La MaMa Blogs: March 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Meet The Ballez!

Meet six of the stars of Sleeping Beauty & the Beast that will premiere on opening night of La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival! Ballez Company invites everyone to witness and celebrate the history and performances of lesbian, queer, and transgender people. Ballez re-imagines archetypal characters to reflect multiplicity of identity, desire, and expression. Ballez celebrates the virtuosity of complexly gendered embodiment, energetic eloquence, queer coding, and the magical adaptability of expression that Ballez dancers have cultivated through their lives as a way to survive and thrive.

The Ballez returns to radically, queerly re-imagine another tale from the ballet canon. Celebrating the lives of lesbian, queer, and transgender people in the L.E.S., Sleeping Beauty & the Beast is a two-act Ballez spanning two theaters at La Mama, and two eras of L.E.S. activist herstory separated by 100 years. Featuring selections of Tchaikovsky's classic score played live by the Queer Urban Orchestra, original House Music compilations by JD Samson, and a diverse cast of over 20 queer performers, the Ballez infiltrates the ballet canon with expressions of queer desires, queer and gender-queer embodiment, framing all these expressions as a new kind of virtuosity. Humorous, sensual, and heartbreaking, Sleeping Beauty & the Beast is a powerful testament to struggle, survival, and legacy.

Tickets are available online HERE

Support the Ballez KICKSTARTER campaign online!


Artistic Director, Katy Pyle, is a multimedia performance artist whose works explore fantasy, transformation, queer failure, and the lineage of performance. Pyle began studying ballet as a child, and always jumped with the boys at the end of class. She became a company apprentice with Austin Contemporary Ballet at 14 and furthered her studies at North Carolina School of the Arts. At 16, she diverged from ballet because of its limited possibilities for gender representation, and woefully narrow ideas about bodies. She went on to study modern dance and choreography at NCSA, and then post-modern dance and Multimedia Performance Art at Hollins. Since moving to New York in 2002, her work has been presented at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Brooklyn Museum, Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, Galapagos, PS122, La Mama, Dance Theater Workshop, Movement Research at the Judson Church (and MR Festivals), and the Bushwick Starr. Pyle founded the Ballez in 2011, and has been ardently pursuing its mission ever since. She teaches the celebrated “Adult Ballez” class weekly through Brooklyn Arts Exchange (most often with Jules Skloot), and has brought the class to Movement Research, the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, CounterPULSE in San Francisco, University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, Irreverent Dance in London, Parsons, the Beyond Tolerance Youth Conference, Yale University, and Sarah Lawrence(this Spring).

As a performer/creator, she has worked with Ivy Baldwin, Faye Driscoll, John Jasperse, Karinne Keithley Syers, Xavier Le Roy, Jennifer Monson, Anna Sperber, Katie Workum, and is currently touring the Untitled Feminist Show, which she co-created with Young Jean Lee Theater Company.

Evening length works include “Salute to Ex-Best Friends,”asubtout (Pyle & Eleanor Hullihan), Galapagos, 2005; “The Lady Centaur Show,” asubtout, PS 122, 2007; “THE WAY: You Make Me Feel,” Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, 2010; “COVERS,” The Bushwick Starr, 2012; “The Firebird, a Ballez,” Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, 2013; “Variations on Virtuosity, a Gala with the Stars of the Ballez,” American Realness at Abrons Arts Center, 2015.

She has received creative support from Brooklyn Arts Council, Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), Dragon’s Egg, the Jerome Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Mertz Gilmore, Mount Tremper Arts, and Rockbridge Artist’s Exchange.


