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Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library

One of three dance presentations outdoors on the grounds of the Glendale Brand Library Saturdays in May. Free admission. Dance workshop each following Sunday, thru May 22

Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library Back in full swing, after Covid interruptions, is the Brand Associates Dance Series, always curated with love and care by Jamie Nichols, and organized by Art Librarian Erin Herzog on the grounds and at the beautiful Brand Library and Art Center.

On an absolutely perfect spring day the first in a series of three dance presentations was performed by the formidable Nickerson-Rossi dance company. The performance was Saturday, May 7, 2022, with a workshop with the Company on Sunday, May 8, 2022. These events are free and open to the public, made possible by the Brand Associates.

Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library

The President of the Brand Associates, Sponsor of the event, gave a lovely introduction, welcoming the audience and thanking others who were also responsible for the project; Caley Cannon, Senior Library, Arts & Culture Supervisor, Erin Herzog, Art Librarian and Photographer, and Jamie Nichols, Curator, Creator and Inspirer.

Small but mighty, this company gave a strong, meaningful and heartfelt performance. Technically difficult with a plethora of extraordinarily unique lifts, the pieces were each different in tone yet followed a theme throughout. The smoothness of the movements and tight coordination between the dancers made everything flow from beginning to end.

Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library Introduced individually in the beginning of the program by Michael Nickerson-Rossi, the Owner, Founder and Artistic Director/Choreographer of the company, the dancers who performed this first piece were Chad Allen Ortiz, Marissa Andresky, Samantha DeMarco and Hailee Whiddon.

The performance began on the street below the Brand House and Library with the dancers on the front section of the beautifully landscaped median strip that lines the street going west with tall palm trees reaching back. The dancers posed in arabesques and ballet positions, rotating around the circular area, moving to the music in between poses, then making their way back to the performance area.

Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library The first piece was divinely lyrical and brought the title to life. "Don't Let Go" was a testimony to caring, willpower, inner strength, positive energy, trust in each other and strength in unity. This was specifically choreographed for this location, and the space was utilized quite nicely. The dancers, barefoot, began standing in a straight line, holding hands. As they began to move, they never let go of each other. A haunting, andante violin melody begins and they begin intertwining, slipping under each others' arms, reaching, contracting, turning all while still holding hands, with constant, controlled movement between each pause as they hit positions and then slide into the next. The moving music, "The Poet Acts" by Henri Demarquette, Vanessa Benelli Mosell and Philip Glass, gave the dancers the emotions and feelings needed, expressed through their bodies. There were many lifts within the piece, and seemed to come out of nowhere, melding seamlessly with the movements; some initiated by the women, and very original and different. There was no letting go, only lifting each other up, in unity. The costumes, by Kirsten Raven Asturi, were filmy, flowing sundresses and pants in an off-white with a tinge of pink color, allowing maximum exposure of the movements and transitions. https://www.facebook.com/jamie.dee.nichols/videos/677434460029175/? Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library

For the second piece, we moved inside with the dancers, Chad Allen Ortiz and Heidi Buehler, as they performed a duet, "Don't Shoot!," to the familiar song "Bang Bang" by Frank Sinatra. On an inside patio, with walls made of round latticework, we peered through the holes, as they enacted the words to the song, taking us on a little voyage of their relationship, with a twist at the end. He promenades her around in the beginning and they playfully interact, with again, some stunning and different lifts and some acrobatics, giving a sense they had known each other since they were young, moved through a relationship, and things change... They dance passionately together, their technique is smooth and clean, and their lines are lovely. Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library

Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library

"Why Stupid?" is performed to "Somethin' Stupid," sung this time by two Sinatras, Frank and his daughter Nancy. It is playful right from the downbeat, and dancers Heidi Buehler, Samantha DeMarco and Chad Allen Ortiz get a chance to have some fun and let loose a little. The lighthearted routine pits the two ladies against each other, each vying for more attention from Chad, our "man in the middle." They are all having a ball, him taking turns flirting with each of them, as they dance in a joyful trio section with lots of stylized port de bras, in perfect unison. It's a delightful romp, where Chad Allen Ortiz shows off his technique, balance and flair, and they each have a blast doing it. Costuming by Kirsten Raven Asturi jazzes the two ladies up in completely pliable soft, shiny copper dresses that move wonderfully with the choreography. https://www.facebook.com/jamie.dee.nichols/videos/693888595220094/?Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library

"Roots," with music "La Terre Vue Du Ciel" by Armand Amar and dancers Marissa Andresky, Heidi Buehler, Samantha DeMarco, Chad Allen Ortiz and Hailee Whiddon, is a wonderful piece with many sections, using much of the area's surrounding architecture, keeping the energy high and focused. This piece was originally performed at the Sunnyland Estates in Palm Springs amid their gardens, hence the title and the dancers portraying "blooms." The dancers really show off their technique, agility and abilities here in solos, duets and groupings. From precise floorwork, controlled developpe's, penche's, leaps, grand jetes, overhead lifts, and more, to my favorite lift, done a few times in this piece, which I'd describe as doing a half-walkover and being smoothly picked right up into a lift, ending in a shoulder/sit position, or an entirely different end position. https://www.facebook.com/jamie.dee.nichols/videos/1418113915306307/?

Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library Costumes, again by Kirsten Raven Asturi are just beautiful; the ladies wearing all different earth colored leotards with cut-outs, each having a different pattern, and Chad in a fitted-to-a-T shorts/unitard in dark green.

The closing piece was joyful, delicious and nice and jazzy. Only a guy like Sinatra would be capable of accompanying Nickerson-Rossi's fine choreography singing "That's Life." It's another energetic message to enjoy the moments, and what better way to do that than to dance your heart and spirit out, and spread the love. The number builds and builds moving them back and forth and side to side playing to the audience, ending in a fast-paced flurry of grand jetes, front-split jumps, aerial cartwheels and the like. A crowd pleaser, for sure, and a perfect cap on the early evening. The sun was still shining brightly. https://www.facebook.com/jamie.dee.nichols/videos/973094570068693/?

Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library The wonderful dancers of the company are Marissa Andresky, Samantha DeMarco, Chad Allen Ortiz, Hailee Whiddon, and Heidi Buehler.

Looking forward to seeing this company perform again!Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library

Michael Nickerson-Rossi, established his company, Nickerson-Rossi Dance in 2012 and in 2016 it became a non-profit 501©3 organization. Also that year, he served as the Creative Director of Dance at the Palm Springs Annenberg Theater in California. He's had a very busy decade. He founded his festival in California, "The Palm Springs Dance Festival" in 2015, running it through 2019. In 2016/17 he served as Creative Director of Dance and resident dance company for the Uptown Knauer Performing Arts Center in Chester County, Pennsylvania. 2018/2019, he built a modern/contemporary dance program at Princeton Ballet in New Jersey. This program transitioned dancers from ballet to contemporary dance preparing them for the college and professional environments, In addition, he becomes adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University Peabody Institute (2018 - current). In 2020 he became partners with Riverside County Office of Education. Michael teaches professional development programs to district teachers and extends dance programs to over 420,000 students county-wide! He also outgrew his original "Palm Springs Dance Festival" which is now the "Palm Springs International Dance Festival." This festival is a platform for all Nickerson-Rossi Dance programming, from education, community engagement, professional development and professional dance programming. and last but not least, he founded his dance school, "Palm Springs Dance Academy" in California.

Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library Chad Allen Ortiz, also the Executive Director of the company, assists Michael Nickerson-Rossi, is on the dance faculty and is the single male dancer in the company. A very precise and solid performer. He seems to have mastered any lifts in existence, and is the foundation or anchor for most of the group poses and in moments in motion, whether initiating a lift or polishing the last beat of a section.

Jamie Nichols is a force to be reckoned with, in that her background as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and promoter has always been focused on advancing Dance in it's many forms into the mainstream of entertainment for all to enjoy and experience. Ms. Nichols is the recipient of 6 Lester Horton Dance Awards for Outstanding Achievement, The Lester Horton Furthering the Visibility of Dance Award and the Dance Resource Center of Los Angeles Meritorious Award for Outstanding & Extensive Years of Service. As Executive Producer of Celebrate Dance for 10 years, she presented 70 dance companies at the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale, California to critical acclaim. She has served on multiple boards, committees, panels for grants awardees' and mentored dance companies. She has also been an adjudicator for competitions, publicist for dance companies and produced a variety of dance events in Los Angeles. Recently, her work "Celestial Spirit" was commissioned by the Nickerson-Rossi Dance Company for the Palm Springs Dance Festival held at the Annenberg Theatre in Palm Springs. "Celestial Spirit" was chosen as the audience favorite and was performed in Philadelphia in August 2018.Review: THE BRAND ASSOCIATES DANCE SERIES SHOWCASES THE CAPTIVATING NICKERSON-ROSSI DANCE at The Glendale Brand Library

The Nickerson-Rossi Dance Company is an internationally renowned contemporary dance company. The company engages, inspires, and ignites the senses by enriching the lives of artists and enthusiasts alike through quality dance programming, education, and outreach. Michael Nickerson-Rossi's choreography is filled with complex intricacies that unravel through a beautifully orchestrated mixture of artistic movement and emotional freedom.

Photos courtesy of George Simian, Jamie Nichols, Erin Herzog and Nickerson-Rossi Dance

The Brand Associates Dance Series is Sponsored by the Brand Associates.

For more information: @nickersonrossidance/https://www.facebook.com/NickersonRossi

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