Keigwin + Company and nicholas leichter dance, two very appealing New York-based companies, take over the Joyce the week of June 23, alternating dates through Sunday the 28th. Both groups, led by accomplished choreographers who are unafraid to experiment, have tremendous popular appeal. Coincidentally, Nicholas Leichter and Larry Keigwin happen to be among the most riveting performers of our time; both will dance with their respective companies. What’s more, if you go to one or both, you’ll have fun.
Leichter, who founded his company in 1996, infuses his dances with an irrepressible musicality and freely blends wildly disparate dance styles. Recently, he has choreographed to compositions by Debussy and Stravinsky; at the Joyce, in the premiere of Killa, he returns to pop music. Leichter’s work can be enjoyed on many levels—of course, purely on the sensory level, but audiences can also look for a conceptual underpinning there for the mining.
Killa purports to examine how dance music, in its various iterations, can be a political and social force—as it has been, powerfully, through rap. The score also includes house, funk, and reggae music, in a typically eclectic mix, plus a live performance by guest artist Monstah Black. In addition, Leichter has revamped Free the Angels from 2001, set to Stevie Wonder’s iconic Songs in the Key of Life. He has doubled the cast to twelve and added the subtitle [new galactic dawn edition]. The company’s performances on June 24, 26 & 28 (2pm & 7:30pm shows) mark a Joyce Theater debut. Video clips of the company can be seen on their YouTube channel.
Larry Keigwin’s company was started in 2003. The program at the Joyce (video clips here) reflects the breadth of his work, which can span the popular, conceptual, formal. Keigwin can throw immensely physical choreography at his dancers, who tackle it with gusto as they do the humorous sections. Triptych, a premiere, is set to original music by Jonathan Pratt, and examines different concepts of time, “from the mundane to the existential.” Keigwin has also demonstrated a unique talent for effectively moving large groups of people possessing assorted dance skills. His Bolero NYC from 2007 will be performed by his company plus 50 area residents. Also on the program, which runs on June 23, 25 & 27 (2pm & 8pm shows), is Love Songs (2006)—a series of duets set to Nina Simone, Roy Orbison, and more.
Photo: nicholas leichter dance, Killa
L-R (back to front): Nicholas Leichter, Stephanie Liapis, Lauren Basco, Dawn Robinson. Photo by Brian McCormick