Performing Arts: Dance
October 31, 2021
A particular lightness filled the lobby of the NY State Theater on Oct. 27, the first Pride Night celebrated by American Ballet Theater. People in sparkly clothes beamed and tipped glasses of bubbly prior to the performance featuring a very special guest appearance by Lypsinka--a renown downtown drag artist.

Percolating with high energy and youthful joie de vive, Bernstein in a Bubble choreographed by Alexi Ratmansky to Leonard Bernstein's "Divertimento" kicked off the festivities. A tumble of dancers swung through jazzy, slinky steps with a nod towards "West Side Story." The playground jauntiness broke into smaller groups including a warm, bonding male duet.

Centered on two men, Touche by Christopher Rudd with dancers Calvin Royal III and Joao Menegussi, is filled with longing and trust. In a "first", an intimacy director was involved in the coordination of the duet. Unlike many other male duets, this one was more specific in its ardor between the two men who fell into each other's arms, and slipped down along the other's body. Effectively crafted, the duet is constructed around an embrace that felt universal.

A much-loved ABT dancer from the 1980's, Clark Tippet started to choreograph a few years before his untimely bout with AIDS. Some Assembly Required demonstrated his wit and architectural sensibility between body and space tied to his pure love of dance.

Musically, the antecedent to Bernstein's "Divertimento", Darrell Grand Moultrie's Indestructible Light sets dancers off on a jazzy frolic to music by some of the greatest swing jazz artists-- Duke Ellington, Count Bassie and Neal Hefti. Historically, they served as Bernstein's inspiration. Unison lines of kicks and loose wristed-hands flapped and snapped adding zest to a soundtrack of classics that can't be beat.

Following the performance, Lypsinka (aka John Epperson ABT classroom pianist) appeared in a full skirted frock to campily "lip synch" some favorite show tunes.  Lypsinka introduced the panel that closed out the evening discussing the making of the works and the inclusion of an intimacy director. 
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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