Gibney Presents: Kathy Westwater
Dec. 8, 8:00 pm EST
$15 – $20
Gibney: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center
White Box Theater (Studio C)
280 Broadway, New York (Enter at 53A Chambers Street)
Gibney, the New York City based dance and social justice organization, presents the world premiere of choreographer Kathy Westwater’s Moundscapes December 8–10, 2022, commissioned by Eva Yaa Asantewaa as part of the 2022-2023 season at Gibney Center. The work is a new iteration of the artist’s durational performance research project PARK, a nearly fifteen-year inquiry into the site of Fresh Kills Landfill that contends with themes of environmental trauma, grief, and complicity. Once the largest landfill in the world, Fresh Kills is being transformed into a public park set to open in 2023, a transition Westwater has witnessed through her dance, somatic, and material practices.
Moundscapes is conceived and directed by Westwater and choreographed by her and the work’s cast of performers. It is performed by Marisa Clementi, Rakia Seaborn, Stacy Lynn Smith, Alexander Romania, Nathalia Trogdon, and Kathy Westwater. The work includes original music by Sean Meehan and Toshimaru Nakamura, lighting design by Roderick Murray, art direction by Seung Jae Lee, and dramaturgy by Clarinda Mac Low. Moundscapes is part of a series of events created by Westwater occurring from August to December in Manhattan and Staten Island. Related events include PARK: Ephemera, a retrospective exhibition at the Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art in Snug Harbor, and a participatory performance at Fresh Kills on November 5 presented by the New York City Parks Department.
Moundscapes reprises choreographic fragments from past iterations of PARK, remaking and repurposing them into a new work. The piece includes a duet performed atop “tree shoes,” towering platform sandals fabricated from salvaged tree branches that reference 16th-century chopine sandals and an early era of excess consumption. The work also features a new extended solo performed by Westwater, that engages a mass of the artist’s own discarded household textiles. The textile refuse was accumulated by the artist over ten-years and would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. With this moving mass of cloth, the artist considers her personal contributions to our built environment.
Gibney Presents is Gibney’s premier presentation series, offering a rich blend of dance and performance in fully-produced, evening-length commissions.
The 2022-2023 Season at Gibney Center was curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa.
About Kathy Westwater
Kathy Westwater, a recipient of the Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography, has pursued experimental dance forms since 1996. Her Bessie-nominated work responds to contemporary experience and the societal landscape in which it manifests by reimagining the body’s movement potential.
Westwater has received commissions from Chocolate Factory Theater, Lumberyard, Temple University, Dance Theater Workshop, and Danspace Project; and awards from CUNY Dance Initiative, Dance NYC, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New Music USA, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Puffin Foundation, Franklin Furnace Fund, Meet the Composer, and New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work The Fortune Cookie Dance is cited in The Drama Review and the Guerrilla Guide to Performance Art as an early example of online interactive dance and archived in the Walker Art Center’s Mediatheque Archive. More information
Funding Credits: Moundscapes is created with the support of a 2020-21 PASS/CUNY Dance Initiative residency at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden and the College of Staten Island made possible through generous lead support from the Howard Gilman Foundation, with additional support from the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. PARK is supported by Dance/NYC’s Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund in 2020 & 2022; and, in part, by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant and the FCA Emergency Grants COVID-19 Fund. It is developed as part of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center Residency program. This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, and by The Freshkills Park Alliance.
Photo (left) of Kathy Westwater by Julie Lemberger; Photo (right) of Fresh Kills by Marina Zamalin.