Garth Fagan and Wynton Marsalis reunite for the world premiere of Lighthouse/Lightning Rod

Brooklyn, NY/August 28, 2012 — For the first time since their BAM debut more than 20 years ago, Garth Fagan and Wynton Marsalis return to premiere their new piece, Lighthouse/Lightning Rod along with excerpts from their first work, the beloved Griot New York.

Lighthouse/Lightning Rod is set to an original score by Wynton Marsalis, is performed live by the Wynton Marsalis Septet, and features scenic design by celebrated visual artist and Guggenheim fellow Alison Saar. The Wynton Marsalis Septet is comprised of Dan Nimmer, Piano; Reginald Veal, Bass; Ali Jackson, Drums; Victor Goines, Saxophone, Clarinet; Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Alto Saxophone; and Eliot Mason, Trombone in addition to Marsalis.

The piece explores the juxtaposition and illusion of security and danger in three sections; Lighthouse, Memories, and Lightning Rod (working titles). The choreography examines emotional response to the stress and anxiety created by the inherent danger/safety that each of these three structures represents. Probing their physical, intellectual, mythical, and cultural place in our ever-shrinking global society, Fagan focuses on the balance necessary to live within these structures while maintaining meaningful relationships of depth, conflict, integrity, and truth. This balance will be struck in Saar’s sculptural sets, translating the space between attracting and repelling, simultaneously courting danger while offering sanctuary, the lighthouse becoming a figure of protection.

Griot New York premiered in 1991 during BAM’s Next Wave Festival and explores contemporary urban life and humankind’s triumph over adversity through the lens of a griot—a traditional West African storyteller. Esteemed members of African communities, griots interpret events in terms of their deepest, most enduring values, and are responsible for transmitting the history of their people to following generations. Embodying this narrative practice, Griot New York depicts life events by crossing borders of time, geography, ethnicity, and style in a poetic and nonlinear manner. The piece is set to Marsalis’ melodic and haunting jazz score, Citi Movement (Griot New York), which was created specifically for this work and explores all aspects of jazz music, from the waltz to big band to calypso. Using the original backdrop of Martin Puryear’s looming and minimalist set designs, the music and dance create an aural and visual cacophony of the cityscape and the harmonies that emerge from the conflicts and compromises of urban life.

The opening performance will also mark the 30th Anniversary of the BAM Next Wave Festival and the 40th Anniversary of Garth Fagan Dance with cocktails and a gala dinner at Skylight One Hanson following the performance.

Lighthouse/Lightning Rod and Griot New York (excerpts)
Garth Fagan Dance
Wynton Marsalis Septet
Concept and choreography by Garth Fagan
Original music composed and arranged by Wynton Marsalis

Scenic design by Alison Saar
Costume design by Mary Nemecek Peterson Lighting design by Jeff McRoberts

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave)
Sep 27—29 at 7:30pm; Sep 30 at 3pm
Tickets start at $20
30th Next Wave Gala

Artist Talk with Garth Fagan and Wynton Marsalis Moderated by Anna Kisselgoff
Sep 28, post-show (free for same-day ticket holders)

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