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IMPRESSIONS: Morgan McEwan's MorDance in Their New Yonkers Studio Space

IMPRESSIONS:  Morgan McEwan's MorDance in Their New Yonkers Studio Space
Deirdre Towers/Follow @deirdre.towers on Instagram

By Deirdre Towers/Follow @deirdre.towers on Instagram
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Published on May 8, 2024
MorDance in "Echoes of Silence." Photo courtesy of the Company

MorDance Brings Their "Dynamism and Sheen" to New York Live Arts from May 9 - 11, 2024

Choreographer: Morgan McEwan
Composers: Leonard Bernstein, Venetian Snares, Randy Newman, Emitt Rhodes, Judee Sill, Elizabeth Cotten, Fred Neil, Mentor Williams, Stephen Stills
Dancers: Ayaka Kamei, Emily Cardea, David Hochberg, Tevin Johnson, Isaiah Newby, Joe LaLuzerne, Laura Perich Villasmil, Claire van Bever, Lauren Treat
Costume Designer: Morgan McEwan
Lighting Design: Becky Heisler McCarthy

Date: May 2, 2024

Upcoming Performance at New York Live Arts: May 9 - 11, 2024

Tickets Link: Click here

The petite dancer Morgan McEwan gave birth during the dance baby boom of the pandemic and re-located her family outside of Manhattan. Searching for a new home for her ten-year-old ballet company MorDance, this artistic director/choreographer struck gold when she found the sixth floor at 86 Main Street in Yonkers. The 11,000 square foot, penthouse space has floor-to-ceiling windows, facing south and east, that overlook the Hudson River and a Metro-North Station, with no obstructing poles! With just 3,000 square feet less than Chelsea Factory, its potential makes one gasp. 

A prism came to mind as MorDance beamed onto their stage. My spine tingled watching these nine dancers with their immaculate bodies sculpted by the low side lights, precision, and effortless speed. Having danced ten years with the Metropolitan Opera, plus years with Richmond Ballet and BalletMet, McEwan knows how to charge an enormous space with energy. The dancers have the dynamism and sheen of thoroughbreds. Company member Tevin Johnson could barely contain his joy.

The dancers of MorDance in "On The Waterfront." Photo courtesy of the Company

MorDance took occupancy in January, 2024 and opened the Yonkers Arts Weekend with three ensemble works that premiered in 2018: On The Waterfront, Depths Entangled, and Echoes of Silence, which premiered 2014 and then was re-imagined in 2018.

We sat in the dark listening to the opening of Leonard Bernstein’s 1954 composition, his only film score. In contrast to the tough crowd, violence and angst in Elia Kazan’s award-winning  film "On The Waterfront," McEwan’s choreography has a steely elegance, clean lines, and sharp changes in direction. In Depths Entangled, the women again performed on pointe, using a full range of ballet vocabulary with strong partnering. The third work, for which singer/guitarist Kira Metcalf performed live, had a more relaxed, lyrical air, bringing out the dreamy side of dancer Joe LaLuzerne.

The dancers of MorDance in "Depths Entangled." Photo courtesy of the Company

Speaking to the audience at the top of the show, McEwan exudes such confidence, she wins your support immediately. Clearly she is pressing the pedal-to-the-medal on this opportunity. 

Her costume design, particularly the white and black tops for the women dancing On The Waterfront, is chic. No job is beneath her, including getting on a ladder during intermission to drop the white fabric in the wings which Phygital Fx had loaned the company.

The dancers of MorDance in "Echoes of Silence." Photo courtesy of the Company

CityTV covered the ribbon cutting ceremony for MorDance with Mayor Mike Spano’s representative declaring with gratitude to McEwan and her dancers “Yonkers has so much art, but the one thing missing was dance.”  MorDance outreach educational program is already thriving. 1st District Council member Deanna Renee Robinson, said that growing up in Yonkers, “we did not have access to ballet, to see it or to try it!” wrote a year ago, “Lionsgate And Great Point Execs Size Up Progress Of Their New Studio Facility In Yonkers, A New York City Suburb Billing Itself As 'Hollywood On The Hudson.'” Just imagine what could happen next!

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