“A landmark documentary...delineates how virtuosity becomes identity”
- Debra Cash, NPR/WBUR
Review (The New York Times)
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: February 4, 2011
"It's Vaudeville Without the Tomatoes"
By Claudia LaRocco
On the first day, the House of Ninja visited the house of worship. And the people in St. Mark’s Church saw that it was good.
This glorious coming together occurred on the opening day of “Body Madness,” the latest installment of Danspace Project’s Platform series (and the first to have Judy Hussie-Taylor, Danspace’s executive director, as the curator). It began Thursday night with “voix de ville,” an evening created by Cori Olinghouse and featuring “Elements of Vogue,” a too-short appearance by Archie Burnett and Javier Ninja.
Both men are New York club royalty: Mr. Burnett is known for his innovative freestyling, while Mr. Ninja, as his bio puts it, “vogued his way out of the womb.” They are electric. The energy in St. Mark’s fairly smoldered as soon as they strutted their stuff in and only intensified as Mr. Ninja wound his delicious limbs in archly elegant formations. As for Mr. Burnett — well, let’s just say it’s no mean feat to do a split in Levis.
It’s always a treat to see club dancers recognized on the concert stage. Credit to Ms. Olinghouse, who invited the men as part of a tribute to, and reimagining of, vernacular traditions. A former member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company, Ms. Olinghouse now studies voguing with Mr. Burnett and Benny Ninja; it’s fascinating to see the diversity of movement and theatrical influences in her body.
To read the full review, click here.