Dance for Rebels

Suarez Dance TheaterI got an email last week announcing DOPE: A Dance for Rebels a new dance piece about the SoCal skate/surf scene. The choreographer was Christine Suarez who I recognized from a performance party called Timsloft: Sancocho I did a few years ago at the Interart Annex in Hell’s Kitchen. I was a dancing Reza Abdoh-quoting Vagina-Puppet and Christine was a drunken, dancing Irish colleen. I remembered her work being funny and engaging and we’d had a good time hanging out, so I was excited to see her new project. I called her up to make a date to sit in on a rehearsal and see part of the show.

As it turns out, Christine has spent the past nine months as an Artist-in-Residence at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center developing a dance/performance piece based on the documentary Dog Town and Z-Boys. Last Wednesday, I headed down to their Chinatown rehearsal studio. From the tiny window, I could see that it was just beginning to snow outside. But inside, it was heating up as the dancers threw themselves around the room. I was intrigued by the intricate dance patterns they had translated from the film’s skating stunts. Now, being someone who knows very little about skateboarding and even less about surfing, I was amazed by some of the tricks they were pulling off. Fast paced flips and lifts mixed in with moments of concentrated stillness—all taken from the kids in the movie, only here they were performed in bare feet instead of on skateboards.

The performers- Aaron Haskell (who I finally recognized as a boxing Frenchman from the Timsloft gig), Daniela Hoff, and Becky Pearl– broke for water while Christine and I chatted a bit about the piece. She said she was really drawn in to the “we’re so cool sub-culture” of the Zephyr skating team featured in the movie, and how that rebellious attitude is also evident in the New York dance scene. Out of the company’s discussions on the nature of rebellion, the performers developed a story of four twentysomething dancers who break into theaters late at night to show-off their fancy footwork. With original rock music and costumes Christine describes as “sort of Joan Jett meets Pat Benatar” the whole show has a hip, young feel, “like going to an 80’s rock concert.”

With music by Andy Miccolis and costumes by Theresa Squire.

DOPE: A Dance for Rebels will performed as part of the Tribeca Performing Arts Center’s Artists in Residence Work & Show Festival 2004 [Sat-Sun] March 20-21 at 3pm.

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