FALL FOR DANCE Program #1
October 2, 2015
In a week packed with dance options, City Center’s Fall for Dance filled the house for an evening bookended by ballet and brawn.
It must be equally exhilarating and unnerving for an out-of-town company to perform Balanchine in his hometown. But Miami Ballet assertively charges into the sparkling Allegro Brilliante. Choreographed by George Balanchine in 1965 to Tchaikovsky, the company executes the nonstop movements with fluid expansiveness. Expressive arms and upper torsos add an extra attractiveness. The truly visible insecurity appears in Renan Cerdeiro's partnering of the otherwise lyrical Patricia Delgado. Lourdes Lopez, formerly a principal dance with New York City Ballet assumed the Artistic Director reigns from Edward Villella, founding director and NYC Ballet principal dancer. So Balanchine lives in this company’s DNA insuring the legacy will continue next to original contemporary works.
A NYC choreographer adored by many for his whimsical, street dance infused dances, Doug Elkins offered “Hapless Bizarre” (2014) conceived by Barbara Karger, Michael Preston. First, the bespeckled, new vaudevillian clown Mark Gindick chases a bowler hat skimming across the stage. Grabbing it, Gindick spins it around his head and then plays a game of toss and switch between the group of six dancers. Couples break into Latin social dances, flirt and joke around. The soundtrack features a 50'sounding-voice over asking personal questions and American songbook style songs. A string of little vignettes stretch out a bit long, but the happy-go-lucky loose limbed dancing and genial manner still wins smiles from the audience.
Another NYC dancer and choreographer traveled to City Center by way of the L.A. Dance Project. Directed by former NYCB principal Benjamin Millipied, “Murder Ballades” is choreographed by Justin Peck to music by Bryce Dessner. In this hearty modern ballet, dancers casually sit on the floor to tie sneakers before popping up, winding their arms and hopping about, shifting into urban attitudes. A bit of West Side story “cool” sneaks in because the dancers slide on the floor, run and challenge each other as if on opposing teams. “Murder Ballades” underscores the attractive dancers' amiable style and youthful energy.
In a rousing ending, fourteen men in black raid the stage pounding South American drums and stamping in flamenco fashion. “Che Malambo” not only gets the audience's attention, it nearly causes the wide wake audience to charge the stage. Think blue man group gone Latin hot -- as in sexy men clump in a challenge dance. Flamenco rhythms snap into hard-hitting taps using all sides of the foot. Soon, a man comes out rotating boleadoras, leather straps weighted by a stone ball, issuing a dazzling red laser color. The mesmerizing trick was originally used to lasso cattle into submission…this time, the audience succumbed to the elegant and fierce men of “Che Malambo.”
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis