FALL FOR DANCE PROGRAM #1
October 2, 2019
Music wafted through the lobby where audience members wondered into pop-up dance performances with wine or beer in hand, either watching slow deliberate moves choreographed by Neta Yerushalmy or joining the raucous, Latin social dances curled inside a hip hop vernacular by Ephrat Asherie.
All this activity led to the opening night of City Center’s Fall For Dance season. Intent on drawing new audiences, the tickets are cheap ($15) and programming varied.
Known for their dynamic style, the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago led the evening with a stealth performance of Crystal Pite’s A Picture of You Falling. Alicia Delgadillo and Elliot Hammans moved silently in a stretch of white light to a “voice-over” by Kate Srong. Like many of Pite’s creations, this mysterious and at times ominous dance- theater piece moves between light and dark spaces—figuratively and literally.
Pite’s text floats over the dancers: “This is your voice…welcome back…here you are again.” Percussive movements swell over Owen Belton’s sound score, which includes elements of musique concrete. Arms slice front and back against bent knees and arched backs framed by a string of white lights that encased the dance in a womb of memories.
The South African Vuyani Dance Theatre delivered the US premier Rise to stirring choreography and music “intended to carry a message of hope to young people.” And that it did with the casually dressed dancers backed up by a dynamic D. J. who jumped up from behind the turntable turning in a deliriously happy solo with crutches and one leg. Indeed, the company has a lot of grit.
The American Ballet Theater ballerina, Misty Copeland, teamed up with modern dance choreographer Kyle Abraham in the solo Ashto music by Ryuichi Sakamoto + Alva Noto with Ensemble Modern. Filmy white material by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung dropped over Copeland’s hips. In a simple, but evocative piece, she pricked the floor with her feet and flared her bare legs into shoulder high extensions. Simple lines and strong movement intent escorted Ash into a satisfying galaxy.
Someone who knows how to gather a group together and put on a fun show is the enormously talented Caleb Teicher. He delivered a world premiere Buzz that included some stellar soloists joined in the happy creation of a tap dance aimed at supporting one another and embracing the audience. Although the whole cast was quite wonderful, Luke Hickey is a dancer to watch. Teicher’s own dance style almost always includes a wink and a nod to the simple delight of dancing. This was no exception.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis