It’s January 10, 2015 and I’m headed uptown to New York City’s hallowed hall, the Park Avenue Armory. I remember it was a bright winter day and the walk from Midtown to the Upper East Side was glorious. Going to the Armory, an 1880’s Gothic-Revival grand space, is always an experience, but today promises to be even more special: I am about to engage with a dance company and form new to me: flexing.
There was a buzz in the hall as I gathered with my fellow presenters. We shared an eager anticipation for the wonder of experiencing a thrilling and unexpected new dance form; for engaging with a creative pioneer and master, Reggie “Regg Roc” Gray, and his collaborator, esteemed contemporary theater and opera director Peter Sellars; and for being in community.
I recall writing feverishly in my journal, capturing as many questions as observations. The power and suppleness of the dancers’ movement, the strong sense of narrative and storytelling, the conversation happening on stage as well as the one it propelled between the artists and their audience. Rooted in social justice and informed by music and dance from Brooklyn-by-way-of Jamaican street and club culture, Gray and his dancers revealed the resiliency and beauty of Black experiences. Here’s a glimpse of what I witnessed that day.
Our presentation of Flex Ave is more vibrant because of our partnership with Indigo Arts Alliance with whom we are co-presenting this high energy company as part of our ongoing series Seeking Resonance. Dedicated to amplifying the work of artists of the African Diaspora – creating opportunities to revel in Black brilliance fueled by community activation – Indigo’s partnership allows us to expand our work from watching a digital performance to engaging in active conversation that honors, affirms and builds deeper connections between artists and our audiences.
I’m blessed to see many, many artists and performances as part of my work. And it’s a privilege and honor to share these experiences with you especially when we can do so in partnership, coming together as a community to experience the power of art.
Aimée M. Petrin
Executive & Artistic Director