Friday, November 15, 2019

Dance Review: Irresistible Dance, Fall for Dance at City Center

Basil Twist, photo by Richard Termine City Center’s Annual Fall For Dance Festival which is in its 6th season is a truly remarkable celebration of dance.  Fall For Dance bridges many divides; it brings together highly acclaimed and well-known companies such as ABT and Martha Graham Dance Company with smaller, up-and-coming dance companies.  This festival also bridges the gap between seasoned dance enthusiasts and people who are new to dance.  The matinee program on Sunday, September 27 certainly brings the sheer joy of dance to the forefront where people who know a lot about dance and others who are new to it can equally appreciate and cherish this breathtaking art form.

Basil Twist – Petrushka Suite

Basil Twist utilizes his mastery of Czech and Japanese puppetry to replace dancers with life-sized puppets in this reenactment of the classical Russian love story, Petrushka.  Twist cleverly reworks this original story so that the puppeteers who are usually hidden are now placed in the forefront allowing the audience to see the puppeteers’ intricate movements and technical abilities.  The puppets truly come to life in this ballet.  With three puppeteers manipulating each puppet, there is certainly complicated choreography that goes into maneuvering around the puppet.  Two ballets are going on at the same time in Basil Twist’s version of Petrushka Suite. This is a charming and refreshing approach to classical ballet and definitely appeals to a wide audience.

Monica Bill Barnes & Company, photo by Steve Schreiber Monica Bill Barnes and Company – I Feel Like

I Feel Like is a delightfully fun and light exploration of ordinary women and what it means to feel sexy.  Three women wear extremely un-sexy drab looking turtleneck sweaters with pleated, knee length skirts.  They are feeling sexy and they want to show it.  At times comical with the women appearing unhinged and almost paranoid, dancers Anna Bass, Monica Bill Barnes, and Deborah Lohse each possess strong acting skills.  In this wonderful piece, each dancer, in her own way, accomplishes her own version of sexiness.  The aim of this company is the celebration of individuality, humor, and the joy of everyday life.  Ms. Barnes certainly accomplishes these goals and then some in I Feel Like.  

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, photo by Sascha Vaughn Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo – Go for Barocco

The thing that makes Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo spectacular is not just that they’re dressed up as ballerinas wearing pointe shoes; it’s the fact that they’re actually incredible dancers who are so good at what they do that one forgets they’re dudes!

The men of Les Ballets Trockadero offer us a playful, entertaining look at traditional, classical ballet in parody form.  It is apparent that these men are highly skilled technicians who know much about the eccentricities of numerous dance styles.  Brock Hayhoe and Joshua Grant play jealous lovers who are constantly trying to out-do the other person.  They are both extremely funny and brilliantly entertaining.  The ballet sticks to its classicism, with a few twists and turns along the way.  The Trocks, as they are nicknamed, are probably my favorites of the night.  Bravo!


Dance Brazil, photo by Tom Pitch

DanceBrazil – Culture in Motion

DanceBrazil creates the final big bang of the night with their unique fusion of Afro-Brazilian movement, contemporary dance, and Capoeira:  a dance/martial arts form that uses speed, power, grace, and incredibly precise motion.  The ten highly muscled male dancers all posses an amount of competitiveness with their fellow dancers.  With this competitiveness is also a strong sense of brotherhood.  The cultural influence of this performance is strongly felt with the five drummers upstage of the dancers, beating on snare drums. This awesome performance ends in a Capoeira type of contest where the dancers pair up and try to out-do each other with incredible tricks such as back flips and kicking one’s leg impossibly close to the other person.

The four pieces on the program all bring something different to the stage.  This is a smartly crafted program and I applaud not only the breathtaking dancers, but also the program directors who coordinated the line-up of the performers.  I definitely have fallen deeper in love with dance after watching City Center’s Fall For Dance.

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Official Dance Review by Amanda Keller
Performance:  Fall For Dance
Venue:  City Center, New York City 
Show Date:  Sunday, September 27, 2009
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