American Realness

Juliana F. May

Commentary=not thing

FRI JAN 10 . 10:00 PM
SAT JAN 11 . 4:00 PM
SUN JAN 12 . 7:00 PM
MON JAN 13 . 3:00 PM

Run time: 60 minutes

466 Grand Street / tickets $20

Single Tickets Festival Pass

Commentary=not thing, is a dance play in two parts. This trio for two men and a woman prioritizes a more attentive and often aggressive relationship to the naked body, the functions of the body and the genitals. In an effort to expose the often chaotic and conflicting modes of communication among the group, the lone word or gesture sits next to the chunky dense repeating text. They crash and transform or (deliberately) don’t go anywhere. The loss and arousal in this dysfunction creates a jagged and illegible terrain, which makes a case for abstraction and its ability to communicate the expressive possibility of the emotional body and alternately, expose and lament its vast limitations.

Commentary=not thing was commissioned by New York Live Arts and made 
possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts and by
 contributors to the Dance Theater Workshop Commissioning Fund at New 
York Live Arts. Additional support is given by New York State
 Dance Force with support from the New York State Council on the Arts. Commentary=not thing has been supported by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council through the open process residency at Building 110: LMCC’s Arts Center at Governor’s Island. The project was made possible, in part, through the Movement Research Artist-in-Residence Program, funded, in part, by the Davis/Dauray Family Fund and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Commentary=not thing Trailer Shot and edited by Peter Richards

choreographed and directed by Juliana F. May
performed by Benjamin Asriel, Talya Epstein and Kayvon Pourazar
text by Benjamin Asriel, Juliana F. May, Kayvon Pourazar and Maggie Thom
music by Chris Seeds, with thanks to Otto Hauser (drums)
set design  Brad Kisicki
lighting design by Chloe Z. Brown
costumes by  Reid Bartelme

Juliana F. May (choreographer/director) is a New York City native with a dual degree in Dance and Art History from Oberlin College. May has created nine works, including seven evening-length pieces with residencies and commissions from The Chocolate Factory Theater, Barnard College at Columbia University, The New School, Joyce SoHo, The International Contemporary Ensemble (I.C.E.) The Repertory Project, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Brooklyn Arts exchange, New York Live Arts and Dance Theater Workshop. May received The Manhattan Community Arts Fund Grant through LMCC for the premiere of Gutter Gate at dance Theater workshop and was a 2011-13 Movement Research Artist-in-Residence. In 2012 May served as Dramaturge for choreographer Miguel Gutierrez’s And lose the name of action which premiered at The Brooklyn Academy of Music. In June of 2012 the company was in residence at Governor’s Island as a part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Open Process Residency program where they developed Commentary = not thing which premiered at New York Live Arts in February 2013. A work in progress version of Commentary = not thing was presented as a part of the American Realness festival in January 2013. In 2012 New York Live Arts awarded May the inaugural Jeff Duncan award for early career choreographers. May holds an MFA in Choreography from the University Wisconsin in Milwaukee where she was awarded the chancellors scholarship and the Thesis Award. May’s next evening length piece, The Installment, will begin development in 2014 and have its world premiere at The Chocolate Factory Theater in 2016.

Kayvon Pourazar (performer) is of Persian origin, and was raised in Iran, Turkey and England. He graduated with a BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase in May 2000. He has performed in the works of Beth Gill, Levi Gonzalez, K.J. Holmes, John Jasperse Company, Juliette Mapp, Juliana May/MAYDANCE, Jodi Melnick, Jennifer Monson, Donna Uchizono Company, Doug Varone and Dancers, Gwen Welliver, Yasuko Yokoshi, Wil Swanson, Gabriel Masson Dance and in The Metropolitan Opera productions of Les Troyens and Le Sacre du Printemps. Pourazar’s own work has been shown in New York City at The Kitchen (Dance & Process), P.S. 122 (Hothouse), The Cunningham Studios, Center for Performance Research, Catch, AUNTS and Dixon Place. In 2010, he received a New York Dance & Performance “Bessie” Award for Performance. He has been a guest artist teacher at Tsekh Russia in Moscow, Bennington College, University of Maryland, and, in conjuction with teaching, has created original works at Sacramento State University, University of Vermont and University of Nebraska. He also currently performs in the works of Beth Gill and Levi Gonzalez.

