Sunday, March 3, 2024

Dance Review: Self-Indulgence vs. Purpose, Scarlet Fever at BLVD.

Scarlet's Nightmare at BLVD Everything has a beginning and the fledgling company Scarlet Fever holds no exemption.  Their debut performance, Scarlet’s Nightmare at Blvd Bar includes skin-baring undulations, questionably appropriate jokes from standup comedian Danny Siegal and soothing vocals from songstress Athena Reich.  While the show lacked fluidity and connectedness many pieces lived up to Scarlet Fever’s name – causing the audience to blush, squirm and feel an overall heightened sense of awareness.  Not for the faint of heart or the close minded, Scarlet Fever, led by choreographers, Paige Manley and James Koroni, challenges their audience to believe that moments of awkwardness and muddled timing will eventually be overwrought by passion worth witnessing as they establish the company’s story through sultry, angsty steps to pop and alternative music.

Only the FIERCE Dancers Apply!  Click Here and Join iDANZ Today! Flirting with a multitude of performance mediums, including narrations by both dancers and Siegal, the company also lip syncs song lyrics opening with “Now you know this is what it feels like.”  The confrontational lyrics, joined with the full company’s caped bodies twisting, swirling through the dimly lit bar, sets the tone for audience members to say seated, watch, and learn what it feels like.  Their performance tells me, like most people at the gates of a new beginning, that they feel anxious, passionate, and filled with chaotic energy that’s ready to burn.

James Koroni, Scarlet Fever Koroni seems to stand by the quote in his biography, “So much of life carries the potential to shock and excite me and whether traditional or controversial, if it carries depth I find a reason to appreciate its beauty.”  Koroni wears the choreography like a supermodel wears a slightly imperfect dress.  He struts and shines despite its often poorly constructed seams while others wear these flaws more noticeably like a second draft marked with red ink.  The skeleton prevails but the skin; the details most readily available need revision.

The company finds its tightest synergy towards the end of the evening in a beautifully costumed piece, set to Gary Jules Mad World, by extracting their strengths and fusing them into a nonstop movement stream.  Building on a movement phrase where they collapse starting at the head, then shoulders, waist and hips like discombobulated dolls company members draw physically and emotionally closer to one another proving that a connection worth developing exists.  While much of the evening reeks of self-indulgence, these dancers grow beyond their individual capabilities when linked together through concept.

Paige Manley This brings me to my greatest concern for the company, which exists for companies both new and seasoned.  How does an evening length work come to be and why?  What must each aspect possess in order for each to be exponential in strength when joined together?  If the sum of a work’s parts do not surpass them individually what is the point?  Why collaborate with anyone if you have enough clout to do your own thing?  Camaraderie cannot be used in this instance because the number one offenders of this crime are the solos that resemble dancers at their final high school ballet recital.  However, Scarlet Fever’s don’t fxck with me attitude, gritty choreography, and visceral connections to their body of work more than make up for these confusingly short vignettes that look like So You Think You Can Dance Audition reels.

Proving that startups burst with fresh ideas, Scarlet Fever’s bows bring life to what often feels like a ritual organized by the army.  Left, left, left, right left – stand in the right spot, bow in a timely fashion, smile modestly until you’ve left the stage, ditch the costume and any markings that represent your role in the show, save all excitement and celebration for outside the stage door. Nooooo – Scarlet Fever honors the work that the dancers have done by brief freestyles as their names boom through the speakers.  Bringing dance to all aspects of their debut performance, this company proves they should be seen, heard and noticed. Check them out at

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Official Dance Review by Eileen Elizabeth
Performance:  Scarlet Fever,
Scarlet’s Nightmare Choreography:  Paige Manley and James Koroni
Venue:  BLVD Bar, New York City
Show Date:  October 25, 2009

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