Performing Arts: Dance
  EMERGE 125
March 1, 2023
Emerge125’s New York City premiere is a joint effort between Chelsea Factory and the company’s artistic director and choreographer Tiffany Rea-Fisher. The program is a thoughtful dive into Rea-Fisher’s fluid contemporary style consisting of six dances from the last ten years of her career.

The first dance, scored by a lilting saxophone, is a tender tribute to the late Barbadian dancer Richild Springer. Seven dancers bound across the stage, dynamic, graceful, and overflowing with jubilant energy as their undulating leaps and twists carry them in and out of the wings. Alisa Gregory is featured as a soloist and ends the piece with a gentle exhalation that ushers an air of intimacy into the spacious theater.

Following this, Identity centers on the balletic and muscular Dennzyl Green, whose lithe movements are complemented by cannoning waves of motion across the ensemble as they snake about the stage. Similarly, Behavioral Synchrony finds deep contractions and expansions echoing through the company punctured by acrobatic jumps. Lit with saturated magenta the dancers' contorted bodies cast long and dramatic shadows.

In the second half of the program, Rea-Fisher’s frenetic style crystallizes. 2022’s Poly String Theory takes the music of Kaiser Quartet as inspiration for its gyroscopic momentum, propelling the dancers through unfurling sequences of attitude-bent legs and pointed toes.

Their audible panting continues through the cerebral Newton’s Cradle, in which the dancers—clad in geometric leotards by Rachel Dozier-Ezell—drift with lifted eyes between stillness and delicately swishing feet.

The final performance of the evening: Rights of Renaissance is scored by the voices of Emerge 125’s company members as they discuss Ibram X. Kendi’s essay on the presence of a contemporary Black renaissance.

A series of introspective solos flow in abstract spirals before the unified company breaks into a boisterous sequence that brings the program to a heartful close.

Throughout the evening Rea-Fisher appears on stage to provide context for the dances, notably outlining the evolution of her relationship to light throughout her career from an intense interest in the innumerable variations of white against deeply saturated colors.

Three of the dances are lit by Christopher Brusberg, who also recreated the designs of former designers Nick Hung (Identity), Clifton Taylor (Newton’s Cradle), and Michael Cole (Renaissance) to great effect. Such attention to the multidisciplinary nature of dance along with Rea-Fisher’s warmth and creative transparency is a welcome balm to an eager audience.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Noah Witke Mele

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