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Like Lazarus Did

Hymns of mystery and empowerment are referenced and evolved as historical springboards for contemporary transformation

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New work from Stephen Petronio

Posted on April 5, 2014 by Stephen Petronio Company

LOCOMOTOR, a new work by Stephen Petronio, premieres at The Joyce on Tuesday, April 8th with music by Clams Casino.  You can hear them talk about their collaboration on John Schaefer’s Sound Check:  https://www.wnyc.org/radio/#/ondemand/360007, starting at about 37′ into the program from Thursday, April 4th.


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Posted on March 26, 2014 by Stephen Petronio Company

Like Lazarus Did was recently presented at UC Davis, White Bird (Portland, OR) and at San Francisco Performances.  It will be seen next at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts on April 25, 2014.


Like Lazarus Did is a new work by Stephen Petronio inspired by the mythology of resurrection. Recurring themes of sacrifice, death, and transformation stretch from pagan culture to the contemporary world and are rich source material for this work. Collaborating artists include composer Ryan Lott (aka Son Lux), visual artist Janine Antoni, and longtime lighting designer Ken Tabachnick. For its premiere at The Joyce Theater in New York from April 30 – May 5, 2013, the music was performed live by yMusic ensemble and The Young People’s Chorus of New York City. This was Petronio Company’s third collaboration with the Young People’s Chorus.

Composer Son Lux employed a range of spiritual music – from the drones of eastern mystical traditions, to the songbooks of early American slavery; a sung tradition of transformation first passed down orally and eventually transcribed in the early 1800’s. Power, struggle, and elevation are themes that have long fueled Petronio’s work. These traditions of music and song are laced with emotional release from worldly pain and oppression. In effect, they are hymns of mystery and empowerment and Petronio and Lott reference them as historical springboards to find similar states of contemporary transformation. The music was built as an atmosphere of sound that gels into more structured “song events.”

Said Lott of the composition process, “Weaving these ‘lost’ slave songs—originally stark, monophonic, and a cappella—in and out of a highly textured and rich score is an exciting challenge.” In particular, Lott utilized the sound of the choir to evoke different images: at one point, a group of slaves, working in a line across a file; at another, a host of “bright angels.”

Critically acclaimed visual artist Janine Antoni created the visual/installation component of this work. Petronio and Antoni’s sensibilities stem from a common fascination with human nature, spiritual exaltation, and transformational states. The visual component was composed of multiple installations that served as platforms for short performance events that build to a final central dance.  In addition to the work’s premiere at The Joyce Theater in April 2013, the work has received residency and touring opportunities as part of the 2013 River to River Festival in St. Paul’s Chapel, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and other upcoming dates and venues across the United States through 2014.

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This short video about the creation of Stephen Petronio’s Like Lazarus Did includes behind-the-scenes footage of the company in rehearsal and interviews with Stephen Petronio and collaborating visual artist Janine Antoni. It includes excerpts of the original commissioned score by Son Lux.


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Stephen Petronio Company presents the world premiere of LIKE LAZARUS DID, an evening-length work inspired by the mythology of resurrection. Petronio and his powerhouse dancers explore notions of transformation and rebirth with their trademark “visceral thrill… unlike anything offered by other contemporary choreographers” (The New York Times).

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New York, New York

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Last update on April 5, 2014

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New York, New York
Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, Petronio is widely regarded as one of the leading dance-makers of his generation. New music, visual art, and fashion collide in his dances, producing powerfully modern landscapes for the senses. He has built a body of work with some of the most talented and provocative artists in the world,…

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New York, New York
New York, New York
visual artist
New York, New York
New York, New York


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