The Fall for Dance festival caters to a wide range of audiences, young and old, rich and not so rich, dance admirers and even critics. The aim is to create a context for discussion, discovery, and enthusiasm for a diverse audience by offering low ticket prices and featuring international dance. This Program 1 of the 2013 Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center featured four different dance companies from four different locations. This year’s festival will present twenty different dance companies and three world premiers.
The curtains opened with the Richard Alston Dance Company performing The Devil in Detail with the live music of Scott Joplin played by pianist Jason Ridgway. Each of the five women wore a simple dress with a flower in her hair. Each of the five men wore striped shirts with light pants. The beginning was quite entertaining. The first dancer was incredible! Her body language made the dance a great joy to watch. There was a springy feel to this dance produced by the synergy of the costumes, the light dance movements, and lovely music. With their contemporary ballet like movements, spiraling turns, and directional changes, the dancers really danced their hearts out. Some parts were even funny and it definitely seemed as though the audience and even the dancers were having a great time. Some people say it was lengthy and repetitive, but that did not detract from the beautiful nature of the dance.
Esencia de Tango choreographed by Gabriel Misse and Analia Centurion was definitely a jaw dropping performance. The duo, along with two other dancers, has created this performance to be romantic, elegant, theatrical, and even a bit humorous. To see the human body in unexpected ways evokes a great deal of emotions. Their agility and swiftness on their feet is quite amazing and seems impossible as well. The performance also includes rock n roll by Elvis Presley, which was somewhat out of line with the rest of the performance. But even that was quite exciting. The last dance by the duet was undeniably their best performance as they took on whiplash-inducing footwork. How they move like that is a wonder. It is remarkable how music can bring laughter, joy, and awe all at once.
As tango transitioned to ballet, there was a whole change in the mood. Justin Peck’s The Bright Motion was one of the commissioned premiers of this festival and was performed by Sara Mearns and Casey Herd. If one searches for beauty, one can definitely find it with the body of a ballet dancer. Mearns was absolutely stunning. Her spine structure, her power limbs, and her lines were absolutely beautiful – there just isn’t any other word for it. As she danced through the performance it was easy to detect her ease, precision, boldness, and grace. She and Herd partnered well together and the intimacy, passion, confidence, and trust was quite visible. The music and the each dance movement paired so well together that is was truly unforgettable. The only disappointment was that the performance only lasted eight minutes. But all eight minutes were memorable.
DanceBrazil’s Fe do Sertao by Jelon Vierira closed out the show with a bang. The first thing to notice was the lighting and the darkness. It gave a sense mystery and other worldly experience. It transported you from the seats of the theatre to a place far away in Brazil. The dance came out like a story – a story of suffering and torture and torment that ended in happiness with the come of rain. Every moment done by the dancers was so strong and powerful. There was very little subtleness in the performance of each piece. It was thrilling to see the dancers dance like hell in unison.
In this program, all four dances had one thing in common – they expressed joy. Many emotions were conveyed by the dance movements, but the energy of the dancers along with the music certainly produced enjoyment. If this show was any indicator, the 2013 Fall for Dance festival is going to be marvelous.