I am in awe of the courage it takes to be human and, in these charged times, humane. “Iron Jane” (working title) challenges expected hierarchies of weight by investigating “the weight in-between.” The work for five dancers features the third collaboration between choreographer Donna Uchizono and composer David Shively, as well as visual design by artist Janet Echelman. Several images come to mind as points of departure: bodies offering their sternums to the sky, arched with wings of iron stretching in opposite directions; hips fiercely shaking with grounded weight. The piece’s beginning truly demands deep exertion of the body. In unfolding this tough exterior over time, a new kind of intimacy emerges.
Similarly, the extreme technical demands of Shively’s sound score become, ideally, invisible under apparent surface repetition and relative stillness of the audible textures. The music aims to match the unsettledness of the choreography through sonic images that never fully stabilize but define a space, extend durations, and subtly mirror the narrative evolutions of her work. After having worked closely together to produce fixed-media scores for long-form dance works ‘Fire Underground’ (2014, 45”) and ‘Sticky Majesty’ (2016, 80”), composer David Shively and choreographer Uchizono will build on our intuitive working style where we synergistically provoke each other’s tastes and palates while grounding ourselves in the tactile commonalities of real human experience. Shively uses primarily metal percussion instruments, Hungarian cimbaloms, electronic manipulation, and feedback instruments to create massive, dense textures which frequently saturate and fill the performance space.
Developing this work in our times has made me especially sensitive to moments that remind us of our humanity in a divisive cultural and political moment. The middle section offers a radical reconsideration of audience engagement. In the space between words and dance, the viewer and what they view, and the space shared by all in a room, “Iron Jane” provides a forum to share in the weight of a vulnerability that is simultaneously public and private, offering transcendence grounded in grit.
Janet Echelman approached Uchizono with the idea of collaborating during the United States Artists Assembly in March 2017. Her breathtaking work will cascade over the piece’s final section, juxtaposing a lofty expansiveness with striking weight. Residencies at LMCC and MANCC, in addition to secured government and foundation funding, will support the development of this work. Coming off the heels of a separate premiere at the Joyce Theatre in Fall 2018, the company will build momentum and depth in the collaboration between Uchizono and the dancers as well as continue to grow its NYC-based audience
“Iron Jane” will premiere at the Chocolate Factory (Queens, NY) in 2019. Dedicated to creative experimentation, “Iron Jane” soars towards weighted heights in a body of work that is both challenging and humane.
Start and End Dates
07/13/2019 — 09/14/2019
New York, New York