Take three dancers, add three visual artists, portion them into three trios and put them into the pressure cooker of an art space, and you have Joanna Kotze’s Find Yourself Here, a powerful evening-length collaboration described as “a dialogue between bodies and disciplines.” The multi-media performance will be housed at New York City’s Baryshnikov Arts Center this September.
Kotze, the project’s designer, participates as one of the dancers along with Stuart Singer and Netta Yerushalmy. Collaborating with the dancers are artists Johnathan Allen, Zachary Fabrl, and Asuka Goto. Live sound mixes for each performance will be by composer Ryan Seaton, and costumes and lighting are by Mary Jo Mecca and Kathy Kaufmann, respectively.
Find Yourself Here is divided into three parts, each featuring two of the three dancers and one of the artists. Trio A: Lu Magnus takes place in a small gallery space filled with large works of art. The dancers begin by traveling, in a rapid drum-beat of march steps, from artwork to artwork, using every inch of the room as their stage, audience pressed against the walls. At times, they seem even to be about to leap into the pictures, while the deadpan voice of poet Anselm Berrigan reads his own work.
Trio B: BAC is only slightly more traditional in that the dancing has its own space. The theme of this act seems to be discomfort, from the (deliberate) awkward stops and starts of the artists to the discordant movements that never quite seem to strike the beat.
Trio C: Show Room Gowanus begins obstructed, with pink-shod feet just apparent behind a baffle of corrugated metal. Then the shoes come off and the dancers come out, back and forth across a matted floor with motions that seem to communicate with one another while never syncing up. One will point to a space, the other will fill it, the two intensely aware of each other but not seeming to agree.
Find Yourself Here is a commitment to view. It is an evening long, not something to be viewed at your own pace, and requires focus to find its themes and messages. It is also smart,
surprisingly verbal even though few words are a part of it, and a distinct comment on the ways in which art is made up.
It will run September 17-19, Thursday to Saturday, at 7:30pm. Baryshnikov Arts Center, Howard Gilman Performance Space (450 W. 37th Street.)