Second program of Fall for Dance at New York City Center. (First night here.) This night was 90 minutes with one intermission (which is how long the other nights would be) compared to a 2-hour program with two intermissions on night one.
First dance was X (Dix) by Côté Danse.
Photo by Sasha Onyshchenko of Côté Danse from the 2023 Fall for Dance page.
Artistic Director/Choreographer: Guillaume Côté
Music: Son Lux
Staging: Anisa Tejpar
Costume Designer: Yso South
Lighting: Simon Rossiter
Technical Director: Jean-Hughes Rochette
Producer: Etienne Lavigne
Premiere: August 4, 2021 at Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur in Quebec, Canada
Dancers: Martha Hart, Natasha Poon Woo, Kelly Shaw, Williem Sadler, Evan Webb
This dance was a difficult for me to understand (not that I thoroughly understood all the others) but the YouTube trailer that I linked below helpfully tells me that this is the story of Ulysses and his desire to return home. (The Playbill used to include a summary or explanation of the dances but no longer do.)
Special shout-out to Simon Rossiter and the lighting because it created a set design that was not physically there. Also, the lights also felt like another dancer on the stage.
The dancers wore tanks, shorts, and long pants. The music was bass heavy and dark. Moves were frenetic in addition to smooth moves – there were solos and duets in addition to the ensemble dancing together. One male did mime moves, like a string coming out of his chest and pulling himself up. Another move was a woman with her legs wrapped around a man’s neck as he spun her around.
All YouTube links are to trailers or portions of the dance mentioned above:
The second dance was by a Fall for Dance favorite, Sara Mearns. This time she danced solo while bass-baritone Davóne Tines sang MASS by Caroline Shaw.
Photo by Christopher Duggan of Sara Mearns & Davóne Tines in Mass taken from the 2023 Fall for Dance page.
Artistic Director, Vail Dance Festival: Damian Woetzel
Choreographer: Bobbi Jene Smith
Music: Caroline Shaw
Lighting Designer: Brandon Stirling Baker
Stage Manager: Betsy Ayer
Premiere: August 8, 2022 at Vail Dance Festival in Vail, CO
Dancer: Sara Mearns
Singer: Davóne Tines
The only music was Tines’ beautiful voice, which filled the room. Both were dressed in black – Mearns in a black slip and barefoot and Tines in a black sleeveless t-shirt and black pants and barefoot. There was grace throughout. Mearns needs very little to convey grace and beauty – her moves say it all.
The last dance was actually four dances, combining flamenco with ballet and modern dance. Sergio Bernal Dance Company performed Farruca, The Three Cornered Hat, Orgía, Folia of Gentlemen, and Soleá X Bulerias.
Photo by Massimo Danza of Sergio Bernal from the 2023 Fall for Dance page.
Artistic Directors: Sergio Bernal & Ricardo Cue
Lighting Designer: Felipe Ramos
Sound Technician: Victor Tome
Stage Manager: Elena Sanz
Farruca, The Three Cornered Hat
Choreographer: Antonio Ruiz Soler
Music: Manuel de Falla
Dancer: Sergio Bernal
Bernal stood upstage wrapped in his red matador cape. There is a big chord and with a lot of drama, he takes off the cape and spins it around himself. There are spins and leaps and flamenco all to recorded music and all very dramatic. At one point he drops the cape and continues to dance.
Choreographer: Sergio Bernal
Music: Joaquín Turina
Dancers: Sergio Bernal, Jose Manuel Benitez, Miriam Mendoza
Flamenco with two men and one woman. Bernal leaves the stage and Mendoza wants to follow but Benitez in red convinces her to stay and dance.
Folia of Gentlemen
Choregraphers: Sergio Bernal & Joaquín de Luz
Music: Folia Española
Dancers: Sergio Bernal and Herman Cornejo
Bernal reenters and chases the couple away. This is a ballet with Bernal and Cornejo. Pure ballet in ballet shoes with all the leaps and turns you want to see and a pas de deux. Cornejo entered to huge applause and, of course, he was brilliant.
Soleá X Bulerias
Choreographers: Sergio Bernal & Jose Manuel Alvarez
Music: Daniel Jurado
Musicians: Daniel Jurado (guitar), Roberto Lorente (vocals), Javier Valdunciel (percussion)
Finally live musicians – Lorente’s vocals first and then Jurado’s guitar and Valdunciel’s box drum join in. I think flamenco is best danced with live music because then you have the play between musicians and dancer, which may or may not be improvised but I always hope that it is. This is when Bernal really shone. Nothing beats the drama of flamenco.
By Carene Lydia Lopez