OCDChinatown and Nash Glynn present


A dance by Lavinia Eloise Bruce

OCDChinatown and Nash Glynn present
A dance by Lavinia Eloise Bruce

Featuring the album “Spiro World” by Time Wharp

Dancers: Arzu Salaman, Cullan Powers, Ella Dawn W-S, Julia Antinozzi

October 20 & 21

At a secret location in South Street Seaport
(address available upon ticket purchase)

Purchase Tickets Here

If we knew how our body is made,
we wouldn
t dare move

— Gustave Flaubert, “A Dictionary of Received Ideas”

In Lavinia Eloise Bruce’s new work, No Furniture: Suite for a Loft Apartment, the artist draws on her extensive music and dance experience to present her first solo choreographic endeavor. Performed by Bruce and four dancers, the work responds to the rich lineage of dance staged across New York City’s loft apartments throughout the past 70 years. The project further continues OCD Chinatown’s commitment to collaborative stagings of performances, including works by Young Boy Dancing Group and Sigrid Lauren.

Flaubert’s Dictionary of Received Ideas, an ironic pastiche of the multitudinous concepts circulating uncritically in polite society, seems a surprising reference for Bruce. Yet, in a saturated digital world, flooded with “received ideas,” Bruce’s choreographic method fastidiously mines boundless contemporary influences, taking inspiration from ballet, Romanian folk dance, night clubs, and fitness videos. One solo in No Furniture is ingeniously derived from four gestures improvised by a regular at a bar where Bruce works, during a conversation they had about “what the best dance moves are.”

For Bruce, the non-hierarchical utilization of these movement readymades expresses a deep commitment to the work’s legibility as dance for those outside dance’s institutionalization. Movement’s recognition as dance, Bruce theorizes, echoes gender’s recognition in the eye of the other. Here, legibility forms a political-aesthetic strategy for democratization, where vernacular dance movement permits both dancer and audience to access broader, latent intuitions and embodied knowledges about what dance is, or could become.

In No Furniture, Bruce’s investment in dance’s formalist concerns meets the ambient formlessness of Spiro World (2022)—an album composed by Kaye Loggins under the pseudonym Time Wharp—where Bruce’s diverse movement-sampling marries Loggins’ myriad shapeshifting sounds. Both artists use the same software, Ableton Live, where Bruce precision-tunes her choreography by warping videos of dance phrases to fit Loggins’ idiosyncratic music.

Flaubert’s wry remark on the body finds parallel in Loggins’ album’s subtitle, One Must First Become Aware of the Body. Despite its delicate whimsy, the album draws from Loggins’ experience of hypochondria and profound depersonalization experienced as side-effects of a pharmaceutical drug. Bruce’s choreographic approach reflects on this complexity of “knowing” one’s body: to know one’s body may mean surrendering received ideas. Our most vivid bodily experiences may in fact involve unlearning received and rehearsed knowledge. This is something in which trans theory remains expert. For Bruce, there is no natural state, or way of moving, to which a body can return; the creative juxtaposition and synthesis of her multifarious dance sources instead gesture towards endless polymorphous possibilities. The opposite of individualistic self-making, this work is a self-undoing performed, pertinently, in a private domestic interior.

Bruce’s work stages the often fleeting process of overwhelm—whether euphoric or devastating—where a rigorous unravelling of embodiment becomes an end in itself, a place towards which we might, in Flaubert’s terms, dare move, or indeed, dance. Her choreography dances between legibility and possibility, between constraint and freedom. To dance here requires relinquishing the body’s habitual arrangement—without its customary fixtures, no conventional furnishings, no furniture.
- George Kan

Lavinia Eloise Bruce is a dance and sound artist based in New York. She has played, composed, danced, and/or choreographed in the work of Mark Dendy, Phoebe Berglund, Ballez, Kelly Nipper, and with fellow dance artist Josie Bettman in their choreographic duo SECT, inc., in venues such as Dixon Place, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Pageant, and Marsha P. Johnson State Park. This is her first evening-length dance work.

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