About FOLK INCEST
A Dance of the Unspeakable
Siobhan Burke, The New York Times
“…Ms. May, 38, has set out to grapple with what she calls “seemingly unrepresentable” material; that is, to find ways to speak about the unspeakable. While trauma has been a recurring theme in her work, she said she has never before confronted it so concretely. “I’m looking at my own sexual trauma, and at intergenerational trauma as a Jew,” she said at a restaurant in the Lower East Side. Her mother’s parents, she said, fled from the Holocaust; their parents died in Europe. In particular, she has been contemplating what it means to romanticize or find arousal in traumatic events, whether personal, historical or both….Some of it’s about the fantasy of the trauma, which is also a way of dealing with or mastering the trauma,” she said.”
Fractured Dialogues: Juliana May’s Folk Incest
Rennie McDougall, The Brooklyn Rail
“Juliana May’s performances negotiate the complexities of trauma. Within the choreographies themselves, however, May often decentralizes trauma and catharsis instead of overtly addressing them; aggression simmers underneath the dance, occasionally surfacing before giving way to the work’s other occupations.”
"Folk Incest": a new Juliana F. May ensemble at Abrons
Eva Ya Asantewaa, InfiniteBody
“…I rapidly became so engrossed in what I heard that I don't even recall if she was really glancing at the paper. Poerstel's monologue turned into a tour de force utilizing dexterous mental and vocal ability, beginning with stammering and sputtering, spinning out into something that...oh, I don't know...maybe an exorcist should be brought in to handle. Secrets blurted, profanities barked, surfaces erupting with the long-buried dead. Searing. Scorching. It felt of the moment.”
In Performance: Juliana F. May, Folk Incest (American Realness)
Rachel Karp, Contemporary Performance
“It’s a simple statement that should be more than obvious with regards to the likes of sexual trauma, but of course it isn’t, and Juliana F. May’s Folk Incest helps to remind of that.”
IMPRESSIONS: Juliana F. May’s “Folk Incest” at Abrons Arts Center
Erin Bomboy, The Dance Enthusiast
“Folk Incest unpacks the aftermath of a thousand hammers dropped, the piece gushing like an infected, untreated wound. It exposes and releases the trauma of the collective female experience where the pain throbs so acutely that the only sane artistic response is insanity, absurdity, and bawdiness.”
About ADULT DOCUMENTARY
Shifting Shape in January: Day 5 Dispatch (AR Talk, Juliana May, Ni’Ja Whitson & Wendell Cooper)
Maura Donahue, CULTUREBOT
"As the gears wind, reset, accumulate, wind again, reset, accumulate and alter, reset and so on, the dancers spring in and out of action and text that is interspersed with vocal yelps in place of certain words...The overall effect is dizzying. In recall, I imagine us moving instead of them as if we were on a revolving stage circling past an anthropological exhibit of Young Urbans (native habitat), early 21st Century."
In Performance – Juliana F. May, Adult Documentary
Stephen Eckert, Contemporary Performance
"a collision of text and movement with playfulness and eroticism running throughout, bringing to mind at times both the casual confidence of pre or post orgy discussion and the hollow emotion of group therapy...Adult Documentary is an intelligent exploration of language and form, inhabiting a space of friction between the two."
Review: 'Adult Documentary' is Dense and Dificult, Including the Carpet
Dance Review, Gia Kourlas, The New York Times
“Alongside yelps, there are simple, raw moves like the wheelbarrow or crawls on the floor embellished with lifts of elbows and knees that flap briskly to the side. As always, Ms. May shows an admirable handle on structure, but the characters inside of her carefully delineated patterns are inconsistent; in this experiment, that’s obviously part of the point..."
Juliana F. May's 'Adult Documentary'
Eva Yaa Assantewaa, InfiniteBody Blog
"May's concern with "the form of trauma" and "the trauma of form" takes clear shape as other dancers--Lindsay Clark, Talya Epstein and Rennie McDougall--complete the picture. What ensues next looks like a court dance staged inside a massive cuckoo clock--impersonal, cyclical movements neatly efficient, athletic, mechanically synchronized; the regular, clicking or striding rhythms; the repeated lines of text that hint at a story before spraying it with buckshot. Sharp barks replace words at frustrating places, making you wonder. Nudity, full and partial, insinuates something, falling short of declaration. Periodic variations on things you come to expect keep you off guard."
About Commentary = Not thing
A Place Where Kitsch Gets All Dressed Up in Avant-Garde Clothing
Dance Review, Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times
“…a collage of dance and spoken theater, with several sequences of speech and movement obsessively recycled à la Gertrude Stein…The sense of multiple dramatic layers fascinates, the urgent rhythm excites and the three performers are excellent.”
THE ANIMALS WITHIN: DANCE REVIEW
Deborah Jowitt, Arts Journal
"May is suggesting that primal, pre-cognitive states stay buried in our guts; even as we’re growing up civilized, they’re howling and shitting at some level we fear to access."
VISCERA: DANCE REVIEW
Cassie Peterson, The Brooklyn Rail
"These are bodies before “appropriate” social conditionings. Bodies before “right” or “wrong.” Bodies beyond reproach and repression. Beyond shame. Beyond guilt. These are bodies uncensored."
About Gutter Gate
What to Expect When Fairy Tales and Reality Are Just as Strange?
Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times
"In much of Ms. May’s choreography, struggle is visible: positions are fought for rather than effortlessly achieved, and it’s not necessarily pretty...“Gutter Gate” stays in the mind, a puzzle you’d like to have a crack at again."
About Discrete Body Dilemma
Performers and Audience In-Step
DANCE REVIEW, Gia Kourlas, The New York Times
"in this rigorous juxtaposition, Ms. May created a distinct place for feeling and form to meet, as if distilled into a single sensation."
About Hydra Cashier The Endless House
By Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times
"Ms. May, who deals in a captivating blend of space eating patterns and cryptic gestures…dissects the stage in aggressive rhythmic formations, bringing to mind Martha Graham’s warrior women in the 1936 dance “Chronicle.” But Graham’s patterns never broke down like this.”
About The Endless House
"[Ms. May is] working on a continuum of abstraction and legibility, with post-modern pure movement amiably cycling into the pedestrian, the familiar ... her 'house' is abuzz with livelineness and intelligence."
—The Dance Insider
About Pedestrian Crossing
"[The New York City-based choreographer Juliana F. May,] creates movement like an architect designing fluid forms. What makes her work interesting are the floor patterns and unconventional groupings that transform the stage into a living sculpture."
—Wilma Salisbury, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
About Lola's Moves
"[Ms. May's choreography passes] ... through states of compulsiveness, vulnerability and often implicitly erotic competitiveness."
—Jack Anderson, The New York Times
Steven Schreiber (Gutter Gate)
Ian Douglas (Commentary = Not thing)
Alex Escalante (Endless House and ADULT DOCUMENTARY)