Final program for the Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center and the final of our three outings. This time Peter, rtb, and I were in the first row balcony. I think of the three places we sat my favorite was the grand tier.
The pre-show was an interview with Tory Dobrin, Artistic Director of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. He was funny and engaging, as are probably most of the dancers with the Trocks. He comes up with the names for the dancers (such as Ida Nevasayneva) and they do recycle the names. They have traveled most of the world and have performed in every state except Wyoming. The troupe is familiar enough to most audiences (they know what they’re getting when they buy a ticket) so there is no longer the shock value when the male performers dressed as females first come out. Men dancing en pointe still gets huge applause as it did that night.
Dobrin said that male energy is different so they don’t deny the maleness of the performers. (In the Paris Opera Ballet all roles used to be performed by women.) Since the 1990s the Trocks have gone backwards and do archival works that no one does anymore. Dobrin is more interested in the intense Russian style.
Charles Ludlam originally had an idea for an all-male company and they started at La MaMa. In the beginning they were performers who had to learn to dance ballet. Now they’re all professional dancers who can already dance en pointe.
The Trocks have not been to India or Saudi Arabia – there was an offer to perform in Dubai but their Ministry of Culture deemed the Trocks unacceptable.
The interview took place in the Grand Tier Lobby and it wasn’t the best location. The room upstairs that they’ve used before has chairs but they didn’t put chairs out in the lobby. There are a lot of elderly people attending these shows and they were very uncomfortable standing for those 45 minutes.
Choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Music by Claude Debussy, “Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune”
Additional music by Nitin Sawhney
Costumes by Hussein Chalayan
Lighting by Adam Carrée
Premiere: London – 13 October 2009
Dancers: James O’Hara and Daisy Phillips
Faun opens with a forest backdrop, lighting on the floor that looks like leaves, and O’Hara curled up and almost naked. Slowly he wakes and steadies himself to the Debussy. Phillips then has her solo (dressed in a flowy top and underwear) to Sawhney. Back to Debussy and there is synchronized dancing, acrobatic moves, and just plain rolling around on the floor as they become one and all the while maintaining the allusion that they are animals. A reinvention of Nijinsky’s famous ballet, the piece is simply the beauty of movement.
Artistic Directors, Lillian Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett
Choreography by Richard Siegal
Music by Oscar Peterson, “Mumbles” and “My One and Only Love”
Billie Holiday, “On the Sunny Side of the Street”
Ella Fitzgerald, “All of Me”
Glenn Miller, “Taps Miller”
Costumes by Rita DiLorenzo and Richard Siegal
Lighting by Kindred Gottlieb
Production Manager: Burke Wilmore
Premiere: NYC – 6 June 2012
Dancers: Lillian Barbeito, Tina Finkelman Berkett, Miguel Perez, Guzmán Rosado, and Andrew Wojtal
Dancing to jazz with a backdrop that changed color with every song. The dancers were in street clothes and danced alone and together showing how movement and jazz go hand-in-hand. Wojtal lipsynched Ella and was very playful with the audience. The dances were a lot of fun to watch.
There was some confusion for me. “Taps Miller” is a Count Basie Orchestra song (written by one member of the orchestra for Taps Miller) and I don’t know of any other versions. I’m sure others exist but I can’t find a version by Glenn Miller. The beginning of the song sounded very much like Glenn Miller and I can’t remember if it actually went into “Taps Miller.” What I do know is that O2Joy ended with an orchestral version of “Someone to Watch Over Me” – beautifully danced with one couple slow dancing upstage and downstage one woman dancing alone with a male dancer mimicking her moves without her seeing him until the end when he comes up behind her and hugs her.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Artistic Director, Tory Dobrin
Black Swan Pas de Deux
Choreography after Marius Petipa
Music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Lighting by Kip March
Production Manager: Isabel Martinez
Odile: Yakatarina Verbosovich (Chase Johnsey)
Prince Siegfried: Innokenti Smoktunmuchsky (Carlos Hopuy)
Von Rothbart: Vyacheslav Legupski (Paolo Cervellera)
Odette: Sonia Leftova (Boysie Dikobe)
The Trocks are very funny while remaining very respectful. Odile’s entrance as she is revealed from behind Von Rothbart’s cape is a gasp moment because it’s so well done. Odette never quite makes an entrance but is first introduced partway out of the wings, bawling, as she is chased off-stage. Everytime she tries to make an entrance she is pushed or pulled off-stage. During final bows she is finally allowed to take one short bow and then is ushered off-stage again.
The dance includes all that you want including the 32 fouettés in the coda. It is a beautiful pas de deux and nothing anyone does can take away from that.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Artistic Director, Robert Battle
Associate Artistic Director, Masazumi Chaya
Choreography by Rennie Harris
Assistant to the Choreographer: Nina Flagg
Music by Dennis Ferrer, Raphael Xavier
Costumes by Jon Taylor
Lighting by Stephen Arnold
Production Manager: Kristin Colvin-Young
Assistant Stage Manager: Nicole A. Walters
Premiere: NYC – 1 December 2011
Dancers: Daniel Harder, Ghrai Devore, Briana Reed, Fana Tesfagiorgis, Sarah Daley, Jacqueline Green, Demetia Hopkins, Belen Pereyra, Samuel Lee Roberts, Sean A. Carmon, Yannick Lebrun, Marcus Jarrell Willis, Vernard J. Gilmore, and Jeroboam Bozeman
This piece is a celebration of life in the black community – dancing, music, church – and then the every day grief of too many deaths. But there is always hope as long as you have community.
The company is dressed in street clothes and start in a closed circle and open up tearfully and joyfully and then back into the circle. Although there is no backdrop, the location feels like a schoolyard or the space between buildings in the projects. It is a glorious piece.
By Carene Lydia Lopez