REVIEW: Fall For Dance Festival 2012 at New York City Center: Program 3
On January 27, 1881 Elena Kunikova and Marius Petipa premiered the Grand Pas from Paquita. In 2012 at the Fall For Dance Festival, over a century later, the piece still brings sequined glamour and romanticism. These are the patterns we all know and love: the half circle created by a cleanly positioned corps, the strong soloist, the princely male partner entering with gusto. Originally aiming to crowd-please, Paquita’s structure is deliberately built around 4 solo movements. But where once these solos were owned by the beloved Russian ballerinas Paquita‘s solos are now done by the cream of Ballet West.
The piece, very simply stated, reminds us of our roots. The footwork is clean and uncomplicated. While the musicality is perhaps the most important element for success, there is a notable patience in the music. There is space to complete movement where in more contemporary work transitions are quicker and often complicated. Ballet West’s solo women stand up boldly to the challenge of the spotlight, but there is one who triumphs overall: Sayaka Ohtaki, whose coy charisma charms the audience to cheers.
We all nod our heads and chuckle at ourselves. Oh, the decisions we make against our sensible judgement.
Often dances fall victim to a problem of good editing, when ideas are not distilled to their highest impact. TU Dance’s High Heel Blues demonstrates exemplary editing, a clear focus and performers so cool they can’s help but pull it off. Tuck and Patti provide the score, which confesses the conflict of heels or no heels, a classic wardrobe dilemma. A duet between Yusha Marie Sorzano and Uri Sands depicts the shoe salesman and the customer in a sensual back-and-forth debate. Without mimicking the text theatrically, the choreography cleverly matches the seductive mood of the voice. Sporadically, a lift or slide echoes the spoken sentiment, particularly when Sands flips Sorzano upside-down to reveal the distressed feet. We all nod our heads and chuckle at ourselves. Oh, the decisions we make against our sensible judgement.
Nan Jombang challenges the definition of dance with Tarian Malam (Night Dances) and the resistance from the house was tangible. A 2012 creation that uses drum and narrative to share the experience of a 2009 earthquake in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia. In the beginning, a single woman is illuminated sitting near a drum. She sings, her voice piercing the theater. It is enthralling at first, but as it continues and a man joins her, it lags. Soon the stage space is filled with 8 traditional performers, whose dance is in actuality an intimate relationship to 8 drums. For long stretches of time they act slow and sparsely, a jump here, a step there. When suddenly they explode in wild percussion, the women swinging their long hair to the rhythm and shouting when compelled, the environment is jarring. It is akin to the release of a build-up of pressure: an earthquake.
Find our Fall for Dance Festival 2012 reviews here.
In an effort to look beyond what we find typically entertaining, perhaps understanding Jombang’s incorporation of martial arts is key. The approach to movement is much less about showmanship and much more about physical readiness. Much of Tarian Malam feels like a personal meditation, and we do not like to be kept outside the door. But there is something, although elusive, that is valuable about watching this group of people in ceremony.
This moment is the height of Fall For Dance, because it is a contagious love and they give it and give it.
Nothing could have ended the night with more joy than the Moiseyev Dance Company. In the states it seems very easy to be jealous of a national dance that everyone knows, that symbolizes the history of place and celebrates the uniqueness of a particular people. Moiseyev selected 4 dances by Igor Moiseyev that represent Russian culture. The Kalmyk Dance featured three men whose bird like gestures and quick feet celebrate the animals near the Volga River. The Tatarotchka, representative of the Tartars, is a flirtatious and jubilant chase as two men try to keep up with a sassy lady in traditional costume. Next they show us the Bessarbia Gypsies, who are adorned in a palette of bright colors and play a seduction game through voluptuous movement that entices the men and bursts into an all out dance “frenzy.”
And last, the Suite of Moldavian Dances fills the stage with these glowing performers in a culiminating “Hora.” Arms linked around one another, they stay in perfect sync. They push one another, they build each other up. This moment is the height of Fall For Dance, because it is a contagious love and they give it and give it.