Company XIV ‘messes’ with Helen and her many lovers

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The tale of Helen of Troy and her lovers has been told plenty of times – but never like this.

Company XIV, a Carroll Gardens-based dance troupe, is now presenting its version of “The Judgment of Paris,” but with an erotic twist.

“I was in a production of ‘The Judgment of Paris.’ It was the first show I was ever in and I always thought I want to do my own version of the story and take the classical story and mess with it,” explained Austin McCormick, a Juilliard graduate and Company XIV’s artistic director. “I took the Baroque opera libretto and a bunch of other different stuff and weaved this weird crazy production.”

The show, which McCormick directed and choreographed, focuses on the events leading up to the Trojan War by blending dance, music and theater – and a hint of skin.

“There’s no nudity but the subject matter has some adult situations,” explained McCormick, who dances with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet of New York. “It’s kind of my style. There’s definitely sexual elements – we’re using French can-can dancers to tell the story.”

Performers appear in decadent outfits of corsets, lingerie, and even those Victoria Secret-esque angel wings. McCormick notes that it all serves to tell the story.

“It’s not gratuitous,” he said.

“The Judgment of Paris” is being presented in Company XIV’s home at 303 Bond Street.

In Carroll Gardens for almost two years, the company has been welcomed with open arms by area residents who peer into the Bond Street windows to watch dance rehearsals.

“The community has been very supportive and always walking in and checking out rehearsal,” McCormick said.

McCormick “fell in love” with Carroll Gardens and is considering moving to the neighborhood.

“I think it’s kind of magical,” he said. “It’s a great time to be working in Brooklyn. I’ve been going to BAM for years. It’s really cool to see all these other places and artistic communities developing.”

By working in a modestly-sized theater, McCormick doesn’t have to worry about selling out a 10,000-seat house every night so he is able to take artistic and creative chances to appease a cutting-edge audience.

“It’s a 70-seat theater so there’s no pressure,” he said. “It’s a small enough venue that I feel that we can really keep the artistic level high and really continue to experiment, which I think is really inspiring for all of us.”

“The Judgment of Paris” is running until May 31st at 303 Bond Street. Shows are held on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for the general public and $15 for students. To purchase tickets, visit or contact 212-868-4444.

To view a teaser trailer for the show, log onto

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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