BROOKLYN BEAT FESTIVAL
September 15, 2014
Last night I had the pleasure of attending the opening night of the BEAT (Brooklyn Emerging Artists in Theater) Festival at the Brooklyn Museum. The event brought together a diverse group of performance artists that will be showing work as part of the festival over the next two weeks.
Upon arriving I was immediately granted a map upon which were shown the floors of the museum marked with “X’s” to designate where performances would be taking place. Twelve artists were listed on the side but there was no indication of who would be performing precisely where and at what time. Needless to say I was intrigued. As I wandered around the museum, along with the equally diverse and sizeable crowd, I was treated to a delightful evening of performance installations or a “moving gallery” of sorts.
The performances ranged from Butoh inspired large-scale dance installation to a single actor giving a monologue in the corner of a small gallery to a couple performing an intimately understated tango in visible storage room. Amidst this wash of color and miscellany emerged some highlights. In the Lobby we were treated to the Bruk Up dance the Bed-Stuy Veterans an excellent crew of Brooklyn locals. Their sinuous movement, freestyle energy, and dancehall beats made for a vibrant kinetic display.
There was also the clever, social media oriented performance by UnderOneDances entitled #Tweetdance. The visitors to the museum were encouraged to tweet using that specific hash-tag. They were meant to use their 140 characters to ruminate on the quote “from where I stand.” The company then chose specific tweets and created 60-second improvised dances in response. The tweet offerings were predictably mixed, as were the movement responses, but this type of direct audience involvement in the creative process is both admirable and innovative.
Overall the format of the evening was enjoyable. Seeing a diverse array of artists across disciplines and cultures in the same evening is always a treat. Like any great museum visit it left me with the distinct feeling I didn’t see it all and wanted to see more. Check out the BEAT festival lineup on their website at http://www.beatbrooklyn.com/.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY - Chafin Seymour