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Social, sexual issues on display at E-Moves in Harlem

Dance artists of color gather annually at Harlem Stage to show their latest projects. The program, called “E-Moves,” provides emerging and evolving choreographers with more established mentors.

Dance artists of color gather annually at Harlem Stage to show their latest projects. The program, called “E-Moves,” provides emerging and evolving choreographers with more established mentors.

This season’s series includes nine emerging artists and a pair of more experienced participants. The Saturday bill includes a tentative, impressionistic duet by Mexican-American choreographer Miguel Anaya with Saul Ulerio (who also designed the score, a mix of natural sounds and soft music). Daisuke Omiya performed a mystifying, multipart dance; he swirled and rolled and swiveled his feet on a salted platform.

Some pieces, overshadowed by the loud lyrics of their recorded accompaniment, were less obscure but equally exasperating. Marguerite Hemmings’ “x/y/z like me,” billed as a work in progress, mobilized five women in floaty jumpsuits to music by foul-mouthed female rapper Nicki Minaj. Efeya Sampson struggled with emotional concerns while Gil Scott-Heron sang “Pieces of a Man.”

Mid-career artist Johari Mayfield mounted an ambitious historical tour of sexual display — “Venus Riff,” moderated by top-hatted Svengali Mils James — that began in the 19th century and finished with visions of young Angela Pope selling her body to satisfy her pimp (also James), and women in garish red underthings undulating to a grim song about lip gloss.
Friday’s program includes work by tap dancer Maurice Chestnut, Philadelphia hip-hop veteran Brandon “Peace” Albright, Maria Bauman, Otis Donovan Herring, Marianne Kim and Will Bond.

 
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