Sunday, March 3, 2024

Dance Review: DanceNow at Dance Theater Workshop

DanceNow at Dance Theater Workshop presents 50 works from a wide assortment of dance companies giving each artist seven minutes in which to show their stuff. They invite you to “find your artistic crush” from among the various companies which range from emerging to mature artists.  Wednesday night, my heart went pitter-pat for Amber Sloan and Kyle Abraham.

Are You a Dancer?  Click Here to Become a Memeber of Today! Amber Sloan’s premiere ‘Below’ is the gem of the performance Wednesday night. The piece begins with Matthew Rogers and Sloan slowly rolling with their heads toward the audience, blond hair and brown crashing back and forth like waves, getting progressively faster until she stops him with a swift hand to the shoulder.  Like lovers trying to find a comfortable fit, they wind in and out of each other’s space.  The tension builds as the sound of sirens becomes discordant music and the movement grows more aggressive and three dimensional.  Finally, Sloan breaks out of the pattern to sit in stillness while Rogers continues to fret, rolling back and forth.  Even confined to only seven minutes, Sloan delivers a rich and relatable story.

Kyle Abraham is magic.  It is not only his incredible skill as a performer that is on display at DanceNow (although holy crap he’s amazing), but also his tender and astute choreography.  In an excerpt of his new work, ‘The Radio Show’, he transports us to another world with a dense solo full of rapid gestures, swift falls to the floor, and chilling stillness.  His extreme use of space, combined with stark lighting (with more light on the back wall than on him), make us feel like we are peering into his character’s life.  All of the elements of the piece, including a beautiful version of the song “Smile” performed by Janelle Monet and the wonderful costume by Sarah Cubbage, fuse together to create an incredibly subtle and satisfying slice-of-life piece.

To see a little more of Kyle Abraham, check out his performance of "Brick" on YouTube.

DanceNow not only showcases a variety of talented choreographers, but also the amazing dancers they employ.  Mention must go to Troy Ogilvie and Amber Lee Parker who give a nuanced performance of Sidra Bell’s “your distance kept”, a piece full of complicated rhythms, flying legs and sexy get-ups.  Also, Darrin Wright and Lindsey Dietz Marchant make a charming pair with great comedic timing in “But It’s For You” by Tami Stronach.  The DanceNow festival serves up such a huge variety of dance that everyone can enjoy their old favorites and maybe some new favorites as well.
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iDANZ Critix Corner
Official Dance Review by
Hope Davis 
Choreographers:  Amber Sloan, Kyle Abraham, Sidra Bell, Tami Stronach Performance: DanceNow [NYC] 
Venue: Dance Theater Workshop (DTW), NYC
Date:  Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 

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