Jules Skloot, Ballez co-teacher and collaborator, is a dancer, performance maker, and teacher based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Jules received a BA from Hampshire College and an MFA in dance from Sarah Lawrence College. Jules frequently collaborates and performs with Katy Pyle and others as assistant director of the Ballez, and has performed in the work of Sara Rudner, Peggy Gould, Emily Johnson/Catalyst Dance, Will Davis, niv Acosta, and Margot Bassett. Jules has presented his own work at BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange through the Space Grant program, Dixon Place, the University Settlement, Lava Studios, and at AUNTS events. Jules teaches dance and health at the Brooklyn Friends School, and is assistant director of an arts and social justice focused summer camp.


Pronouns: Ashley/Ashley's or they/them/theirs
Q: All of the dance hats that you wear:
A: I perform with Larissa Velez-Jackson and the Yackez crew as their (un)trusty green gender ambiguous mascot: YackMan. Additionally, I'm a self-proclaimed queerographer. With all of my work, I strive to honor blue-collar queerness to counterbalance the surplus of work that caters to the cultural and academic elite.
Q: What brought you to Ballez?
A: A fiery desire to queerly move in political, technical, and sexy ways.
Q: A surprising fact about you:
A: I may or may not be wearing nothing but a black leotard and trying to pass as a straight woman (whatever that means) in a Local Natives' music video for "Bowery." You can witness me in all of my closeted glory here:


Q: What is your relationship history with ballet?
A: My mother is a ballerina. She's an incredible being who helped pave the way for black ballet dancers. She left The Juilliard School to become an original member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Q: A surprising fact about you:
A: I was born and raised in Berlin, Germany until I was 18.


Chris is a Brooklyn based choreographer and dance artist from Pittsburgh, PA. He is a founding member and the choreographer of a queer identified interdisciplinary collective, I AM A BOYS CHOIR. His work has been presented at La Mama, Yale University Art Gallery, REDCAT, BAM, JACK, BRIC Arts (CATCH 68), The Wassaic Project, The Judson Church, and Dixon Place. Selected dance work: Tino Sehgal, Alonzo King, Bruno Isakovic, Amanda Miller, Sidra Bell, Maurya Kerr, Yannis Adoniou, and Brendan Fernandes. BA Emerson College, and a graduate of the LINES Ballet Training Program. 2015-2015 AIR at Chez Bushwick.


Madison is a freelance performer, musician, and activist originally from Oakland, CA. She holds a BFA in Dance Performance and minor in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine, where she was a member of the renowned Donald McKayle’s Etude Ensemble, and performed works by Jodie Gates and Charles Moulton.  Now living in Brooklyn since 2010, she currently performs with Third Rail Projects’ Bessie award-winning show, Then She Fell, Vanessa Walters, Mark Lamb Dance, and tours with Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company’s Untitled Feminist Show. You can also catch her under the moniker, Maddy MayHammhmm, performing with her punk band, Snatch Attack, around NYC—check us out here for more info: She is honored to be a part of the amazing radical community that is the Ballez!

Ballez | “Sleeping Beauty & the Beast”

April 29 - May 08, 2016

Wednesday to Saturday at 7pm; Sunday at 4pm

Ellen Stewart Theatre | 66 East 4th Street (2nd Floor)

Tickets available online:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Video Preview: THE DIGGER

The Digger: A Subterranean Allegory from La MaMa on Vimeo.

Final two weeks for Inkfish's THE DIGGER: A SUBTERRANEAN ALLEGORY at The First Floor Theatre at La MaMa begin Thursday.

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La MaMa presents

written by Brian Snapp 
directed and designed by Michael Kelly

March 24 - April 10, 2016

Thursday - Saturday at 7:30pm; Sunday at 2pm

The First Floor Theatre at La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors

For tickets and info: CLICK HERE

Monday, March 28, 2016

NY Times previews the 2016 La MaMa Moves! Festival

Joshua Barone previews the 2016 La MaMa Moves! Festival in The New York Times:

"Ballez, a company that restages classic works with a “queer” twist, will present the world premiere of its “Sleeping Beauty and the Beast” as part of this year’s La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival.
The festival, which runs April 29 through May 29, includes the works of 17 artists and about a dozen other premieres, many of them with themes of gender, the environment and politics.
“Sleeping Beauty and the Beast” — created by Katy Pyle, artistic director of Ballez — reimagines Tchaikovsky’s 1890 ballet “The Sleeping Beauty” and the 18th-century fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast” to question traditional gender roles and tell the “herstory” of New York’s lesbian activists."

