Writhing around in fish guts is actually no new practice in the world of dance. It originated at Judson Memorial with Carolee Schneemann’s carnal orgy Meat Joy in 1964. But even so, when Emily Johnson tapes and ties scaly carcasses to her body, it still feels just as raw. Johnson’s primal Niicugni will premiere in New York tonight, amid an installation of light, sound, and homemade fish skin lanterns. The title means “to pay attention,” which shouldn’t be a problem, since this performance all but demands it. Inspired by her native Yup’ik ancestry, the Alaska-born artist employs energetic movement, costumes, and humor to recount the stories and histories of the region. Johnson came up with the concept during a visit back home, thinking about the way catching salmon brought her family together. Far more than a gross-out gimmick, the gentle piece celebrates those with the fortitude to live off the land.
Wed., Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 12, 7:30 p.m., 2013