INTERVIEW: New Bryn Cohn program is company’s first evening of repertory

Photo: Bryn Cohn + Artists will present HOME during its evening of repertory in New York City. Photo courtesy of Bryn Cohn + Artists / Provided by Michelle Tabnick PR with permission.


Bryn Cohn + Artists are gearing up to premiere their first evening of repertory this week with The Art of Loss, a collection of dance performances that are both new and returning for the company. On the docket are audience favorites HOME, Skin, 4AM and If You Sink, plus the world premiere of the politically charged A Perfect Union.

Performances by Bryn Cohn + Artists, founded in 2011, are often highlighted by physicality, intimacy and emotion. The company draws together the talents of a wide range of artists, and Cohn serves as artistic director.

Performances of The Art of Loss will run Feb. 16-18 at the 14th Street Y in New York City. Recently, Hollywood Soapbox exchanged emails with Cohn about the special performances. Questions and answers have been slightly edited for style.

What’s it like to be on the eve of your first performances of repertory?

We have certainly come a long way in six years — it’s a humbling and exciting reality to present such a multifaceted and diverse body of work. More than anything, I feel grateful for our rapid growth, for the public support we have received and for the gorgeous artists who have selflessly contributed to this wild and beautiful adventure we have been on. Nerves always make an appearance, but overall, The Art of Loss is a celebration of BC + A and of our presence within the dance landscape. I am proud of what we have accomplished and where we are going.

What will the evening include as far as the dance performances?

The evening as a whole is called The Art of Loss as in looking at our body of work from 2012 until now. I recognize the emotion and risk – taking that navigates our processes. We will bring back some of the ‘audience hits,’ including 4AMHOMESkin and If You Sink as well as one world premiere, A Perfect Union. While the works each maintain a distinct perspective, there is inherent play and counterpoint that exist amongst them — a dialogue that speaks to current social, cultural and political conditions in our world.

What inspired A Perfect Union?

I recognize art as a platform for unity, growth and progress. I feel inspired and compelled to speak authentically through my work — to provide a vehicle for discourse and exchange within the community. A Perfect Union is a piece about political leadership spanning over time — a capsule of sorts as to how we have arrived in this current national state. It is not intended as an attack rather a space for reflection and commentary. The work also marks my first attempt at sound design/composition. I am very proud of what we have crafted — it offers a unique lens into affairs and events that affect all Americans.

What is the mission of Bryn Cohn + Artists? Have you realized your initial goals?

The mission of BC + A is to construct dance worlds of risk, reality and abstraction by investigating physical and imaginative edges. For me, choreography has always served as a tool to recognize each person within the performer. I build performance that speaks to what it means to be a human being on this earth through every work I make. Through the works in this program, I believe we are successfully providing this when our world needs it most. Families, identity, politics, race, religion, celebration and abandon — these are real experiences magnified and reconstructed through the language of the body.

How difficult has the modern dance world been since the company’s inception in 2011? Are there many obstacles?

Running a nonprofit is not an easy feat, particularly given our current climate. I have consistently believed in myself and in the vitality of the arts for all — these two elements have enabled our company to thrive and to push forward. Strides in technology undeniably present competition for live theater. Being that I have relocated to Los Angeles, I am excited about the possibility of reaching mass audiences by considering how dance can insert itself within other realms. The more people we reach, the better — this art form must stay alive.

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com

Bryn Cohn + Artists will present The Art of Loss Feb. 16-18 at the 14th Street Y in New York City. Click here for more information and tickets.

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications. E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

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