Walker Art Center

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Trajal Harrell

The Ghost of Montpellier Meets the Samurai, Walker Commission/US Premiere

“His dances exist on the perilous edge between authenticity and posing, driven by carefully timed tension and a heightened sensitivity.” —Time Out New York

In recent years choreographer Trajal Harrell has ignited American and European stages with the inspired “dance-fiction” series Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at the Judson Church. These conceptual experiments combined postmodern dance with the lascivious poses of voguing from the African American and Latino underground culture. In 2013 the series’ wild (M)imosa took the Walker’s Out There program by storm.

With The Ghost, Harrell presents a new body of work and invents an even more improbable meeting promising surprising choreographic explosions. Two legends of contemporary dance serve as a pretext for an irreverent tribute that integrates elements of stand-up, fashion runway vaunts, and breathtakingly executed choreography mixing high modernism with romanticism and a street/club sensibility. The ghost of Montpellier might be Dominique Bagouet, France’s renowned figure of 1980s nouvelle danse; the samurai might be Tatsumi Hijikata, the founding father of the experimental Japanese dance form butoh—but this dance is full of surprises.

In its American debut, this Walker co-commissioned work features a tight-knit family of remarkable New Yorkers and Europeans, inviting itself—and you—into a reimagined dreamlike contemporary dance history.

Performance contains nudity.

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Commissioned by the Walker Art Center with support provided by the William and Nadine McGuire Commissioning Fund and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support provided by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.