Joyce Season to Include Commemoration of Max Roach

The Joyce Theater will honor the drummer, composer and activist Max Roach with a centennial celebration as part of its spring/summer season, the theater announced on Monday.

Curated by Richard Colton and produced by the Joyce, “Max Roach 100” (April 2-7) will pay tribute to the jazz musician’s legacy with a multigenre program that includes a work by Ronald K. Brown with dancers from the Havana-based Malpaso Dance Company and Brown’s own troupe, Evidence, set to “Percussion Bitter Sweet,” Roach’s 1961 Afro-Cuban album.

A performance by Roach’s band and a recording of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will set the sound for another production, “The Dream/It’s Time,” by the Philadelphia street dance company Rennie Harris Puremovement. A solo work by the tap artist Ayodele Casel set to a series of duets with Roach and the jazz pianist Cecil Taylor rounds out the commemoration.

“It’s a celebration of all the genres that he was part of,” said Linda Shelton, the theater’s executive director, noting that Roach once sat on the Joyce’s board. “We felt we had a connection to him and could do the project justice.”

Programmed under Danni Gee, the 22-week season, which runs from March through August, will present 19 dance companies.

It opens with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (March 12-24), a two-week, two-program engagement that includes Darrell Grand Moultrie’s “Dichotomy of a Journey”; the New York premiere of “Nevermore,” Thang Dao’s gothic work; and “Dear Frankie,” Rennie Harris’s tribute to Chicago house music and culture.

International offerings include Sydney Dance Company with “ab [intra]” (April 16-21), a work meaning “from within” in Latin that explores primal instincts and impulses; and the Netherlands company Introdans with “Energy” (June 11-16) in the troupe’s first return to the Joyce in more than a decade. The latter will present a geographically diverse program, including a performance by the London choreographer Akram Khan, “Kaash,” which melds contemporary dance with the Indian classical dance form Kathak; and Mauro Bigonzetti’s “Cantata,” a portrait of southern Italy with swirling duets and a lively ensemble.

Also in the lineup are Joyce classics like Trisha Brown Dance Company (March 26-31), with “In the Fall,” a new work by the French choreographer Noé Soulier; Gibney Company (May 7-12), with a new work by Jermaine Spivey and Spenser Theberge; and the return of tanzmainz, the contemporary dance company of Staatstheater Mainz in Germany, for an encore performance of “Soul Chain,” Sharon Eyal’s dance about longing and loneliness, set to a soundscape by the electronic composer Ori Lichtik.

“We’re still in full throttle,” Shelton said of the upcoming season. “We’re still taking a lot of risks.”

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