The annual E-Moves program at Harlem Stage, which produces up-and-coming choreographers of color, is a welcome harbinger of spring, bringing new ideas and energy to the scene.
The 11th version of the series includes nine emerging artists and a pair of more experienced ones, with different shows each night. On Friday, Marguerite Hemmings, born in Kingston, Jamaica, and raised in New Jersey, mashes up contemporary music from hip-hop to reggae for “Lemme Talk to You,” which struggles eloquently to explore the great gulf and ever-present fear between young men and women.
Paloma McGregor uses Patricia Smith’s poetry about Hurricane Katrina as text for her powerful “34 Prayers.” Six women respond to the situation of nursing-home residents abandoned in the storm. Miguel Anaya offers a mawkish solo, and Malcolm Low a mystifying meander to Loscil’s “Motox.”
Featured on this bill is the work of Ayo Jackson/Les Libertines. Jackson constructs a paper costume onstage in “Paper Doll,” lashes it to her body with duct tape, and emotes to Chopin, Madonna and Grace Jones’ “Hurricane.” The solo is ingenious and beautiful, but “Swollen” is accurately titled: After a brief, effective video prologue, the dance itself is overlong and under-developed, displaying seven women and two men in black-plastic costumes that seem to be painted on. They dance to a collage of music including the Dead Weather’s “Cut Like a Buffalo.” Jackson, who performed with Bill T. Jones, has a sure sense of drama but needs to brush up on structure.
Saturday’s program includes work by Erick Montes — another Jones alum — and Ja’Malik, Maurice Chestnut, Lia McPherson & Desiree Godsell , and Ching-I Chang. Gamble on either or both.
Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Harlem Stage Gatehouse
150 Convent Ave.
$20, 212-281-9240 ext. 19