On Friday, June 25, The L Magazine presents NY Export: Opus Jazz, starring dancers from the New York City Ballet reviving the classic midcentury choreography of Jerome Robbins, in locations across the city. The dance has been described as the “abstraction” of West Side Story, and it feels that way, snappy, saunter-y, slangy and communicative. The movements of the dance are staged in striking New York locations—the High Line, an under-construction apartment building, a school gym, and, first and most marvelously, the McCarren Park Pool. Directors Jody Lee Lipes and Henry Joost aren’t shy about moving the camera or cutting during the dances, but—and this will come as something of a surprise to the many of you who regularly watch movie musicals—they do so with an authentic understanding of how to emphasis and heighten the movement of the bodies observed.
The film opens with the dancers moving through backdrops of city life, and closing with shots of the local color in motion. The Robbins dance, inspired by the physical life of the city, is returned to its origins in a marvelously organic-feeling feat of symbiosis.