Raja Feather Kelly Named New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist
The dancer and choreographer Raja Feather Kelly has been named the 2019-20 Randjelovic/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist at New York Live Arts, the organization announced Tuesday.
The program offers midcareer artists $390,000 in support that includes a two-year residency with health benefits and services to develop a commission for New York Live Arts. Mr. Kelly, 31, plans to work with his company, the Feath3r Theory, on a “dream project” of his: a retelling of the 1975 movie “Dog Day Afternoon.”
“Raja is simply unclassifiable, driven by discipline and something akin to a belligerent attack on the commonplace, the mild, the uncommitted,” the New York Live Arts artistic director Bill T. Jones and associate artistic director Janet Wong said in a statement.
“One leaves a performance of Raja’s infected by his curiosity, love of craft and just plain outrageousness,” Mr. Jones and Ms. Wong said. “We look forward to this residency and we celebrate this singular artist.”
“Dog Day Afternoon,” the movie Mr. Kelly is focusing on, was inspired by true events. It follows a man (Al Pacino) who attempts to rob a bank to pay for his partner’s gender-reassignment surgery. Mr. Kelly is putting the spotlight on the partner, whom Mr. Kelly said was largely ignored in the crime drama.
“The story wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for this queer character who didn’t have health insurance, who couldn’t get the right kind of help they needed in order to fully express themselves,” Mr. Kelly added. “I feel that way as a queer person as well, and that’s the story I want to tell.”
Previous resident commissioned artists include Okwui Okpokwasili, Yasuko Yokoshi, Kyle Abraham and RoseAnne Spradlin, whose work “Y” was named a New York Times Critic’s Pick when it debuted at Live Arts in September.
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