La MaMa will present the world premiere of Betsy by award-winning choreographer Neil Greenberg. A proper noun, a subject that does and performs, Betsy is a new dance exploring the phenomenon of performance itself. Performances will take place November 12-14 (Saturday-Monday) and November 17-20 (Wednesday-Sunday) at 8pm (Sundays at 4pm), at La MaMa’s Downstairs Theater, 66 East 4th Street, in Manhattan. Tickets are $30 (general), $25 (students/seniors), and the first ten tickets for every performance are $10. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2198513®id=6&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lamama.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content1/bottombuy/button 2022,
Betsy will engage with the phenomenon of performance itself, in a play with the multiple relational possibilities between performers and spectators, and between a work and its spectators. Performed by four dancers, including Greenberg, Betsy will be presented with viewers surrounding the performance area, each viewer experiencing the performance material differently due to their distinct vantage point, enabling spectators to watch the dance, themselves, and each other as they watch the dance together.
Betsy is the latest iteration of Greenberg’s ongoing exploration into the construction of meaning-making and meaningfulness, a project he began with his first La MaMa production in 1987, MacGuffin or How Meanings Get Lost. Betsy makes use of projected written text that situates the dance within a two-pandemic landscape of COVID and AIDS, and within the also ongoing crisis of racism and white supremacy. Betsy seeks to expose the cultural rootedness of any performance material in the conditions of its production. The use of text simultaneously gestures toward the kind of meaning-making encouraged by language, while also intervening to allow for other perceptual possibilities.
Betsy is created in collaboration with composers Zeena Parkins and James Lo (a joint music creation), lighting designer Michael Stiller, and dancers Paul Hamilton, Opal Ingle, and Owen Prum.
Neil Greenberg (he, him) a white, queer, HIV+, cisgender man-person, is perhaps best known for his Not-About-AIDS-Dance (1994), which employs projected text as a layering strategy that gestures toward the impossibility of divorcing any human product from the context in which it is made, while also framing this cultural situatedness within questions about meaning-making and meaningfulness vis–vis dance. Most recent projects: The Disco Project Installation (2021, 2022), a three-channel video recontextualizing the 1995 work for gallery settings, and To the things themselves! (2018), continuing his (utopian) interest in the move away from representation toward an experience of the performance moment in and of itself.
Greenberg has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and two New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards, as well as repeated fellowships from the NEA and NYFA, a fellowship from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, a National Dance Project Production grant, a Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Creative Exploration Award, and repeated support from the MAP Fund and NYSCA.
Greenberg was a member of Merce Cunningham Dance Company (1979),86); dance curator at The Kitchen (1995),99); and is currently on the dance faculty at The New School; he was previously at UC Riverside, Purchase College, and Sarah Lawrence College. www.neilgreenberg.org
(Performer) (he, him) is a Brooklyn-based movement artist. A member of Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, and collaborator with Keely Garfield, Ralph Lemon, Jane Comfort, David Thomson, and many others. He is also a Movement Research Artist in Residence 2022-2024. This is his first project with Neil Greenberg.
(Performer) (they, them) is an artist based in New York City/Lenapehoking and the woods of the Western Catskills/on the homelands of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. As a performer, they have collaborated with choreographers Hilary Easton, Heather Kravas, and Tere O’Connor, among others. Betsy marks Ingle’s third project with Neil Greenberg.
(Composer) (he, him) is a product of suburban Detroit, the New England Conservatory, and Columbia University. He has created scores for choreographers Oren Barnoy, Neil Greenberg, Elena Demyanenko, Katie Workum, Heather Olson, Mei-Yin Ng, Sarah Michelson, Maria Hassabi, Jennifer Monson, Levi Gonzalez, Ralph Lemon, RoseAnne Spradlin, and Lucy Guerin among others. Earlier in his career, he received Bessie Awards for John Jasperse’s furnished/unfurnished and for Donna Uchizono’s State of Heads, and was named one of Treblezine.com’s 50 favorite drummers for his work with the bands Chavez and Live Skull. In addition to sound design, Lo has worked as an embedded systems engineer for Robert Ashley, Elizabeth Streb, and David Behrman, and as an enterprise software consultant for many major financial services and life sciences companies. This is Lo’s second project with Neil Greenberg, following their 2018 collaboration To the things themselves!
