the people movers
An excerpt from ‘Glass’ was performed at The People Movers 2017 Gala. (Photo credit: Keira Chang)

Five years goes by fast.

Creative Director Kate Ladenheim and her contemporary dance company The People Movers haven’t wasted a moment of it.

The company’s crisp and precise aesthetic was on display earlier this month as they celebrated their fifth anniversary at The Gowanus Loft. Both elegant and earthy, the dancers and their supporters gathered for an opportunity to articulate just what it is they’ve accomplished since Ladenheim founded the company in 2012.

Kate Ladenheim
Creative Director Kate Ladenheim (Photo credit: Keira Chang)

And they are looking forward.

The company offered excerpts from Ladenheim’s new work titled Glass, which she plans to premiere in late 2017.

“The piece addresses various forms of normalized violence against women in the current American socio-political landscape.” says Ladenheim. “[We’re] hoping to build a literal glass ceiling upon which the audience stands and watches the community of women from above.”

Glass is a collaboration between composer Peter Van Zandt Lane, also featuring selected text by poet Olivia Clare.

The People Movers certainly don’t shy away from challenging material. Laced around the athletic physicality of the dancers is potent subject matter, such as their 2013 work HackPolitik, inspired by Anonymous, the amorphous hacking collective.

In early 2017, Ladenheim curated a variety of artists in a collaborative with both The Vanderbilt Republic and Open Source Gallery.

The camera obscura installation was titled The Middle Passage. “The obscura presents inside the gallery what is outside of the gallery; our world, and specifically, a gentrifying Brooklyn block in a neighborhood that is undergoing modern day colonization,” she said. “These are the rippling effects of the middle passage: cruelty, entitlement, disregard for communities. The obscura presents and subverts these images, and makes it clear that they are subject to our own perspective and manipulation.”

people movers gala
The People Movers 2017 Gala. (Photo by Donny Levit / Brooklyn Pulp)

While the gala was certainly a chance to celebrate the company’s accomplishments, it also served as an opportunity to see a blueprint of what has made Ladenheim’s company successful and what will move it forward.

Ladenheim’s goals for the next five years are as precise as the physicality of her work. She hopes to establish herself as a “meaningful choreographic voice and a resource for the New York City dance community.”

In addition, she spoke of expanding the company’s “curatorial and production initiatives beyond New York City, and specifically into rural communities.”

However, the choreographer believes that in order to continue to produce this work, the company needs to develop a plan for long-term financial stability. And for an arts organization to function in this political climate, that’s no small task.

Mark our words: this is a company to watch.

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