Choreographer John Jasperse seemed to go from young radical to established artist in one smooth slide. Baryshnikov championed his work in his White Oak dance ensemble back in the 90’s, when it still seemed disjointed and strange, at odds with fluid downtown style, socially conscious theatricality, ballet virtuosity, and pretty much everything else in the dance world. Now the New York Times says that every time Jasperse does a new work, we should see it, and he’s been produced by Lyon Opera Ballet (known for sleek but dense cutting edge dance) and Batsheva Dance Company (home to the fascinating Ohad Naharin). Miami gets its first chance to see Jasperse’ work without intermediaries this weekend, danced by him and his own company. MDC Live! (the enthusiastic new name for Miami-Dade College’s performing arts series) presents Jasperse and four of his dancers in Truth, Revised Histories, Wishful Thinking, and Flat Out Lies (good title). Like much contemporary dance work, it springs from questions about process, performance and reality, and aesthetic values – Jasperse also says it looks at truth and fantasy (as a child, he liked magic tricks), what we like, what we believe, and why. And he offers these questions (no test after the show, although you could test yourself). “I’m trying to create a process for people to ask ‘Why do I like this?’ ‘Why am I not interested in that?’ ‘Why is that sexy, why is that stupid? When do I as an audience member invest and say ‘I believe’ – and why, in another moment, do I resist?” Danced answers to questions like this can be fascinating – or interminable. But Jasperse is a force in contemporary dance. Performances at 8pm Friday and Saturday, Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach. Tickets $30 general, $20 for non-MDC students and seniors (w/ID), and $10 for MDC students, faculty and staff. Tix and info at 305-237-3010, or www.mdc.edu/mdclive.
John Jasperse Company