American Realness

Trajal Harrell

Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church (S)

Friday, January 6, 7:00pm
Saturday, January 7, 10:00pm – SOLD OUT*
Tuesday, January 10, 5:30pm – SOLD OUT*

*A waiting list will begin 30 minutes before each performance.

Run Time: 55 minutes

Abrons Arts Center, Playhouse
466 Grand Street / Tickets $20

Single Tickets Festival Pass

Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church is Trajal Harrell’s epic series of works presenting a new critical position on postmodern dance aesthetics emanating from the Judson Church period. “What would have happened in 1963 if someone from the voguing ball scene in Harlem had come downtown to perform alongside the early postmoderns at Judson Church?” is the central question of the series. From 2009 to today Harrell has developed seven works as imaginary meetings between the aesthetics of Judson and those of the parallel historical tradition, Voguing. Rather than illustrating a historical fiction, these works transplant this proposition into a contemporary context, here and now. With this body of work Trajal Harrell re-writes the minimalism and neutrality of postmodern dance with a new set of signs.

A solo for Harrell, (S)/Small is the first work in the series.

Twenty Looks or Paris Burning at the Judson Church (S) was co-produced by Workspace Brussels/Working Title Festival, Danspace Project, The New Museum, Crossing the Line Festival 2009. Additional support provided by the 2009-2010 Danspace Project Commissioning Initiative with support from the Jerome Foundation, The Alfred Meyer Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and The Map Fund/Rockefeller Foundation. Residency support for Twenty Looks or Paris Burning at the Judson Church (S) has been provided by Workspace Brussels and Tanzhaus Düsseldorf.
Photo by Miana Jun

Choreography and Dancer – Trajal Harrell
Dramaturg – Gérard Mayen
Dramaturgical Assistance – Moriah Evans
Soundtrack Design – Trajal Harrell
Music – Various, including “for Alan Turning” by Robin Meier and “Again Free” by Imani Uzuri
Costumes – Michael Ventolo and Trajal Harrell
Set – Trajal Harrell
Visual Art (set) – Franklin Evans

Trajal Harrell became well-known for the Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church series of works which theoretically juxtaposed the voguing dance tradition with the early postmodern dance tradition. He is now considered as one of the most important choreographers of the new generation.

Trajal Harrell’s work has been presented in many American and international venues including The Kitchen (NYC), New York Live Arts, TBA Festival (Portland), Walker Arts Center (Minneapolis), American Realness Festival, ICA Boston, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, LA’s RedCat Theater, Festival d’Automne (Paris), Holland Festival (Amsterdam), Festival d’Avignon, Impulstanz (Vienna), TanzimAugust (Berlin), and Panorama Festival (Rio de Janeiro) among others. He has also shown performance work in visual art contexts such as MoMA, MoMA PS1, Perfoma Biennial, Fondation Cartier (Paris), The New Museum (New York), The Margulies Art Warehouse (Miami), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Serralves Museum (Porto), The Barbican Centre (London), Centre Pompidou- Paris and Metz, ICA Boston and Art Basel-Miami Beach.

His work Judson Church is Ringing in Harlem (Made-to-Measure)/Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church (M2M), has the distinction of being the first dance commission of MoMA PS1. He has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship; The Doris Duke Impact Award, a Bessie Award for Antigone Sr./Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church (L); as well as fellowships from The Foundation for Contemporary Art, Art Matters, and the Saison Foundation, among others.

Most recently he completed a two-year Annenberg Residency at MoMA, where he has turned his attention to the work of the Japanese founder of butoh dance, Tatsumi Hijikata. By looking at butoh through voguing’s theoretical lens of “realness” and modern dance through the theoretical lens of butoh, Harrell is creating a number of works which combine a speculative view of history and the archive with contemporary dance practice and composition. He has created Used Abused and Hung Out to Dry, premiered and commissioned by MoMA in February 2013; The Ghost of Montpellier Meets the Samurai premiered in Montpellier Danse Festival in July 2015; The Return of La Argentina premiered in Paris’ Centre National de la Danse and commissioned by MoMA; In the Mood for Frankie premiered in May 2016 at MoMA; and most recently Caen Amour premiered at Festival Avignon 2016. Next, he will have the first survey (1999-2016) of his work at a major visual art museum, to take place at the Barbican Centre in London during July-August 2017.

“He Moves as If Nothing Else Matters.” – Siobhan Burke, New York Times,

“[He] reminds us that the most startling power of performance often lives in its exquisite vulnerability.”
– Claudia LaRocco, New York Times