‘Unveiling’ ft. Moses Sumney at The Guggenheim & Lincoln Center Restart Stages (pics & review)Ellen QbertplayaPublished: June 2, 2021photo by Joseph DiGiovanna
Developed in part over the last few years and most recently during a Works & Process bubble residency at Catskill Mountain Foundation, the performance/dance piece Unveiling was performed three times on Tuesday (6/1), first in the afternoon at Lincoln Center as part of its Restart Stages series, and then twice in the evening at the Guggenheim Museum. Unveiling features the work of choreographer Sonya Tayah and the music of Moses Sumney, and was performed by dancers Lia Cirio, Robbie Fairchild, Lorenzo Pagano, Ida Saki, Gabe Stone Shayer, and Cassandra Trenary.
While the performances at Lincoln Center and Guggenheim consisted of very similar choreography, each felt like a vastly different experience. The afternoon set at Lincoln Center took place outdoors at the bandshell in Damrosch Park. Audience members had assigned seats, which were scattered and limited due to Covid protocols. It seemed a little strange but exciting to witness a show in the middle of a warm, bright weekday. Moses Sumney didn't perform at the day time performance, but the dancers' abilities were on full-display during the 30-minute piece.
A few hours later, the first of two evening sessions took place in the rotunda of the Guggenheim. With social distancing in play for Covid reasons, audience members stood in spaced-out, numbered spots along the multi-level, spiral ramp so that everyone effectively had a front row view of the action happening on the ground floor, making for an intimate experience. In comparison to the more traditional stage during the afternoon, the change in perspective gave me a greater appreciation for the choreography, with the dancers making use of the entire floor.
Moses Sumney performing in person during the evening session also added a lot to the proceedings. He sang and played a synth, and was accompanied by guitarist Mike Haldeman. He mostly stayed to the side of the performance area with Haldeman, but at times he ventured to the center of the floor and integrated himself with the dancers while singing in his quavering falsetto, becoming part of choreography. Especially memorable was the performance's climax, when Sumney sang "Lonely World."
Check out pictures from the Guggenheim and Lincoln Center sessions of Unveiling below.