Since their beginnings in September 1999 at Williamsburg’s Galapagos, Terry Dean Bartlett’s dance shows, curated in partnership first with Lisa LeAnn Dalton and now with Katie Workum, have been spots of color on the downtown scene. Bartlett, who came out of Montana and joined Elizabeth Streb’s daredevil troupe, has produced these eclectic evenings at the Knitting Factory, the Flea, the Culture Project, and Joe’s Pub; this week he heads uptown to the Thalia, a screening room that does double duty as a stage for relatively miniature dances, with what he’s calling “New York’s only full-contact, non-competitive, sometimes non-dance dance competition.”
On this week’s bill, which is part of Symphony Space’s American Comic Vision Festival, you’ll find, along with Bartlett and Workum, pieces by Monica Bill Barnes, Leigh Garrett, Larry Keigwin, Karinne Keithley, Paul Matteson, Jennifer Nugent, Nathan Phillips, Nicole Wolcott, and Sarah East Johnson’s Lava, an all-female gaggle of acrobats. What these artists have in common is an absurdist sensibility and a lot of nerve. They extend the definition of dance in the direction of theater and cabaret. Previous incarnations have set a limit of seven minutes per artist, so if you can’t bear what you’re watching, just hold on and wait for the next thing.