A thing of shreds and patches opens NY Quadrille

L to R: DeAngelo Blanchard, Antonio Ramos, and Mina Nishimura in Kota Yamazaki’s translucent costumes. | Photo by Alon Koppel Photography

BY ELIZABETH ZIMMER | First The Joyce Theater’s carpenters reconfigured the auditorium, so all the spectators sit up close, on four sides of a newly built stage. Then choreographer Lar Lubovitch programmed a season of new work by some of Downtown’s most compelling dance artists, starting with John Jasperse Projects presenting his new “Hinterland” (through Sept. 28), to a commissioned score by Hahn Rowe.

Jasperse, a 1985 Sarah Lawrence College grad who’s been making gripping pieces for a generation and now directs the Bronxville school’s dance program, conjures a strange, diverse community out of some flower-printed fabric and five humans, himself included. On the white platform stage, crisscrossed with painted pink lines, an invisible figure (Mina Nishimura) hunches under a pile of flowered pads. A mountainous black man (DeAngelo Blanchard) and the tiny Japanese Nishimura tumble and play like a favorite uncle with a seven-year-old. A bearded, grizzled guy (Antonio Ramos) binds the pads to his legs with pink tape. A mysterious figure in a full-body white unitard painted with the same flower design (Eleanor Hullihan) lurks around the edges of the platform. Is this all a poetic rendering of the city’s street life?

Jasperse has long delineated apocalyptic visions in his dances, and sticky tape, here deployed both functionally and decoratively, has often been part of them. Here, Hahn Rowe augments recorded percussion with live guitar-strumming; the soundscape ranges from raucous, dissonant, even farty sounds to peaceful melodies to silence. The movement evolves from rolling on the floor to unison adagio sections, the clothing (by Kota Yamazaki) from ragtag to a uniform, translucent blue. Lighting designer Joe Lavasseur gradually darkens the space as the performers line up on each edge of the platform and stare at us. They kneel. The skinny Jasperse rolls around with the immense Blanchard, each lying atop the other. They all finally bow, releasing us from their ominous beauty.

Kyle Abraham’s A.I.M follows Jasperse into the Joyce, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, showing “Dearest Home,” which explores love, longing, and loss. (This protean young choreographer also had a world premiere Sept. 27 at New York City Ballet, opening as part of their fall gala and also playing Sept. 28 and Oct. 4 & 6; for more info visit nycballet.com). Then Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener, Cunningham alums, do a new work exploring paths to a utopia (Oct. 2, 3, 6), and Beth Gill makes her Joyce debut with a surreal piece set in a dreamlike space (Oct. 4, 5, 7). The season-in-the-square winds up with the Donna Uchizono Company, offering a world premiere tailored to the space’s four perspectives (Oct. 10-13).

At The Joyce Theater (175 Eighth Ave., at W. 19th St.). Through Oct. 13. Tickets are $35. Call 212-242-0800 or visit joyce.org, where you will find info on specific performance times, dates, and featured artists.

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