Invitation to perform


Coney Island USA - Sideshows by the Seashore
1208 Surf Ave, Brooklyn NY 11224

Fri 23 March, 8P-10P
Sat 24 March, 8P-10P
Sun 25 March, 4P-6P

Dear Esteemed Colleague,

On behalf of the International Culture Lab (ICL) and Coney Island USA (CIUSA), we are honored to invite you to contribute either a solo or collective performance to The Coney Island Ritual Cabaret Festival. 

This is ICL’s third consecutive year probing the fantastical dancing partnership of ritual and entertainment on CIUSA’s burlesque stage. In March 2017, ICL and CIUSA presented the Coney Island Butoh and Theatre Festival and in March 2016, the Coney Island Butoh and Beyond Festival.

This year we are assembling an array of local performance artists, musicians, and dancers, all of whom are being tasked with presenting original works that define ritual cabaret through the lens of their own particular aesthetic, discipline and lineage.

For your proposal, we ask that you ponder the notion of “sacred entertainment” from two perspectives:

1) ICL’s inspiration for the festival looks to the origins of Butoh. Its founder Tatsumi Hijikata developed this ritualistic dance form hand-in-glove with the cabaret scene in the late sixties. During the day, Hijikata trained his dancers in exercises and techniques that would become Ankoku Butoh. At night they experimented with bringing their exploration into the competitive marketplace of cabaret/burlesque. “His shows got a reputation for being a kind of “weird, funky cabaret” in which female nudity appeared along with surrealist and Dadaist images.” (Rosemary Candelario, Flowers Cracking Concrete: Eiko & Koma’s Asian/American Choreographies)

2) ICL has built this festival over the last two years with Mexican master teacher Diego Piñón’s Body Ritual Movement (BRM). Though his intensives and ensemble performances at CIUSA, Diego invented the term “ritual cabaret” as the defining aesthetic that resulted from his immersion into the historical and contemporary Coney Island. Diego writes:

The etymology of the word "cabaret" is significant. Originally from the French describing the intimate space where humans could liberate themselves from oppression, it derives from the word “tavern” which is related to “guild” and the idea of brotherhood. We are referring here to the original cabaret, once the only place for anyone to honestly express themselves. It is opening and connecting the sacred sense to be whatever you want to be -- whatever you want to offer to others to support the evolution of our togetherness.

We open a door to the self, and community, where we are invited to remove the layers of repetition and touch the playful, the ridiculous, and those undeniable prayers of the body. Taking inspiration from Coney Island’s wild history and the root significance of cabaret, we can call up that original intimate and honest space of communion.

How do you enter the stage in that honesty, in a pure state of expression? It depends on the state of truth the body can reach — integrating the joy to move as well the pain to survive —almost presenting a naked body without judgment and mental limitations, and expressing the precarious and fragile nature of what it means to be human. My vision for the stage is to use public offerings to go beyond personal limits, beyond the ego, and without pretension renew the highest purpose of the sacred language of dance.

**Please refer to the International Culture Lab website for further detailed background information, including the past two festivals.

You will be given 8-15 minutes for your performance.

A $50 stipend will be offered per-set.

Available will be microphones and connection for audio tracks / mp3 / etc.
Be advised that lighting is limited to the fixed stage lights provided.

**Acceptance does not guarantee preferred time.

If you are a member of a troupe / collective, we require only one filled form in response to this invitation.

We are thrilled by this opportunity to create a living and breathing landscape with you on this historic stage.

See you when the wind picks up,

Gabriele Schafer, Co-Artistic Dir., Intl Culture Lab
Nick Fracaro, Co-Artistic Dir., Intl Culture Lab
Brandon Perdomo
, Co-Curator, Coney Island Ritual Cabaret Festival

**Deadline for Submission
22 January

Name *
First - List of performers, Last - Troupe / Collective title
Phone *
100 words max.
Response to theme of RITUAL CABARET - please reference **** for further information
Mics, audio..
8-15 min.
Fri 23 March, 8P-10P Sat 24 March, 8P-10P Sun 25 March, 4P-6P **Please note if a particular date is impossible for you. **Acceptance does not guarantee preferred time.