REVIEW: Fall For Dance Festival 2012 at New York City Center: Program 4
Program 4 of the 2012 Fall For Dance Festival at New York City Center featured live music for all four companies presented, breathing new life into the half point of the two week dance sprint. The curtain opens on a solo by Shantala Shivalingappa, a fascinating torchbearer of the traditional Indian dance style of Kuchipudi. Shivalingappa is famous for her physical storytelling.
I first saw her in a black box theater that allowed me the privilege of catching every switching glance, every curled finger and every slight smile. Each detail carries great significance in this tradition, and it is through the minute exactness that a story is felt. For Fall for Dance, that story is one of Shiva Ganga. Shiva, the program notes, is the Lord of Dance whose dance sustains the Universe. Ganga is the Goddess of the River Ganges, known for grace and fluidity.
Shiva Ganga looks at the two natures of Shiva and Ganga through deliberate motifs and energy shifts. She flutters her hands into a flower above her head and lets it dissolve. She leaps sideways with the force of a battle. She covers all ground.
While I miss the closeness of the stage from my previous encounter with this work, a more bird’s-eye view allows me to focus on the greater use of space and line that Shivalingappa employs. In addition, I cannot help but focus on the line of four musicians who are so connected to each step they may as well be one body with the dancer. Their music is intrinsically woven with her narrative, making the piece feel whole. Shiva Ganga looks at the two natures of Shiva and Ganga through deliberate motifs and energy shifts. She flutters her hands into a flower above her head and lets it dissolve. She leaps sideways with the force of a battle. She covers all ground.
Live piano performed by Richard Rodgers accompanied Pacific Northwest Ballet in the pas de deux from Carousel (A Dance). While no flaw can be found in the dancing between Carla Korbes and Seth Orza I am left cold by the selection. A starry night background, (the same used earlier in the festival for ABT) seems overdone here in combination with an open piano and youthful pastel costumes. Legs are high, turns are tight and yet it seems there is a visible effort to the whole exchange. Mr. Orza, while gesturing to suggest that he is the instigator of the duo, seems plowed over by her energy. On her face is an expression of distress, rather than love. It was desperate for a few deep breaths. The couple next to me exclaims “Fabulous!” at the bow, and I understand that a romance is a romance, and its appealing. But it is surface here.
Find our Fall for Dance Festival 2012 reviews here.
Jodi Melnick emerges in a metallic silver jacket looking real hip. Her musicians are Steven Reker and People Get Ready. Steven Reker has collaborated before in live dance performance. Together with the band he provides an atmosphere of chill electric guitar, almost bar hang out music. Melnick’s vocabulary is reminiscent of Trisha Brown, a folding of limbs and pedestrian action interspersed with weight shifts and calculated foot patterns. Her solo feels like we caught her in her bedroom. When she is joined by her three other dancers, she takes off the jacket. They are wearing muted tones, a grey palette. The music picking up suggests a growing energy, but the piece plateaus on Melnick’s same actions now just made into duets.
The Ancient Art of Hawaiian Male Dance, Artistic Director Kumu Hula Kaleo Trinidad presents an integrated piece of cultural art that celebrates the marriage of song and movement. Like Shivalingappa’s piece, the dance is the sound.
Everything is right visually about Solo (RE)Deluxe Version. Melnick exposes the back brick wall of City Center and plays with the piping in the choreography. The band does not seem peripheral but linked to the mission of the work. The dancers are cooly unruffled by anything. Somehow the mark is missed.
You would think a New York audience would be mature enough to contain their obvious thrill at seeing a large group of nearly naked Hawaiian men, but they screamed. Set in a solid grid forefront to 11 seated female musicians and one singer, they begin to hula. There is no way this cannot be successful. But beyond the obvious appeal of Hula Kane: The Ancient Art of Hawaiian Male Dance, Artistic Director Kumu Hula Kaleo Trinidad presents an integrated piece of cultural art that celebrates the marriage of song and movement. Like Shivalingappa’s piece, the dance is the sound. In this light, the women who seem secondary are the power behind the men. As the sections move forward, the men showcase their strength and sensitivity, and we find more in them than just their packaging.