American Realness

The Ballez

Variations on Virtuosity, a Gala Performance with the Stars of The Ballez

Artistic Director Katy Pyle

SAT JAN 10, 2:00 PM
SUN JAN 11, 9:00 PM

Run time: 45 minutes

466 Grand Street / tickets $20

Single Tickets Festival Pass

The Ballez celebrates the virtuosity of complexly gendered people by choosing the grandiose container of ballet for its presentation. The company celebrates a lineage of dykes and post-modern performance by telling queer/dyke histories inside the framework of classical ballet narratives. Following this tradition, the stars of The Ballez will present Variations on Virtuosity, a Gala Performance of excerpts from The Ballez repertoire. Champagne to follow.

Variations on Virtuosity has received creative support from Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Danspace Project in collaboration with the Jerome Foundation, Mount Tremper Arts, Rockbridge Artist’s Exchange, and the 259 Kickstarter supporters who produced The Firebird, a Ballez.

Photo by Hedia Maron

Excerpts for this production were supported by Danspace Project and the Jerome Foundation’s Choreographic Center Without Walls, 259 Kickstarter supporters, and residencies at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Abrons Arts Center, Mount Tremper Arts, and Rockbridge Artist’s Exchange.

Katy Pyle is a multimedia performance artist whose works explore transformation, queer failure, and the lineage of performance. Pyle began studying ballet as a child, becoming an apprentice with Austin Contemporary Ballet at 14, and furthered her studies at North Carolina School of the Arts. She went on to study modern dance at NCSA, and then post-modern dance at Hollinds, where she graduated with highest honors and a degree in Multimedia Performance Art. Pyle moved to New York in 2002, and her performance works have been presented at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, PS122, La Mama, Dance Theater Workshop, Movement Research at the Judson Church, and the Bushwick Starr. She has been in collaborative processes with Ivy Baldwin, Faye Driscoll, John Jasperse, Karinne Keithley Syers, Jennifer Monson, Anna Sperber, Katie Workum, and many others.
She currently an Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, is performing/collaborating in Xavier Le Roy’s RETROSPECTIVE at MOMA PS1, and is still touring with the Untitled Feminist Show, which she collaboratively created with Young Jean Lee Theater Company, and for which she serves as the Touring Director.
She’s received support from Abrons Arts Center, Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), Danspace Project, Dragon’s Egg, Rockbridge Artist’s Exchange, Mount Tremper Arts, and 259 Kickstarter supporters.

Evvie Allison began dancing with The Ballez in 2012. She has also performed in work by Vanessa Anspaugh, Anna Azrieli, Kim Brandt, Megan Byrne, Burr Johnson, Molly Poerstel, Anna Marie Shogren, RoseAnne Spradlin, Rebecca Warner, and Elizabeth Ward.

Will Davis is a director and theatre maker focused on physically adventurous new and devised work. Sleeping Beauty and the Beast marks his first performance with The Ballez and also his return to dancing. He is grateful for the space to move again and could not be more proud or excited to perform with this tremendous company.
Will has developed, directed and performed with New York Theatre Workshop, The Alliance Theatre, BAX, The New Museum, Mt. Tremper Arts, Salvage Vanguard Theatre, The Fusebox Festival, New Harmony Project, The Orchard Project, The Duplicates, Red Tape Theatre, Fordham University, Performance Studies International at Stanford University, The Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights Workshop, Southern Rep and JACK. Will is currently a 2050 fellow with NYTW and holds a BFA in Theatre Studies from DePaul University and an MFA in Directing from UT Austin.

Ariel “Speedwagon” Federow is an interdisciplinary performing artist. Venues: LaMama ETC, Dixon Place, the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics, the Bowery Poetry Club, WoW Theater Cafe, Hey Queen!, Rebel Cupcake, In the Flesh, BAX, the Bureau of General Services: Queer Divison. Company member: the Ballez, AO Movement Collective, Butch Burlesque, . Works With: Coral Short, Jenny Romaine, Susana Cook, Quito Ziegler, Rosza Daniel Lang/Levitsky, and the Aftselokhis Spectacle Committee. Resident weatherman, Sarah Jenny News Network. Reigning dapperQ of the year. Co-curator of Deadline, a queer works-in-progress series. 2012 Hemispheric Institute Affiliated Emerging Artist. Miss JewSA 5772. Bingo host. Clown about town. Itinerant professor and Powerpoint aficionado. Real nice guy.

