Fall For Dance – Mixed Program
Every year, New York’s City Center presents several programs of dance at very affordable prices called “Fall for Dance”. The hope is that by giving people an opportunity to see different dancers and dance styles that new audiences will be developed.
On October 10, the program I saw was an eclectic mix, which I will try to describe in the order presented.
L.E.V., “Killer Pig”
A creation of the Israeli-born Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, this piece was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The movements were, let’s say, “un-pretty” if not downright ugly. The dancers seemed to have curvature of the spine and sometimes flailed about in very awkward ways. Ugly. However, when several people twitch in unison, it becomes a sort of choreographic pattern and when it’s done to the pounding rhythms of background sound, I think it could be called dance. Despite my natural inclination toward the classical ballet, I found this piece to be oddly compelling. And I, along with most of the audience, roared my approval at the curtain call. As I said, I’ve never seen anything like this, so I think I’d have to call it original.
The dancers have the ability to isolate every muscle, and appear to lack any bones, so that they can look like primordial creatures. Occasionally they reveal their traditional dance training and technique with a jump or a gesture. Amazing dancers, each one of them.
I was pleased that there was no pig who did any violence, although the title did set me up for something unpleasant.
I was completely hypnotized, but the spell of constant beating rhythm began to make me feel sleepy, so I think the piece could have been shorter. If you had described this to me, I doubt if I would have gone out of my way to see it, but now I would be curious to see another piece by this company. So, I would say that this “Fall for Dance” program has accomplished its goal with at least one audience member.
BILL IRWIN & TILER PECK, “Time It Was/116”
I was originally interested in the evening’s program because of this pair. I’m a big fan of the veteran clown/mime, Bill Irwin, who’s made me laugh out loud with his tomfoolery, as well as Tiler Peck, the charming, classical ballerina from the New York City Ballet. But I couldn’t imagine how they would cross the divide between their different disciplines.
The choreography is credited to Irwin, Peck and Damian Woetzel (also from New York City Ballet).
Bill Irwin arrived to applause and proceeded to move around the stage in his recognized clown persona (overly big costume), and then exited. Tiler Peck arrived, also to applause, and beautifully performed a little bit of classical ballet. Irwin returned, silently impressed, but indicated that he could never do such movement. Peck returned and did some humorous schlumping and took off her tutu. There was a bit with hats. They sort of danced together in amusing fashion for a few moments, kind of soft shoe and later the heavily miked sounds of tap contrasted with hard toe shoes. And then the piece ended. What was there was entertaining and sweetly amusing, but it seemed truncated — as if an idea had been presented, but didn’t come to any conclusion. It felt like a work in progress.
During the curtain call, the violinist Johnny Gandelsman was introduced. He had been performing the music (composed by Philip Glass) offstage, and it was a pleasure to hear real, live music (as opposed to the canned stuff).
BOSTON BALLET, “Pas de Quatre”
Maria Baranova, Erica Cornejo, Ashley Ellis and Misa Kuranaga of the Boston Ballet nicely performed this “ode to romantic classicism”, which had been choreographed by Leonid Yakobson. It looked like those watercolor prints of traditional ballerinas with their white, calf-length skirts made of airy tulle. Very pretty, charmingly dainty. The four ballerinas danced as a group and then each had a solo. This languid piece would not have been my choice of a ballet to attract a younger audience. At the curtain calls, each ballerina received cries of “Brava” from their fans. Very traditional…
JESÚS CARMONA & CIA, “Ímpetu”
Carmona combined the zapateado (the percussive footwork of traditional flamenco) with more lyrical modern dance movement to create this piece. He exuded the passionate fervor of flamenco and the sounds of his rapid footwork were impressively exacting, clearly picked up by microphones.
The piece began with Carmona’s explosive dancing accompanied by the dramatic vocals of Jose Ibañez and Maka Ibañez. The singers then joined the musicians (Daniel Jurado and Oscar Lago on guitar and Thomas Potiron on violin), leaving Carmona in the spotlight.
The handsome performer is charismatic, talented, and technically able — worthy of attention and applause — and I, for one, would be happy to see him perform again.
Oct. 12th, 2015