John Jasperse has long been the boy wonder of downtown dance. Tall, skinny, and very pale, he’s performed and choreographed here and abroad, with and for the smartest and most arresting experimental artists around. Designer and thinker as well as mover and a manager, he generated fabulous scenery at Dance Theater Workshop (where the sky fell) and the Brooklyn Academy of Music (where everything onstage was borrowed or stolen).
His new two-act, “Truth, Revised Histories, Wishful Thinking, and Flat Out Lies,” has toured internationally since last September, collecting rave reviews. Jasperse designed its many costumes, which range from stark black and white to floral prints with sequins.
“I started thinking about the piece in 2007,” he said after a rehearsal at Will-iamsburg’s Center for Performance Research, the LEED-certified building he masterminded with artist Jonah Bokaer that is now the troupe’s headquarters. “I noticed how much belief was a part of our world situation, the desire to believe certain stories and ignore information that was coming at us.”
As he developed the piece, “the entire economic situation collapsed as a result of people investing in fantasy.” So he began exploring how things actually change, using “an almost baroque obsession with detail with the different ways stylized dancing is used to construct desire.” The work contrasts reality with “representations of experience,” like music videos.
Composer Hahn Rowe provides electronic atmosphere, as well as an onstage performance by the International Contemporary Ensemble. Downtown stars Kayvon Pourazar, Neil Beasley, Ellinor Hullihan and Erin Cornell join Jasper-se in realizing the work.