BWW Review: Einstein's 'Athletes of the Gods'

Albert Einstein once said "Dancers are the athletes of the gods." As I sat in the audience of October 9th's Fall for Dance line up at the City Center, admiring the exquisite dance technique displayed by each company, I felt those words become a reality. Yet, what literal or nonliteral gods were these companies attempting to embody, I wondered.

The Hindu Shiva was the obvious focus of Nrityagram's Shivashtakam (An Ode to Shiva), choreographed by Surupa Sen and danced by Ms. Sen and Bijayini Satpathy. Marked by precise angles easily melting into serpentine grace, Shivashtakam was a fitting ode to the transcendent lord personified by his traditional associations with meditation, dance and destruction.

Solo, choreographed by Hans Van Manen, was beautifully danced by three Adonises from the San Francisco Ballet. I enjoyed the piece simply for the gorgeous display of skill, however obscure its purpose may have been.

The intensity of Locomotor propelled us into a dark dimension full of fluidity and abstraction. The members of the Stephen Petronio Company are excellent movers, with physical vocabularies that draw from a myriad of influences. Whether a wall of intimidating sentinels or slippery shape shifters refusing boundaries, the strength of their craft was evident. Chronos, a severe and cryptic deity, may have been satisfied by the dark overtones that haunted this piece-- an exploration of bodies moving through space, often backwards, with bells periodically keeping time.

The night ended with a bang, and several other percussive noises, caused by the soles of tap dancers in the Dorrance Dance's Myelination. The tap epic began with three performers in siamese twin formation, complimenting vocal music with their feet. Featuring 12 dancers, a full instrumental band and singers Myelination is one of the most inventive and ambitious productions I've seen from the tap genre. Dynamism, energy and musicality reminiscent of STOMP exalt Ms. Dorrance's choreography into a veritable Hudson-Riverdance of the performance arts world. Not so much a specific god as an archetype, "Lord of the Dance" feels fitting here.

Photo Credit: Julieta Cervantes

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From This Author Olga El

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