The last curtain of the 2011 Fall For Dance Festival opened on four live musicians and a three platform stage suggesting only one thing: tap. Leading Zoe Ellliot and Kyle Wilder in an upbeat, non-stop sound fest, Maurice Chestnut showcases his exuberance for the form. Immediately it is evident that Chestnut’s tapping is not meant to be secondary, but rather fully integrated into the band as another musician. It is so successful in this instance that I wonder why every band is not considering hiring a tapper to stand beside the drummer. The mood of “Floating” is very much like a casual jam session amongst good friends…
International perspective keeps us healthy. Last night, in Program 4 of Fall For Dance at New York City Center, all four companies travelled from abroad to perform. The color, energy, and philosophies they brought along with them imbued the Festival with a new flair. If you wanted something different, this was the night to come.
When the Australian Ballet first took the stage in banana yellow unitards, I was thrown off by the choice. However, when Gemini is put in the context of 1973, the year Glen Tetley first created it for the company, it starts to make a whole lot more sense. The piece is a mix of classical and contemporary ballet movement, set to the highly dramatic Symphony No.3 from Hans Werner Henze. There is no question of the athleticism of the two men and two women on stage. They move with force and confidence, flaunting stamina and flexibility. The choreography hovers between intimately human at times and distant and inanimate in the next second. There are many disconnected thoughts; I feel as if in a conversation full of non sequiters.
Tonight, despite New York’s first snowstorm of the season, die-hard dance fans put on their big coats and poured into New York City Center for the 2nd program of the Fall For Dance Festival.
The curtain opened on Vertigo Dance Company, with a single spotlight on one man in a voluminous, multi-layered grey costume. His body dives and swift, flinging arms are stark against a big white house-shaped backdrop. Before long, he is joined by one, and then a whole village of movers like him. Mana feels ritualistic. The dancers are donned in embellished pedestrian clothing with layer upon layer of fabric; the women wear bright head scarves. As they flock; they share a history and a language.
It is easy to get cynical about your art when you are in contact with it each day. But tonight at New York City Center’s Fall For Dance Festival, I fell back in love with dance. But it was not just the obvious mushy feelings toward the art coming from the overtly enthusiastic FFD crowd; these were four solid voices, four entertaining works.
This year, tickets to the 8th annual Fall For Dance Festival at the newly renovated New York City Center sold out in four hours. Audiences are ready to see dance. Whether they are avid arts-goers or first-timers to the theater, this week houses will fill as lucky ticket holders are presented with five diverse programs of companies from around the globe. To prepare for the Fall for Dance Festival (and our extensive coverage of it here at DancePulp) I interviewed Executive Director and CEO of City Center, Arlene Shuler and Stanford Makishi, Artistic Advisor for Fall For Dance this year.