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    Courtney Baron in Our Glass in BAADass Women Festival
    Photo by Quinn Batson
    Courtney Baron in "Our Glass"

    It Is

    BAAD!ass Women's Festival 2012


    BAAD! — Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance is a workable 70-seat performance space near Hunts Point established by dancer/choreographer Arthur Aviles and writer/activist Charles Rice-Gonzalez in 1998. Like founder Arthur Aviles, the BAAD!ass Women's Festival is entertaining, slightly rough around the edges and full of life.

    Choreography by: Danielle Russo, Keila Cordova, Noele Phillips, Megan J Minturn, Cashell Campbell, Kristin Hatleberg, Jessica Danser Schwarz, Djuna Passman and Toni Renee Johnson.

    Related links: BAAD!
    BAAD!-Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance
    March 24, 2012

    Our Glass, a look at women's complicated relationship with mirrors and body image, opened things well. This alternately quiet and explosive solo for Courtney Baron, choreographed by Danielle Russo, begins in lengthy, still, clothed self-examination and ends in violent backward falls to the floor in underwear and angst. Baron's outward calm, physical power and fully feminine body are an excellent combination for this solo.

    Noele Phillips uses Gil Scott-Heron's "Who Will Survive in America" as the question for an African-inspired duet by Nekia Beckles and Amin Jai Harris. It has been and continues to be, lately, a valid question.

    Megan J Minturn has fun with No Quiero, an indictment of corporate fast-food and its general indifference to its employees. A mini-battle between suits and aprons here is won by the aprons, who convert a couple suits to their side and coerce the other suits into acknowledging their "beef." There is some strong dancing in this cast of Leah Antonellis, Rainy Demerson, Maira Duarte, Ruby Fink, Aaron Gregory, Ashley Hacker, Lindsay Lindberg and Ricarrdo Valentine. Good sound design/music arrangement by Brian Haller and a low-tech Das Racist rap about "The Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell" add humor and texture.

    Noele Phillips and Jessica Danser Schwarz in Myth of Sisyphus in BAADass Women Festival
    Photo by Quinn Batson
    Noele Phillips and Jessica Danser Schwarz in "Myth of Sisyphus"

    Cashel Campbell aka Sapphire Sultry plays with Blackwoman body image and burlesque in her solo Betty Boop Black and gets props for her costumes, spoken word narration and performance.

    Jessica Danser Schwarz' Myth of Sisyphus and other absurdist reflections on not drinking the kool-aid is funny and thought-provoking: who's to say Sisyphus didn't find a way to enjoy his plight? That may be missing the point and drinking the kool-aid, of course, but either way, Schwarz and Noele Phillips do a good job with this duet.

    Marcus Lavan Briggs, Mia Orozco, Princess Mecca Romero in Discovery Zone: the evolution in BAADass Women Festival
    Photo by Quinn Batson
    Marcus Lavan Briggs, Mia Orozco, Princess Mecca Romero in "Discovery Zone: the evolution"

    The evening ends with a trio of fierce by Marcus Lavan Braggs, Mia Orozco and Princess Mecca Romero, choreographed by Toni Renee Johnson, titled Discovery Zone: the evolution. Propulsive, minimalist music by Hot Shit for Dance uses glorbles, slups and other reversed sounds in a muffled and slapped soundtrack of funky depth. It really is H.S.F.D. The trio take turns moving between unisons of offertory/receiving hands and big partnerings and body bumps, with a subtheme of hands either extracting from or feeding mouths.

    And a relaxed and comfortable aftershow ambience, with a carpet for the dance floor and a bar for the thirsty, is a nice touch for those who've made the trip.

    MARCH 31, 2012

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