BWW Review: Celebrating Diversity in Dance with ARIES IN FLIGHT

BWW Review: Celebrating Diversity in Dance with ARIES IN FLIGHT

On the afternoon of March 31, 2018, Aries in Flight, under the direction of Catherine Mancuso, presented its 3rd performance showcase at the TADA! Youth Theater in New York City. The showcase featured the work of thirteen emerging choreographers from the Greater NYC metropolitan area. The mission of the company is to enable dancers and performers to learn, create, and explore their craft in a safe, judgement-free environment. Ms. Mancuso is proud to celebrate diversity in dance by presenting this showcase with a wide range of dance styles and techniques.

There were several amazing dances done by choreographers who have interesting stories to tell. Emma Elliott of Emma Elliott Dance presented a lovely duet entitled Open Compass. The dancers often moved in different directions throughout the work, but they ended together. I very much appreciated the contrast in the movements. Yuki Ishiguro presented two dances. First was a solo by Ishiguro himself. He did a break dancing number as he danced around a lighting fixture on the stage. The lights became two glow sticks that gave way to an illusion of fire spinning in the air. He later came back on the stage with a duet of ballet vs. hip hop. I always love these kinds of combinations because like people, it shows we are more similar than different.

Josh Pacheco showcased the piece brink. Pacheco shows a lot of attention to details in the hands and fingers of his choreography. Michael Kerr and his company DanceKerr & Dancers did UnXpected Ntrances (an excerpt from NeXt Stop). I loved the element of surprise. You never knew who or where someone would pop up. His company later came back to perform Salto de Fede. These dancers definitely know how to push the limits of dance. They all move together so well as they captivated the audience.

Erasing Elizabeth by Taylor Hahn is a beautiful solo with clean and crisp moves. Ms. Hahn moved in such a way you couldn't take your eyes off of her. Farewell by Kendra Swartz was also a solo piece. I was mesmerized by her nice long legs. Tough Pill to Swallow choreographed and performed by Jared Stern was full of emotion. He is such a great mover. Monachopsis performed by Gina Montalto was another solo. This one stood out to me because of the interesting floor work.

Natalie Johnson Dance did a trio, I carry you carry me by Natalie Johnson, with lots of weight sharing and included elements of rhythm into the choreography. Be Authentic by Cultural Arts Center Company: Kelly Garcia was a fierce number full of sass and attitude. Loved the eye contact the dancers had with the audience. 16 minutes by Paige Vicki Ketsoglou told the story of a car accident and the moments immediately following. It was quite moving. Marissa Jean Company: Kinections Dancegroup performed a duet entitled Leaving WE. I loved the many small accents in the choreography. "Doin' My Jazz" by Barbara Angeline, Hysterika Jazz Dance performed a solo number. It was fun to watch and looked like the dancer had fun as she engaged the audience while she gracefully moved across the stage.

Ms. Mancuso presented three works of her own. The program opened with the piece After You, a lovely lyrical piece made in dedication to the recent passing of her grandfather Thomas K. Dicks. It shows the importance of support for others in times of need and grief. I personally loved the shapes and beautiful arms. Another fun-favorite of mine is the dance entitled 20's Jazz. This took the audience back to the 1920's as the dancers performed a number of popular social dances such as the Charleston, lindy hop, and the jitterbug. It was full of high energy. The show closed with the piece Rising. It showed the powerful story of supporting and uplifting one another. It was a nice and inspiring way to end.

This was truly an amazing show! I applaud Ms. Mancuso's time and dedication to curate such a wonderful line-up of dancers and choreographers. She is a true champion of showcasing what diversity in dance can look like. Thank you for providing a platform in a safe space that allows the voices of many to be heard.

Photo Credit: Catherine Mancuso, Aries in Flight

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From This Author Caryn Cooper

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