"This 13-year-old troupe of eight feminist acrobats, directed by Sarah East Johnson, interweaves scientific principles with a push to rediscover neglected ancestors. A diverse cast, LAVA pushes the boundaries of gender conformity with an evening-length dance that traverses a landscape of swinging ropes and suspended fishnet, improvising amid sound samples from a range of cultures mixed in performance by DJ Tikka Masala." — The Village Voice


 
"The success of women athletes like the Williams sisters and the World Cup soccer champions has showcased the inexorable drive by women to cultivate and display their power and strength. This has spread to the dance world: Sarah East Johnson calls her all-woman company LAVA, evoking the fiery heat and unceasing movement of the earth's inner forces. In 'LAVA Love' these seven intrepid performers charge the cozy off-Broadway Flea Theater (to Oct. 31) with explosive energy, diving through hoops like porpoises, balancing each other in dizzy human ziggurats, cantilevering aloft on trapezes, expanding dance language to include cartwheels, rollovers, handwalking, even wrestling. Former geology and biology student Johnson, 31, includes film clips of primal movement, from volcanic explosions to the locomotion of creatures like scuttling crabs, strutting ostriches and scurrying centipedes. In one witty number jitterbugging couples break from jive into combat, colliding in the various energies of intimacy. 'I want to expand the models of what women can be, to see what all the possibilities are,' says Johnson, who put her troupe through intensive training at the San Francisco School of Circus Arts. Johnson's troupe creates an exhilarating circus of women on the move." — Jack Kroll, Newsweek

"The success of women athletes like the Williams sisters and the World Cup soccer champions has showcased the inexorable drive by women to cultivate and display their power and strength. This has spread to the dance world: Sarah East Johnson calls her all-woman company LAVA, evoking the fiery heat and unceasing movement of the earth's inner forces. In 'LAVA Love' these seven intrepid performers charge the cozy off-Broadway Flea Theater (to Oct. 31) with explosive energy, diving through hoops like porpoises, balancing each other in dizzy human ziggurats, cantilevering aloft on trapezes, expanding dance language to include cartwheels, rollovers, handwalking, even wrestling. Former geology and biology student Johnson, 31, includes film clips of primal movement, from volcanic explosions to the locomotion of creatures like scuttling crabs, strutting ostriches and scurrying centipedes. In one witty number jitterbugging couples break from jive into combat, colliding in the various energies of intimacy. 'I want to expand the models of what women can be, to see what all the possibilities are,' says Johnson, who put her troupe through intensive training at the San Francisco School of Circus Arts. Johnson's troupe creates an exhilarating circus of women on the move." — Jack Kroll, Newsweek

 

"There are at least two kinds of lava in the world, and both move. One is the bubbling, molten rock expelled by a volcano; another is LAVA, Sarah East Johnson’s all-female, environmentally conscious company, which mixes dance and acrobatics (with) refined and velvety balances that demonstrate otherworldly focus." — The New York Times



"If you haven't seen or heard of LAVA, the award-winning all-female acrobatics, trapeze, and dance troupe based in Brooklyn and you are in or near New York City, you need to get to the Brooklyn Lyceum post haste." — Curve Magazine


"When LAVA artistic director Sarah East Johnson told us that mountains had inspired much of the movement in the company's new show, "The Rocks," we wondered how things that don't move could inspire things that do. 'Mountains move!' she said. 'They move very, very slowly. For instance, the Himalayas are growing one centimeter a year, and after they stop growing, they'll start eroding.' In "Conglomerate," named after a type of sedimentary rock, the all-female company explores the 'mysteries of unspoken agreements,' through a series of gravity-defying, acrobatic duets. A visit to Death Valley inspired the piece "Ghost Valley." 'There's no vegetation.' Ms. Johnson said. 'All you see is rocks and that was hugely inspiring. The vastness of the mountains and valleys and sky gives you a sense of geologic time, which is so hard to grasp sometimes.' Rocks also vibrate, she said. For "Heart Beat," she and percussionist Lee Free created music based on the vibrational patterns of the company's traditional Chinese hoop diving. 'On an atomic level,' she said, 'that's how we relate to rocks, we share the vibration with them.' Ms. Johnson's fascination with geology has long inflected her acrobatic-dance vocabulary; it's been a recurrent theme during LAVA's 13-year history. "The Rocks" however, reflects the groups gradual departure from circus and acrobatic-centered work. 'The mentality is more dance-related,' she said. 'We used the acrobatic language but we released ourselves from any expectation of virtuosity.' "The Rocks" opens Wednesday and runs through Sunday at BAM's Fishman Space." — Lizzie Simon, The Wall Street Journal


"Satisfying, magical, human, this ocean of women will pull you in."Brooklyn Daily Eagle


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"Choreographer Sarah East Johnson's academic training in geology pays off with (w)HOLE, an imaginative exploration of phenomena such as rock and volcano formations. Her six-member, all-female group, LAVA, blends theatre, dance, video, and music to augment the impressive acrobatic tricks that drive the show. The audience is intimately seated around the stage, and invited to participate and move around to experience various perspectives on the action. The thematic interconnection between geologic occurrences and bodies in motion can be fairly esoteric, but these performers turn it into fertile ground for a thrilling repertoire of physical movement."Flavorpill