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Queens Chronicle

Site-specific dances at Socrates Sculpture Park

Poetry in Motion

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Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2013 10:30 am

Socrates Sculpture Park is leaping into the world of dance.

Throughout the days leading up to designated performances that will be held every Saturday in August, four New York City-based choreographers will work on pieces made uniquely for the park in the series called Dance at Socrates.

Choreographers Julia Gleich, Edisa Weeks, Rachel Cohen and Takehiro Ueyama each will be charged with crafting a new dance over one week (a process parkgoers can watch throughout the week).

“Part of the point is to engage the public on the creative process,” said park spokeswoman Katie Denny.

It should be no surprise given Socrates’ affinity for pushing the boundaries of art — from its “Do it (outside)“ exhibit with wish trees and bottles covered with yarn to the treehouse and window planters in the exhibit “Civic Action” — that all the leading dance companies don’t always stick to traditional dance genres.

The four main groups have brought dance to almost every space from Walmart parking lots to people’s living rooms and empty pools — in fact all four choreographers have an affinity for either drained pools or water.

Gleich — who helped found Norte Maar, the group that is collaborating with Socrates to produce the new event — started the monthlong series last Monday.

Each new piece will be performed on the new waterfront trapezoid stage followed by works by other companies.

Gleich and Gleich Dances will perform on Aug. 10, followed by performances by Lynn Parkerson and the Brooklyn Ballet, Nellie Rainwater, and Ian Spencer Bell; Weeks, founder of Delirious Dances, will perform her completed work on Aug. 17 with Sydney Schiff Dance Project and Jonathan Gonzalez; TAKE Dance will perform on Aug. 24 with Stuart Loungway of Terra Firma Dance Theatre and Valerie Green of Dance Entropy; and on Aug. 31 Rachel Cohen with Racoco Productions will perform with Morgan McEwen of MorDance, followed by dancer and choreographer Kim Jones. All performances begin at 3 p.m.

“Norte Maar has selected four extraordinary choreographers whose unique styles will activate the park every day in August,” John Hatfield, the park’s executive director.

Dance at Socrates also supports aspiring choreographers by pairing teens ages 13 to 18 with experienced choreographers each week.

“It’s a really interesting opportunity to create new works or reset old ones,” said Gleich, who previously lived in Astoria.

Gleich reflected on how having free rein to develop a piece can, however, be a double-edged sword.

“It can be so open you don’t know what to push up against,” she said. “So I’m looking.”

Gleich is considering performing a solo — something she hasn’t done in a long time — as well as trying out new dancers to perform with her company’s four core dancers and playing around with site-specific music from a cellist she has worked with in the past.

She hopes to take inspiration from the sculptures and the beauty of Socrates, which is a little pocket park overlooking the Manhattan skyline.

Valerie Green and Kim Jones are the only two Queens choreographers performing.

Green will perform “Secret of the Girl of the Flowers” after TAKE Dance.

During her solo Green shivers, rolls and flits through a scattering of brightly colored fabric flowers.

“It is great to connect with a wider audience, and expose new people to dance that might not otherwise encounter the form,” Green said.

Dance at Socrates

When: Saturdays, 3 p.m., Aug. 10-31

Where: Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Blvd., LIC

Tickets: Free, (718) 956-1819


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