Thursday, January 20, 2022

Dance Review: America Dances! Gala for Career Transition for Dancers Sponsored by Rolex

Photo:  Dancers in "America Dances! Celebrating Our Sparkling Heritage - Broadway, TV & Film" Celebrating the CAREER TRANSITION FOR DANCERS 24rd Anniversary Jubilee; dress rehearsal & performance photographed: Monday, November 2, 2009;  7:00 PM at City Center; New York, NY. Photograph: © 2009 Richard Termine PHOTO CREDIT - Richard Termine “This is the greatest show,” boasts a balletomane sitting next to me as I flip through my program waiting for America Dances! , Career Transition for Dancers’ 24th anniversary jubilee and celebration to begin; and, with a presenting sponsor as Rolex and a roster filled with the world’s most legendary dancers, I couldn’t imagine anything less.

For a jubilee, no better Master of Ceremonies could be found than the ebullient Jacques D’Amboise.  He gives the opening remarks with effervescence and grace as he demonstrates the origins of the flexed changement in George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes Pas de Deux (apparently this particularly famous segment has been inspired by the muscles cramps he acquires mid-performance in which Balanchine makes him "keep it").  So magical is he that, in that one minute, I could have seen nothing else on stage and I would have left with my thirst for dance totally quenched!  (Mr. D’Amboise, you are a treasure.)

Are You a Dancer?  Click Here and Become a Member of iDANZ Today! What does follow however, are New York City Ballet’s stunning Ashley Bouder (affectionately referred to by us young ballet-fanatics as “The Bouder”) and Andrew Veyette in the aforementioned Balanchine piece.  The pas de deux is a perfect way to salute to our dance heritage by mixing the classic choreography with the dynamic bodies and strength of a new generation of dancers whose leaps, jumps and arabesques seem to reach beyond the dance soldiers that preceded them.

Another stand-out performance (among the myriad presented) is from Lori Belilove & The Isadora Duncan Dance Company in The Dance of the Furies.  With strength and execution reminiscent (I imagine) of Isadora’s rich lyricism and tension, the movements depicts Rodin’s Gates of Hell, washed in flowing red fabric and abstraction.

The Lombard Twins provide their usual twist of multiplicity and talent with The Dance Concert.  Both Martin and Facundo are masters in the art of dancing from the inside out.  They clearly and passionately feel their movement, but making an audience sense the very same is something many young dancers lack.  Not here, though… Coined “free expression,” the twins, have the power to translate evocative movement into something that we all can enjoy.

Photo:  Dancers in "America Dances! Celebrating Our Sparkling Heritage - Broadway, TV & Film" Celebrating the CAREER TRANSITION FOR DANCERS 24rd Anniversary Jubilee; dress rehearsal & performance photographed: Monday, November 2, 2009;  7:00 PM at City Center; New York, NY. Photograph: © 2009 Richard Termine PHOTO CREDIT - Richard Termine Preceding the death-defying partnering of veteran Mark Stuart Eckstein and his beautiful partner, Miss Adealani Malia, are two young, talented dancers, barely four and a half feet tall, that delightfully surprise us all with a well-choreographed and highly entertaining salsa number.  Performing with such accuracy, such showmanship, such energy, such skill, these little future stars, Alexandra Gutkovitch and John Gaylan, are on point and are an absolute charm to watch!

Not much could top Mr. D’Amboise’s impromptu petite allegro, but Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet comes close with Jason Kittelberger’s and Acacia Schachte’s performance of Cold Song.  The entire theater is hushed as they sweep the floor with poetic movement, permeating an icy chill that leaves us frozen in wonder.

Other performances included the Parkour group Bullettrun, the choreography of Ann Marie DeAngelo, SYTYCD choreographer/Sonya Tayeh Dance, the company of M. Stuart Dance Theatre, Tony Waag’s Tap City Youth Ensemble, The Street Beats Group,  excerpts from Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, and a Tribute to Duke Ellington (featuring Mercedes Ellington).

Photo:  Dancers in "America Dances! Celebrating Our Sparkling Heritage - Broadway, TV & Film" Celebrating the CAREER TRANSITION FOR DANCERS 24rd Anniversary Jubilee; dress rehearsal & performance photographed: Monday, November 2, 2009;  7:00 PM at City Center; New York, NY. Photograph: © 2009 Richard Termine PHOTO CREDIT - Richard Termine Sprinkled throughout the show are accolades.  Receiving the Career Transition for Dancers’ Award for Outstanding Contributions to the World of Dance are two very important philanthropist to the dance world, Lawrence Herbert (presented by Jock Soto) and  Lloyd E. Rigler of the Lawrence E. Deustsch Foundation (presented by Valerie Harper).  Presented by Desmond Richardson, The Rolex Dance Award is given in honor of our beloved Patrick Swayze.  His wife, Lisa Niemi Swayze, genially accepts the award with heartfelt grace in an audience full of friends and family.

Photo:  Dancers in "America Dances! Celebrating Our Sparkling Heritage - Broadway, TV & Film" Celebrating the CAREER TRANSITION FOR DANCERS 24rd Anniversary Jubilee; dress rehearsal & performance photographed: Monday, November 2, 2009;  7:00 PM at City Center; New York, NY. Photograph: © 2009 Richard Termine PHOTO CREDIT - Richard Termine And that seems par the course in the dance world…  making sure that Career Transition for Dancers not only celebrates our sparkling heritage, but our uplifting future that evening… It seems that the dance community will always find a way to inspire hope even in the most desperate of times, whether it’s with generous donations, audience cheers, scholarships, or simply with the art itself…  And that, surely, is the greatest thing of all.



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Official Dance Review by Joey Lico

Performance: America Dances! Career Transition for Dancers
Choreography: Various
Venue:
City Center, New York City
Performance Date:  November 2, 2009
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