Read the full articcle: HERE

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La MaMa presents

La MaMa Moves! 
2016 Dance Festival

featuring Ballez, Tiffany Mills Company, Cardell Dance Theater, 
Bruno Isakovic, Suk Soon Jung/Project S and more!

April 29 - May 29, 2016

In all four La MaMa spaces!

For tickets and Info: CLICK HERE

Friday, March 25, 2016

Six Questions: 6 Questions with Roberto Juarez of INTRODUCTIONS

Roberto Juarez, curator of Introductions, sat down with us to answer 6 questions about this diverse group of artists, balancing art work, and his long history at La MaMa!

For Introductions, Juarez and eight of his colleagues will each introduce an artist of their choosing to the gallery. The show focuses on visual and spatial conversations between artists working at different stages of their careers, and through this contrast mixes genres and ideas. Some of the artist pairs are in close dialogue with one another, and they present their work with this relationship in mind. Others have chosen to make work that stands on its own. Through the show’s hanging, Juarez encourages new and surprising associations within this artistic community to emerge.

On April 2nd from 5-7 PM, there will be a screening and reading featuring works by Jared Buckhiester, Angela Conant, Nic Freberg Morgan, and Derek Stroup. 

1. Introductions has such a diverse mix of artists. How did you come to pick the nine "choosing" artists?

It happened kind of organically, as I started looking around at artists I knew from my career in New York. I realized there was a rationale to staying in the neighborhood, so I chose people who had worked in the Lower East Side, shown in the Lower East Side, were somehow involved in this downtown community from the 80s on.

2. What kind of relationships are there between the artist pairs? 

I believe some of them are students, some are friends, and some are assistants that actually work with the artists on a technical level.

3. Did you have a strategy going into install, as far as how to balance all of the works?
In a way, it hung itself. Some things needed to be next to their presenter, as there was already a working relationship with what they were submitting. Some pieces were on their own and could be moved around. These works started conversations between works that I hadn’t seen together before, like between Nic Freberg Morgan and Barbara Takenaga, in which there’s an interesting relationship between their subject matter and how they approach their surfaces.

4. Whose work is the most different now, versus what you first saw in their studio? What was the most surprising thing you observed in these visits?
Probably Devon Rodriguez. He didn’t have the painting Broadway-Lafayette yet, it’s a new work that was completed right before the opening. We talked about his subway paintings as something I was interested in, but he didn’t have any. So he made me one, and I love it!

Most surprising was my visit to Charlotte Becket’s studio. It’s in deep Brooklyn, and just finding it was a journey. Once I arrived, I was rewarded with the incredibly intricate and gorgeous structures that she was making, before she covered them with black latex. To see her drawings and her working method was important in understanding her process and her work.

5. You're including your own work as well. Can you talk a little about it?
This winter I did a residency at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, Colorado, and I was paired with a digital printer from Boston named Jonathan Singer to make mixed media works. I took my daily calendar drawings, which are small paper pad works, and scanned them into the computer. I blew them up in scale, and painted under and around them to make these new mixed media works.

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
It means a lot, because it was where I started my life as a professional artist. When I first moved to New York I was offered a show at a prestigious Manhattan gallery, but I didn’t have a studio. Ellen Stewart offered me the original La MaMa Galleria space to paint in, for free. She said that she wanted to bring some art energy into Lucky Star garage, and that if I cleaned it up I could use it. There was no water, no lights, it was a pile of bricks and sand that I had to clean out. Mark Tambella connected me to an extension cord, so that I could have some clamp lights, and I used a neighbor’s cold water spigot for my brushes. I appreciate it to this day, and I’ll do anything for La MaMa Galleria to support them and their mission in this community.

