Back to New York City Center and the second night of Fall for Dance. Our teacher for the pre-show dance lesson was Amy Young from the faculty (and former dancer) of the Paul Taylor Dance Company. She was very enthusiastic and very encouraging. We started with warm-ups and then she taught us moves that would see later that evening. There were twists of the body with legs lunging and arms sweeping up or down. Elbows akimbo (Paul Taylor was swimmer and liked elbows facing out) when doing a floor lunge. He also liked jumps (especially for women), so we skipped jump across the floor and added little jumps at the end. We made two lines and each person crossed each other as they ran across the floor. And Young taught us how to fall on the floor – knee first. We took all the moves and created a combo and felt like real dancers.
This time I was alone and sitting in row D center seats in the Grand Tier. A most excellent seat. The audience this night would go quiet as the curtain rose but during the first piece there were a lot of coughers and one very annoying sneezer. Constant sneezing for the first ten minutes or so interrupted only by loudly blowing his/her nose. The audience was laughing and I felt badly for the dancers.
The night began with Pam Tanowitz Dance (Pam Tanowitz, Artistic Director) doing an excerpt from New Work for Goldberg Variations. I do not know about you but I am getting tired of the Goldberg Variations being used for dances. Yes, Johann Sebastian Bach’s work is beautiful and sometimes seems to be made for dance, but enough already. The pianist, Simone Dinnerstein was center stage. There was a single row of lights against the backdrop about halfway down. The dancers – both male and female – were dressed in color blocked striped sleeveless tunics with loose pants. All were mesh-like with cloth behind them. They started with tentative steps that grew bolder as the dance went on. At one point, one of the dancers shared the bench with Dinnerstein, facing the opposite way, and tapped and moved her toes to the music. In the final movement one dancer was solo dressed in a gold lamé full body sleeveless jumpsuit. Another pretty piece. The dancers were Maggie Cloud, Jason Collins, Christine Flores, Lindsey Jones, Maile Okamura, Melissa Toogood, and Netta Yerushalmy. The piece was conceived by Dinnerstein and Tanowitz; choreography by Tanowitz; costumes by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung; and lighting by Davison Scandrett. The premiere was October 6, 2017 at Reynolds Industries Theater in Durham, NC.
After a short pause the curtain rose on Justin Peck & Patricia Delgado (Real life partners and he is the resident choreographer for the NYCB – only the second person to hold that title – in addition to still dancing with the company. She left the Miami City Ballet after almost 20 years to be closer to Peck.) to thunderous applause. There was no backdrop. Instead we saw the back wall of the stage with all the pipes and wrapped cables. Peck wore a colorful short-sleeved button down shirt, black jeans, black socks, and white sneakers and Delgado wore a mustard shorts jumpsuit with scalloped edges on the bottom of the shorts and ruffled collar around the halter neck with white socks and sneakers. Since the costumes are listed as being by Peck and Delgado, I would not be surprised to find out that they took these clothes out of their own closets. This time there were rows of lights on either side in front of the back wall. (Lighting by Brandon Stirling Baker.) The music was by The National. Peck and Delgado dance in their video for “Dark Side of the Gym,” so Peck expanded on that to create the choreography for Sleep Well Beast, which was commissioned by NY City Center and this was the world premiere. The video was the first time they danced together and this performance was their first live dance together. For “Guilty Party” they were both on stage but not dancing together. They do not acknowledge each other and sometimes one left the other to dance solo. All done beautifully. For “Dark Side of the Gym” there was lovely chemistry as they came together in a joyful love story.
During intermission a woman who had been sitting further up came down to sit in the empty seat next to me. I was hoping to have the seat remain empty and I especially did not want to have a conversation with a stranger at the time. (I know I am sounding cranky but I just like to digest and let the experience flow over me.)
Next was Gemma Bond Dance and another world premiere NY City Center Commission, Inner Voices. Artistic Director Bond choreographed the dance, which was another light dance with lots of duets, leaps, rolls on the floor, etc with the company in colorful clothing. The men wore tank tops and what looked like underwear showing off their muscular legs. The women wore colorful leotards with two wearing only half a tutu, one with a full tutu, and one with no tutu. Music was by Sergei Prokofiev; costumes by Sylvia Rood, and lighting by Serena Wong. The dancers were Cassandra Trenary, James Whiteside, Zimmi Coker, Erez Milatin, Stephanie Williams, Catherine Hurlin, and Tyler Maloney. I wish had more to say but there was not anything exceptional or objectionable about the piece. For me, it just was.
The night ended with a very worthy tribute to Paul Taylor by the Paul Taylor Dance Company. They performed Promethean Fire, which had its premiere on June 6, 2002 at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC. “Promethean Fire affirms that in the wake of a cataclysmic event, the human spirit may find renewal and emerge triumphant.” It is a dance for current times and was touching because I am sure it spoke to the company deeply in the wake of Taylor’s death just two months ago. Everything about the dance was breathtaking. The music (Johann Sebastian Bach orchestrated by Leopold Stokowski – Toccato & Fugue in D minor, Prelude in E-flat minor, and Chorale Prelude BWV 680) began before the curtain rose and people continued to talk until the curtain was up. I do not know why an audience does not realize the performance has begun when the music starts. The dancers wore black velvet jumpsuits with satin chevrons cut into them. The men’s jumpsuits were like overalls over bare chests and the women had halter tops and all wore black headbands. It was a lot of fun to see the moves that Young had taught us in the first minutes of the dance. Obviously, the dancers performed them with more grace and speed then we achieved. Also, there were other moves interspersed with the moves we had been taught. I did notice the knees first when they did their falls. The dance was erotic at times with men and women rolling over each other and then the men carrying the women – sometimes on their shoulders. The piece was very powerful and built up while you sat on the edge of your seat. The dancers were Michael Trusnovec, Parisa Khobdeh, Robert Kleinendorst, Michelle Fleet, Sean Mahoney, Eran Bugge, Laura Halzack, Jamie Rae Walker, Michael Apuzzo, Michael Novak (Artistic Director), Heather McGinley, George Smallwood, Christina Lynch Markham, Madelyn Ho, Kristin Draucker, Lee Duveneck, Alex Clayton, and Devon Louis. Choreography was by Paul Taylor; costumes by Santo Loquasto; and lighting by Jennifer Tipton.
Images are taken from the internet:
By Carene Lydia Lopez