Performing Arts: Dance
February 3, 2014
Peridance’s 2014 Winter Faculty Showcase took place Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at the Salvatore Capezio Theater. A varied program included duets, trios, and group casts up to 18 dancers, with styles ranging from contemporary to Afro-Latin jazz. Twelve pieces were broken into two acts, with noteworthy work from Manuel Vignoulle, Breton Tyner-Bryan, and Marlena Wolfe.

Vignoulle choreographed “Conversation,” a duet for himself and Jennifer Rose. Dressed in black pants and romantic style high collared “poet” shirts, the two played around on two chairs and a table to symbolize communication in creating a “richer and stronger kingdom,” as the program notes read. Vignouelle’s problem was giving the audience the literal narrative, topped by the jarringly forced acting and prop utilization. The real treat began when the dancing started and the “set” was left unused in the background. The partnering was fearless and intricate. Rose flung herself onto Vignoulle as he twisted her around his body in a swing dance movement; it was exciting yet tender and didn’t need a set to be validated.

The most sophisticated piece of the program was Tyner-Bryan’s “Self.” It wove delicate dancing, fanciful costumes, and soulful music together, intertwining the depth that collaboration between art forms can achieve. The three dancers were also the masters of creation: Tyner-Bryan, choreography and direction; Shay Bares, imaginative costume design; Mary Carter, fervent singing; and the fourth onstage performer was cellist Haggai Cohen-Milso. Laced with imagery and textures of New Orleans, the interactions between the performers was not always entirely clear, but it seemed to be just the beginning of developing characters and relationships that due to time limits couldn’t entirely be explored. Opening with a runway style fashion walk, the dancers began to tear off their masks, heels, and corsets, revealing deeper layers of themselves that they never entirely shared with us. A bellow of movement ensues and the dance closes with Carter singing “Dig Me Out,” an original song she wrote, just another indication of the talent and possibilities among this ensemble.

The next to last piece of the program was Sheehan’s “Kyte.” Dressed in black tights and socks, with black and white striped long-sleeved closed blazer jackets, the four dancers layered their swift footwork to Kyteman's drawn-out music. Refreshing choreography mixed a bit of contemporary dance with Celtic and Irish Step in this smartly staged and simple piece. Sometimes simplicity is best.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Bailey Moon

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