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Fall for Dance: Gauthier Dance//Dance Company: Theaterhaus Stuttgart, Abraham.In.Motion, Sara Mearns and Company Wang Ramirez, Ballet BC
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Fall for Dance: Gauthier Dance//Dance Company: Theaterhaus Stuttgart, Abraham.In.Motion, Sara Mearns and Company Wang Ramirez, Ballet BC

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NY City Center
Fall for Dance – Program IV

Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart
Sara Mearns and Company Wang Ramirez
Ballet BC

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, Festival Sound Supervisor
Joe Guttridge, Director, Communications

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 11, 2017

Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart
Streams (US Premiere):
Choreography, Scenery, and Costumes by Andonis Foniadakis, Music by Julien Tarride, Lighting by Sakis Birbillis, Production Manager: Alexandra Brenk, Performed by a company ensemble of thirteen.

Drive (World Premiere):
Choreography by Kyle Abraham, Music by Theo Parrish and Mobb Deep, Additional Sound Editing by Sam Crawford, Scenery and Lighting by Dan Scully, Costumes by Karen Young, Production Manager: Dan Stearns, Performed by a company ensemble of eight.

Sara Mearns and Company Wang Ramirez
No. 1 (World Premiere)
Choreography by Sébastien Ramirez and Honji Wang, Costumes by Honji Wang, Stage Management and Lighting by Mike Faba, Production: Company Wang Ramirez, Performed by Sara Mearns and Honji Wang.

Ballet BC
Bill (2010):
Choreography and Costumes by Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar, Original Music and Sound Design by Ori Lichtik, Staged by Osnat Kelner, Doug Letheren, and Léo Lérus, Lighting by Omar Sheizaf, Performed by a company ensemble of sixteen.

Tonight’s Program IV of New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival 2017 (I was unable to catch the Program V schedule), was quite different from the previous Programs, which featured ensembles from renowned, large ballet companies. Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart’s (Eric Gauthier, Artistic Director) Streams, a US Premiere, was choreographed and designed by Andonis Foniadakis, with music by Julien Tarride. The ensemble of thirteen included bare-chested men with gold pants and women in gold-nude costumes, all designed by Mr. Foniadakis. The electronic pulse was accompanied by a backdrop of gold streamers, brutal noise, and smoky air. The dancer-piling choreography looked like a cross between Taylor’s “Promethean Fire”, Ailey’s “Revelations”, and an earthquake. This seemed constructed more for jolts of attention-grabbing devices than for engaging and interesting new choreography. I lost interest early.

Abraham. In. Motion (Kyle Abraham, Artistic Director) brought Drive, Abraham’s commissioned world premiere, with music by Theo Parrish and Mobb Deep, costumes by Karen Young. With blinding red and white lights, smoke (again), rap and electronic sound, this was surprisingly a work that I enjoyed, as the choreography was visually enticing. This synchronized dance was propulsive, robust, vigorous, and riveting. There was much drama, with a solo woman as well as a full ensemble, periodically walking toward the audience from rear stage, dancers falling into disappearing groups, entering and exiting to confrontational rap. Even though Drive was imbued with mostly unintelligible lyrics, stark lighting, and overstated sound, it was visually designed with planning and focus. Skipping to the final work, Ballet BC (Emily Moloar, Artistic Director), presented Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar’s Bill. I found this echoing work, with pulse and spotlights, to be hypnotic, but boring. Once again, everyone’s ears had a workout, with Ori Lichtik’s soundtrack. Blue, red, and yellow spotlights shone brightly on the Company’s unitards and faces, making them look like department store window mannikins. The dancers occasionally shout sounds, amidst repetitious percussion.

But, the high point tonight was the third work. Sara Mearns, a lauded principal ballerina with New York City Ballet, convincingly teamed with hip-hop dancer Honji Wang, of Company Wang Ramirez. Sébastien Ramirez and Ms. Wang choreographed a witty and mesmerizing take on the differences and commonalities of hip hop and ballet practice. The commissioned world premiere was called No. 1. The very petite Ms. Wang opened the dance in hip hop attire, sneakers, and twirling, crouching motion, to ambient clicking sounds. A ballet barre on stage was explored by Ms. Wang, as she moved about it, much like a pedestrian would navigate a loose street barrier. Ms. Mearns enters, and she practices ballet exercise on the barre, as Ms. Wang observes. Ms. Mearns moves the barre and shifts her warmup costume, adding a practice tutu. Soon Ms. Wang is mimicking Ms. Mearns’ ballet, and then Ms. Mearns is mimicking Ms. Wang’s hip hop. Ms. Mearns’ pink leotards, white tights, and white pointe shoes contrast significantly with Ms. Wang’s loose yellow-red-black two-piece costume with an Asian motif in hair and design. After some comical riffs, the pair walks off, arm in arm. Kudos to Mr. Ramirez, Ms. Wang, and Ms. Mearns. And, kudos to New York City Center for its annual Fall for Dance Festival, always a high point of each new dance season.

Sara Mearns and Company Wang Ramirez
Honji Wang and Sara Mearns in
Sébastien Ramirez and Honji Wang's "No. 1"
Courtesy of Stephanie Berger

Ballet BC
The Cast of Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar's "Bill"
Courtesy of Stephanie Berger

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