Our last dance lesson would not be until Sunday, so this night we were just here for the dance and it was probably my favorite night of the five. Night three had more empty seats than the other nights but I chalked that up to the deluge we had on Wednesday. This night I also saw empty seats, though not as many as the night before. I think more people chose to go to the Friday instead of the Thursday performance.
The program started with Limón Dance Company in Suite from A Choreographic Offering. As always, photo was taken from the 2023 Fall for Dance page. This photo of the Limón Dance Company is by Allison Armfield.
Artistic Director: Dante Puleio
Choreographer: José Limón
Music: Johann Sebastian Bach
Staging: Logan Frances Kruger
Rehearsal Assistant: Savannah Spratt
Costume Designer: Caitlin Taylor
Lighting Designer: William Brown
Stage Manager: Bill Schaffner
Production Manager: Louise Brownsberger
Premiere: August 15, 1964 at American Dance Festival in New London, CT
Dancers: The Company, Joey Columbus, Frances Lorraine Samson, Natalie Clevenger, Mariah Gravelin, Johnson Guo, Nicholas Ruscica, Jessica Sgambelluri, Eric Parra, Savannah Spratt
The dance started with an overture before the curtain rose. It was another bare stage but it was lit up by the different brightly colored bodysuits worn by both the men and the women. Everyone was barefoot and their moves were ballet-like for modern dance or maybe modern dance-like for ballet. But unlike most ballet, there were many different body types. The dancers emitted a joy and lightness that was reminiscent of Mark Morris’ company. The dance started with the Company and then Columbus and Samson each had a solo. Clevenger, Gravelin, Guio, Ruscica, and Sgambelluri danced together for the fourth section and the dance finished with Parra and Spratt in a pas de deux. Another wonderful start to a wonderful evening.
All YouTube or Vimeo links are trailers or portions of the dances summarized above it. https://vimeo.com/364403413
The second dance was my favorite performance of the night. Birmingham Royal Ballet dancing Interlinked. Photo by Tristram Kenton of the Birmingham Royal Ballet taken from the 2023 Fall for Dance page.
Artistic Director: Carlos Acosta
Choreographer: Juliano Nunes
Music: Luke Howard
Assistant to the Choreographer: Éve-Marie Dalcourt
Lighting Designer: Tom Visser
Stage Manager: Eliska Robben
Premiere: June 23, 2022 at Birmingham Hippodrome in Birmingham, UK
Dancers: Principals: Tzu-Chao Chou, Celine Gittens, Miki Mizutani, Lachlan Monaghan, Yaoquian Shang, Tyrone Singleton
First Soloists: Yu Kurihara, Beatrice Parma
First Artists: Gabriel Anderson, Reina Fuchigami, Sofia Linares, Lucy Waine
Artists: Enrique Bejarano Vidal, Eric Pinto Cata, Matilde Rodrigues, Javier Rojas, Shuailun Wu
Again, there was an overture. When the curtain rose, there were men and women all in tank tops and calf-length tulle skirts in various shades of beige and brown. Like most ballet companies, the men and women are all of a certain shape. But like (I think) all the ballet we saw this season, there is diversity in the races and ethnicities of the dancers. Because all the dancers were dressed the same, I immediately looked at their feet and noticed that the women were all wearing pointe shoes and the men were wearing regular ballet slippers. So even though they were both doing a lot of the same moves, the women were spinning en pointe and the men were spinning on bent toes. So some things never change. It did make me miss Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo all the more and wish that they would appear at Fall for Dance again. Watching these dancers was watching pure beauty. And when the men danced as duos, it was a warrior beauty (an expression I think I just made up). The entire ballet was ethereal and (again) beauty and I could take my eyes away.
Finishing the night was a Fall for Dance favorite, Michelle Dorrance. This was the world premiere of The Center Will Not Hold by Ephrat Asherie & Michelle Dorrance. Photo by Steven Pisano of Ephrat Asherie & Michelle Dorrance taken from the 2023 Fall for Dance page.
Creator and Directors: Ephrat Asherie and Michelle Dorrance
Choreographers: Ephrat Asherie, Manon Bal, Tomoe “Beasty” Carr, Michelle Dorrance, Fritzlyn Hector, Donnetta “Lil Bit” Jackson, Richie Maguire, Mike Manson, Charles “Lil Buck” Riley, Matthew “Megawatt” West
Music: Donovan Dorrance
Live Percussion: John Angeles
Artistic Advisors: Brenda Bufalino, Buddha Stretch
Costume Facilitator: Amy Page
Lighting Designer: Kathy Kaufman
Sound Designer and Production Manager: Christopher Marc
Stage Manager: Maddie Kunnert
Dancers: John Angeles, Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie, Manon Bal, Tomoe “Beasty” Carr, Michelle Dorrance, Fritzlyn Hector, Donnetta “Lil Bit” Jackson, Richie Maguire, Mike Manson, Charles “Lil Buck” Riley, Matthew “Megawatt” West
Dance Captain: Manon Bal
Swing: Eriko Jimbo
This time there was a wood floor covering the entire stage. But for the first piece, Asherie and Dorrance, both in sneakers, did a series of herky-jerky movements playing off each other in a small downstage rectangle created by the light. Angeles walks into the center of the floor as Asherie and Dorrance walk backwards until they meet him. Then the ensemble enters in what I can only call controlled chaos. There were solos under spotlights while others would dance in other parts of the stage. Angeles was drumming upstage. Then he walks onto the floor wearing a drum and Dorrance finally comes out in tap shoes and they play with and against each other. Then she tap dances with others. More controlled chaos with various hip hop moves until it ends. One of the dancers was jookin’ as well as Lil Buck, who blew away the Fall for Dance audience the few times he has performed. Then I looked at the program and it was Lil Buck. He could have his own stage but he decided to be part of this great ensemble instead.
Unfortunately, I cannot find any video of the dance. https://youtu.be/f7UiTj2sI00
By Carene Lydia Lopez