Inaugural Hudson Valley Dance Festival Delivers Inspiring, Emotional Evening to Sold-out Audience
The inaugural edition of Hudson Valley Dance Festival transformed the Historic Catskill Point into a world-class arts venue on October 12, 2013, producing a captivating evening of dance for an enthusiastic, standing-room-only audience.
Set in a 19th century warehouse on the banks of the Hudson River, Hudson Valley Dance Festival (#hvdance) raised an impressive $76,950 for Dancers Responding to AIDS, a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The evening featured performances by three of the most talked-about dance companies in the country - Evidence, A Dance Company; Monica Bill Barnes & Company and Stephen Petronio Company - and choreography by famed American Ballet Theatre principal Marcelo Gomes.
"The support and generosity of the Hudson Valley community, coupled with the boundless talent of tonight's dancers and choreographers, made this inaugural event an incredible success," said Denise Roberts Hurlin, founding director of Dancers Responding to AIDS. "The response we have received from the moment we started planning more than a year ago has been overwhelming as everyone embraced not only the opportunity to showcase world-class professional dance here in the Hudson Valley but also the desire to help make a difference for men, women and children who are battling HIV/AIDS and other critical issues."
The money raised at Hudson Valley Dance Festival will help Broadway Cares provide grants to more than 450 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide, including the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York, which serves 15 counties in the Hudson Valley.
Hudson Valley Dance Festival transformed the 115-year-old wooden warehouse at Catskill Point into a modern-day dance venue, complete with a stage and raised seating for 340.
Monica Bill Barnes & Company opened the show with a humorously seductive duet to JAmes Brown's "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine)." They returned later to perform an excerpt from Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host, a clever piece that integrated an audio interview by This American Life host Ira Glass with dancer Anna Bass. As Barnes and Bass danced, you heard Bass describe to Glass what it was like dancing next to Barnes.
Stephen Petronio Company performed an excerpt from Underland, a dance filled with power and passion set to the eclectic music of Australian artist Nick Cave, whom The New York Times once described as "the musical love child of Leonard Cohen and Neil Diamond." The company displayed precision athleticism and emotional tenderness while flirting with changes in speed, direction and style, seemingly without effort.
Marcelo Gomes, principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre, presented his own choreography in a pas de deux featuring Jessica Saund and Thomas Forster, both members of ABT's corps de ballet. Set to "Mozart-Adagio" by Arvo Pa?rt, Gomes' emotional Endlos beautifully explored the tragic depths of a couple's true love.
Evidence, A Dance Company, honored the memory of one its members in the celebratory Torch, choreographed by Ronald K. Brown, Evidence founder and artistic director. The piece begins with one dancer standing on the shoulders of the troupe before falling backwards into their arms, a symbolic acknowledgement of the loss oF Brown's friend, dance student and supporter Beth Young, who died in January 2012. The dance grew into a cadenced celebration set to the South African-infused club music of Teddy Douglas and DJ Zinhle.