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AUDIENCE REVIEW: Fall for Dance 2019 - Program 5
October 13, 2019
On October 13, 2019 I saw Program 5 of the Fall for Dance Festival at New York City Center and had the greatest time! This was my first Fall for Dance performance and it was incredible to see four completely different works from companies and dancers, most of which I have never seen before. The works varied from contemporary, to modern, to ballet – satisfying a whole array of genres.
The first performance was an abbreviated version of Dance Me by Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal. The full work premiered on December 5, 2017 and is set to music by Leonard Cohen. The piece was created to pay tribute to this legendary Montreal-based poet, artist, and songwriter and was inspired by his work. The first section Suzanne was a male/female duet which baffled me, once I realized that the female did not touch the floor once throughout its duration. She was suspended in a lift the entire duet, constantly spiraling around the male as he magically changed levels, descended to the floor, rose back up, traveled in space, and rotated facings. Their strength and control were surreal, and my amazement continued during Famous Blue Raincoat when it suddenly started snowing onstage. I felt like I was transported into a fantasy world where a calm, created by the snow, was coupled with the athletic and beautiful movements of the dancers. All through the last section Nevermind I was amazed by Adonis Foniadakis’s choreography consisting of innovative partnering and amazing contemporary movements that filled the entire stage.
The next piece was Blanc, a ballet work performed by Sara Mearns and Taylor Stanley, choreographed by Kim Brandstrup. The set was very interesting consisting of two light posts, one downstage and one upstage, with two chairs back to back on stage left, creating a dim and eerie environment throughout the dance. The two dancers never physically interacted throughout the piece, portraying the innovative concept of Stanley being an apparition and Mearns having to cope with the void created by his departure.
The third piece was The Running Show by Monica Bill Barnes & Company, which I found to be one of the most memorable works of the entire program. The work documents the life of a dancer, with 25 dancers from Hunter College performing with Monica, live on-stage narration about the premise of the dance, along with audio recordings of dancers of all ages talking about their experiences with this art form. The work was hilarious, utilizing comedically simple movements to relay the dialogue that was occurring throughout the dance about commitment and work ethic, demonstrating the focus and athleticism required of dancers. Not only did this piece elicit a good belly laugh, it had everyone in the audience smiling, and really got me thinking about why I started dancing in the first place and why I continue to have so much love for this art form.
The Martha Graham Dance Company closed off the festival with Chronicle, in which the strength of the dancers radiated throughout the entire piece. I was instantly captivated by the solo Spectre in which Leslie Andrea Williams masterfully moved with a huge dress, creating visually beautiful shapes and a constant sensation of movement from both the choreography and the fabric. The passion and clarity of movement from the dancers was amazing, and I was moved by the company’s performance of such an iconic work.
I had the greatest time at Fall for Dance and my eyes were opened to so many new ways of moving. It was a treat to see such a variety of dance, presented in one program!