Michael Helland is a Brussels and New York-based dance artist, performing in the works of Xavier Le Roy, Daniel Linehan, Cecilia Lisa Eliceche, Alexandra Bachzetsis, Eleanor Bauer, and Tino Sehgal. Previous projects include Faye Driscoll’s Bessie award winning production 837 Venice Boulevard and various works with Marina Abramović, Big Art Group, RoseAnne Spradlin, and robbinschilds. He received a 2010 danceWEB scholarship to ImPulsTanz and was a 2012 Jardin d’Europe Wild Card resident at ex.e.r.ce. In 2013 he was invited by Chrysa Parkinson to participate in the conference The Dancer as Agent at DOCH. Michael’s choreographic installations and works for the stage have been presented in New York at the Scope International Art Fair at Lincoln Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, and the Chocolate Factory, and in Brussels at Volksroom and Artpotheek. His collaborative duets with Daniel Linehan were selected for New Dance Alliance’s NY Dance Exchange with Philadelphia and Montreal. Their current collaboration Vita Activa has been presented at deSingel in Antwerp and by Opera de Lille at Maison Folie Wazemmes. From 2007 to 2010 he curated the Brink dance series at Dixon Place and was on staff at The Field. Since 2010 he also works as an assistant for Ivo Dimchev. He holds degrees in Dance and in Community and Environmental Planning from the University of Washington in Seattle.

Sam Greenleaf Miller is a performer and counselor living and working in New York City. Classically trained at an early age in viola, Sam eventually began singing and songwriting. She recorded albums and toured with various iterations of her band from 1999- 2007. Since, she has performed as a mover and musician in the works of Vanessa Anspaugh, Geo Wyeth, and Katy Pyle. In 2011, Sam received a Masters degree in Clinical Social Work from Smith College, with an emphasis on working with LGBTQ populations. Sam has worked as a group facilitator in various settings, helping to organize and empower LGBTQ community members through psychotherapeutic, strengths-based counseling.

Lindsay Reuter is a dancer and dance-maker living in Brooklyn. Her current performance interests include repurposing/re-imagining function and what is queer embodiment. She loves performing with the BALLEZ. In addition, Lindsay works with Marissa Perel, organizes CLASSCLASSCLASS, and works as an ABA Therapist for people on the Autism Spectrum. Her most recent work, Good Evening, Strangers will be performed at New York Live Arts as part of the Fresh Tracks Residency.

Jules Skloot is a dancer, performance maker, and teacher based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Jules received a BA from Hampshire College and an MFA in dance from Sarah Lawrence College. In addition to collaborating with and performing in the works of Katy Pyle, Jules has performed in New York with Sara Rudner, Peggy Gould, niv Acosta, devynn emory, Margot Bassett, and Will Davis. Jules teaches dance at the Brooklyn Friends School, and is assistant director of an arts and social justice focused summer camp for young people in Northern Virginia.

Janet Werther is a performer, scholar, and educator of dance, theater, and queer performance based in New York City. She teaches Social Issues Through Drama and Performance (aka Theatre 101) at Baruch College, and she believes in the radical humanity of live performance. Janet is happy to be in a long term relationship with the Brooklyn Arts Exchange and is grateful to Katy and the whole Ballez crew for community and dancing.

“The structure–and the cast it invites– will always be tracing innumerable interrelational webs and intersecting socialities. Ballez aims to amplify these relationships, and often extends its gaze (pun most definitely intended) out past the proscenium’s edge.”
By L.N. Hafezi, Helix Queer Performance Network

“Throughout much of the dance, Ms. Pyle’s reframing of classical vocabulary is refreshingly straightforward — she skims the floor in a sequence of quick petit allegro steps, performs an adagio duet with Mr. Skloot and whips off a couple of fouettés — all in bare feet.
And within a landscape of sexual innuendo, Ms. Pyle manages to pay homage to more than Fokine’s version. Her references to other ballets are even more illuminating in the bodies of her gender-bending cast.”
“This Firebird blazes with heart.”
By Gia Kourlas, The New York Times, Published May 17, 2013

“I love the chorus of lez and trans princes* in their ballet school black tights and white t-shirts and don’t want them to aim for “perfect.” Their earnestness and willingness and sense of togetherness in all things move me like little else can. That’s a team any princess–this one included–would be lucky to gather close.
I love the space that Pyle and Skloot, with his modest charm, make for ballet to contain imperfection and feeling by reeling it back from mechanical exactitude and just plain giving it to the people.”
By Eva Yaa Asantewaa, InfiniteBody, Published May 18, 2013

“Her choreography utilizes the classical ballet vocabulary, but in novel and audacious ways, leaving her audience entertained and laughing out loud. Her work intellectually explores the gay experience both within society and the world of dance, creating a space in which anyone who has ever felt like an outcast could relate.”
By Jennifer Fried, Broadway World, Published May 30, 2013

“The princes, in ballet’s uniform for boys — white t-shirts and black leggings, exhibit a graceful virility. Unlike the virgins that populate traditional works, this “corps de ballet” freely experiments with sexual desire.”
By Erin Bomboy, Dance Enthusiast, Published May 24, 2013