Related Features


Your support helps us cover dance in New York City and beyond! Donate now.

IMPRESSIONS: Clymene Aldinger's CLYMOVE Dance at The Ailey Citigroup Theater

IMPRESSIONS: Clymene Aldinger's CLYMOVE Dance at The Ailey Citigroup Theater
Kristen Hedberg/ IG @kristen.hedberg

By Kristen Hedberg/ IG @kristen.hedberg
View Profile | More From This Author

Published on April 15, 2024
CLYMOVE Dance in "Cradle." Photo: Isabel Padilla

Centering on Womens Mentorship and Honoring Sarita Allen with the Elisa Monte Leadership Award

Founder and artistic director: Clymene Aldinger

Artistic advisor and choreographer: Elisa Monte

Gala honoree: Sarita Allen

Commissioned choreographer: JoVonna Parks

Lighting design and stage manager: Conor Mulligan

Dancers: JoVonna Parks, Bridget Cronin, Roxanne Young, Sophia Diehl, Khaila Espinoza, Arianna Stendardo

Date: April 2, 2024

Venue: The Ailey Citigroup Theater, New York, NY

CLYMOVE Dance’s 2024 Spring Gala and Season celebrated the fourth year of Clymene Aldinger’s company, and left the viewers at The Ailey Citigroup Theater feeling empowered. The evening centered around women's mentorship, honoring dance legend Sarita Allen with CLYMOVE Dance’s Elisa Monte Leadership Award.

The program’s six works included two pieces from CLYMOVE Dance repertory and two world premieres: Hips by Aldinger, and Inner Tides by CLYMOVE member and their first commissioned choreographer, JoVonna Parks. The performance also featured Elisa Monte’s 1982 masterpiece Pigs and Fishes, danced in Allen’s honor.

Sarita Allen and Elisa Monte (to her right). Photo: Isabel Padilla

JoVonna Parks, Roxanne Young and Sophia Diehl explore a near-constant entanglement in Cradle, directing their movements down a clear diagonal. The trio traverses in wide stances, hopping forward with open, turned out legs. They skirt through directional changes, at times squeezing under one another’s high-lifted legs. Playful moments occur when the trio’s hips purposely knock together, causing one member to break away from their clump and run around in a circle. Seamless lifts and partnering contrast the groundedness of their wide stances. The quirky trio evokes curiosity while highlighting their tenacity.

Strong, spritely Bridget Cronin portrays a chained spirit in Rockaway Metamorphosis. Her character navigates a physical confinement, set against the dance’s cheery blue backdrop and beachy music. Cronin dances with her hands clasped behind her back for the solo’s entirety. Her character undergoes an evolution, swelling in energy from opening knee crawls to ultimately standing and wildly spinning. Cronin offers confidence and assurance as she showcases her clasped wrists on her hips, swaying towards the audience.

 Bridget Cronin in Rockaway Metamorphosis. Photo by Paul B. Goode

Elia Monte-Brown (Monte’s daughter) takes the stage to introduce  Sarita Allen. Monte-Brown tells us that Allen served as her mother’s muse when she choreographed Pigs and Fishes on the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1982.

Pigs and Fishes sweeps the audience into its whirlwind. The dance crescendos from Parks’ commanding opening solo into crisply executed ensemble movement. Specific formations in the space create visually stunning patterns as the dancers plow around each other with precision. Springing jumps layer against smaller repeated actions, such as swinging arms or scooping hands. It’s a marathon. The cast smiles at one another, digging from the deepest inches of themselves.

Regal and blooming, Young, Khaila Espinoza and Arianna Stendardo capture feminine strength in Inner Tides. The trio begins connected at the hands, and wearing shimmering silver bodices with long, pale skirts. Their connection lasts throughout the work as they circle each other, arms bursting above their heads, backs arching. Amid fluid partnering, the dancers arrange themselves into statuesque images which compliment Gregorio Allegri’s romantic choral music.

Khaila Espinoza in Inner Tides by JoVonna Parks. Photo by Paul B. Goode

They cradle one another, lowering each other into extreme hinges. Larger movements develop as the dancers separate, their arms stretching into more angular positions. As the trio returns to their opening stance, they appear mightier, again connecting with their hands.

Whiskey Noir (the next little girl), performed sublimely by Clymene Aldinger, speaks to temptation while feeling trapped. Aldinger, dancing through a diagonal of light wears a long, red dress which covers her feet. Throughout the work, she deliberately lifts her skirt to articulate to the tips of her toes, delicately taking her first steps towards a hidden something.

Clymene Aldinger in Whiskey Noir (the next little girl). Photo: Isabel Padilla

Her character slips into dark scenes as the work progresses, her fingers tremble as they approach her gaping mouth. She crawls, writhes, contorts, and arches her back so deeply that the audience wonders how far she can go.

Hips, a brazen and bright conclusion, speaks to power, womanhood and comradery. The full company morphs between duet, trio and unison sections. Clad in nude long-sleeved leotards, the dancers undulate and rock, with many movements initiated from the pelvis.

CLYMOVE Dance in Hips. Photo: Isabel Padilla

They lift one another in exciting bursts as Jessica Lillesand’s original poem reverberates: "Now there is no turning back, And the world will finally see her. She was never just a songbird, She was the vulture, too.” Through their ferocity, other recurring actions include bobbling heads, shimmying, bladed hands which rapidly chop the air, and trilling fingers. Their subtle, quirky movements sparkle against the dance’s overarching initiation from the pelvis. Hips leaves viewers awed.

CLYMOVE Dance is a collective to be on the lookout for. The powerhouse company left the sold-out house of the Ailey Citigroup Theater erupting on their feet.

The Dance Enthusiast Shares IMPRESSIONS/our brand of review, and creates conversation.
For more IMPRESSIONS, click here.
Share your #AudienceReview of performances. Write one today!

The Dance Enthusiast - News, Reviews, Interviews and an Open Invitation for YOU to join the Dance Conversation.

Related Features

More from this Author