Stephen Petronio Company: Bloodlines/Bloodlines(future) – Danspace Project
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Stephen Petronio Company: Bloodlines/Bloodlines(future)

left to right: (1) Stephen Petronio Company by Julie Lemberger. (2) Davalois Fearon by Anya Kress. (3) ÜFLY Mothership, courtesy the artists. (4) Johnnie Cruise Mercer by Grant Friedman.

Thursday, December 8 at 7:30pm
Friday, December 9 at 7:30pm
Saturday, December 10 at 7:30pm

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An evening of new work by early career choreographers including Davalois Fearon, Johnnie Cruise Mercer, Tendayi Kuumba & Greg Purnell (UFly Mothership), and iconic works from established choreographers Steve Paxton and Stephen Petronio.

Tendayi Kuumba & Greg Purnell (UFly Mothership) delve into the conflict of technology vs. nature, the analytical vs. the spiritual with The Adventures of Mr. Left Brain and Ms. Right. Davalois Fearon’s Finding Herstory pays homage to Africanist dance forms that have contributed to the American dance landscape and shaped Fearon as an artist. Developing over the three evenings, Johnnie Cruise Mercer conjures his final “process memoir,” marking the end of a six year process with Process memoir 7 (Vol 8): ‘back to love.’ 

Initially conceived as a moving meditation filmed during the COVID-19 lockdown, Stephen Petronio’s RE New New Prayer For Now is a bold and visceral dialogue between bodies, space and the viewer’s eye, made in collaboration with composer/performance artist Monstah Black. Stephen Petronio Company will also reconstruct the 1982 score for Steve Paxton’s Jag Vill Gärna Telefonera (I Would Like to Make a Phone Call), which premiered at Danspace the same year.

In 2014, Stephen Petronio Company launched Bloodlines to preserve a lineage of postmodern dance artists who have inspired Petronio’s career as a dance maker. In 2019, the Company expanded this initiative to include Bloodlines(future), which addresses lineage by commissioning new works by early-career dancemakers as a means of broadening the definition of influence and extending the on-stage dialogue between postmodern choreographers.


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Davalois Fearon is a critically acclaimed choreographer, dancer, and educator. Her work is driven by an aim to confront complex social problems and compel a profound contemplation of these issues by audiences – whether in renowned New York City venues such as the Joyce Theater or Metropolitan Museum of Art or in academic venues from New York to Florida. She has explored a wide range of social crises and challenges, from water rights to white supremacy, often coupling performances with awareness-raising events that broaden the impact and sustainability of her work. Born in Jamaica and raised in the Bronx, Fearon draws deeply on her experience as an immigrant, which has shaped her distinctive approach to dance-making and her unique movement vocabulary. This manifests in choreography that is said to reflect a “tenacious virtuosity.” Her artistic lineage also extends from a 12-year career (2005–2017) with the Stephen Petronio Company, where she was a favorite of Petronio audiences for her bold performances. Fearon has received numerous prestigious grants and awards, including a MAP Fund Grant and a 2017 Bessie Award. In 2016, Fearon founded the Davalois Fearon Dance Company to push artistic and social boundaries. Learn more at davaloisfearon.com.

A 2021 Princess Grace Award Recipient in Choreography, Johnnie Cruise Mercer is a queer-black think-maker, a choreographer, educator, impresario, and social entrepreneur based in New York City. A native of Richmond, VA, Johnnie holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2021, Johnnie was nominated for two Bessies Awards in Dance and Performance: Outstanding Breakthrough Choreographer 2021, and Outstanding Production 2021 (for his choreography/direction on _AShadow Prince. alongside videographer: Tj Jacobs, creative director: Torian Ugworji, and composer: Monstah Black, whose work was also nominated for Outstanding Sound Design). Johnnie’s choreographic work has been seen and/or shared  by 92Y Harkness Dance Center, The Dixon Place, Danspace Project Inc, The Fusebox Festival, BAAD!, Abrons ArtsCenter, Mana Contemporary, La Mama Experimental Theater, The NADA Conference, Abrons Arts Center, The Clarice Performing Arts Center’s The BlackLight Summit, and most recently in at The 2022 American Dance Festival  (premiering a co-choreographed duet with season mentor/friend Stephen Petronio). Johnnie is the founding producer, and company director of TheREDprojectNYC (TRPNYC), a multidisciplinary ensemble of artists dedicated to the study of movement philosophy, and its use towards building communal spaces for black/other process, documentation, and investigation. Find out more about him (and his company) on instagram @johnniecruisemercer or @jcm_redprojectnyc.

UFlyMothership is Tendayi Kuumba & Greg Purnell. Collaborating since 2017, past works include Incog-Negro, U.F.O. ”The Mixtape,‘’ HEROINE, & U.F.O: Stardust Melanin. Produced at AfroPunk, D.I.R.T. Festival Harriet’s Gun, Movement Research’s Spring Festival, Czech Republic of NY, Prague Effects Residency, Danspace Project’s collective terrain/s series, Harlem Stage, Hi-ARTS, & BRICLab.BOLD Facilitator & former company member of Urban Bush Women, Tendayi made Broadway debuts in David Byrne’s America Utopia on Broadway and Film Directed by Spike Lee & as Lady in Brown of Broadway Revival “For Colored Girls” Directed by Camille A. Brown. She’s worked with Marjani Forte’-Saunders (7NMS E+M), ASÉ Dance Theater Collective, Nathan Trice/ Rituals “StrangeLove,” Jim Findlay’s “Electric Lucifer” & Philadelphia Operas’ “We Shall Not be Moved” directed by Bill T. Jones. Greg Purnell, Brooklyn born/bred multi-medium artist. Featured in 2015 BRIC Stoop Series “Barbershop Stories: it’s all about hair” and BRIC TV’s Brooklyn Made series, Afropunk, BAM, OkayAfrica, Nike & cast barber of David Byrne’s American Utopia on Broadway & Film directed by Spike Lee. Sound designer, lighting designer, director & music creator for various works. He’s worked with UBW, The Illustrious Blacks, and MVMNT PHLSPY. Each piece created is a multi-layered portal of self discovery.

Stephen Petronio Company was founded in 1984 to support the creative work of modern dance choreographer Stephen Petronio. He has since honed a unique language of movement that speaks to the intuitive and complex possibilities of the body within our current time. Since 2009, the Company’s mission has expanded to include legacy initiatives meant to honor the past, present, and future in the field of dance through new initiatives designed to amplify and complement Petronio’s original mission: 1) Stephen Petronio continues to develop and present original choreography; 2) through the Bloodlines initiative, SPC has restaged and presented 12 postmodern dance works by Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown, Anna Halprin, Yvonne Rainer, Rudy Perez and Steve Paxton, and has commissioned three new solo works to date from young choreographers through Bloodlines(future); and 3) Petronio Residency Center, located in the Hudson Valley, supports future choreographic invention in the field with artist residencies as well as education initiatives. Stephen Petronio has produced more than 80 works and the Company has performed before thousands of audience members nationally and internationally, including a regular New York City performance presence.

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