critical works that examine the intense, personal and social struggle with physicality: "Solo 1", an excerpt from "Solo Countersolo" (2013), the New York City premiere of "Somewhere" (2015), and the reincarnation of the site-specific, multi-media movement installation "ON DISPLAY" (2015). This marks the latest addition to HLD’s The GIMP Project, a dance and advocacy project involving both disabled and non-disabled performers.

“We are dedicated to working with unexpected bodies and social justice,” says Heidi Latsky, HLD’s artistic director/choreographer/performer. “By juxtaposing these three works and putting the human body ‘on display,’ we strive to be as open and vulnerable as possible, and dare to be seen and heard in our fullness. We hope this program ignites a relevant, urgent conversation about society’s obsession with body image.” By producing powerful and provocative dance for both disabled and non-disabled performers of all shapes, sizes, and ages, HLD pushes beyond conventional boundaries and subsequently challenges social constructs. A gleaming milestone in the progress of contemporary dance, HLD “beautifully resets preconceptions about bodies and movement (The New Yorker).”

As one enters the lobby of the NYU Skirball Center, the audience is fully immersed in ON DISPLAY, a deconstructed art exhibit/fashion show dripping with authenticity. Through the collection of Brooklyn-based fashion designer Anna Kathleen Little and an austere film by Janet Wong (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company), choreographer Latsky addresses society’s propensity to judge people according to what they look like. “In taking the risk to expose themselves in their full vibrancy, the performers are accepting bits of themselves—bits that are just as real as the tangible parts,” explains Latksy. “Oftentimes, this unmasking takes viewers on a difficult, yet enlightening journey that sparks feelings of shame and fascination.”

In partnership with Commissioner Victor Calise and the NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, HLD has toured varying versions of ON DISPLAY throughout New York City (Whitney Museum, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The High Line, David Rubenstein Lincoln Center Atrium, to name a few). This evening’s version features a wildly, eclectic group of performers ranging from hand-selected employees and alumni of New York University, to the award-winning dancer Lawrence Goldhuber, Latsky’s former dancing partner at Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.

“For the choreographer Heidi Latsky, there are no unbeautiful bodies and no bodies incapable of dancing. In what some might call disability, she finds possibility.” - The New York Times

The program’s first stage work, "Solo 1" from "Solo Countersolo", features the agile, 57-year old Latsky moving unrestrictedly to a passionate score by British composer Chris Brierley. A highly emotional exorcism, the work is grounded in ebullient passages of dancing. In a style both eclectic and personal, Latsky “revs up into a kind of scribbling fury with circling hips and knocking knees (The New York Times).”

The second, "Somewhere", demonstrates how masterfully Latsky and her dancers accommodate to one another’s strengths. Set to original music by Xi.me.na Borges, Somewhere highlights the fullness of each dancer’s physicality. This series of intimate movement portraits ranges from wide-legged stances, open chests, and arched backs, to delicate footwork, thrashing and shimmying, to bold arm movements and fluid gestures including some American sign language.

Latsky’s definition of a dancer is all-inclusive. HLD features disabled and non-disabled performers, including some with specific physicality’s like deafness, hyper flexibility, cerebral palsy, and Parkinson’s disease. "I am fascinated by technical virtuosity, but I am just as compelled by someone taking a risk, showing his or her vulnerability, being in a raw state,” said Latsky. According to Deborah Jowitt of ArtsJournal, “the harmony among Latsky and these performers and among themselves, as well as what they have achieved in terms of art is a beautiful thing to see. Watching all of them at work can make one both more accepting of one’s own limitations and impatient to get on with the business of challenging these.”

About Heidi Latsky Dance

Since 2001, is a New York City–based dance company dedicated to redefining beauty through performance, discourse, and educational activity. The GIMP Project, a body of work that includes dancers with and without disabilities, began in 2006 with the critically acclaimed show GIMP that has been presented at venues including Abrons Arts Center, Institute for Contemporary Art, Kennedy Center, Dublin Dance Festival, Scripps College, DaDaFest (Liverpool), Chicago Humanities Festival, Alverno Presents, CREA Conference (Kathmandu), Crossing Borders Festival (Düsseldorf). GIMP is the subject of Richard Move’s short film, GIMP—The Documentary, which premiered at the Film Society of Lincoln Center; an AP multimedia piece; and features on CNN, NET, and NPR. A profile on GIMP on Channel 12 News NJ was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2010. For more information, please visit heidilatskydance.com.

About NYU Skirball Center

NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts is the premier venue for the presentation of cultural and performing arts events for New York University and lower Manhattan. Led by Executive Director Michael Harrington, the NYU Skirball mission is to showcase and support diverse and eclectic talent from around the world, while cultivating audiences for live performance through deeper engagement opportunities. For more information visit: nyuskirball.org.


Sunday, November 15, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. Post-show discussion and Q&A with the artists


"On Display" (2015)

Concept and Choreography: Heidi Latsky

Performers: NYU graduates and employees; and Jerron Herman, Landes Dixon, Ainesh Maden, Jillian Hollis, Meredith Fages, Khaleah London, Samir Arboleda, Terrence Hewitt, Jacqueline Ledesma, Tiffany Geigel, Michelle Mantione, Weasel Sawyer Eason, Bo Pressly, Judy Garfinkel, Nico Gonzales, Carmen Schoenster, Krishna Washburn, Gwendolyn Gussman, Leslie Freeman, Louisa Mann, Lawrence Goldhuber, Marissa Wiley, Alexandria Wailes, Quemuel Arroyo, Carlo Rizzo, Maria Schirmer, Peter Trojic, Kimberly Olstad
Filmmaker: Janet Wong
Sound Design: Xi.me.na Borges
Text: Jerron Herman
Additional Text: Eve Mykytyn
Creative Consultants: Stan Harrison and Alissa Levin
Text Audio Execution: Lawrence Goldhuber
Fashion Design: Anna Kathleen Little Apparel made possible with support from NYU Skirball Center
Premiered: October 2015 at David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, New York City, NY

"Solo 1", excerpt from "Solo Countersolo" (2013)

Concept and Choreography: Heidi Latsky
Performer: Heidi Latsky
Original Music: Chris Brierley
Costume Design: Carlos Arias
Lighting Design: Robert Wierzel
Premiered: June 2013 at Baruch Performing Arts Center, New York City, NY

"Somewhere" (2015) *New York premiere*

Concept and Choreography: Heidi Latsky
Performers: Meredith Fages, Jerron Herman, Jillian Hollis, Heidi Latsky, Saki Masuda, Robert Simpson, Gregory Youdan Jr, and more TBA
Original Music: Xi.me.na Borges
Costumes: Heidi Latsky and the Company
Lighting Design: Robert Wierzel
Premiered: April 2015 at Peak Performances, Montclair State Univcersity, Montclair, NJ


NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place, New York City | Train: A/B/C/D/E/F/M West 4th Street, 1 Christopher Street, N/R 8th Street, 6 Astor Place


Tickets range from $32 to $49 and may be purchased online at nyuskirball.org, phone 212.998.4941, or in person at the box office.

Photo © & courtesy of Darial Sneed

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