Close Up: Colleen Thomas

Colleen Thomas 525px wide 72dpi

This week, Colleen Thomas Dance will premiere Her(e) Repetitive Blueprint at 92Y’s Harkness Center. Artistic Director, Colleen Thomas, along with partner, Bill Young, have long been represented as part of Pentacle’s Gallery as Bill Young/Colleen Thomas & Co. What began as an initial creative collaboration between Thomas and Young in 1997, evolved into a company focused on rigorous physicality and dynamic partnering. Together, they create what Deborah Jowitt of The Village Voice has called “Daring, eccentric… the sensuality, the tenderness, the sense of adventure seem intrinsic to the moment and anchored to life.”

Her(e) Repetitive Blueprint will be Colleen Thomas Dance’s debut evening length work, independent of her work with Bill Young/Colleen Thomas & Co. Reflecting on the current cultural landscape, and a desire to address issues of justice and equality, Thomas draws both upon her perspective and experience as a female artist.

“After last summer’s horrible string of deadly police actions against black citizens and the outspoken stand against sexual assault in Universities around the country, the cast and I have had a lot on our minds,” Thomas shared about the process, “[This] quickly turned into countless discussions in the studio about how dance artists can embody our reactions to these issues and, in turn, find new ways of connecting to and promoting social equality.”

Thomas brings up the important question: How must socially engaged dance companies contribute articulately to important conversations while still being true and dynamic in their form? How can they do so without diluting their perspective, or their practice?

Her(e) Repetitive Blueprint premieres October 23rd, 24th (8 pm), and 25th (3pm) at 92Y’s Harkness Dance Center. Tickets can be purchased here. It features an extraordinary cast including Samantha Allen, Ehsoje Azeke, Jenna Riegel, Orlando Hunter, Tamara Joy, Marc Mann, Jessica Stroh, Nathan Trice, and Colleen Thomas. John Mcgrew, who has collaborated on a number of works with Colleen Thomas, will perform an original score live. Lighting is by Tricia Toliver. A post-performance conversation with the artists and guests will accompany the Sunday performance.