Friday, April 12, 2024

Dance Review: Garth Fagan Dance at The Joyce

Garth Fagan DanceGarth Fagan Dance, in it’s 39th season, opens at The Joyce Theater, with a company of thirteen, ranging from college graduates to founding members.  The evening consists of five pieces, all of which are of a different length, but each with their own unique qualities for a very illustrious program.

At first rise, veteran member, Norwood Pennewell, sets the stage in Prelude with a solo of agile balances moving swiftly into dynamic jumps, defying his age with energy and vitality.  More dancers emerge – casual classroom exercises unfold into graceful leaps – the energy ever building – until, suddenly, the lights come down while Mr. Pennewell is in mid-air, leaving the audience with a catch breath of surprise.

Are You a Dancer 250Excerpts from a work called, Senku, follows, one of which is a tender duet, "Talk: Ms./Mrs.," for Nicolette Depass and Lynet Rochelle.  Their balance and extensions merge sublimely, with electric gestures and movements creating conversations, first disagreement, then reconciliation.

Rochelle reveals herself to be an accomplished yet versatile dancer in Fagan’s work.  Her tenderness and compassion contrasts considerably in her short duet with Khama Kgari in Fagan’s newest work, Mudan 175/39.  Her dynamism, congruent with that of the fiery Kgari, is thrilling to watch; however, the duet proves to be a tease, as I could have easily watched the two dance together all evening.

The other two pieces in the program, Dancecollageforromie (2003) and Translation Transition (2002), proves that Fagan’s choreography maintains a vigor, demanding the dancers to operate at peak performance.  Their high jumps and silent landings are a testament to their strong technique.  Fagan’s dance school, based in Rochester, NY, seems to provide a solid foundation, and is versatile enough to support dancers of any age.  "Discipline is Freedom," the tag line of Prelude, Fagan’s first piece in this evening’s program, rings true with his company of robust dancers.

Garth Fagan Dance continues to perform at The Joyce Theater through November 1.  If you don’t get a chance to see the company this time around, check them out in 2010.  They will be back in New York City next April.

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Official Dance Review by
Keelin Ryan
Performance: Garth Fagan Dance
Choreography: Garth Fagan
Venue:  The Joyce Theater, New York City 
Show Date:  October 27, 2009

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