Brad Kisicki (set design) is a Designer, Technical Director and Production Manager who has been fortunate to work with many wonderful organizations, companies and individuals. Currently he works as an Architect specializing in performing arts facilities at Auerbach Pollock Friedlander. Brad was the Production Manager for the Aspen Music Festival for 10 seasons and the Technical Director at Dance Theater Workshop for 5 seasons among many other great jobs. He holds a BFA from the North Carolina School of the Arts, an M.Arch from the Rhode Island School of Design and a monthly Metro Card.

Reid Bartelme (costume design) began his professional life as a dancer.  He worked for Ballet companies throughout North America and Canada,  and later in his career worked for modern dance companies in New York including Shen Wei Dance Arts and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company.  He has also performed in works by Jack Ferver, Liz Santoro, Burr Johnson, Douglas Dunn, Christopher Williams, Kyle Abraham and Ryan McNamara.  He went on to graduate from the fashion design program at the Fashion Institute of Technology and began working as a freelance costume designer.  Reid has designed costumes most notably for Christopher Wheeldon, Lar Lubovitch, Gwen Welliver,   Pontus Lidberg, Jack Ferver, Burr Johnson, Jillian Peña, Juliana May, Michelle Boulé  and Liz Santoro.  In collaboration with designer Harriet Jung, Reid has designed costumes for the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Justin Peck, Marcelo Gomes, Andrea Miller, Emery Lecrone and Mauro Bigonzetti.

Chris Seeds (composer) The score for “Commentary = Not Thing” is composer Chris Seeds’ second collaboration with Juliana F. May.  Previously, he composed and performed the score for Juliana F. May / MAYDANCE’s Gutter Gate at Dance Theater Workshop in NYC in February 2012.  Other recent collaborations with dance artists include performances with Lindsay Gilmour and OTUX (Santiago de Chile).  Chris played electronic pianos, organs, and synthesizers in experimental bands in NYC throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and strives to bring a sense of that style of improvisation and live performance to his compositional work.

Talya Epstein (performer) is originally from Sharon, Massachusetts and now resides in Brooklyn. She is currently engaged in creative processes with Anna Azrieli, Melinda Ring, and Larissa Velez-Jackson.  Her own work has been shown through Danspace Projectʼs Draftwork series, Movement Research at Judson Church, AUNTS, Dixon Placeʼs Body Blend series, The Tank, Galapagos Art Space, Bushwick Starr, The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, among others. Talya holds a BFA from The Boston Conservatory and, currently, attends Janet Panetta’s ballet class whenever possible.

Ben Asriel (performer) grew up in Glasgow, Kentucky where he cultivated his love of art in his mother’s dance classes, on the soccer field, and playing trumpet in the GHS band. He studied music theory at Brown University (AB Music ’03) and dance at NYU Tisch (MFA ’06). In addition to MAYDANCE, Ben dances with Walter Dundervill, and Liz Gerring Dance Company. Ben has also performed with Gerald Casel, Daria Faïn, Jack Ferver, Gabriel Forestieri, John Jasperse, Antonio Ramos, Edisa Weeks, and Pavel Zustiak, among others. In 2010/2011 Ben was a Choreographic Fellow of NYCB’s New York Choreographic Institute, supported by Oregon Ballet Theater. His dances have been presented by CPR – Center for Performance Research, the Chocolate Factory Theater, Dance New Amsterdam, Movement Research at the Judson Church, The Tank, and Danspace Project. He is currently enrolled in Columbia University’s postbac premed program. Tell him what you think:

Chloë Z Brown (lighting Design) is a Brooklyn based lighting designer and production manager. She was the Director of Production at New York Live Arts and Dance Theater Workshop from 2002 – 2013. In her work as a designer she collaborates with great artists such as Ivy Baldwin, Andrew Dinwiddie, Jeanine Durning, Juliana May, Sarah Maxfield, David Neumann, Heather Olson, Brian Rogers, Vicky Shick, Chris Yon and many more. In 2005, she was honored with a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for her lighting of Amanda Loulaki’s La la la la, Resistance (The Island of Breezes) at DTW.  She loves her work.