Review: Stephen Petronio looks to his past NYC for inspiration

Sometimes the echoes were palpable. In “No More Heroes”, at punk band The Stranglers, Nicholas Sciscione, wearing a sheer, flowing white...


Sometimes the echoes were palpable. In “No More Heroes”, at punk band The Stranglers, Nicholas Sciscione, wearing a sheer, flowing white top and glittery Manolo shorts, set the scene with a ghost feeling of the full dance – “Lareigne” by Petronio (1995) – in his thorny and frenzied aerial solo. With his hair in braids, Ryan Pliss walked across the stage in “For Today I’m a Boy,” on Anohni (from “This is the Story of a Girl in a World”, 2008); Angular at one point and faded in the next, Pliss displayed masterful control. And Jaqlin Medlock, in “Pre-Weep” on Nick Cave (from “Underland,” 2011), showed his ever-swaying arms with luscious abandon.

But presented back to back, the performers changing costumes sideways, the works seemed more like fragments of dances than complete works; they might also nod their heads too closely at the words. The costume Mac Twining wore in “Sleeping Pills” in London Suede (from “Drawn That Way”, 1996) had an oversized pill capsule attached to her back. And when an Elvis Presley recording of “Are You Lonesome Tonight”, a recent video work transferred to the stage, was followed by “Love Me Tender” (from “The King Is Dead”, 1993), it was like a fall. a YouTube rabbit hole.

Petronio’s choice of songs – “the human markers of pop culture,” he calls them – is emotional; In some ways, the soundtrack also seems to be yearning for the glory days of the East Village with its, he writes, “fierce street fashion and poetry that screams into the void.” At the time, nightclubs were performance spaces ripe for experimentation; here, a machine filled the scene with hazy smoke. But even at La MaMa, an East Village institution and survivor of gentrification, it sounded more like a nostalgic whisper than a fierce, fierce cry.

Petronio Punk picks and other delicacies

Until Sunday at La MaMa, lamama.org

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Newsrust - US Top News: Review: Stephen Petronio looks to his past NYC for inspiration
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