Choreographer Trajal Harrell Presents “The Return of La Argentina” at EMPAC

Troy, NY — On Tuesday, April 25, at 5PM, choreographer Trajal Harrell will present a special matinee performance of his dance The Return of La Argentina at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The performance will take place on the EMPAC Mezzanine and is free and open to the public.

The performance marks the beginning of Harrell’s artist residency at EMPAC, where he will be developing a new choreographic work. Known for bridging the choreographic legacy of Judson Church, a downtown New York City hotbed for postmodern invention, with the culture of “vogue” that originated in the Harlem underground, Harrell works at the intersection of different movement languages, race, and gender.

In The Return of La Argentina, Harrell mixes postmodern/vogue styles with the Japanese dance/theater form “butoh,” co-founded by Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata. Whereas Harlem voguing is inspired by the movements of models, Ohno and Hijikata’s signature work Admiring La Argentina was inspired by La Argentina, the stage name of the famous Spanish dancer Antonia Merce. In his reinterpretation of the classic, Harrell channels Merce’s persona through both the “butoh” framework and his own vogue sensibilities. This web of danced relationships brings the audience on a journey of remembering, forgetting, memorializing, and ritualizing.


The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is where the arts, sciences, and technology interact with and influence each other by using the same facilities and technologies, and by breathing the same air. EMPAC hosts artists and researchers to produce and present new work in a building designed with sophisticated architectural and technical infrastructure. Four exceptional venues and studios enable audiences, artists, and researchers to inquire, experiment, develop, and experience the ever-changing relationship between ourselves, technology, and the worlds we create around us. EMPAC is an icon of the New Polytechnic, a new paradigm for cross-disciplinary research and learning at Rensselaer, the nation’s oldest technological research university.

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