DANCE - THEATER
Click Here for More Articles on DANCE - THEATER

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites


BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites

BWW Review: FJK Dance 2018 Season Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites

Majestic movements from ancient Arabic to contemporary American and everything in between collide in the sumptuous, sensual offerings of the 5th Season of FJK Dance at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College.

The CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI) 2018-2019 residency supported the development of the company's bold new work UnTold:, choreographed by Fadi J Khoury, along with Echoes, the first piece of the night which sets the tone. Waltz and Clockwork -- a cinematic portrayal of ballroom elegance and a Fosse-esque, Broadway-ready romp -- by guest choreographers Gary Pierce and Debbie Roshe, respectively, rounded out the enchanting evening that was bookended by Khoury's pieces and all performed by the mesmerizing, multi-faceted global array of talent that comprises the FJK Dance company, who came from nearly every corner of the world: Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Spain, Columbia, Switzerland, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Italy, Cuba and Florida to merge their varied passions and techniques into the melting pot of New York City and dance expressions in the 21st Century.

The term "fusion" in dance, theatre, art and cuisine often gets a (sometimes deserved) negative response. In many cases, it calls to mind a watered-down version of the original, an a la carte sampling presenting a multitude of flavors meant to appease the ever-fickle taste of modern audiences. But, just like when a special combination of ingredients from seemingly contradictory culinary cultures comes together to create an explosion of sensations that somehow works perfectly, in all art there are rare exceptions when it is the fusion of the forms that not only honors the origins, but elevates all the elements exponentially. This is true of FJK Dance, and the 5th Season's offerings only serves to prove and solidify it as fact.

The physical vocabularies of contemporary, ballet, modern, jazz, traditional/folkloric, Arabic, Latin and ballroom dance styles blend seamlessly to represent not only a wide range of cultures and techniques, but also convey the vast spectrum of human emotions: from jealousy to tenderness and from ecstasy to anguish without uttering a word.

The urgency and authenticity of such an impetus was formed by founder Fadi J. Khoury -- Iraqi born and Lebanese trained, who sought to fill a void in the current dance scene while also honoring his heritage and exploring curious combinations of the sensuality of Latin and ballroom dance (which he discovered and embraced in America) with Arabic fluidity and the strong technique of ballet and modern dance. When he met and began collaborating with his partner in all senses of the word onstage and off -- Sevin Ceviker -- the true magic began and FJK Dance, in its current form, was set to take flight. Ceviker, an Istanbul-born ballerina with a wingspan that nearly stretches across the stage, brings another layer to the eclectic, multicultural work with a foundation of six years with the Martha Graham Dance Company which brings a unique blend of elevation and earthiness to the company, inspired by Graham herself and perhaps even Isadora Duncan before her. Each member of FJK Dance is exceptional but when these two -- Khoury and Ceviker -- come together it is intoxicating!

Though unspoken, words play a major role in the primary finale piece of the evening -- UnTold -- set to the sonic soundscapes of Egypt Unveiled: a jazz-infused electronic oasis by Egyptian artist, composer and musical pioneer Hossam Ramzy's in collaboration with Phil Thornton. UnTold is Khoury's ambitious undertaking to fuse visual art and multimedia installations where Middle Eastern aesthetics are represented by video projections (elegantly interpreted by Janine Khawand and aided by the dream-like, fantasy lighting designed by Judith Daitsman) of flowing, curvaceous and elegant Arabic script inspired by Al Mu'alaqat -- a set of seven poems -- with multiple dance expressions mimicking the sculptural shapes that the characters offer and then bringing them to vivid life, as if the words have jumped from a page to reshape history.

Of this inspiration, Khoury reflects: "The Arabic calligraphic style is inspired by human movement and organic shapes that we create with our bodies. I used specific texts from iconic classical Arabic poetry recognized as 'the hanging poems.' They come from the pre-Islamic Arabic era and survived the Islamic Revolution. In fact, they were the only honored pieces that were hung at the Kaa'ba in the Arabian peninsula. Each scene in UnTold was reflected in the calligraphy through the projections and a connection is made between the design of the poems and the deeply human presence in the dancers; each image and written line from the poem reflects an emotional and or conceptual representation of the story beyond which is told in the dance."

For a company only in its fifth year, the creators and performers of FJK Dance have set themselves apart with a refreshingly creative fusion of styles executed by a veritable feast of dancers at the top of their game in terms of technique and expression, whose lithe muscular forms are poetry in motion -- in any language -- and whose achievements in that short span have garnered both critical acclaim and prestigious offers and opportunities. Could this be the future of dance in the 21st Century? One can only hope!

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites
Artistic Director and Choreographer Fadi J. Khoury and FJK Dance Company in "Echoes."

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites
Fadi J. Khoury and FJK Dance Company in "Echoes."

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites
FJK Dance Company in "Echoes." Photo by Jaqlin Medlock.

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites
FJK Dance Company in "Echoes." Photo by Jaqlin Medlock.

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites
Associate Artist and Principle Dancer Sevin Ceviker in "Echoes." Photo by Jaqlin Medlock.

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites
Sevin Ceviker and FJK Dance Company in "Echoes." Photo by Jaqlin Medlock.

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites
FJK Dance Company in "Waltz" by guest choreographer and mentor/coach -- Gary Pierce. Photo by Jaqlin Medlock.

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites
FJK Dance Company in "Clockwork" by guest choreographer Debbie Roshe. Photo by Jaqlin Medlock.

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites
FJK Dance Company in the world premiere of "Untold." Photo by Jaqlin Medlock.

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites
FJK Dance Company in the world premiere of "Untold." Photo by Jaqlin Medlock.

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites
FJK Dance Company in the world premiere of "Untold." Photo by Jaqlin Medlock.

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites
Sevin Ceviker and FJK Dance Company in the world premiere of "Untold." Photo by Jaqlin Medlock.

BWW Review: FJK DANCE Offers A Physical Vocabulary That Elevates and Unites
Fadi J. Khoury in the world premiere of "Untold." Photo by Jaqlin Medlock.

Related Articles






From This Author Cindy Sibilsky

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram
   



  SHARE