‘Borderline’ (Photo: Frank Szafinski)
This year’s 2018 White Light Festival will run from October 16 through November 18. The multidisciplinary festival will feature events presented in six venues across the city, including world, U.S., and New York premieres. The ninth annual international festival will explore transcendence, interior illumination, and the communal impulse as exhibited through artistic expression across continents and centuries. Here’s a closer look at this year’s schedule:
Tuesday-Thursday, October 16-18 at 7:30 p.m.
Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui returns in the Sadler’s Wells production of his acclaimed dance work Sutra, an East-West collaboration with warrior monks from China’s Shaolin Temple that had its U.S. premiere in three sold-out performances at the inaugural White Light Festival in 2010.
To develop the piece, Cherkaoui spent several months at the original Shaolin Temple in China’s Henan Province, exploring the monks’ Zen Buddhist practice and devotion to kung fu. The production blends gravity-defying martial arts with contemporary dance and features 17 Shaolin monks; a striking, ever-changing set of 21 wooden boxes created by British sculptor and Cherkaoui’s frequent collaborator Antony Gormley; and a live score by Polish composer Szymon Brzóska.
Borderline (New York premiere)
Friday-Saturday, October 19-20 at 7:30 p.m.
Company Wang Ramirez is a France-based cutting-edge company crafting a new dance language for the 21st century. In Borderline, the body becomes the object of balance and freedom, as five dancers, often attached to cables, explore the liberating aspects of multiple dance forms, including contemporary dance, hip-hop dance, and aerial movement.
With gestures and costumes reflecting images from Greek and Korean traditions, Borderline explores shifting international and personal boundaries, the visual poetry of gravity and weightlessness, and our multicultural urban universe. Borderline had its world premiere at Théâtre de l’Archipel in Perpignan, France, in 2013, and includes original music by France’s LACRYMOBOY.
XENOS (U.S. premiere)
Wednesday-Thursday, October 31-November 1 at 7:30 pm
Choreographer and performer Akram Khan returns to the White Light Festival with the U.S. premiere of XENOS, which marks his final solo performances as a dancer in a full-length piece. Meaning “stranger” or “foreigner,” XENOS conjures up the shell-shocked dreams of a colonial soldier in the First World War. Combining classical Indian kathak and contemporary dance, Khan grapples with personal mythology, otherness, and the lucid reality of a world set aflame.
Framing Time (World premiere)
Thursday–Friday, November 1-2 at 8:00 pm
Framing Time is a quietly thrilling meditation on music, light, and movement centered on Morton Feldman’s 1981 solo piano work, Triadic Memories. For this world premiere production at Baryshnikov Arts Center, Feldman’s spare, mystical piano piece-a work described by the composer as the “biggest butterfly in captivity”-merges with an intricate color and light interplay, joined by dance and sculptural elements. Vividly rendered by pianist Pedja Muzijevic, the shifting colors and elastic tempos of Feldman’s painterly music are transformed into acute, poetic movement by Spanish choreographer and dancer Cesc Gelabert, with set and lighting design by Burke Brown.
Blak Whyte Gray (U.S. premiere)
Friday-Saturday, November 16-17 at 7:30 p.m.
Olivier Award-winning East London company Boy Blue brings the electrifying dance-theater work Blak Whyte Gray to Lincoln Center for its U.S. premiere. Driven by founders Michael “Mikey J” Asante and Kenrick “H2O” Sandy, Boy Blue infuses hip-hop dance with African-inspired grooves to create performances pulsing with physical virtuosity.
For Blak Whyte Gray (2017), Boy Blue’s first full-length abstract piece, a charged electronic score, bold staging, and powerful imagery call forth a deeply rooted cultural awakening on themes of oppression, identity, and transcendence. The critically acclaimed Blak Whyte Gray was nominated for Best New Dance Production at the 2017 Olivier Awards and for Best Modern Choreography in the 2017 Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards.
Only the Sound Remains (U.S. premiere)
Saturday, November 17 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, November 18 at 5:00 pm
In Kaija Saariaho’s hypnotic chamber opera Only the Sound Remains, based on Ezra Pound’s translations of two Noh plays, a ghost and an angel emerge from a world of light and shadow. Countertenor Philippe Jaroussky gives voice to these supernatural hosts and bass-baritone Davóne Tinesembodies their mortal counterparts in this U.S. premiere directed by Peter Sellars. Transformed by the visionary artwork of artist and MacArthur Fellowship recipient Julie Mehretu, this world reverberates and shimmers with spectral power and features a celestial dance by Nora Kimball-Mentzos.
Tickets are available online at WhiteLightFestival.org.