Choreographer Reclaims Traumatic Images From His Roots

Ralph Lemon, an African American "removed by many generations from any obvious African culture," folded his 10-year-old modern-dance company in 1995, but was soon invited by a coalition of funders to travel, do research, hire artists, and make something new. Now he's on the verge of completing a trilogy that has taken him to Africa, Asia, and the southern United States, and has produced, along with performances and workshops, two engrossing books, Geography and Tree, that combine travel journals and reflections with his own photographs and visual art. The third section of the trilogy, Come Home Charley Patton, is part of this fall's Next Wave Festival.

Lemon's project manifests politics at its most personal: visa arrangements for visiting artists; negotiations about payment; complex interactions with people of all races, nationalities, and social classes. The first two challenging, intercultural dance works were developed at Yale and performed at the Next Wave. For the third one, he's been in the Deep South, searching out narratives that do justice to traumatic memories like those of lynchings and the struggles of the civil rights movement, and working with historical sources on the blues, reinventing the theater as a space "filled with ancestors telling their stories." His daughter, Chelsea Lemon Fetzer, shot video for the project; Nari Ward continues providing visual art; Katherine Profeta is dramaturge; and Christian Marclay is the composer.

Come Home Charley Patton, October 26 through 30, BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718.636.4100, bam.org

Come home, Ralph Lemon.
photo: Dan Merlo
Come home, Ralph Lemon.


'THE HAPPY PRINCE'
September 23-25
The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, 212.255.5793

David Neumann and Amy Trompetter collaborate on a world premiere, based on a fairy tale by Oscar Wilde, that combines puppets of all sizes with dancers. Karen Kandel takes a leading role.


JANE COMFORT AND COMPANY
October 5-10
Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, 212.242.0800

Her new Persephone has neon and fiber optic sculptures by Keith Sonnier and live music by Tigger Benford. Also, older works with political and social bite.


TANGENTE/WAX DANSÉCHANGE
October 8-9
WAX, 207 North 7th Street, Brooklyn, 718.599.7997

Montrealer Marie Pascale Belangier and downtown experimenter Chris Yon share a bill.


URBAN BUSH WOMEN
October 8-10
Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church, 131 East 10th Street, 212.674.8194

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar's troupe celebrates its 20th anniversary with work by current members and alumni, including Laurie Carlos, Grisha Coleman, Shani Collins, Trebien Pollard, Robin Wilson, and others.


EVERETT DANCE THEATRE
October 14-16
Dance Theater Workshop, 219 West 19th Street, 212.924.0077

This Providence-based ensemble is a real (extended, multicultural) family affair, with the new Home Movies to prove it.


'DANCEOFF!'
October 19
P.S.122, 150 First Avenue, 212.477.5288

Terry Dean Bartlett and Katie Workum move their dance cabaret, performing with David Neumann, Noémie Lafrance, Leigh Garrett, the Young Dance Collective, Clare Byrne, and Jenny Seastone Stern.


AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE
October 20-November 7
New York City Center, 135 West 55th Street, 212.581.1212

New works by Christopher Wheeldon and Trey McIntyre highlight this intimate season, which includes dances by Tudor, Fokine, Balanchine, Forsythe, Kylián, and Peterson.


BALLET TECH
October 21-November 7
Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, 212.242.0800

Eliot Feld's reconstituted troupe, with Damian Woetzel as a guest, offers dances to John Adams, J.S. Bach, Steve Reich, Charles Ives, and others.


BALLET PRELJOCAJ
November 3-6
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, 718.636.4100

French-Albanian choreographer Angelin Preljocaj brings his new Near Life Experience, to music by Air.


GARTH FAGAN DANCE
November 16-21
Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, 212.242.0800

Fagan returns to the Joyce with a world premiere to Brahms and lots more.


TANZTHEATER WUPPERTAL PINA BAUSCH
November 16 and 18-21
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, 718.636.4100

For the Children of Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow celebrates several generations of dancers, and Bausch's 20th anniversary at BAM.


LAKOTA SIOUX INDIAN DANCE THEATRE
November 21
Peter Norton Symphony Space, Broadway and 95th Street, 212.864.5400

Henry Smith directs this 26-year-old troupe in Cokata Upo: Come to the Center, about this Indian nation.


TERE O'CONNOR DANCE
December 2-4
The Kitchen, 512 West 19th Street, 212.255.5793

A new work examines ideologies enmeshed in globalization and overpopulation, crashing the meditative into the extremely physical.


JOHN JASPERSE COMPANY
December 7-11
BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, 718.636.4100

In California, this wildly creative artist explores unanticipated crises, to a score by Jonathan Bepler, on a set by Ammar Eloueini.


DAVID PARKER & THE BANG GROUP
December 15-22
Dance Theater Workshop, 219 West 19th Street, 212.924.0077

Nut/cracked, a hilarious 21st-century vaudevillian reinvention, uses tap, point work, the Hustle, and more, to music by Tchaikovsky, Ellington, and others.

 
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