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)

By Carman, Joseph | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), September 17, 2002 | Go to article overview

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)


Carman, Joseph, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


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.

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