Performing Arts: Dance
September 22, 2022
Opening night of Fall For Dance, fans filed into a line that stretched up 55th Street to Seventh Avenue. Once inside, Arlene Shuler (overseeing her last Fall For Dance Season before stepping down as executive director) stood in the middle of the lobby enthusiastically greeting well-wishers. Afterall, this was her idea in 2004--an idea that grew into a NYC dance staple.

An animated audience enthusiastically received France's Compagnie Herve Koubi's excerpts from Boys Don't Cry. An all male troupe of physically fit black and brown men decked in white pants and shirts gracefully blend street dance with martial arts and social dance. Artfully moving on a white floor framed by white curtains, the compact Mohammed Elhilali breaks from the group. With microphone in hand, he relays a poignant tale of being bullied and his father's tough response: learn Judo. Mohammed's takeaway: "Boys don't cry."

Frequently swirling in circles, the adept company alternates between remarkable tricks like spinning on one's head only to corkscrew slower and then speed back up, and snapping into kick flips that fold into a satisfying, communal huddle.

Balletomanes revelled in the grand Pas de deux from Le Corsaire choreographed by Marius Petipa and performed by two Portuguese artists Margarita Fernandes and Antonio Casalinho. Pristine technique supported the requisite flair indispensable to executing an intricate string of fouettes and sky rocketing barrel turns.

A relatively new NYC dance company, Gibney Dance (founded by Gina Gibney) closed the night. Attractive dancers saunter through Bliss by Johan Inger to a piano score by the astonishing jazz artist Keith Jarett. Bliss' friendly ambiance extends to house lights remaining up and the dancers sporting everyday, casual outfits.

Under the bright starburst light suspended overhead, dancers pass and mix, sharing kinetic stories and repeating bluesy refrains: loose prances, bent arms pumping up and down, and dancers shifting from one foot to another in time to the divine piano riffs.

Throughout the ballet, optimism pervades the jaunty runs, and shoulder shimmies that float over light footed trills and flirty duets. What could make this better? Keith Jarrett playing live!
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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