Wendy Osserman Dance Company

“Blessedly nonliteral” choreography

The New York Times

Wendy Osserman and her dancers celebrate the strangeness of being alive. They relish a collaborative process which involves improvisation, writing, reacting to scientific articles, examples of contemporary poetry and visual art through the ages. Osserman conveys her struggle to comprehend current events and history with drama and humor, confusing the personal with the political.

Emily Vetsch and Joshua Tuason © Steven Pisano Photography

Premiering this spring: Combustion

Osserman’s latest work meets fire with fire

March 11-14, 2020, 8 pm

Presented by Theater for the New City, 155 1st Avenue, NYC; Crystal Field, Executive Director

Fire is a recurrent image embodied by the dancers in Combustion, a new piece for five. As she attempts to digest inflamatory statements and actions by our President and his followers, Osserman — like many of us — has felt consumed with worry, shock, anger and a need to make sense of current events. President Trump appears caught in his reality TV role as he fires his collaborators and fumes and lashes out at any opposition. At the same time we are witnessing the destructive power of wildfires in California and elsewhere in the world, self-combustion due to creeping climate change, deforestation, and poor working conditions in third-world countries. 

As in past works, Osserman identifies with what concerns her — war, the depleted earth, polarization in politics, fascist leaders — and physicalizes her response. As she performs her distress, humor emerges as a welcome side effect, surprising and palliative. In her collaboration with the dancers, fire is also recognized as a generator of life, an agent of transformation, purification, illumination and enlightenment. The unusual contributions of composer, musician  and musical instrument creator, Skip La Plante, will again delight the dancers and the audience. 

Udjat, a trio from 1985, concludes the program with “a darkness that is both powerful and compelling,” Attitude: The Dance Magazine. Udjat is the Egyptian hieroglyph of the Sacred Eye, a symbol of completeness, of things made more precious having been restored.