BWW Review: BWW REVIEW: THE DANCE GALLERY FESTIVAL PRESENTS 18 CHOREOGRAPHERS at Ailey Citigroup Theatre
THE DANCE GALLERY FESTIVAL was founded in 2007 by Astrid Von Ussar and Mojcar Ussar as a platform to present choreographers in annual showcases in New York City and Texas. This year, there were three performances at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre, September 27, 28, and 29. I attended the September 28th performance which included twelve works. The Festival offers opportunities and community for emerging dance artists, valuable in today's dance world. Today, Astrid Von Ussar is Artistic Director and Andy Noble is Associate Artistic Director.
The opening piece, The Sheen, choreographed by Annalee Traylor to lively music of Peppini Gagliardi, Frederico Polito, and Carlos Savino. The three lively females: Dolly Sfeir, Allie Kronick, and Emily Diers each wore a brightly colored dress with a tutu-like skirt, each with her own color. The two male dancers, Ian Spring and Hank Hunter wore black and white costumes, different from each other. The dancers were animated, quirky, and expressive. The choreography was musical and engaging. It seemed to be an exploration of emotions. They made me smile.
The following five works presented before the intermission and a few after the intermission shared several aspects. They began in a spotlight surrounded by dark, some stepping out of the spotlight, then into it again and so on. They seemed to be exploring moving together, frequently how the man could move the woman. Heart and depth of focus was rarely evident. I had the feeling, more often than not, that these were workshop pieces let loose on the stage. Perhaps that is the case.
One of the dancers in the duet Tables Have Turned, choreography by Colette R. Kerwick, impressed me: Justice Jackson is a very good mover. I'd be happy to see him dance in other performances. In Noble's Couplet, Brittany Thetford Deveau and Seth McPhail gave a passionate, smooth performance. Deveau is a beautiful and fluid dancer who I'd like to see dance in other works as well.
The choreography of Manuel Vignoille, Spiritual Guide, to music of Danheim was unlike the other entries, offering two strong men wearing threads of red whose dancing was acrobatic, musical, fully motivated, and focused. Both Vignoille and his partner, Matteo Fiorani put professional experience on display. The energy kept building throughout.
Another impressive performance was See You (World Premiere), choreographed by Hung-Chung LAI, music: Definizione dell'impossibile, Notte sensa fine, and Distante by Tale of Us. The dancers, Chueh-Kai KUO (M) and I-Han Cheng (F) were intense and 100% committed to the spirit of the piece. They reacted to each other, coming close but never touching for more than half of the experience. In the last part of their performance they did actually come close enough to touch. Every movement was meaningful, just how dance should be.
Photo credit: Stephen McCloske