NY City Center
Fall for Dance – Program III
CCN de la Rochelle / Cie Accrorap
Hong Kong Ballet
Bangarra Dance Theatre
At New York City Center
Arlene Schuler, President & CEO
Mark Litvin, Sr. VP & Managing Director
Stanford Makishi, VP Programming
Clifton Taylor, Festival Lighting Director
Danny Erdberg and Leon Rothenberg, Festival Sound Supervisors
Joe Guttridge, Director, Communications
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 30, 2016
CCN La Rochelle / Cie Accrorap
Opus 14 (US Premiere): Choreography by Kader Attou, Music by Regis Baillet, Scenery by Olivier Borne, Original Painting by Ludmila Volf, Costumes by Nadia Genez, Lighting by Denis Chapellon, Performed by the Company of sixteen.
While I Have the Floor (2016): Written and Choreographed by Ayodele Casel, Costumes by Sara Jablon, Lighting by Mark Barton, Stage Manager: Lisa Dawn Cave, Performed by Ayodele Casel.
Hong Kong Ballet
Shape of Glow (US Premiere): Choreography by Jorma Elo, Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig Van Beethoven, Costumes by Yumiko Takeshima, Lighting by Goh Boon Ann, Performed by the Company of sixteen.
Bangarra Dance Theatre
Spirit (US Premiere): Contemporary Choreography by Stephen Page, Traditional Choreography by Djakapurra Munyarryun, Music by David Page and Steve Francis, Costumes by Jennifer Irwin, Performed by the Company of seventeen.
The third of five Fall for Dance programs (four dances each) began with Kader Attou’s Opus 14, presented by CCN De La Rochelle / CIE Accrorap, based in Lyon, France. With its mission to create “boundary-breaking dance works”, esoteric phrasing for hip-hop or street dance, the company’s sixteen male performers worked up communal body heat in mid-air spins, leap-frogs, runs, rolls, lifts, and near-flying acrobatics. “Diaphane”, the score for this classical-electronic score, even helped propel men to spin on their heads, upside down, over and over. Tonight’s next featured work, Ayodele Casel’s solo performance that she wrote and choreographed, While I Have the Floor, spotlighted Ms. Casel’s charismatic tap dance skills. Her own vocal narrative accompanies this non-musical event, as well as a filmed tribute to her from Gregory Hines. Ms. Casel has created this work, not only as her tap performance, but also as a tribute to all the women in tap who preceded her. She exuded energy, eloquence, and ebullience.
One of my favorite works in the entire two-week Festival was the Hong Kong Ballet’s performance of Jorma Elo’s Shape of Glow. This, finally, was pure ballet, and the eight men and eight women, mostly partnered throughout, were breathtaking. I wished I had a paper with head shots to name my favorites, but each dancer seemed so honored and enthused to appear on this stage. Recorded excerpts of Mozart (Symphony No. 28 and Piano Concerto No. 27) and Beethoven (an Overture) propelled the abstract ballet, with dancers in Yumiko Takeshima’s aqua-black leotards and tights. Legs sliced the air, women were lushly lifted, and style and affect were quintessentially stunning. The gestalt was upbeat and joyous. One propulsive duo, smaller physically and faster in speed, with chemistry to spare, caught my eye from beginning to end. I’d love to see this company again.
The final work, like the endless first dance, called Spirit, choreographed by (contemporary) Stephen Page and (traditional) Djakapurra Munyarryun, was made possible by Australia’s government. It featured one very tall and wide man, akin to a tribal chief, in traditional costume and body piercings, and the company of seventeen in percussive dance, their feet making the City Center stage rattle and shake. The bare-chested and barefoot men carried handmade, wooden weapons that they swung in the air. David Page and Steve Francis’ music was heavy and foreboding. The 27-year history of this company was synthesized in the choreography, as noted in the program. The women in the company were also gripping in their gestural theatrics.
Hong Kong Ballet in
Jorma Elo's "Shape of Glow"
Courtesy of Hong Kong Ballet
Bangarra Dance Theatre in "Spirit"
Courtesy of Jhuny-Boy Borja