Starr Street Projects: “Catch 30”

Yesterday’s “Catch 30” comprised 10 different dance pieces performed over an hour and a half evening. The scene at Starr Street Projects was quite a performance in itself: the space is situated in the middle of Bushwick and before the show began, an island of hipster dance spectators gathered around the entrance of the space. The general whiteness of the audience struck me, particularly in contrast with the darker faces of the neighbourhood’s residents.

I was similarly surprised by the homogeneity of the dance on show: although artists worked with different media and genres (from pure dance without sound, to mix-media puppetry and video, to more classical theatrical work) the pieces felt very close to each other in aesthetic choices. 80’s white pop culture was referenced again and again, in the choice of movement, sound and costumes. There was a large and very supportive audience and, in general, the event felt like the casual gathering of a community of friends, coming together for beers and to support artists they knew.

Shitheads on Dynamite! presented one of the most interesting pieces in the evening. The work consisted of a musician on live drums and two dancers moving in response to an edited version of “A Date With Your Family“, a 10 minute instructional film on family relations released in 1950. The piece built up slowly, the beats of the drum and the frenetic dancing of the performers eventually turning the experience of the video into a ritualistic family gathering.

Overall, “Catch 30” gave one a glimpse of a very specific scene in the contemporary dance world of NYC. In the future, it would be great to see more difference in a program that brings together so many artists.

2 thoughts on “Starr Street Projects: “Catch 30””

  1. Kate Shearman says:

    Having seen the show as well, I would have to agree with the reviewer that the overall “whiteness” and pop-culture saturation, without a critical discourse, was entertainment that lacked vision. The first piece of the evening was by far, (in my opinion) the most interesting. The group, “Hijack” doing a tightly worked choreography referencing pop-n-lock, spectator response to dance, and an audio destruction of the R. Kelly song, “Trapped in the Closet”. Though not strongly political, there was a verocity to the movement that was lacking in the rest of the evening.

    I’d like to pose the question, “How does the comtemporary dance scene in NY take in to account it’s surroundings?” There were a few kids and a man from the neighborhood peeking in the windows from time to time throughout the evening and when I motioned for them to come inside, they smiled and waved their hands “No”. What to do with a performance space that doesn’t welcome it’s neighbors? Do the coordinators have an interest in integration, or is this just another case of gentrification at work?

    That being said, the space is beautiful. The MC’s make for a fun time.

  2. Errin Delperdang says:

    I just want to make a quick correction. The piece mentioned in the article with the video “A Date With Your Family” was created and performed by Shitheads On Dynamite! (Errin Delperdang and Nick DeCarmine) and Living Lab (Enrico Wey).

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