NEW YORK DANCE PROJECT
May 19, 2019
Absolutely remarkable! Celebrating New York Dance Project’s second year, Davis Robertson, Co-
Founder and Artistic Director, and Nicole Duffy Robertson, Co-Founder and Associate Artistic
Director, showcased a series of choreographic treasures from America’s unique dance scene at
Symphony Space on May 13, 2019.
Curated by both directors, former Joffrey dancers and
répétiteurs for The Gerald Arpino Foundation, the program titled “Beyond Ballet” offered a gamut
of styles ranging from Bournonville’s Romantic ballet to neoclassical repertoire, as well as post-neoclassical
and contemporary dance works created for their company.
With a commitment to artistry surpassing any expectation, the program was embellished
through an array of fine and audacious dancers demonstrating a profound investment in
the style and choreographic intention of each signature choreographer. From the breathless delicate grace expressed in Napoli’s Romanticism to the rampant ground-shaking afro-contemporary Battlefield, the audience erupted in a mix of gasps and shouts of praise.
The evening was graced by the elegant chivalry displayed by guest artist, Joaquin de Luz, New York City Ballet Principal dancer and upcoming director of Spain’s
Compañía Nacional de Danza, whose appointment will start this summer.
The program opened on the cutting-edge slick Sonnaufgang (Sunrise - 2019), choreographed by
Davis Robertson with music by Joseph Haydn, exploring the musical motifs of unpredictability,
conflict, and harmony resolved through defiant contemporary dynamism within a post-neoclassical
Robert Joffrey’s Gamelan (Excerpts - 1963), dormant since its
1968 revival, was welcomed back. His harmonious compositions were enlivened by Maria Gabriela
Perez Quintero in the role of the Warrior Goddess, and the delicate trio of The Bird, The Wind
and The Hunter, performed by Brittany Larrimer, Joseph Peñaloza, and Ivan Tocchetti
Work in Progress drafted shape-flow-bold trio compositions by Dwight Rhoden,
Founding Artistic Director/resident choreographer of Complexions Contemporary Ballet.
The dance community happily celebrated Nicole Duffy’s restaging of one of the most
popular works by Gerald Arpino, Birthday Variations (1986), a work created to Giuseppe Verdi’s
score commissioned as a gift to the Chicago Opera House owner. Embellished with costumes
designed by Stanley Simmone the versatile ballerina quintet comprised Megan Foley, Cheyenne
Fitzsimons, Maria Gabriela Perez Quintero, Jenna Torgeson, Ashley Eleby, and Francesca
Kraszewski was supported by Steven Scarduzio’s elegant partnering.
After a brief pause, A Suite of Dances (1994) paid tribute to the chameleonic choreographic
talents of Jerome Robbins. The three variations honored Bach’s emotive solo cello suite
composition, masterfully interpreted by NYCB former Principal, Joaquín de Luz, in alliance with the
solemn performance of internationally respected cellist Sujin Lee. Each suite evolved as a heart
to heart conversation between Joaquín’s pensive pizzazz, Sujin’s melodic embroidery, and each
Peace Piece (2018) shifted the evening’s tone with a contemporary work collaboratively
choreographed by Tyler Gilstrap and the cast’s dancers. Soloist, Ivan Tocchetti, eloquently
melded rich movement qualities against the conglomerating the corps as they morphed through
contrasting jazz tones from Bill Evans’ album “Everybody Digs Bill” and the interjected
percussive beat by Chemical Brothers.
Delightfully, the company’s youngest
talent, Francesca Kraszewski, brought to life August Bournonville’s Napoli (1821) which
relays the story of a young Italian girl in love, admirably conveying the beautiful aesthetic
essence of Denmark’s ballet legacy.
Robert Battle’s Battlefield (2001), a
contemporary choreographic uproar amazed everyone. Thoroughly invested in the piece, the dancers
unleashed earthy African and Caribbean movement references. It was amazing to witness the young company’s versatility, commitment, and stamina as they concluded their second evening’s back to back program.
A remarkable amount of artistic investment fueled the NYDP pushing forward our rich ballet and modern dance heritage. Certainly, the transcendence of their work will endorse the future legacy of the dancers who embellish their vision.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Gabriela Estrada