(Composer) (she, her) An electro-acoustic composer/performer, multi-instrumentalist, improviser, and pioneer of contemporary harp performance, Parkins reimagines both the acoustic harp and an evolution of her original electric harp through the use of expanded playing techniques , preparations, and custom-designed processing. Parkins has received three Bessie Awards for her groundbreaking work with dance, and has performed and/or recorded with Björk, Ikue Mori, John Zorn, Fred Frith, Laetitia Sonami, Christian Marclay, Butch Morris, Elliott Sharp, Yuka C. Honda, Tony Buck, Magda Mayas, Mette Rassmussen, Steve Beresford, Cyro Baptista, Okkyung Lee, Yoko Ono, Yasunao Tone, Pauline Oliveros, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Lee Renaldo, and George Lewis, among others. Parkins has recently been awarded an honorary doctorate from Bard College. Currently, she is the Darius Milhaud Professor of composition at Mills College. Betsy marks Parkins’ seventh full-scale collaboration with Neil Greenberg, beginning with Destiny Dance (1991), and including, most recently, Really Queer Dance With Harps (2008) and (like a vase) (2010).
(Performer) (he, him) is a dancer and choreographer living in New York City. Prum has danced with Jordan Lloyd, Elizabeth Dishman, Alexa West, Emma Rose Brown, Burr Johnson, and Peter BD, among others. He is a co-founder of PAGEANT, an experimental artist-run performance space in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Prum holds a BFA in dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. This is his first project with Neil Greenberg
(Lighting Designer) (he, him) began working with Neil Greenberg in 1991 when he designed the lighting for Destiny Dance, the first of many collaborations. Since then, he has embarked on a 30 year career as a lighting practitioner and teacher with work that spans the worlds of dance, performance, film, television, and most recently architectural lighting and interactive experiences. Stiller has collaborated with a number of other downtown dance and performance artists including Yvonne Meier, Ishmael Houston-Jones, and DANCENOISE. He made his Broadway debut in 2018 as production designer for the rock/classical mashup Rocktopia. He is the recipient of a Bessie Award for his work with Neil Greenberg, and an IES Illumination Award of Merit for his part in the design of the public space experiences at 85 Broad Street, in Lower Manhattan. Stiller is currently on the faculty of FIT’s School of Graduate Studies, in the Exhibition and Experience Design program. He is the author of a textbook, Quality Lighting for High Performance Buildings, and he frequently delivers talks to professional groups on lighting, wellness, and sustainability.
Betsy is made possible by a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, support from the Harkness Foundation for Dance, and a creative residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, New York, NY.
About La MaMa
La MaMa is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theater. La MaMa’s 61st “Remake A World” Season believes in the power of art to bring sustainable change over time and transform our cultural narrative. At La MaMa, new work is created from a multiplicity of perspectives, experiences, and disciplines, influencing how we think about and experience art. The flexibility of our spaces, specifically the newly reimagined building at 74 East 4th Street (La MaMa’s original permanent home), gives our local and remote communities access to expanded daytime programming. The digital tools embedded in the space allow artists to collaborate remotely and audiences worldwide to participate in La MaMa’s programming.
A recipient of the 2018 Regional Theater Tony Award, more than 30 Obie Awards, and dozens of Drama Desk, Bessie, and Villager Awards, La MaMa has been a creative home for thousands of artists and resident companies, many of whom have made lasting contributions to the arts, including Blue Man Group, Bette Midler, Ed Bullins, Ping Chong, Jackie Curtis, André De Shields, Adrienne Kennedy, Harvey Fierstein, Diane Lane, Playhouse of the Ridiculous, Tom Eyen, Pan Asian Rep, Spiderwoman Theater, Tadeusz Kantor, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Mabou Mines, Meredith Monk, Peter Brook, David and Amy Sedaris, Julie Taymor, Kazuo Ohno, Tom O’Horgan, and Andy Warhol. La MaMa’s vision of nurturing new artists and new work from all nations, cultures, races and identities remains as strong today as it was when Ellen Stewart first opened the doors in 1961. For more information, visit www.lamama.org.