Bortolami Gallery, NY
23, 24, 25 March 2017
Competition is a durational performance inspired in part by George Balanchine’s ballet Agon (1957), one of the 1st pieces of modern choreography to reconcile traditional dance forms with the anxieties of the 20th century. Denoting debate or contest, the Greek word ‘agon’ often appears in the context of athletic competitions. Here, Competition presents three durational performance pieces that stage a series of physical challenges, drawing choreographic inspiration from traditional physical engagements and warm-ups that take place backstage and out of public view. Each contest fuses the games and rituals of the discipline, incorporating movements from the social one- upping of the dance milieu as well as mechanized threshold tests employed in commercial manufacturing to assess the safety, durability, and performance level of new products.
The piece sets up systems for measuring physical limits: technical fatigue, maximum turning quantities, balancing lengths, and maximum jump-heights, and the outcomes establish - and continuously reaffrm - a social hierarchy that extends beyond the game and directly affects the power dynamic within the performance. The dancers will be competing against each other in real time. Upon first glance, these competitions may be perceived as choreographies or dances; however, over time their logic and rules unfold, revealing their responsive inner patterns and mechanics.
Competition is performed by Marielis Garcia, Katie Gaydos, Lauren Newman, Jeremy Pheiffer, Asami Tomida, and Madeline Hollander, with an original score by Celia Hollander. Costumes by 69.