THE DOWNTOWN DANCE FESTIVAL
August 25, 2014
Set against the majestic backdrop of tumbling waves, and lady Liberty, “The Downtown Dance Festival,” presented its final day of work Thursday August 21 at Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park in lower Manhattan. A stage is set up close to the water, with audience members surrounding at all angles- in the grass and on the sidewalk. The set up offers a rare opportunity to experience dance from all possible viewpoints.
The outside venue is an admirable feat, yet for much of the hour and a half performance featuring works by Entomo EA&AE, Tangaj Dance, and Battery Park Dance Company.
Male duet “Entomo EA&AE” danced an insect inspired work. Agile and athletic in their movements, they captured the complexities of insects while also reverting to refined qualities in their partnering sequences. Yet more often than not, the duet felt separate instead of united as one.
Tangaj Dance from Romania, was lackluster in intention. The group of six had a laid back, waif like quality that allowed them to float on stage. But they never found grounded weight. Perhaps the outcome of monotonous music selections, the piece drifted along until the end, never holding on to a still moment, or a memorable one.
Finally the Battery Dance Company presented choreography by Theo Ndindwa. Three ladies in black tops, red skirts, black socks, and two men in black ensembles took to the stage with a strong routine like opening. Precise in their detailed hand and arm movements, the full picture shrank from there. Strong moments resonated throughout including, powerful dancing from the male duet.
Maybe the unfocused nature of the performance is more due to the incongruities that exist between the three works. With an outdoor setting such as this, not only is it beautiful and free for audiences, but also with that comes distractions that overwhelm or take away from the main setting- which is of course the dancing.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Bailey Moon