Executive Director, Crystal Field
Infinity Dance Theater – Kitty Lunn, Artistic Director
Frida Kahlo and the Dance with Death
September 15 & 16, 2023
Friday & Saturday at 8:00 PM
Run Time: One hour, no intermission
(a talkback with the artists will follow each performance)
$10 for students, seniors, people with disabilities and their personal care attendants
Box Office: 212-254-1109
Theater for the New City
155 First Avenue (between 9th and 10th Streets)
General Event Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Join Infinity Dance Theater in September for the world premiere of Kitty Lunn’s Frida Kahlo and the Dance with Death at Theater for the New City. The engagement is Infinity’s first major concert presentation at the East Village venue since 2013. Infinity’s performances will debut a new dance floor by Showfab that strengthens the accessibility of Theater for the New City, making the venue a much-needed new resource for the New York City dance community – especially for small-to-midsize dance companies and performing artists with disabilities.
Frida Kahlo and the Dance with Death is performed by Artistic Director Kitty Lunn, who choreographed the work, and Artistic Associate and company member Luísa Righeto, with narration by Jim Trainor. The piece, about one-hour in length without an intermission, features an original score composed by Music Director William Catanzaro.
Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) was a woman of extreme magnetism and originality. Her sensual vibrancy grew from her own personal history and experiences: her childhood near Mexico City during the Mexican Revolution; a devastating accident at age 18 that left her disabled, in terrible lifelong pain, and unable to bear children; and her tempestuous marriage to Diego Rivera, the famous muralist. Frida Kahlo knew intense passion and loss throughout her life.
Through Frida Kahlo and the Dance with Death, Kitty Lunn will explore the latter part of the artist’s life, and four movements comprise the work. At first blush, one would think that Frida Kahlo and Kitty Lunn, a Scottish-American born in New Orleans, have nothing in common. Lunn was just four years old when the artist died in 1954; however, they have more in common than meets the eye. Both suffered life-altering spinal cord injuries from accidents that rendered them unable to bear children. Both endured years of painful treatments with very little result. Above all, they share resilience and a dedication to the art that kept them going – Kahlo through painting and Lunn through dance. Through their art, they have thrived.
William Catanzaro has collaborated with Kitty Lunn for years by composing scores for several of her dance works over Infinity’s history, with themes as varied as Stardust and Ghosts in the Machine. For the creation of this new score, the affinity between Kitty Lunn and Frida Kahlo became a source of inspiration, yet also an immense challenge. Catanzaro shares, “Months of research and several sketches later, I was able to move the choreography musically in the direction Kitty envisions. Of all the scores I’ve created for Kitty, this has proven to be one of the most heartbreaking and heartwarming of all.”
Founded in 1995 by Artistic Director Kitty Lunn, INFINITY DANCE THEATER is committed to expanding the boundaries of dance by featuring dancers with and without disabilities and changing perceptions of what a dancer can be. Infinity’s ensemble performs throughout the New York City metropolitan area and New York State, across the country, and around the world. Notable Infinity performance appearances include, among others, New York City’s Riverside Theatre (2019), Gibney (2016), Theater for the New City (2013), Judson Memorial Church (2012), and Joyce SoHo (2004, 2006, 2009); the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Green Show (2015); the Kennedy Center (2000, 2004); 1999 VSA arts International Art & Soul Festival in Los Angeles, CA and 2004 International Festival in Washington, D.C.; Festival of Wheelchair Dance in Boston, MA (1997); the 1st Cultural Paralympiad at the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta, GA; and overseas programs in Italy (1999-2001, 2010) and Scotland (1996, 2002).
Since 2007, Infinity Dance Theater has led tuition-free weekly dance classes, choreography workshops, and private lessons for adult dance students with physical disabilities. Infinity also provides professional development opportunities for dance educators and other dance professionals. Rather than introducing a separate system, Infinity’s renowned curriculum enables participants to begin transposing work they are already covering in class. The 2022 National Dance Education Organization’s Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia presented an Infinity workshop titled, “Transposition of Classical and Modern Dance Techniques for Students with Disabilities.”
KITTY LUNN began her study of ballet at an early age, and at 15 she was dancing principal roles with the New Orleans Civic Ballet, where she made her professional debut as Swanilda in Coppélia. Her work in New Orleans led to a scholarship to the Washington Ballet, where she studied and worked with both Mary Day and the great ballet master Edward Caton. Numerous ballets in which Lunn danced include Swan Lake, Giselle, Les Sylphides, and The Nutcracker. In Washington, she worked with such dance legends as Martha Graham, Agnes de Mille, José Limón, and Erik Bruhn. While preparing for her first Broadway show, Lunn slipped on ice, fell down a flight of stairs, and broke her back. Now a paraplegic using a wheelchair, she works diligently on behalf of performing artists with disabilities. She is a Registered Dance Educator and a frequent guest teacher at New York University among other institutions.
Kitty Lunn was described by Phyllis Goldman, writing in Backstage, as “a marvelous creature, an exquisite dancer with an upper body of seamless fluidity, a touching emotional tone in her movement quality, and a complete mastery of her instrument. Did I mention that she performs from a wheelchair? … She has made a friend and partner of her wheelchair, and the results are both creative and gratifying.” Jennifer Dunning of the New York Times has described her as “radiant.”
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Infinity Dance Theater is supported by generous contributions from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and through the CreateNYC Disability Forward Fund;
National Endowment for the Arts;
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation; and
Jody and John Arnhold | Arnhold Foundation among other supporters
As of September 26th, 2022, we are no longer requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for our audience upon entry.
Wearing of masks is suggested in the lobby, restrooms and performance spaces at Theater for the New City, but they are not required.