LAVA, the all-female Brooklyn-based company led by founding choreographer Sarah East Johnson, marks its 7th year of earth-moving performance this spring with Tides, a new show premiering at The Flea Theater.
Beloved by audiences of all ages for their awe-inspiring acrobatics, progressive wit, and intriguing scientific metaphors, the company's latest creation delivers on all three. Tides incorporates features ranging from time-capture video of the Rockaway shoreline to original live music and song, karaoke-dance, and double trapeze work, all connected by an underlying architecture based on ocean wave patterns and the movement of the sea. Reflecting their increasingly collaborative work, Tides' choreography is augmented by the company's research into anthropology and the fluidity of culture.
The dramatic unpredictability, power, and variation of wave patterns provides potent metaphoric fuel for LAVA, whose kinetic explorations of phenomena ranging from timber lines to plate tectonics have palpably challenged the dancers' strength, daring, and skill. Far from hiding their exertion from the audience, this intimate and visceral tension builds a sense of community that is created anew at every performance. This honest and transparent approach also manifests a kind of strange grace that is wholly unique to the company.
Audiences familiar with the company's work will find the personal intimacy and conceptual rigor of Tides instantly recognizable, yet will also notice a subtle evolution from the company's original artist-directed model to a more collaborative and improvisational approach. For new audiences, the thematic complexity of Tides will be offset by clear avenues of access into the work, with sections especially designed to break down the barriers between artist and audience.
Tides features a specially assembled company of 10 women, 3 of whom are LAVA veterans, that represents the newest evolution of the "LAVA lineage." Choreographed by Sarah East Johnson, Diana Y Greiner and Molly Chanoff, visually styled by longtime LAVA collaborator Nancy Brooks Brody, Tides will also call upon new guest artists including poet Natalie E. Illum, a writer with cerebral palsy who will also be performing, light installation artist Thomas Dunn ("eccentric and ingenious" - Dance Magazine), video artist Robin Vachal, and composer Aimee Norwich (Fearless TV, Fox), who is creating an original sonic environment with live and recorded music.
Founded in 1996, the OBIE and BESSIE Award-winning LAVA has presented work at New York venues including PS 122, The Kitchen, Central Park Summerstage, City Center, and Celebrate Brooklyn, as well as Philadelphia's Annenberg Center, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the world-class Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, among others.