BWW Reviews: MIX-TAPE: THE Z-SIDES Enchants at Actor's Fund Arts Center

By: Sep. 29, 2014

The eye-studded tail of Peacock drifted through the abstract air, alit with painting. Evocative as the palette of the late artist Michael Placenti, whose work befitted the evocative, primordial movements of the first dance of the evening, Peacock allured.

From its outset, Mix-Tape: The Z-Sides invited viewers to contemplate the ageless, creative form of dance, stunningly engaged in multidisciplinary juxtaposition. The projected, motionless form of painting captured a multicolored strobe light, crystallizing the creative moment.

The daughter of Placenti, Cecly, also among the dancers, choreographed this Six Degrees Dance work herself, as well as the enlightening Pastel Abstract. In collaboration with dancers Kristen Klein, Annastasia Mercedes, Rachel Russel, and Rebecca Ross (in Pastel Abstract, Kristen Klein, Jeremiah Stanfield, Rachel Russel), all inspired with surging upward movements, captivating the well-attended Actor's Fund Arts Center theatre.

Through her fascinating choreography, Cecly Placenti, a dance teacher at Grant Avenue Elementary School in Bronx, NY, and dance critic with Ballet-Dance Magazine, exhibited spiritual resurrection in the art of human movement as from the archaic past, ever imbued with modern potency.

What intrigued especially about Peacock, also a special presage to the originality of the two-hour, nine-act show as a whole, was the use of unknown music, hearkening to the original truth of dance, music, and painting as rooted in prehistory, and as then, and now, best united.

In this respect, modern dance becomes an atavistic catalyst. In such a time as today, the public imagination must constantly revivify the abstract arts, as means to stimulate imagination, and thus, creative resolutions to ubiquitous and perennial tragedies in both domestic, and greater social spheres.

At once, from the most basic level to the loftiest aspiration, when appreciating the art of dance, authentic feeling ensues. Dance is emotionally provocative, because it seamlessly affirms the intense exposure, and full-bodied requirements of the creative process.

So, as such immense feeling ensued in Perchance to Dream, a wildly magical portrayal of transcendent love, and natural humanity, and harmonic variance in three movements. Firstly, in The Sleepwalker, choreographed by Alyssa Caliendo and Micheline Heal, Mic-Mash Productions proved masterful.

The music was simply perfect. Arvö Part drew all ears to a note, as "Fur Alina Part I" resounded against a moonlight projection. Black, and white, the costumes of the dancers merged with the tasteful grace of sweet remembrance, intoned as through gentle, airy movement. And in that night, love was regained, if only within a wounded, fearful heart.

Enter The Dream. Choreographed by Micheline Heal, in collaboration with twelve other artists, Perchance to Dream opened into a fascinating triumph of set design, costume, and narrative. Micheline Heal, who conceived, and directed Perchance to Dream, also graced the Actor's Fund Arts Center stage with Alyssa Caliendo as lead dancer.

She spun illumined, only to fall inward, embracing the soul of night in a union of body and time. Through traditional Chinese water sleeves, Heal was cast off, and delicately carried, as by a winged, angelic mystery. Lastly, The Dream presages Awakening with Heal perched above another body on high, as in royal matriarchal regalia.

Finally, the traditional, and antediluvian gave way to the modern, and post-modern. Technophile relishes breathed through Mirror Duet, also choreographed, and performed by Micheline Heal, who danced beside recurrent cohort Alyssa Caliendo with a charged fervency as the apt music, "Limelight" by Apparat boomed tempestuously.

Sporting neon lime, and pink magenta skin-tight bodysuits, Heal and Caliendo exchanged movements oppressed by an exaggerated commercial ambiance, enacted through dualistic color schemes. Mirror Duet danced an earnest take on the artifices of the computer age, as the splayed legs of Heal, and Caliendo shaped asemic letters, desperately and upside-down as the modern world, and against the split image façade of synthetic light.

Overall, while Mich-Mash Productions and Six Degrees Dance were not without their occasional missteps, and processional admissions, each and every last dancer warmed the early fall night with haunting insight, and nuanced brilliance.


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