Park Avenue Armory has commissioned dance pioneer Reggie “Regg Roc” Gray and visionary director Peter Sellars to create a performance piece that transforms the tradition of flex, the Brooklyn-born street dance. Characterized by sharp, rhythmic contortion, pausing, snapping, gliding, and animated showmanship, the flex form evolved from the Jamaican bruk-up style popular in the dance halls and reggae clubs of Brooklyn in the 1990s. Opening in March 2015, and marking the first presentation of the Armory’s 2015 artistic season, FLEXN transforms the dance from its traditional, individual, combative style to create a collaborative work of social commentary and storytelling.
The commission brings together 18 dancers from the Brooklyn neighborhoods where the flex movement was born. Assembled specially for this engagement and performing together for the first time, the dancers will animate a 70-foot-long runway-style stage within the muscular Wade Thompson Drill Hall, which will incorporate images by photographer Richard Ross, creator of the work Juvenile In Justice. The dancers will perform alternatively solo and as a group to choreography created by the ensemble itself, with music performed live by DJ Epic.
FLEXN has been in development at the Armory since the second half of 2014, with workshops and rehearsals taking place in the drill hall. Previous dance presentations at the Armory include the final performances of the Merce Dance Company, Trisha Brown Dance Company’s iconic Astral Converted, the world premiere of Shen Wei Dance Arts’ Undivided Divided, and Streb Extreme Action’s Kiss the Air!. Tickets for FLEXN will go on sale later this fall. The production will run from March 25 through April 4, 2015.