Festival 2022

Abby Z and the New Utility Radioactive Practice

  • Online
  • Watch on demand 7 - 31 October 2022
  • Access the entire DU digital programme with the Digital Pass
  • Admission: Pay What You Can £5 / £10 / £20 / £35 / £50

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Photo by Yukina Sato

World Premiere

In a specially filmed version of the work for Dance Umbrella, Radioactive Practice captures choreographer Abby Zbikowski’s ability to interrogate the physicality of the human body.

Originally scheduled to be performed at New York Live Arts in March 2020 before the USA went into lockdown, Radioactive Practice sees Zbikowski’s attempt to lay bare the challenging and complex physicality of her movement language.

Describing Radioactive Practice as ‘work that could survive the apocalypse’ in an interview with the New York Times, the show sees a group of dancers work their way through challenging and complex physical movement as a means to agitate and confront expectations of physical and mental limits.

Working with Senegalese dance artist Momar Ndiaye as dramaturge, Radioactive Practice communicates the chaos and order in modern life, blending together Zbikowski’s energetic and physical style with the crew’s eclectic skills gained through practice in movement traditions such as street dance, post-modern dance, contemporary African forms, tap, synchronized swimming, soccer, and martial arts.

Radioactive Practice is a new work by Abby Zbikowski, who was chosen by Stephen Petronio as his ‘choreographer of the future’ for DU’s Four by Four commissioning series.

Commissioned by Dance Umbrella as part of the Four by Four commissioning series

Credit Yukina Sato

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Cast & Creative +

  • Abby Zbikowski
  • Jeremy Jacob
  • Daniel Rampulla
    Director of Photography
  • Momar Ndiaye
  • Alex Gossen, Kashia Kancey, Fiona Lundie, Jennifer Meckley, Benjamin Roach, Jinsei Sato
  • Matthew Peyton Dixon
    Original Music

About the Artists +

Abby Z and the New Utility

Choreographer Abby Zbikowski created Abby Z and the New Utility in 2012 with dancers Fiona Lundie and Jennifer Meckley to experiment with the potential and choreographic possibility of the body being pushed beyond perceived limits, creating a new movement lexicon that triangulates dancing/moving bodies across multiple cultural value systems simultaneously.

In 2016, they expanded into a diverse group of nine performer/collaborators for Zbikowski’s first evening-length commission. abandoned playground premiered to a sold-out run at the Abrons Arts Center in New York in April 2017, leading to Zbikowski being honored with the Juried Bessie Award. With commissioners Princeton University, New York LiveArts, and American Dance Festival interested in funding another evening-length work, 2018 was the right time to officially incorporate as a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Abby Z and the New Utility have been presented at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Boston ICA, 92nd St Y, Movement Research at Danspace Project, Gibney Dance Center, Bard College, and the Fusebox Festival in Austin, TX, among others. From diverse training and cultural backgrounds, Abby Z and the New Utility works collaboratively to build a hybrid form that welcomes audiences from a range of understandings of dance/movement and reflects a wider contemporary cultural conversation.

Abby Zbikowski

Photo Effy Grey

Abby Zbikowski is a choreographer creating contemporary dance works that pay homage to the effort of living, tactics of survival, and the aesthetics produced as a result, utilising the physical aspects and psyche-emotional experience of her rigorous training in African and Afro-diasporic forms, playing sports, and performing manual labour.

She founded Abby Z and the New Utility in 2012 and received the 2017 Juried Bessie Award for her “unique and utterly authentic movement vocabulary in complex and demanding structures to create works of great energy, intensity, surprise, and danger.” In 2018 she received a “Choreographer of the Future” commission from Dance Umbrella and in 2020 a United States Artists Fellowship. She is an inaugural Caroline Hearst Choreographer-In-Residence at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, currently artist-in-residence at New York LiveArts, and formerly at Bates Dance Festival, American Dance Festival, and the STREB Lab for Action Mechanics.

She is currently an Associate Professor of Dance at The Ohio State University, formerly at the University of Illinois and on faculty at the American Dance Festival. She has taught at the Academy of Culture in Riga, Latvia; at Festival Un Pas Vers L’Avant in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; and studied at Germaine Acogny’s L’École de Sables in Senegal. Abby has created commissioned work for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and numerous universities.

This content is available by purchasing the digital pass.

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