"Leaders must encourage their organizations to dance to forms of music yet to be heard." Warren Bennis
Rising to the Location: Ballet des Amériques at the Tarrytown Music Hall, October 1, 2016
RISING TO THE LOCATION
The Tarrytown Music Hall is a classic. It was built in 1885 - the oldest theater in Westchester County and among only six per cent of theaters in the country constructed before the 20th Century.
Antonín Dvořák performed here. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson spoke here.
Of course, many others, great and otherwise, have appeared at this venue in its one hundred and thirty years.
There is a venerable beauty in the architecture, the dark wooden interior, the frescoes, the 19th Century decoration.
This is a hall that many veteran performers have spoken of with admiration as if commending the audience for their good taste in attending, as if acknowledging the responsibility to live up to history.
On Saturday afternoon, Ballet des Amériques, celebrating its sixth year, made its debut at the Tarrytown Music Hall.
Here were young practitioners of an art centuries older than the site, bringing their discipline and energy to an imposing cultural edifice at a critical time in their company's development. Ballet des Amériques is rising as a dance troupe with a record of considerable achievement in its brief existence and, on Saturday afternoon, they displayed their artistry with the assurance that comes of solid work combined with the fire that comes of inspiration. As a unit, they were formidable.
The program burst onto the stage with ”De fleurs et de pleurs”, a dance that choreographer/director, Carole Alexis, has been building over the last few months from the germ of an idea to a breath-taking full length circus of blazing colors, startling movements and joyous exuberance. The company overcame a tentative first few minutes, took their own measure, and danced with total commitment for the remainder of the afternoon.
“Nos ici et d’ailleurs”, a meditation on the stresses and disturbances of daily working life, was a tightly wrought, intriguing confluence of button down, earthbound, twisters and crawlers, strivers and sliders, struggling to negotiate their paths through the quotidian. Ashley Cook has perfected her fraught character, inhabits her fully, and danced with total authority.
“Lentil Soup”, comfort food combined with spicy gumbo, completed the nourishing afternoon meal. It is a dish we have watched Chef Carole perfect over time into a sweet and savory bowl of goodness that gathers us round and relieves our hunger but tastes so good we want more. Alexandria Ina Rosa Bocca danced hypnotically in the Incantation section.
Each of the other soloists during the afternoon, Isodale Alexis, Jenna Simon, Irene Przywara, Christine Sawyer, Marguerite-Louise Galopin, Mauricio Zenteno and Garrett McCann were outstanding. And Victoria Kress, the most recent addition to the troupe, acquited herself wonderfully.
But the message of the day to me was the coherence of the whole. With more dancers than ever, Ballet des Amériques has come together. Each dancer displayed a certainty of purpose that acknowledged their own individual skill but more importantly expressed complete confidence in the entire company collected on this historic stage.
This team danced as one true force on Saturday afternoon.
They validated their director and choreographer's acknowledged quest for beauty through art, and began a new chapter in the story of dance in Westchester County, intertwined from this day forward with l'histoire du Ballet des Amériques.
Frank De Ligio, October 2, 2016