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IMPRESSIONS: Paradigm Shift: Past, Present, Future

IMPRESSIONS: Paradigm Shift: Past, Present, Future

Published on April 26, 2011
Christopher Duggan

Dance Enthusiast writer, Cory Nakasue, shares her thoughts on the opening night of Paradigm

IMPRESSIONS: Paradigm Shift: Past, Present, Future
A Celebration of Paradigm’s 15th Anniversary and Carmen deLavallade's  80th Birthday

Choreography: Gus Solomons Jr., Carmen deLavallade, Kyle Abraham, Kate Weare

Performers: Michael Blake, Gus Solomons Jr., Dudley Williams, Carmen deLavallade

Kyle Abraham, Karen Brown, Sarita Allen, Hope Clarke, Robert La Fosse, Valda Seterfield
at St. Marks in the Bowery April 14, 2011

Gesticulating Wildly

© Cory Nakasue 2011 for The Dance Enthusiast
Opening night of Paradigm Shift: Past, Present, Future, a celebration of Paradigm’s 15th anniversary (and Carmen de Lavallade’s 80th birthday), was a whirlwind of extremities and a multitude of expressions.
Gus Solomons Photo by Christopher Duggan
The evening’s program consisted mostly of light, breezy fare that provided a marked contrast to the gravitas of the artists involved--in many ways a treat, sort of like catching a glimpse of golden age Hollywood royalty horsing around and improvising in between takes. This tone was set with Gus Solomons Jr’s A Thin Frost; a trio completed by Michael Blake and Dudley Williams. It was easy to get a sense of how much fun they must have in rehearsals, if sometimes lapsing into the indulgence of hamming it up, and how much their chemistry is a cornerstone of their choreography. It single handedly presented the audience with a sense of time—not just in their years knowing and working with each other, but their years in dance. The evening created a space for a meditation on the passing of time—old guard, new guard, heredity and lineage and highlighted the glowing presence of the performers in lieu of statement making work.
Carmen deLavallade Photo by Christopher Duggan
After Carmen deLavallade's,display of utter self-possession and restraint, in her solo Tango with Ghosts ( a premiere), she removes a golden cuff from her wrist, places it on the floor, and saunters downstage toward the audience exiting through the lobby from which she entered. Guest artist,Kyle Abraham, not exactly a new comer, but definitely of princely status in this court,  picks the cuff up, places it on his wrist and begins his solo, Live! The Realest MC, ass to the audience, ready to bring the palace down with his intelligent brand of spectacular contemporary hip-hop.
Gus Solomons Photo by Christopher Duggan
The evening’s finale was spectacular in its own way; a dark and exaggerated final bow of sorts that could have used some shaping and/or more time on its feet to gain nuance. It was an ensemble piece that featured extended solos from most of the dancers, book ended by two dramatic and formal tableaux. The “family” at the center of Royalty Redux (a premiere) could have been a space family from the future…and possibly evil?

Cloaked in black, ruffled capes, and throats swathed in jewels, the cast of six marched through the space with a confused sense of purpose and a flurry of arm gesticulations and articulations. Unfortunately this pace did not allow the audience sufficient room to absorb the glorious subtleties these performers are capable of, though they did take breaks to lounge on the side of the stage and look on as their fellow overlords (or Jedi) displayed their estimable skills.A duo in jeans played science ficition-y noise rock on a platform upstage under a bright white light; dance, the space-time continuum, but far from the final frontier. There are still more choreographic more galaxies for this company to explore.
Robert La Fosse, Sarita Allen, and Michael Blake Photo by Christopher Duggan


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