BWW Review: Moves at the Montalban's Dance Festival Opens With Capezio A.C.E. Awards and Erik Saradpon's FORMALITY LIVE!
MOVES at The Montalban's Dance Festival Opens with the Capezio A.C.E. Awards Finalists' Performances and Erik Saradpon's Extraordinary Dance Company FORMALITY LIVE!
The first two of four nights of the Annual Dance Festival, MOVES, smartly and efficiently produced by Break the Floor Productions, were filled with high energy, creativity abounding, energy-charged and inspired performances, including promising talent both new and emerging.
Wednesday, January 15, 2020.
Capezio A.C.E. Awards Finalists and Award Ceremony
The Capezio A.C.E. Awards crowned a 2020 winner, playing to a jam-packed house at the historic Montalbán Theatre in Hollywood as part of the MOVES at The Montalbán dance festival produced by Break the Floor Productions and presented by Capezio. The illustrious panel of chosen judges, all esteemed dancers/choreographers, included Marguerite Derricks, Vincent Paterson, Anita Mann, Ray Leeper, Tony Selznick and Tessandra Chavez. All well-established and widely respected by their peers, these judges are the cream of the crop in the dance world and industry.
There were 26 separately choreographed dance pieces in the finals. I would sum up the evening by saying most all of the finalists were different and distinct from the others, which to me is a beautiful sign that creativity lives on and flourishes even when other things in life seem to really suck right now. It might just be our ability to escape from reality into beauty and artistry that keeps us going. Viva Dance!
I think, speaking as a Professional dancer most of my life, who grew up with a Vaudevillian (look up that term, you younger dance historians) father... I love any type of entertainment that fills my heart with joy and pride at the same time, and I have to say it's true in this case!
It was equally joyous to see among the dazzling array of dance performances, some younger, very talented dancers right in there, in the pocket, in the mix, setting the pace and example for this new decade, and beyond, at least!
The attitude and directness of the choreographic works made the evening diverse and exciting.
The winner of the 2020 Capezio A.C.E. Award for outstanding choreography was choreographic team Grayson McGuire & Shiori Kamijo. Their piece, "Boots" was so much fun, delightfully unique and definitely the crowd favorite. They will receive a cash prize of $15,000 to be used towards the production of their own show at next year's MOVES at The Montalbán.
The runner-up for this year's award, and the recipient of a $5,000 cash prize, is Noelle Marsh, whose piece was entitled "At What Point." There was a tie for second runner-up, each receiving $3,000, between Sarah Steben (Talk Is Cheap')
and Brandon Croisetiere, for "Wipe Your Feet First."
Thursday, January 16, 2020
FORMALITY LIVE! Created and Choreographed by Erik Saradpon
Erik Saradpon's in-your-face, electric and vibrant dance presentation, an hour's worth of his insanely imaginative choreography, which had the pace of a freight train coming right toward you all throughout, was like a dance love-in of epic proportions. By watching, live, the audience was treated to an onslaught of creativity in high tech, high-energy motion. When you can elevate and so move your audience, filled with a conglomeration of the entire landscape of the dance community, you can bet it will be well received. The audience was awesome, as well, as the dancers burst out on stage and never slowed the pace, showing their appreciation.
The very talented Founder and Director of the professional Dance Company FORMALITY and Director of Hip Hop at Temecula Dance Company, Erik Saradpon, has carved a niche for himself and his dynamite troupe of dancers. I believe he is a force to be reckoned with, and has a way of blending the old with the new, in a powerful and unique, original way. He has won numerous awards for his many endeavors and is involved in several different workshops and showcases. He teaches at Dance Conventions through the summer to broaden his reach to students of the dance. He is a meticulous taskmaster, as I can tell from his work and his dancers' performances, but he does it with heart and soul; which, in my opinion, is everything. Really caring about your dancers and spreading the joy of dance are two admirable attributes that can make a big difference in a performance.
The evening began with a kick-ass version of "PLAY" by Michael Jackson. The stage filled with smoke as men in black suits, carrying suitcases appeared, flashing attitude galore, as well as technique, as they popped and locked with high energy and conviction. Nothing like a strong, killer men's section to get the ball rolling! They move into "Smooth Criminal," with one of the men donning the silver glove and fabulously moonwalking across the stage. There was a mixture of styles through the ages of dance that we love most ~ it was the most thorough, together, presentation, done so smoothly, fitting all that in, and was perfect to open this extravaganza.
Throughout the entire show, inspired with passion and smoldering energy ~ the dancers were sharp, precise and power-packed with intent and follow-through. Mr. Saradpon has a unique edge to his work, emanating physical prowess, great musicality, strength, sensuality and originality.
Slam, bam, thank you, ma'am! That's the way the entire evening of selections rolled out ~ One as exciting and fulfilling as the next. The musical selections ranged from Ed Sheeran, Justin Timberlake, Busta Rhymes, TLC, Madonna's "Vogue," Aaliyah, Christina Aguilera and Rihanna. A wide range of music, and you name it, they got all the tricks and tumbling in, the high leaps, pirouettes, back-flips, split leaps, in fabulous, clean, ever-changing tight formations,
Each one of the dancers held their own, striving and maintaining the fluid unison and sharpness in every piece, giving the innovative formations a vivid picture, moving gracefully between them. Sometimes funky, sometimes reggae, sometimes wildly intense, sometimes laid back, the nice variety of feels made it exciting from one moment to the next. The excellent soloists were often just breathtaking in their interpretation and delivery.
Several numbers featured the ladies, who all came across strong, powerful, sexy but tasteful, with attitude to spare, and when they danced the same steps as the men, it was like seeing the feminine side of the choreography come out to blend oh, so nicely with the strength of the men.
So many clever, different themes and statements were presented in such a novel way. The technically enhanced voguing in one number, reminiscent of the Billy Flynn fan number from "Chicago," a Backstreet Boys-type salute that captured your heart right off the bat and took off from there, a gorgeous interpretive solo where every word sung was emoted through the dancer's body, ending in a slow, heartfelt backbend, a wonderful piece where the dancers worked at easels on stage, finally combining all the art into one large collage, with lots of acrobatics, floor work and tumbling feats tastefully mixed in; there was really something to please everyone. For me, I couldn't get enough!
Slick and creative costuming as well. Plenty of glitter, glam, with vibrant colors and sharp styling. Great use of props. The lighting was top-notch throughout, as well.
It is so exciting to see the creativity that went into producing this one-hour showcase of explosive and felt-to-the-bone movement. Doesn't hurt that the musical selections were superb, also.
Again, I applaud Mr. Saradpon in his inclusiveness and genuine care taken with each and every dancer. It shows. This company has a bright future and I can't wait to see more of them! Bravo, once again, to Erik and his superb dancers for rockin' my boat and making quite a splash on the Dance Scene.
The rest of the festival continued for two more nights: Friday night, the 17th, 2018 Capezio A.C.E. Award winner Mary Grace McNally's Company performed her new full-length work When it Falls, and JA Collective debuted an excerpt from their new show before Rudy Abreu's The Overthinker on Saturday, January 18th.
If you want to get a taste of this incredibly entertaining Company, please go to www.formcreativeco.com; IG: @eriksaradpon; Youtube: @eriksaradpon, for more information.