Featured Artist | Abby Zbikowski

11 May 2020

Focus Records, courtesy of Festival Un Pas Vers L'Avant in the Ivory Coast

Abby Zbikowkski created her dance company, Abby Z and the New Utility, in 2012. Her hyper-physical work utilises the physical aspects and psyche-emotional experience of her rigorous training background in African and Afro-diasporic forms, as well as playing sports and performing requisite acts of manual labour.

 

Abby Z and the New Utility, Radioactive Practice (2020) | Photo by Effy Grey

My work aims to expose the socio-cultural complexity of contemporary life through highlighting the ways in which cultural collisions and the confluence of aesthetic worlds manifest in the practice of contemporary dance. As a white woman who has trained predominantly in African Diasporic forms and danced with established Black artists, my goal is to create works that speak with dimension to multiple demographics simultaneously, as well as to broaden audiences that attend dance performances after experiencing firsthand the cultural divisions that exist along racial and class lines in concert dance. Abby Zbikowski

 

Abby is a 2020 United States Artists Fellow and is the current Artist in Residence at New York Live Arts (2018–20). In 2018, Zbikowski was nominated by Stephen Petronio as one of Dance Umbrella’s Four by Four artists.

I chose Abby Zbikowski as ‘choreographer of the future’ because she makes the meanest, most rigorously structured movement in town, and its impact is unnerving. Stephen Petronio

Her works include RADIOACTIVE PRACTICE (2020), abandoned playground (2017), on the line (2016), double nickels on the dime (2015), destabilizer (2014), “jm.” (2013) and the new utility (2012).

Read the New York Times review of abandoned playground.

I think something interesting about my work is the tension of these colliding readings on it. The work is open to a lot of interpretations on purpose, because I am interested in bridging. It is wanting to engage people. It is wanting to engage audience members to the same capacity that the dancers are dancing and communicating and telegraphing to each other. And dancing and rhythm has a lot to do with that. You know, it is the body talking. Abby Zbikowski interviewed by Fusebox Festival

 

Visit abbyznewutility.org for more details.