September 14, 2015
Now in its 20th season, “honoring 51 dance innovators from our past, present and future,” Dance Now NYC has become quite a magnet, especially as presented at Joe’s Pub. This downtown venue was backed with young enthusiasts, applauding and cheering each of the 12 dances that involved 24 performers who met the challenge to present a choreographic gem in no more than five minutes.
The hosts Chelsea Murphy and Magda San Millan, who were first presented by DANCE NOW in 2013, appeared three times in this evening, with their best piece saved for last - “The Loop of Integrity,” 2015 at Dance The Yard. With music by Michael Kiley, costumes by Maiko Matsushima, these two touched a nerve, provoking many a belly laugh. Perhaps this duet would not carry as much resonance with a general public, but for this crowd, the phrase emotional integrity hits our creative gut.
Interestingly, their wackiness followed Wanjira Kamuyu, whose solo “At the moment of encounter” (excerpt), 2015, demonstrated exactly their point. If Murphy and San Millan were the clowns of the program, Kamuyu was the sensual queen. Set to a composition and arrangement by Jean-Philippe Barrios, Kamuyu moves slowly upward releasing and tightening the space between her arms and legs, with every gesture drawing us in. Her timing is mesmerizing.
Gags and fun dominated most of the other choreography with two exceptions: “Why then Should I be Afraid?”, choreography by Ruben Graciani, music by Tarik O’Reagan, performed with virtuosic grace, if slight emotional impact, by Andrew McShea and Henry Steele, and Christopher K. Morgan’s “For Becky (Rebecca Jung 1965-2011). Set to music by Cat Stevens, Morgan performed this solo with such intensity that he and we seemed short changed.
Claire Porter, first presented by Dance Now in 1996, Fitness Digest, amusingly closed the program with her unpretentiously circling in a short red dress, spouting questions, such as “Why?” What?” Where?” She credits “ain’t any answer” by Gertrude Stein, leaping questions adapted from “hurry” by Octavio Paz.
Dedicated to the indomitable Joan Duddy, this program was produced by Dance Now’s Executive Artistic Director Robin Staff, and artistic directors/producers Sydney Skybetter and Tamara Greenfield.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deirdre Towers