Thursday, May 1, 2008

Celestial Bodies

I got my first Lois Greenfield calendar back in 2001, I think.

I never tire of seeing each month's amazing depiction of dancers caught mid-movement in a sort of immortal expression. I find the strength and poise of the dancers' bodies frozen by Greenfield's quick eye to be an inspiration of creative expression, and motivation to get back in the gym!

I was quite saddened this year when I could not find the 2008 Breaking Bounds calendar and have been with out my monthly dose of awe. So I was very excited when I received an email from Dance New Amsterdam announcing an exhibit of Greenfield's work.

Celestial Bodies opened last night in the gallery at Dance New Amsterdam, my favorite dance studio in the city. DNA, as we like to refer to it, has really remade itself in the last few years. When I first started taking class there in 2004, they were located in SOHO in a run-down converted factory on Broadway, and was called Dance Space Center. The place had an established, gritty feel to it that will never be replaced by its new shiny and polished studios, now located in the Financial District. But with the location and name change, many new opportunities have presented themselves to the dancers of DNA. The current location offers a theater, studio and office space rentals, a pilates and wellness studio, performance opportunities, and now, an art gallery.

Joseph and I arrived to the opening night reception fashionably late. We barely managed to snag the last two glasses of the obligatory free wine before the drink table closed. I was a bit disappointed to see that there were only two walls of photographs on display; we made our first round in under 5 minutes. With our second lap, wine securely in hand, we lingered and were more comfortable whispering impressions of the photographs. Not unlike listening to a new CD for the first and second times, far more detail and emotion stood out on this second walk through. Words such as "discomfort," "sensual," and "biblical" were exchanged in a pseudo-intellectual attempt to see more depth in what at first glance are simply mostly naked, really fit men and women. We marveled at the use of fabrics and mirrors to create a multi-dimensional image. We had fun playing (if not geeky) games of "what sounds/music do you hear looking at this picture" and "which photos would you collect in a set for your living room wall."

The space is rather small and I scanned it religiously on the slim but possible chance of seeing someone I knew. My presence in the dance world was too short lived, but several dancers that I went to school with and others that I met during my three summers at the American Dance Festival are here in NY working professionally and are affiliated with DNA. I am constantly yearning to resubmerge myself into the world of modern dance, both as a musician and a dancer.

As expected, after attending this exhibit, seeing the beautifully photographed dancers as well as the living, breathing dancers who were also in attendance, my motivation to return to dance is renewed. Chambers Street, where DNA is located, is quite a trek for ten or so photographs, but if you have some time, or happen to be in the area, a stop into the gallery will yield nothing if not an awesome appreciation for the dancers' sculpted bodies, and perhaps elicit an emotion or two to inspire and motivate you toward your innermost aspirations.

"Celestial Bodies" will be on exhibit until Aug 31. Dance New Amsterdam is located at 280 Broadway, 2nd Floor (entrance on Chambers). Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday–Sunday. 212.625.8369

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