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Jennifer Muller | The Works Upcoming Season at The Joyce Theater

by Robert Abrams
June 4, 2009
The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011
212-242-0800

Featured Dance Company:

Jennifer Muller | The Works
Jennifer Muller | The Works Studio
131 West 24th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10011
212.691.3803
www.jmtw.org

Jennifer Muller | The Works will be presenting their 35th anniversary season June 9 - 14, 2009 at The Joyce Theater. I had the privilege of previewing excerpts from some of their new dances that will be premiered this season. This glimpse leads me to be confident that this JMTW season will be filled with performances that you should not miss.

One of JMTW's new works is called "Bench". This dance combines an environmental/global warming theme with characters based on the seven deadly sins. The interesting movement forms were set to appealing music. Both the movement of individual dancers and the group as a whole drew me in. JMTW's performances are often compelling both because of Jennifer Muller's choreography and her dancers' strenth and talent. The previewed excerpts were no exception. With respect to her dancers in particular, I noticed more than once the grace that Ms. Muller's dancers show in the smallest movements. The choreography includes plenty of explosive movement too. With JMTW in general, and Ms. Muller's new works in particular, where ever you look for talent, you are bound to find it.

Full disclosure: I have been a friend of the company for several years, so I will admit to being slightly biased, but I am confident that my biases towards JMTW are based on objective and defensible evidence (I once even hired JMTW to perform at a special event). Get tickets to JMTW and judge for yourself. (And then write a letter to the editor letting us know what you thought of JMTW's new works.)



Additional information from the JMTW press release:

The Works' 35th Anniversary Season
Three World Premiere Productions
and Gala Recognizing Dancers Responding To AIDS
June 9 - 14, 2009 at The Joyce Theater

Jennifer Muller/The Works announces The Works' 35th Anniversary Season at The Joyce Theater at 175 Eighth Avenue (at 19th Street), NYC from June 9 - 14, 2009. The 2009 Season features the World Premieres of Bench, part of The Joyce Theater's 25th anniversary commissioning initiative, Tangle and Walk It Off. Tickets are $19 - 49 and are available at 212-242-0800 or www.joyce.org.

Program A: Tuesday, June 9 at 7pm (Gala Opening); Wednesday, June 10 at 7:30pm; Friday, June 12 at 8pm; Saturday, June 13 at 2pm; Sunday, June 14 at 7:30pm
Tub (ClassicWorks Revival), Bench (World Premiere), Momentum (2005)

A ClassicWorks Revival of one of the company's earliest dances, Tub was created in 1973. Pace-setting in its use of unusual physical elements on stage, this piece employs a tub filled with water and is danced wet to an original score by Burt Alcantara, music director for The Works in its early years.  Tub is an evocative and playful piece about the symbolic and emotional significance of water and cleansing.  Critical acclaim at Dublin Festival: The Irish Times said "dramatic moments of confrontation quickly changing to acceptance with the cleansing and ritual transformation of the waters, relaxing dancers and audiences alike to a mood of merriment." Inspired by Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, Bench (World Premiere) is a dance about culpability and grace set to the music of Jocelyn Pook.  The piece traces the ecological destruction of the earth due to destructive human behaviors through two simultaneous arcs: video projections of the earth from its creation to its current state of devastation and movement portraying the negative human effects on nature.  A piece for twelve dancers, each dancer is caught in a downward spiral of destructive behavior - loosely based on the seven deadly sins.  The relationships between characters disintegrate, torn apart by jealousies, quarrels, power struggles and conflicting desires, leading to a series of catalytic events that disrupt the status quo. The bench itself represents greed and power, inertia, and eventually, a prayer for salvation.  Bench asks for a transformation of disregard into responsibility, apathy into action and conflict into redemption.  Momentum (2005) is an investigation of energy, impetus, motion and velocity-the elements necessary to create action, forward motion, dynamic shape and momentum in movement and in life. Momentum is conceived as a vigorous, propulsive movement piece. Appropriate for ages 8 and up.