Galleria: Introductions

March 17 - April 10, 2016

Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 1 to 7PM, or by appointment

La MaMa Galleria | 47 Great Jones St.

Free Admission

Click Here for more information!

Theodora Skipitares

Theodora Skipitares' newest work, SIX CHARACTERS (A Family Album) premiers at the Ellen Stewart Theatre - March 31 - April 16, 2016.  With a nod to Pirandello, SIX CHARACTERS explores the idea of family, reality versus illusion, and displacement.  Featuring giant puppet figures,video and live music by Sxip Shirey and Jordan Morton, the evening is highlighted by guest appearances with Margaret Mead and Pirandello himself.  

We decided to take a look back at some of the hugely creative body of work created by Theodora over her long career.

The Venus Cafe

Theodora Skipitares
Seven Portraits and a Landscape


Theodora Skipitares
The Radiant City

Under the Knife: 
A History of Medicine


Theodora Skipitares


Theodora Skipitares

Theodora Skipitares


La MaMa in association with Skysaver Productions presents
(a family album)

Directed, Designed, and Adapted by Theodora Skipitares
Music Composed by Sxip Shirey and Jordan Morton
Set Design by Donald Eastman
Technical Design by Jane Catherine Shaw
Dramaturgy: Andrea Balis

Featuring: Jan Leslie Harding, Chris Ignacio, Jordan Morton, Jane Catherine Shaw, Thomas Walker, Molly Ballerstein, Brandon Fisette, Maiko Kikuchi, Britt Moseley, Atticus Stevenson.
and Estelle Parsons as the voice of Margaret Mead

March 31 - April 16, 2016
Thursday to Saturday at 7:30pm; Sunday at 4pm

Tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students/Seniors; La MaMa 10@$10 Tickets available (advance sale only, first come first served)

Ellen Stewart Theatre
66 East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

For Tickets & Info: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

6 Questions: Love’s Refrain: A Confession by Justin Sayre

Justin Sayre brings the world premiere of his solo play, Love’s Refrain: A Confession by Justin Sayre to The Club @ La MaMa next week, April 01 - April 10, 2016.  Justin took time out from rehearsals to answer our 6 Questions.  Tickets are selling quickly, so buy in advance!

1. What was the inspiration behind Love's Refrain?
I was riding in an Uber in LA and heard a story on NPR about the dimming of space, how someday in the distant future, space at least from our vantage point, will be dark.  There is a limited amount of hydrogen in the universe and when it burns up, so too will the stars burn out. It was heartbreaking to hear, and my thoughts immediately turned to love. The connections between the two sprung into my mind in brilliant details, and I just started writing. It's a piece grappling with my understanding of love and romanticism in the modern world. I don't know that it offers any answers, I wouldn't be so presumptuous to try, but I think it does come to resolution. 

2. How is this show different from your previous work?
Well I would like to think it all comes out the same sense of truth, but unlike The Meeting* and some of my other works for the theatre, this is all about my life. It's a piece I never thought I would write. I've always strayed away from writing memoir theatre, using the details of my personal life to make a broader point. I do certainly personal stories in The Meeting*, but this piece goes for the gusto. It puts it all out there in ways, that even I find shocking. It's also why I'm shaving my head for the show. I wanted it to be a lesson in vulnerability. I needed it to be all laid out, bare, exposed. It's a departure for sure, but I also think it's a natural progression for my work.  

3. What (if anything) should audiences know going in?
I think they should prepare for intimacy. We're do the show in the round, very little set, no props. Just me in a dress, and gorgeous lighting. I think it's bare bones theatre at its most ancient in some ways. A storyteller creating space. I'd like to think that they will laugh, be moved, learn something, but not come to a definitive answer. I don't think when we're talking about love there are any definitive answers. 

