A New Twist on 9/11: Choreographer Stephen Petronio Debuts "City of Twist," Set to the Music of Laurie Anderson and Honoring New York. (Dance)

Article excerpt

Like many New Yorkers, choreographer Stephen Petronio was left feeling raw after what he calls the "brutal ax of September 11." As a downtown artist, he says, "my earth was rocked. My backyard, my art playground, was threatened." It reminded him of the AIDS crisis in the early 1990s. "When I first became active in the gay community and worked with ACT UP, I wondered how I could go into the studio with this health crisis happening and so much to be done on a social level--emotionally, legally, and civilly. I decided to set myself the task of trying to make something as resonant and important as that social work."

Then, as now, Petronio got into a high-gear creative mode.

The result is "City of Twist," a premiere work for his dance company to be performed at New York's Joyce Theater October 15-20. Petronio, who excels at postmodern structuralism, decided this time to take a more emotional route with Iris latest choreography. "I'm not letting myself go back into what I understand," he explains. "A lot of my queerness is about moving on and moving into new territory."

A good deal of the inspiration came from his musical collaborator for the piece, performance-art and music legend Laurie Anderson, whose style springs viscerally from the streets of New York. …