Program B: Thursday, June 11 at 8pm; Saturday, June 13 at 8pm; Sunday, June 14 at 2pm
Edge (2007 - Joyce Premiere), Aria (2008 - Joyce Premiere), Tangle (World Premiere), Walk It Off (World Premiere)

Edge (2007 - Joyce Premiere), a dynamic movement piece set to music by Zap Mama, incorporates dramatic elements that explore the nature of fear, challenge and the ultimate courage that propels individuals to step off into the unknown.  Aria (2008 - Joyce Premiere), choreographed to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, takes a fresh look at individual operatic arias, duettinos and trios. Drawn from the operas The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni, the music selections are divorced from the operas' plots.  Instead each crystallizes the essence of the words, expressing of the longing, loss and/or desire for love in contemporary and startling ways while still echoing the haunting, sensual and passionate quality of the music.  Tangle (World Premiere) explores the intricacies of relationships. A duet with an unusual partnering vocabulary, the piece speaks about the power struggles, seemingly insolvable challenges and convolutions of one-on-one relationships. Created with humor, passion and compassion, the piece suggests that the tangles are most often self-inflicted and avoidable.  Walk It Off (World Premiere) is a tongue-in-cheek how to manual offering advice about how to relieve stress and get out of the dumps.  Suggestions range from "get over it" and "drop it" to "work it out" and "walk it off." The piece is a study in the contagious nature of motion combining casual action with high-powered dancing. Appropriate for ages 5 and up.

Dancers: Susanna Bozzetti, Mariana Cardenas, Elizabeth Disharoon, Rosie Lani Fiedelman, Seiko Fujita, Duane Gosa, Josiah Guitian, Gen Hashimoto, Tracy Ray Kofford, Abdul Latif, Jen Peters, Pascal Rekoert

The Works' 35th Anniversary Opening Night Gala on Tuesday, June 9 celebrates a year of unparalleled achievement in the life of the company, including a successful Beijing tour in December and a dynamic roster of recent performances, including Central Park SummerStage, Fire Island Dance Festival 14 and our annual Hamptons event. The Gala Evening begins at 7pm with the Opening Night Performance at The Joyce, followed by a festive Gala Celebration & Silent Auction at Tavern on the Green. Gala Co-Chairs are Dr. Endre A. Balazs and Dr. Janet L. Denlinger, Dr. Philip A. Band and Ms. Nancy Immel, Mr. Peter Buffington, and Dr. Gary E. & Mrs. Maria Hayes; and Silent Auction Co-Chairs are Ms. Nancy Bowles and Ms. Alison Price-Becker. The Gala Evening also honors Dancers Responding to AIDS (DRA) for its valiant service to creative communities around the U.S. and important role in the fight against AIDS. Founded in 1991 by former Paul Taylor dancers Denise Roberts Hurlin and Hernando Cortez, Dancers Responding to AIDS (DRA) is a fundraising program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA), the nation's leading industry-based AIDS fundraising and grant-making organization. DRA is the ongoing committed response from the American dance community to an urgent worldwide health crisis. The funds that DRA raises are distributed to over 485 AIDS and Family Service organizations across the United States, and as direct services to all entertainment professionals nationwide including the Dancers Resource. These programs provide emergency financial assistance for rent subsidies, health insurance, food, and other basic necessities. Over 150 million dollars has been raised by BC/EFA since 1988. Gala Ticket Prices are $2,500 Principal Benefactor / $1,500 Benefactor / $1,000 Sponsor / $750 Patron / $450 Donor. For information on sponsorship opportunities or tickets, contact John Louis Bryant, The Works' Executive Director at 212.691.3803 or jbryant@jmtw.org.

