Arts Desk

Representing Observation and Perception Through Movement, at ADI Tonight

The American Dance Institute’s incubator program, which was updated and upgraded in 2010, is making its public debut tonight. Advanced Beginner Group, a New York-based modern dance company run by choreographer David Neumann, has been in residence at ADI for the past five days and will perform a version of its new piece, Restless Eye, in the school’s theater.

Neumann is a little bit like postmodern performance-art royalty. His parents, Fred Neumann and Honora Fergusson, were early members of the avant-garde theater company Mabou Mines in New York City. The younger Neumann grew up in an environment steeped in process-oriented art: the slow, often collaborative work of building a piece depending on what arises in the moment, without much of a roadmap to go by. And it shows.

“His stuff is very nonlinear and organically created,” says Adrienne Willis, ADI’s executive director. “He starts rehearsing and a lot of material comes from there. It’s very liberating to watch and very unique; you feel like you’re a part of the process even while you’re watching him perform.”

Restless Eye is about the gaps between observation and perception, an exploration of “the realm between thought and behavior, between describing life and experiencing it,” according to the company’s press materials.

Neumann, 46, has been creating dances and choreographing for theater and film for more than twenty years. His work has been presented at a variety of venerable New York performance venues like PS 122, Dance Theater Workshop (now renamed New York Live Arts), Central Park SummerStage, and the Whitney museum. He’s also a professor of theater at Sarah Lawrence College.

Tonight’s performance is an in-progress showing. The piece will formally premiere at New York Live Arts on March 24.

Restless Eye shows tonight at the American Dance Institute at 7:30 p.m.. $25.

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