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Fall for Dance: Shantala Shivalingappa, Nederlans Dans Theater, Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo, Cloud Gate 2
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Fall for Dance: Shantala Shivalingappa, Nederlans Dans Theater, Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo, Cloud Gate 2

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NY City Center
Fall for Dance – Program V

Shantala Shivalingappa
Nederlans Dans Theater
Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo
Cloud Gate 2

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
October 7, 2016

Shantala Shivalingappa
Shiva Tarangam (2010):
Choreography by Shantala Shivalingappa, Music and Lyrics by Sri Narayana Tirtha and J. Ramesh, Artistic Consultant: Savitry Nair, Scenery by Shantala Shivalingappa and Nicolas Boudier, Costumes by D.S. Aiyyelu, Lighting Design and Technical Director: Nicolas Boudier, Stage Manager: Marie-Josée Petel, Musicians: B.P. Haribabu, K.S. Jayaram, N. Ramakrishnan, J. Ramesh, Performed by Shantala Shivalingappa.

Nederlans Dance Theatre
Woke Up Blind (US Premiere):
Choreography by Marco Goecke, Dramaturg: Nadja Kadel, Music by Jeff Buckley, Scenery and Costumes by Marco Goecke, Lighting by Udo Haberland, Performed by Aram Hasler, Anne Jung, and an Ensemble of five.

Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo
Witness (World Premiere)
Choreography by Wayne McGregor, Music by Nils Frahm, Lighting by Clifton Taylor, Stage Manager: Leticia Baratta, Performed by Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo.

Cloud Gate 2
Beckoning (US Premiere):
Choreography by Cheng Tsung-Lung, Music composed by Chung Cheng-Da and Quiet Quartet, Music arranged by Blaire Ko, Lighting by Shen Po-Hung, Scenery by He Jia-Sing, Costumes by Lin Bing-Hao, Performed by the Company of ten.

For tonight’s final Fall for Dance Festival program for 2016 at New York City Center, Shantala Shivalingappa opened the evening with her solo dance, Shiva Tarangam. I had hoped to be drawn in, to the mystery and surrealness of Indian dance, but there were production and conceptual problems inherent in this performance. The lighting was much too bright, and there were no sets, just Ms. Shivalingappa’s lovely purple costume. She was joined onstage (as she was in my 2012 review of her Fall for Dance performance) by four musicians on nattuvangam (rhythmic instrument), pakhawaj (Indian two-headed drum), mridangam (carnatic drum), vocals, and flute. This all-too-long dance included Ms. Shivalingappa’s dance forward and back, on a large brass platter, with her bare feet propelling her on it. The performer’s lovely neck, hands, arms, and feet as well as her dramatic, bright eyes were persuasive in her India dance interpretation, but City Center’s backdrop lighting system should have been utilized to frame and enhance this dance. Regardless, Ms. Shivalingappa is a tremendously talented artist.

The Nederlans Dans Theatre’s Woke Up Blind, by Marco Goecke, included no virtuosic dance, in fact little that drew the eye, except when the black costumes turned red. Aram Jasler and Anne Jung led an ensemble of five, with men bare-chested and women in nude leotards, designed by the choreographer. Jeff Buckley’s two love songs did little to add to the detached dramatic motion, of dancers dashing to and fro, twitching about as if in a drug-induced trance. This dance was too contrived and ill-conceived, but the performers made the most of their effort and skill. The next work, Wayne McGregor’s Witness, with music by Nils Frahm, “Immerse”, was a Fall for Dance Commission. This funding enabled Herman Cornejo, American Ballet Theatre Principal, to once again partner and showcase the retired ABT Principal, Alessandra Ferri, in yet another of their intertwined, erotically charged, dimly lit performances. In fact, Clifton Taylor’s neon lighting strips kept the motion mostly in shadows. Ms. Ferri still presents an exquisite line and balletic form, although Mr. Cornejo, her now steady partner, does the lifting and carrying, in impressive feats. As always, the Ferri-Cornejo fans gave the duo an extended ovation.

The final work of the five-program, 2016 Fall for Dance Festival was Cloud Gate 2’s Beckoning, a US Premiere. This Taiwanese Company danced to Cheng Sung-Lung’s choreography with a score by Chung Cheng-Da and Quiet Quartet. This was actually lovely to observe, with the youthful dancers in long, silky attire, each in a different palette, bare foot and focused. The looseness of the fabric emphasized the fluidity and flow of the sometimes languorous, sometimes fervent imagery of dancers swinging arms and propelling themselves in symmetrical fashion. This was a visual feast. Kudos to New York City Center for mounting yet another diverse and serendipitous Fall for Dance Festival, with special visions and sounds to remember.

Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo in
Wayne McGregor's "Witness"
Courtesy of Stephanie Berger

Cloud Gate 2 in
Cheng Tsung Lung’s “Beckoning”
Courtesy of Stephanie Berger

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at