4. Who has inspired you?
That's a very long list. The great North Star of art for me has always been Eva Le Gallienne. But there are so many others, from Charles Ludlam to Ethyl Eichelberger to Jackie Curtis, and Tennessee Williams and James Baldwin and Toni Morrison. Those are certainly my great heroes. In my life, I'm inspired by my contemporaries and friends like Justin Vivian Bond, Dane Terry and Erin Markey. I'm encouraged by all that they are and do. I feel very lucky to be part of a New York scene that includes the work of these marvelous artists. 

5. What is the last good book you read?
Well I'm always reading a few things, so as of late, I just finished War and Peace, which makes me love Tolstoy with every single syllable. But I also read Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which was a symphony. Currently I'm reading Visions and Revisions by Dale Peck, which is masterful; What Belongs To You by Garth Greenwell, which is dripping with gorgeousness, and A Murder Over A Girl by Ken Corbett about the Lawrence King trial, which is just an important book. 

6. What does working at La MaMa mean to you?
For me working at LaMaMa is a dream. Being a part of a community of artists that reaches back to the likes Jackie Curtis to Jerzy Grotowski but continues to seek out the new and the inventive is truly an inspiration. I wear like a badge of honor. To be at LaMaMa feels like coming home.  

La MaMa presents
Love’s Refrain: 
A Confession by Justin Sayre
written and performed by Justin Sayre
directed by Matthu Placek

April 1 - 10, 2016
Fridays & Saturdays at 10pm; Sundays at 6pm

The Club at La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery & Second Avenue)
New York, NY 1003

Tickets: $18 Adults/$13 Students & Seniors

For Tickets and Info: CLICK HERE


The Digger: A Subterranean Allegory is a satire about the risks of mankind's technological obsession. Part man, part machine, The Digger is a new-world pioneer who strives to find the source of life hidden in an underworld dominated by greed, lust, fraud, and treachery. Facing otherworldly demons and those within, The Digger's search for meaning becomes a sacrificial journey that pushes him to transcend his earthly attachments. But will that sacrifice ultimately include the one he loves?
Inspired by Dante’s Inferno, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and Hermes' Emerald Tablet, this new production by Inkfish uses both traditional and experimental storytelling through puppetry, poetry, and song, accompanied by soundscapes and video projection. Take a look at these photos by Theo Cote for a sneak preview before opening night!

 Photos by Theo Cote

La MaMa presents

written by Brian Snapp 
directed and designed by Michael Kelly

March 24 - April 10, 2016

Thursday - Saturday at 7:30pm; Sunday at 2pm

The First Floor Theatre at La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors

For tickets and info: CLICK HERE

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Michael Kelly director, designer and puppeteer of THE DIGGER: A SUBTERRANEAN ALLEGORY, the new show by Inkfish opens Thursday, March 24 at The First Floor Theatre at La MaMA.  Michael talks about the origins of The Digger:

"It all began while watching a water main construction crew in Copenhagen working in a giant hole. There was a loud sound from deep in the hole - one crew member looked up and said “Oh S!?t!” This set in motion thoughts about holes. This project is inspired by holes, the media circus of the Chilean mine collapse and my own open-heart surgery with a little Dante’s Inferno thrown in.

"The development of this project has taken us from New York to residencies in rural Minnesota and above the Arctic Circle. It is a visual poem is about the holes left by increasing obsessions with and retreats into technology. How do we fill the holes in our lives? With what? And why? My thanks to the unbelievably talented performers, collaborators, crew and folks at La MaMa for helping make this show a reality.”

La MaMa presents

written by Brian Snapp 
directed and designed by Michael Kelly

March 24 - April 10, 2016

Thursday - Saturday at 7:30pm; Sunday at 2pm

The First Floor Theatre at La MaMa
74A East 4th Street
(between Bowery and Second Avenue)
New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $18 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors

For tickets and info: CLICK HERE