On May 27, Dance New Amsterdam Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. The announcement allows DNA to continue its daily operations. Executive and Artistic Director Catherine A. Peila has already initiated a five-year recovery plan which has reduced general operating and programming expenses from $3.6 million to $2.3 million annually. “DNA’s executive team, faculty, and board of directors have worked diligently over the past five years to create strong programs and a business structure that supports DNA’s mission. These efforts, combined with the support of cultural leaders, have put us on the road to recovery,” says Peila. “The decision to file for Chapter 11 reorganization protection provides us with the time to solidify agreements with new partners, increase funding and most importantly, continue to serve the New York City’s vibrant community of performing artists and avid cultural supporters.”
Located in Lower Manhattan, just a few blocks from Ground Zero and the Freedom Tower, DNA is considered the foremost progressive dance education and performance center. Founded in 1984, DNA provides a community hub for dance training choreographic exploration and innovative performance, developing new audiences and bridging communities. It’s a breeding ground and safe haven for aspiring, emerging and established artist, including daily classes, certification courses, commissions and artistic residencies, along with studio and administrative office subsidies. DNA employs over 250 professional faculty members and over 650 artists through commissioned and produced work. The organization serves more than 30,000 students and performers, over 700 dance companies and performing arts groups – offering thousands of audience members access to visual and performing arts through their 130-seat theater, six art studios, gallery and artist administration space. To learn more about DNA and supporting its programs through charitable donations, visit www.dnadance.org.
In New York City, as with most cities, dinosaurs can mostly be found in museums and libraries. Their ravenous existence is now just a tale to be told – bones to be examined and gawked at. But this winter, Clarinda Mac Low and Jordana Che Toback with the assistance of Dance New Amsterdam has resurrected the Paleolithic reptiles in A dinosaur attacks a lighthouse (Scylla and Charybdis), part of DNA’s SPLICE series and the start of DNA’s winter season.
Created in 2010, the SPLICE series is an innovative, creative collaborative endeavor displaying the unique talents of two artists. Clarinda Mac Low and Jordana Che Toback are both award-winning choreographers with their own distinct methodology to approaching the vocabulary of dance and performance art. With SPLICE they debut a duel work as well as individual works.
A dinosaur attacks a lighthouse (Scylla and Charybdis) is a satirical, political multimedia performance piece that exposes the complacency that is destroying our democracy – a fact that most of us are afraid to confront. Dressed in Sarah Palinesque red suits, Mac Low and Che Toback playfully mill around with the rhetoric displayed during most political campaigns – which can compare to a Broadway production. Through song and dance they create a cheeky think-piece that will have the mind spinning. Crush the Pearl Part 1, choreographed by Jordana Che Toback, is a platform that explores the power and sensuality of motion. Clarinda Mac Low’s Double Public Blunder: Monster-us is an intentional journey into calamity. Performed by Clarinda Mac Low and Michael DiPietro Double Public Blunder is both uncomfortable and entertaining.
Part bondage, Part orgy and part SNL skit, A dinosaur attacks a lighthouse (Scylla and Charybdis) as well as Mac Low and Che Toback’s other pieces were a worthy effort in expanding the dialogue of movement and the effect it can have on those who view it. It also sets the bar for what should be an engaging, fascinating 2011 at Dance New Amsterdam and proves that DNA is a beacon for New York City artists looking to express themselves without inhibition.
Photos: Paula Lobo