ABOUT JENNIFER MULLER/THE WORKS
Throughout its history of 35 years, contemporary dance company Jennifer Muller/The Works has strived to reach ever-broadening audiences with works that celebrate and illuminate the human spirit. Artistic Director Jennifer Muller creates exhilarating dances that are evocative, passionate and engaging. The Works has developed an astounding international presence, having appeared in the world's preeminent theaters and festivals in 39 countries on four continents. In December 2008, The Works performed to rave reviews at the Sixth Beijing International Theater & Dance Festival, presented by China's National Center for the Performing Arts. The Works recent international engagements also include Bangkok's Eighth International Festival of Dance and Music and Festival Internacional de Teatro Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia. The company has performed worldwide from Buenos Aires to Toronto and Hong Kong to Moscow with appearances in Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Köln, Tel Aviv, Montreal and Amsterdam. The Works has performed in 30 states in the U.S. and has self-produced 20 New York City Seasons.

The Works is devoted to its professional training, arts awareness and mentoring programs.  Faces of Wonder and Imagine That! bring The Works' artistry to deserving students in New York City public schools. The Scholarship/Apprentice Program provides valued professional training in Muller Technique for aspiring dancers.  The HATCH Presenting Series has presented nearly 500 new works by emerging choreographers and theater artists. The Emerging Choreographers Program produces work by current company members and alumni. Company alumni that have founded dance companies include Ronald K. Brown, Young Soon Kim, Pascal Rekoert, Michael Jahoda, Maria Naidu and Leda Meredith. These valued programs annually reach over 5,000 youth in the New York City schools and support 50 emerging choreographers.

Jennifer Muller, an influence in the dance world for over 40 years, is known for her visionary approach and innovations in dance / theater, multi-discipline productions, incorporating the spoken word, live and commissioned music, artist-inspired decor and unusual production elements. She has created over 100 works including 6 full-evening productions. She was selected in 2003 as a Founding Member of the World Arts Council in Valencia, Spain - one of 30 artists in six disciplines, alongside such luminaries as Placido Domingo, Toyo Ito, Santiago Calatrava, and Sydney Pollack - and the only American representing the dance field. Internationally renowned as a consummate teacher and mentor of creative talent, Ms. Muller has developed a personalized technique and developed innovative programs in creative thinking. Ms. Muller's choreography has been commissioned by 24 international repertory companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Nederlands Dans Theater, NDT3, Ballet de Nord and Ballet Contemporaneo Argentina. Her work for theater includes such venues as The Public Theater, Second Stage, New York Stage and Film and the Metropolitan Opera. Creating work since she was 7 years old, her work has now been seen in 44 countries.

The Works' New Choreography Fund is supported by the Eric Emanuel New Works Fund, sponsored, in part, by Comodo; Harkness Foundation for Dance; HayesBrunswick; The Jerome Robbins Foundation; Starkman & Associates; and The Lila Acheson Wallace Theater Fund of the New York Community Trust.

Jennifer Muller/The Works receives major support from Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYS Senator Thomas K. Duane, NYS Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Valerie Wilson Travel Inc.

The Joyce Theater's 25th anniversary commissioning grants of $25,000 were made possible by the Stephen and Cathy Weinroth Fund for New Work, with additional support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

For more information on Jennifer Muller/The Works, visit www.jmtw.org.

THE WORKS' 35th ANNIVERSARY SEASON
The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue (at 19th Street), NYC
June 9 - 14, 2009
Tue at 7pm; Wed and Sun at 7:30pm; Thu, Fri and Sat at 8pm; and Sat and Sun at 2pm

Tickets: $49, $35, $19 (Joyce Members $44, $26)
(Ticket prices subject to change based on demand.)
JoyceCharge: 212-242-0800
joyce.org
Jennifer Muller / The Works Dancers left to right: Elizabeth Disharoon, Gen Hashimoto, Pascal Rekoert, Rosie Lani Fiedelman

Jennifer Muller / The Works
Dancers left to right: Elizabeth Disharoon, Gen Hashimoto, Pascal Rekoert, Rosie Lani Fiedelman

Photo © & courtesy of Carol Rosegg


Jennifer Muller / The Works Dancers left to right: Pascal Rekoert, Elizabeth Disharoon

Jennifer Muller / The Works
Dancers left to right: Pascal Rekoert, Elizabeth Disharoon

Photo © & courtesy of Carol Rosegg

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