FLICFest offers dancers and choreographers space to move
New York is rife with opportunities for artists to struggle and blossom. It isn’t an easy place to live, but there are pockets of support and communities that stick together through it all. In the dance world, creators and performers find their way to each other based on aesthetic and conceptual alignments. When these microcosms overlap, there is potential for both collaboration and discord.
Fort Greene is a neighborhood where many of these visions interact. With Theater for a New Audience, Mark Morris Dance Center and, of course, Brooklyn Academy of Music’s sprawling campus activating much of the area, audiences flock to the naturally occurring cultural district for opera, theater, music, film and dance.
Just up the street, the Irondale Center is a flexible theater space in a revitalized historic church building that hosts an annual choreography festival. FLICFest is an experiment in offering space for choreographers to create their first full evening of dance — in a distinctive space with small amount of administrative and production support. The Feature Length Independent Choreography festival was founded by Jeramy Zimmerman with the intention of “providing an opportunity for choreographers to present work in a festival setting that was longer than 15 minutes.” Her “focus was largely on allowing artists to show a piece that they’d worked hard on, and probably already presented, without having to excerpt it.”
This year, the festival presents 12 full-length dance works by choreographers such as Alberto Denis, Yung-Li Chen, Lindy Fines, Chris Ferris, Aaron McGloin and Keith Thompson. For the first time in its four-year history, all of the works shown will be premieres. Zimmerman acknowledges this: “It’s pretty exciting to me to see so much new work, from both younger artists and choreographers who have been honing their craft for decades.” Robin Neveu Brown, who presented her work “Pare” at FLICFest in 2012 is “interested in creating work that lives and breathes within an immersive world, and while the typical dance festival paradigm does not allow the time and space for that, thankfully, FLICFest does.”
Six more artists will present next weekend, including: Emily Berry, Hattie Mae Williams, Kora Radella, Tina Croll, CJ Holm and Vanessa Walters. (See more about this calendar below.) Their works take inspiration from poetry, investigate movement through both subtle and aggressive forms and are guaranteed to be fresh. The potential in all of this new work is palpable, yet to be determined is whether these inexperienced arc builders will be able to articulate their vision or if they’ll find trouble in so much time.
FLICFest at the Irondale Center
Through Feb. 1
85 S. Oxford St., Brooklyn,
$25 per evening, ($20 artist/senior/student)
Thursday, Jan. 30
7:30 p.m. Emily Berry
9 p.m. Hattie Mae Williams
Friday, Jan. 31
7:30 p.m. Kora Radella
9 p.m. Tina Croll
Saturday, Feb. 1
7:30 p.m. CJ Holm
9 p.m. Vanessa Walters
‘Spin Art’ | World Premiere
Emily Berry’s “Spin Art” features four dancers who flip upside down, spiral and fling their bodies through space, reminiscent of spin art craft projects. Set to Daniel Bernard Roumain’s original score, this piece layers both subtle and abrupt dynamic shifts with gesture and intense physicality.
‘I Wish I Could Drink Like a Lady’ | World Premiere
Hattie Mae Williams/The Tattooed Ballerinas
Hattie Mae Williams’ interdisciplinary dance piece “I Wish I Could Drink Like a Lady” takes a closer look into the life and poetry of Dorothy Parker, exploring human strengths and weaknesses.
‘Shred’ | World Premiere
Kora Radella’s duet “Shred” is a fearlessly physical confrontation of the barriers that exist both within and between people. By implementing uncompromising athleticism and even primitiveness, Radella presents two people who must deal with each other in strictly physically demanding terms.
‘Ancient Springs’ | World Premiere
Tina Croll/Tina Croll + Company
Tina Croll is expanding her 2007 piece “Ancient Springs,” inspired by poet Kathleen Raine’s “Defending Ancient Springs” and Federico Fellini’s film “La Strada.” It’s comprised of vignettes — “short stories” — a little gavotte, a twisted convulsive solo, a stately waltz on some town square. A chorus of dancers swirls through — sometimes commenting on the action, sometimes causing havoc.
‘Rare Birds’ | World Premiere
CJ Holm/Jansen and Holm
CJ Holm’s duet “Rare Birds” is a danced nature documentary about people’s desires, guilt, grief and resilience, blending tender and brutal choreographic language with an abstract meditation on the realities that create pressing social and environmental issues.
‘Ripening/Yield’ | World Premiere
Vanessa Walters’ “Ripening/Yield” is an ominous exploration of childhood memory and playtime. The quintet of dancers conveys time both within and outside of rhythm—alternately counting deliberately and avoiding all forms.