Ignoring Boundaries

Written by Susan Reiter on . Posted in Dance, Posts.


In case you
haven’t yet let go of the relaxed cultural pace of summer, the arrival of the
Crossing the Line
Festival
will shake you out of any lingering torpor with a vengeance. This ambitious
annual presentation by the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) boldly
crosses boundaries—geographical, disciplinary and otherwise—and can be counted
on to present adventurous, provocative and unexpected works.

This will be the
fifth edition of what is offered as a “platform for vibrant new developments in
artistic practices on both sides of the Atlantic.” With a month (Sept. 17–Oct.
16) of events at various venues, it aims to “explore the dialogue between
artist and society, to examine how artists help reimagine the ways we perceive
the world.” Crossing the Line 2011 is so expansive that its presentations are
framed into three principal program perspectives: Fiction and Non-Fiction, a
Lecture/Performance series and Endurance/Resistance/Inspiration.

Dance artists
and those whose interdisciplinary work may be of particular interest to dance
audiences are plentiful on this year’s roster. Several will participate in the
expansive and wide-ranging free opening event this Saturday (Sept. 17) which
launches the Fiction and Non-Fiction programming, investigating such questions
as: “On what do we rely to differentiate truth from fiction?” and “What really
shapes our perception of the world around us?” Presented in partnership with
the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, this afternoon of events will take
place on three levels of that organization’s home, a historic Payne Whitney
House at 972 Fifth Ave., and extend into Central Park and along Museum Mile.

American
choreographer Kimberly Bartosik, who was a notable member of Merce Cunningham’s
company for a decade, will offer Ecsteriority 3
, a site-specific performance in the
building’s marble hallway. In 20-minute sections that loop over four hours (2
p.m. to 6 p.m.), the work examines decay and the collapsibility of space. In
the main reception hall, choreographer/dancer Trajal Harrell will join with
French actress Perle Palombe in The Conspiracy of Performance
, described as “a manifesto on the state
of modern performance,” alternating between French and English. Raimund Hogue,
the intriguing German choreographer whose work made quite an impact during his
previous Crossing the Line appearances, brings a site-specific adaptation of his
Pas de deux
to the
same space. Described as a “performative lecture,” it plays on the idea of a
classical ballet duet, with Hogue and Japanese dancer Takashi Ueno exploring
their physical and cultural differences. The afternoon’s events extend outdoors
into Central Park, directly across from 972 Fifth Ave., where French dancer
Laurent Pichaud will play with perspective and perception in his solo Lande
Part
.

That busy
opening afternoon will set the invigorating tone for the four weeks of events
to follow. Dance events on the Crossing the Line schedule include Bartosik’s
strikingly named i like penises: a little something in 24 acts
, a world premiere at Danspace Project
(Sept. 22–24). Its four performers will interact with collage artist Jonathan
Allen in what is described as “a choreographed investigation into value and
exchangeability.”

French
choreographer Xavier Le Roy, who performed a solo earlier this year in MOMA’s
dance performance series, fiercely defies categories. Trained as a molecular
biologist but working as a choreographer for the past 20 years, he creates
pieces from a scientific perspective, exploring the human body and how we
perceive it with a scientific approach. Crossing the Line will offer two very
different evenings of Le Roy’s work, both at FIAF. More Mouvements fur
Lachenmann
, a 2008 work
receiving its New York premiere Sept. 19, upends expectations as it explores
the relationship between the musical concert and its performing musicians,
devising special techniques for eight musicians to employ during a concert of
music by Helmut Lachenmann. On Sept. 20, Le Roy will appear as part of the
festival’s Lecture/Performance Series, delivering Product of Circumstances
—an illustrated lecture of professional
journey from scientist to choreographer that examines the nature of research.

Ralph Lemon, a
veteran of the local dance scene whose work always crosses disciplines while
incorporating provocative ideas and questions on social and political issues,
will also be part of that series. On Oct. 6, he will offer A Paradance: The
inherent protest and émigré nature of performance (and how it could belong
nowhere)
at FIAF.

Crossing the
Line’s final week will be highlighted by two significant dance presentations
that touch on volatile political issues, as part of the festival’s
Endurance/Resistance/Inspiration programming: Faustin Linyekula at The Kitchen
(Oct. 12–15) and Rachid Ouramdane at New York Live Arts (two different
programs, Oct. 11 &12 and Oct. 14 & 15.)

Crossing the
Line 2011

Sept. 17–Oct. 16, various
venues; for tickets and schedule details, 800-982-2787 or
www.fiaf.org/crossingtheline.

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