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Review: New York City Center's 15th Fall for Dance is Underway

Review: New York City Center's 15th Fall for Dance is Underway

On October 5, 2018, I saw the third program of New York City Center's 15th Fall for Dance. The evening's program was offered by four different dance companies, each presenting a single piece or excerpt of a piece, as is the usual style of Fall for Dance. Each of these four works was impressive in its own way.

First on the program was Tayeh Dance with Heather Christian, Artistic director, Sonya Tayeh. Choreographer, Tayeh, known for her work on Moulin Rouge and The Lucky Ones, among others, has won an Obie Award, two Emmy nominations, and a Drama Desk nomination. Heather Christian, an Obie Award winning artist, performed on stage with the dancers and her band, Heather Christian & the Arbornautes (two marvelous singers). The work, Reclamation Map, opens with a dark stage, beautiful music by the pianist and singers continuing for an extended period before the lights came up on a male dancer writhing on the floor, next to the pianist. The work had a religious feel to it, choreography simple and soulful. One of the dancers, an Asian female named PeiJu Chien-Pott, was truly beautiful, in body, in technique, and in expression. She elevated the level of the dance for me.

The second performance of the night: Dance Theatre of Harlem, directed by Virginia Johnson, danced Balamouk, the best performance by this company that I can remember seeing in recent times. choreography by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa was a breath of fresh air, while the music by Les Yeux Noirs, Rene Aubry, and Lisa Gerrard set a fun atmosphere. ten dancers were dressed in rainbow colors, costumes by Mark Zappone. Balamouk showed off Dance atre of Harlem for what it is in all its colorful beauty. Each dancer had his/her moment to shine, taking the audience on a journey of fun. Upcoming performances: October 13 &14, 2018 at the Cobb Centre, Atlanta, Georgia.

The next work on the program was danced by two young dancers of Nederlands Dans Theater 2, Fernando Hernando Magadan, Artistic Director. Dancers, the extraordinary Surimu Fukushi and Adam Russell-Jones, performed Marco Goecke's fast and intricate choreography, Midnight Raga (US premiere), which is an untraditional contemporary style. The music by Ravi Shankar and Etta James adds beauty and spirit for the dancers to explore. Fukushi and Russell-Jones, ripped and precise, complimented each other in strength and intensity. Upcoming performances: October11-14, 2018, Haus der Berliner Festspiele, Berlin, Germany. I am anxiously looking forward to seeing the full company of NDT 2 when they return to NY City Center, January 16-19, 2019.

The National Ballet of China, Feng Ying, Artistic Director, brought us the last ballet, The Crane Calling (excerpt), choreographed by Ma Cong and Zhang Zhenxin. The music, by Shen Yiwen was pretty and lent itself to ballet choreography. This ballet took us from superb contemporary dance to a revisited, classical view of ballet. The program notes say, "This excerpt of the full-length ballet is a tribute to the young generation who hold onto their dreams and work hard with selfless dedication." On stage were a human couple, a corps de ballet of cranes, both female and male, and four female birds of a different feather. This company has upcoming performances in several cities in China.

Fall for Dance continues with other performances through October 13, 2018.

Photo Credit: Paula Lobo

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