Related Features


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

IMPRESSIONS: Fresh Tracks at New York Live Arts

IMPRESSIONS: Fresh Tracks at New York Live Arts
Sarah Cecilia Bukowski

By Sarah Cecilia Bukowski
View Profile | More From This Author

Published on May 28, 2024
Vinson Fraley. Photo: Maria Baranova

Featuring the Choreography of Julia Antinozzi, Liony Garcia, Vinson Fraley, and Symara Sarai

Artistic Advisor: nia love

Lighting Design: Jacob Zedek

Stage Manager: Ainsley Grace

“THIRD VARIATION”  //  Choreography by Julia Antinozzi in collaboration with the dancers

Performed by Sienna Blaw, Dasol Kim, Paulina Meneses, Kelsey Saulnier

Music by Ryan Wolfe

Costumes and Styling by Sonya Gadet-Molansky

“Fantasy Punctured”  //  Choreographed by Liony Garcia

Created in collaboration with Francesca Dominguez, Stella Jacobs, Jailyn Philips-Wiley and Joe Tennis

Dramaturgy by Gaiya  //  Sound Design by Steven Mathieu

“Alluvium” //  Choreographed & Performed by Vinson Fraley

Music by Natalia Beylis, Steve Reich, Ryoji Ikeda, Vinson Fraley

Text by Natalie Cook

“Batty Juice” // Choreography, Direction, and Performance: Symara Sarai

Choreographic Collaboration and Performance: Mikaila Ware and Kenoria Earle

Sound Design by CHIMI  //  Costuming: Symara Sarai //  Set Design by Xinan Helen Ran

Dates: May 17-18, 2024

New York Live Arts’ Fresh Tracks Residency and Performance program offers one of the city’s most comprehensive resources for emerging dance artists to create and present new work. The voices in this year’s cohort are strong and richly diverse: Julia Antinozzi, Liony Garcia, Vinson Fraley and Symara Sarai each lend their own shading to an expansive palette of experimental contemporary dance. The result is a program of astonishing breadth and polish that allows each bold voice to ring clearly and resonate together.

on a dimly lit stage dancer in tunics and lose pants pose...the mani figure in a arabesque holding hands with a crouching woman who supports her
Choreography by Julia Antinozzi at FRESH TRACKS at New York Live Arts. Photo: Maria Baranova

Antinozzi’s “THIRD VARIATION” considers ballet as a point of departure in an elegy of estranged reverence for glimmers of ballet’s formal and aesthetic allure. Through a dreamlike photo-negative seduction of quotation and abstraction, four excellent dancers run through rigorous technical exercises and weave tenuous relationships in a darkly charmed void warmed by a candle’s flame. Architectures and textures emerge from balletic grammar: softly kneading hands, precisely curved and angled port de bras, steely spines and open chests, buoyant jumps, and — most of all — the levitating effect of fleet and silent bourrées. These bourrées (small traveling steps taken on high half toe with the feet held closely together) recur with such ethereal caprice as to provoke chills each time.

two figures on a dimly lit stage with tunics and loose pants the woman in the foreground is more brightly lit and we look at her profile, the woman in the back is bowing towards us. She blends into the black background and floor save for her arms, hair and parts of her face.
Choreography by Julia Antinozzi at FRESH TRACKS at New York Live Arts. Photo: Maria Baranova

Sonic and visual elements complete a picture that is eerie without veering into the grotesque: Ryan Wolfe’s clean and evocative score reflects and transforms balletic vestiges into new expressive registers while Sonya Gadet-Molansky’s grayscale geometric costuming highlights bodies without exploiting them; shadow play amplifies these echoes through shifting tones of darkness. Sienna Blaw and Paulina Meneses, paired continuously, stride through gorgeously precise unisons as a mystery unfolds between Dasol Kim and Kelsey Saulnier — they barely touch, but when they do, it is fate. A kaleidoscopic double duet reveals Antinozzi’s poetic eye for form in the juxtaposition of shapes and dynamics into a syntax all her own. Blown out like the candle’s flame, the dancers evaporate into darkness, yet their trace remains.

two dancers face away from each other holding  huge clear balloons
Choreography by Liony Garcia at FRESH TRACKS at New York Live Arts. Photo: Maria Baranova

In “Fantasy Punctured,” Liony Garcia veers into stranger territory to evoke physical and emotional states through potent imagery and object relationships. Garcia’s movement vocabulary contains highly idiosyncratic linguistic blends shaped by each of the four dancers’ unique physicalities. Qualities and sounds shift through each scene — primarily composed around solos and scenic interjections — with a throughline of ominous tension and uncertainty. Joe Tennis jangles through stuttering rigidity and pendular release with fractured equanimity; daring spinal acrobatics allow him to persistently elude and escape his center of gravity. A sense of wonder illuminates the pliant Francesca Dominguez through clear silhouettes — her pelvis an anchor of gravity, her fingers tendrils into the ether.

