BWW Review: AMERICAN DANCE GUILD Celebrates Cultural Dance Innovators
On Sep 7, 2017, the American Dance Guild kicked off their 4-day festival at The Ailey Citigroup, marking 60 years of dance innovation with a promise to "celebrate diversity". Honoring dance visionaries Garth Fagan, Martha Myers, and the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, the mood was light and joyful; you could really feel the lingering excitement in the air, anticipating the incredible dancing to come.
The show started with sensory standout "Fight or Flight," choreographed by Lisa Giobbi. A Julie Taymor-inspired spectacle of kaleidoscopic light, shape, and sound, dance duo Kathleen Bibalo Nasti and Jose Angel Luis flew through the air in suspended harnesses, circling around each other in constant motion. With each movement, the duo pushed and pulled through the space, using chaos as a catalyst to shift the perspective. It was breathtaking.
"Incommunicado" was up next, which featured eight dancers of different ages, genders, and races. The piece also showcased two physically handicapped dancers, which brought incredible depth and range to every movement of the piece. It was so refreshing to see the troupe dance together - not just in synchronicity, but in heart and soul. They danced as one, like orbs in the night with incredible sweeping arms and overhead lifts. Powered by otherworldly music from Global Communication, it's a piece I'll remember for a long time.
Other standouts include Molissa Henley's "Sargosso Sea", danced with control and deliberate modern technique, and "Figment of the Imagination," which explored the incredible vastness and play of opposites between lightness and darkness. But Sabatino Verlezza's "Tobi Roppo" set the stage on fire, weaving an incredible thread between vintage and futuristic. Performed by Rioult Dance NY, the piece's sharpness brought definition and crispness to the stage, as the dancers' impeccable technique reigned supreme.
But "No Evidence of Failure," choreographed by Garth Fagan, was a piece I'll never forget seeing. Danced by the incomparable Natalie Rogers and Vitolio Jeune, the pair's worldly experience and wisdom was ever apparent. With stunning extensions and clean lines, the two complemented each other, like tides of the same wave riding into the shore. The dance continued like an evolving courtship, with repeated penchés expressing a continuous sense of longing. It was a privilege to behold.
Being witness to such a multicultural and diverse evening reminded me how lucky we are to have dance and the arts in our global landscape - we must always fight to protect it.
Photo Credit: courtesy of Garth Fagan Dance