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BWW Review: FALL FOR DANCE – Companhia Urbana de Dança, Fang-Yi Sheu and Herman Cornejo, Houston Ballet, Paul Taylor


Fall for Dance continued to marvel audiences with its third program. A cultural treasure for New York, Fall for Dance allows audiences access to some of the field's greatest visionaries from around the globe. The third program included a variety of pieces from passionate street dance to pristine ballet that captured the audience's attention all evening.

Of the four pieces presented in the evening, the first was vastly different in style but no different in performance. Companhia Urbana de Dança opened with EU DANÇO - 8 solos no geral. With a bare stage, minimal lighting, and the rhythmic sounds of a drum machine pulsating through the background, the company of dancers took the stage in electrifying feats that featured synchronized jumps, breakdancing, and fun movement patterns. Each dancer was featured in their own solo and the company would then follow by imitating and evolving those specific phrases. While the program notes that the piece has no story, this piece in fact does have a story: it is the story of each dancer. At the heart of Companhia Urbana de Dança's mission is dance and how this medium can transform people's lives. As seen by their passionate delivery of non-stop tricks and movement, dance is at the core of their lives. Dance is a means to get magnificent talent out of the favelas and onto a global stage. It was a dynamic piece that set out to declare that these dancers are no different than anyone else who had come to perform that evening.

The second piece was the duet Pheromones by Fang-Yi Sheu and Herman Cornejo. The piece began quietly and transformed into a mesmerizing piece filled with an explosive yet carefully contained force. Their bodies began to trace each other without contact and soon went into spellbinding movement phrases where their limbs circled and whirled around each other (and still not touching each other). The movement demonstrated a dynamic pull and repel between the two entities and created such a strong magnetic field that the untouchable space between the dancers radiated with a tremendous, invisible force! Hypnotizing and breathtaking from beginning to end, Pheromones drew the audience into an intimate space.

The Houston Ballet followed with the colorful and quirky Maninyas, choreographed by Stanton Welch. The stage transformed as pillars of fabric flooded the space, adding to the piece a bit of magic as the dancers appeared and disappeared behind the giant flowing pieces. The dance featured five couples who whimsically moved across the stage in grandiose gesture and movement, all synchronized perfectly to Ross Edwards' score. As the group number slowed down to a dramatic end, the audience was met with a pas de deux and pas de trois that were simply beautiful yet romantically tragic. The contrast of strength and independence in the group numbers versus the quietly heart wrenching duets and trios made this contemporary piece a visual wonder for the audience.

The evening ended with Bradenburgs by Paul Taylor Dance Company. Evoking a more classical feel, this piece featured a chorus of men, whose sharpness and precision of dancing found a gentleness that brought the audience in for a treat. A kaleidoscope of fast-paced movements, intertwined by wonderful lines and angles, was paired with the careful calculation of steps, making for a both technically impressive and playful piece. Graceful and breathtaking, this piece by the Paul Taylor Dance Company was a delightful way to end the eclectic evening.

Photo Credit: Companhia Urbana de Dança by Renato Mangolin, Houston Ballet by Amitava Sarkar

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From This Author Jessica Abejar

Jessica Abejar is an artist with a love of storytelling. As a dancer/choreographer, she most recently performed at World Youth Day in Brazil, where she (read more...)