dancers in the background of this scene play with balloons  as  a male presenting figure in sheer green body hugging fabric looks on pensively
Choreography by Liony Garcia at FRESH TRACKS at New York Live Arts. Photo: Maria Baranova

Balloons act as a motif in Garcia’s exploration of form and emptiness in social and digital realms; in a passage for the articulate Stella Jacobs, the careful slices of a chef’s knife reveal the many-colored guises of a multiply-layered water balloon dangled and swung just above her supine body. Garcia himself appears as a dark hooded figure to activate long, tangled strands of multicolored tinsel in his mouth, shaking a torrent of color into a dissonant screeching. This image serves as a foil to a simultaneous solo for Jailyn Phillips-Wiley, whose space-gobbling power speaks of this dark underbelly. The work returns to its lighter ethereal realm to close with a duet for Dominguez and a large, squishy balloon; here Garcia adeptly merges visual and tactile effects to communicate many states of being.

a Black man in skin matching shorts and nothing else rolls on the floor balancing on his pelvis as his legs and arms reach out and away from his torso
Choreographer and dancer Vinson Fraley in FRESH TRACKS at New York Live Arts. Photo: Maria Baranova

Vinson Fraley weaves a vibrant tapestry in the solo form with “Alluvium,” a study on effort and rest for this eminently eloquent artist. Rippling light effects, projections of a glittering expanse of water, and a minimalist sound environment serve as a backdrop for a series of vignettes shot through with text circling pathways toward self-discovery. Fraley begins his journey with an extended floorwork sequence in which he balances and tumbles languidly on the planes, points, and curves of his gravity-bound, gravity-defiant body. His range and reach amplify the effect of each slither and swoop, articulate at every extremity to gently graze the edges of possibility.

a Black man shining with sweat holds a stick across his shoulders as he balances on a chair. He looks like Christ on the Cross.
Choreographer and dancer Vinson Fraley in FRESH TRACKS at New York Live Arts. Photo: Maria Baranova

Contemplative pleasure emerges from exertion as he swirls arms and spine through wide circles and lush backbends and tosses off formal dance sequences with loping virtuosity and surrender. Fraley’s hands are particularly expressive: palms bared, fingers spread, fists gripped around a bamboo pole that slices the air in widening circles. Whether confined to a chair or freely devouring the stage space, Fraley displays keen tactility and compositional intelligence through a wide range of dynamics and scales. Luscious ripples, elastic bounce, juddering tension, and voracious swipes spill from his body in turn, at times all at once, to vocalize a multiplicity of internal and external states. Combined with this rich vocabulary, Fraley’s spare use of props—the chair, the pole—goes beyond the perfunctory to striking theatrical effect.

Three Black women form a triangle on stage. They are wearing colorful everyday clothes and each seems to be in their own world of communication...
 Choreography by Symara Sarai at FRESH TRACKS at New York Live Arts. Photo: Maria Baranova

Symara Sarai’s “Batty Juice” closed the program with a swirling cacophony of sound and color dedicated to the free expression of Black femininity. Small shrine-like sculptures housing metronomes set off a chorus of tick-tocking rhythms to accompany a mechanical sequence of rigid steps and gestures below Kentoria Earle’s darting, vigilant gaze. Mikaila Ware and Sarai join Earle, linking hands and stomping a rhythm in their feet to ground a multifaceted, interdependent trio of unshakeable power. They shoot off on their own trajectories and draw into each other’s orbits in acts of solidarity and support: arms draped over shoulders, two support the third to free her feet from the floor; their hands take her soles to become her ground.

a woman in a colorful flannel shirt, denim shorts and knee pads appears to skid on the stage along the side of her body
 Choreography by Symara Sarai at FRESH TRACKS at New York Live Arts. Photo: Maria Baranova

Sarai is a master of collage in every element of the work. Blade-like arms, rocking undulations, and bursts of grasping and collapsing merge with quotations from Afro-diasporic and street dance to express the uncontainable multivocality of Black femininity. Sarai’s costume design is a playful patchwork of fabrics and shapes reiterated in each dancer’s uniquely layered look; all three are in fact “cut from the same cloth.” Sound and rhythm surge and dissolve over the metronomic undercurrent: a slow bass line, a soulful voice, a throbbing dance beat, the exhilarating crash and drama of a raging thunderstorm. The three performers are stunning — almost terrifyingly affirmed — in the immersive commitment and dynamic power of their bodies, and they reveal themselves all the more as their voices punctuate the air. They manipulate short spoken phrases, shapeshifting between attitudes of play, aggression, invitation, threat, and plea to speak their deepest truths.

Antinozzi, Garcia, Fraley, and Sarai took their bow together beaming with gratitude toward a packed and raucous house. It’s rare for any mixed bill to be full of hits, yet the Fresh Tracks artists delivered just that with style and verve to spare. These tracks are certainly ones worth following.

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