As part of the Henry James and American Painting exhibition, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum will host an evening of four new dance works centered on the idea of Migrations. On Thursday, Nov. 2, four choreographers will address topics ranging from political and cultural refugees, to voluntary and involuntary exile, to gender transience, through bodies in motion.
Featured performances include:
Vwayaj is a production created by Jean Appolon that meditates on the “lakou” and its loss in the Haitian imagination in a way that also speaks to a universal condition. It explores the questions, “Where can we find meaning?” and “Where is home?” The lead artists in Vwayaj worked with MacArthur Genius Fellow and award-winning Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat as a collaborator and adviser to create the narrative that underpins and drives the production. Danticat worked with the artists to knit together stories of migration, immigration and home as recordings that are a part of the production’s soundscape created by electronic music artist Val Jeanty. An important touchstone in the production’s narrative is Appolon’s own immigration story, as well as those of Haitian immigrants living in Boston.
In addition to being the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Boston-based Haitian contemporary dance company Jean Appolon Expressions, Jean Appolon is a successful choreographer and master teacher based in Boston and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Appolon studied in Boston from 1995 to 1996 at Harvard and Radcliffe Dance Programs. He teaches regularly at Boston Ballet, UMASS Boston and The Dance Complex, based in Cambridge, among other locations in Metro Boston. He continues to perform at local schools and colleges, including Harvard University, Lesley College, and Wheaton College.
Ida Saki will make her Boston debut as a choreographer and dancer in a new work that will address the topic of migration from her perspective as an Iranian-American artist. The piece will be set to Nico Muhly’s “A Hudson Cycle” and “Perpetual Motion.” She is a classically trained dancer who has performed in a variety of forms: with the Cedar Lake Ballet, in the immersive theater show Sleep No More, and even in a celebrated appearance on the television program, “So You Think You Can Dance?”
Saki attended the Tisch School of the Arts of New York University. She has received such accolades as modern dance winner by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts YoungArts, named a Texas Young Master in dance, Iran’s Person of the Day, and received five national honors, including Distinguished Performer of the Year and Outstanding Dancer of the Year. Ida has graced the cover of the prestigious Dance Spirit Magazine, Parastoo Magazine, and has appeared within the magazines numerous times.
Immigrant: Choreographer and dancer Richard Move will re-envision Martha Graham’s lost work from 1928, Immigrant, working with the same music that Graham used by Josip Slavenski. One of the seminal figures of modern dance, Graham often spoke out though her work against injustices she saw in American life. Her lost solo was in part an artistic response to the harsh treatment of immigrants enshrined by the Immigration Acts of 1917 and 1924, the former passed the same year nativist James Murphy Ward published his broadside The Immigration Problem or America First. Since the mid-1990’s, Move has performed and interviewed as Graham. Move’s performances as Graham are not simple impersonation, but rather a spiritual and physical migration of one artist into another, one of the most striking transformations in modern dance.
Richard Move is a Director, Choreographer, Performing Artist, Filmmaker and Artistic Director of MoveOpolis! and Move It! Productions. Move’s recent film Bardo premiered January 9, 2009 at the Lincoln Center Dance on Camera Festival and was nominated for the Jury Prize. Move choreographed the film Strangers With Candy, a feature based upon the Comedy Central series starring Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello. Move also choreographed the new musical The Fartiste, with music by Michael Roberts, book by Charles Schulman and directed by John Gould Rubin. In 1996, Move created Martha @ ..., an homage in word and dance to the 20th Century Icon, Martha Graham. Martha @ ... received two New York Dance and Performance Awards (a.k.a. "Bessie" Award). His choreography has been described as "stunning, first rate work," and “glorious” by the New York Times.
Within the Quota: Yury Yanowsky will introduce new choreography to a historic, almost unknown, score by Cole Porter. In 1923 Porter lived in Venice for a summer in what had been Isabella Stewart Gardner’s favorite house on the Grand Canal, the Palazzo Barbaro. It was there where Porter met Gerald Murphy, a former friend of Gardner’s, who persuaded Porter to collaborate with him on a dance work for the avant-garde troupe, the Ballets Suédois. The resulting ballet, called Within the Quota, is a surrealist retelling of the experience of an immigrant to America, written on the eve of the new immigration quotas of 1924.
Yury Yanowsky was a principal dancer with the Boston Ballet for over twenty years. He was the recipient of the first prize at the Prix de Lausanne and won the Silver medal at both the Varna International Ballet Competition and the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS. Yanowsky’s work has been featured at the Kansas City Ballet, Berklee College of Music, The New England Conservatory, and Festival Ballet Provide. Holding a degree in Coreografia y Tecnicas de interpretation de la Danza from the Academica de Ensenanzas de Musica y Artes Enscenicas, Spain, 2009, Yanowsky is currently on faculty at Harvard University and Centro Coreographico, Las Palmas Spain.
The Henry James and American Painting exhibition is the first to explore the relationship between James’ literary works and the visual arts. On view at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum from Oct. 19 to Jan. 21, 2018, it offers a fresh perspective on the master novelist and the significance of his friendships with American artists John La Farge, John Singer Sargent, and James McNeill Whistler, and close friend and esteemed arts patron, Isabella Stewart Gardner.
Henry James and American Painting originated at the Morgan Library and Museum in Manhattan over the summer and moved to Boston in October. It is co-curated by Colm Tóibín, the renowned Irish novelist and Jamesian specialist, and Declan Kiely, Robert H. Taylor Curator and Head of the Department of Literary and Historical Manuscripts at the Morgan. Marc Simpson, independent curator and a specialist in 19th- and early 20th-century American art, serves as consulting curator. An illustrated catalogue will include essays by Tóibín and Simpson.
Migrations begins at 7 p.m. in the Museum’s sonic cube, Calderwood Hall. Tickets are required and include Museum admission. Ticket pricing is as follows:
SECTION A: FLOOR LEVEL AND FIRST BALCONY
Adults $40, seniors $37, members $28, students & children 7–17 $15 (children under 7 not admitted.
SECTION B: SECOND AND THIRD BALCONIES
Adults $35, seniors $32, members $23, students & children 7–17 $15 (children under 7 not admitted).