In her rigorous choreography, Maria Hassabi arranges her own and other dancers’ bodies in compositions that move painstakingly slowly, to the point where the slightest movement becomes meaningful, and the viewers’ sense of their surroundings becomes heightened. As they make their way around rooms, across floors, down staircases, and on theater stages, the dancers move almost imperceptibly, blurring the lines between sculpture, still image, and live movement. In their shaking, breathy stillness, the dancers expose the strain and fatigue required to transform the body into its own image.
For the High Line, Hassabi presents a new composition for four dancers. Beginning in an entangled composition leaning against one another on the ground, the dancers shift slowly from pose to pose. Each arrangement of bodies forms a single brief and expressive vignette, one leading into the next, which transforms as much with the dancers’ movements as with the viewer’s movement around them. Always maintaining an intimate proximity, the dancers effectively create a sculpture to be viewed in the round. Hassabi’s performance on the High Line will act as an informal preview for the completed work, STAGED, which will premiere at The Kitchen in October 2016 as part of the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)’s Crossing the Line Festival.
Organized by Cecilia Alemani, Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Director & Chief Curator, and Melanie Kress, High Line Art Associate Curator.
Maria Hassabi (b. 1973, Cyprus) is a New York-based artist and choreographer. Her projects have been presented at venues including the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2016); Art Sonje, Seoul (2015); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2015); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2015); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2014); Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels (2014); steirischer herbst, Graz (2014); Performa, New York (2013, 2009); and the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), among others.
High Line Art is presented by Friends of the High Line and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Major support for High Line Art comes from Donald R. Mullen, Jr. and The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.