The Third Annual Dance Against Cancer Gala at the AXA Equitable Theater….
The Third Annual Dance Against Cancer Gala at the AXA Equitable Theater raised more than $96,000 for the fight against Cancer. More than 400 patrons attended the evening’s performance, produced by New York City Ballet’s Daniel Ulbricht and Manhattan Youth Ballet’s Erin Fogarty, which featured stars from New York City Ballet (NYCB), American Ballet Theatre (ABT), Martha Graham Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, and Norwegian National Ballet. It was a dazzling event with dazzling stars giving dazzling performances….
The evening began with Ballet Hispanico’s moving performance of Nacho Duarte’s Jardí Tancat (Catalan for “Closed Garden”). Jardí Tancat is based on Catalonian folk tales collected and sung by Maria del Mar Bonet. It is a story so akin to the struggle so many face with cancer for it is the story of a people who work the barren land, praying to God for the rain that does not come.
Alvin Ailey’s Alicia Graf Mack’s performance of Rene Aubrey’s Light as Air was unforgettable. The choreography flowed through Ms. Mack in a seamless integration of emotion and dance. Her long legs and incredibly arched feet soared through the movements with both bravura and grace.
Lauren Lovette and Daniel Ulbricht performed Rubies from George Balanchine’s Jewels. It was a stellar performance with Ms. Lovette’s point work sharp and exact. Mr. Ulbricht never fails to impress me with the strength and artistry of his performances.
Misty Copeland’s performance of Marcelo Gomes’ Paganini was little short of genius. Marcelo Gomes’ Paganini is a mix of classical vocabulary blended with a bit of whimsy. She performs a series of piqué turns that lead into slightly tilted steps with a flexed foot; this takes her off-stage but not quite all the way for still a part of Ms. Copeland’s leg is protruding from the wings. She recovers this slight faux pas with a semi dramatic reentrance on to the stage. Ms. Copeland swings between technically precise classical steps to a je ne sais quoi casualness to her dancing. It was a great performance of a great work….
Martha Graham’s Moon from Canticle for Innocent Comedians is as relevant today as it was when it was created in 1952. The duet was performed by Graham Company members Mariya Dashkina Maddux and Lloyd Knight, who were excellent. The piece has an emotionality that is hard to state in mere words.
Clifton Brown and Attila Joey Csiki performed Lars Lubovitch’s Concerto 622. First performed at Carnegie Hall in 1982 the work has a quiet dignity, a serenity that pulls you into the work. Mr. Brown and Mr. Csiki exhibited camaraderie, a brother relying on brother as they lean and support each other.
Just Kiss Me, choreographed by Al Blackstone and Jess LeProtta was one of the many standouts of the evening. Mr. LaProtta grabbed us with his humor and antics. He exhibited virtuosity with his surprising turns and complex leaps. Great Job indeed.
A sneak peek performance of Christopher Wheeldon’s new Cinderella performed by Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada of San Francisco Ballet gave us a tantalizing glimpse of this new work. Ms. Koshetkova and Mr. Boada seemed emotionally bonded during their pas de deux. The choreography exhibited the originality of both movement and shapes as only Mr. Wheeldon can do.
A fitting close for the evening was Christopher Wheeldon’s This Bitter Earth performed by New York City Ballet’s Wendy Whelan and Tyler Angle. It was a moving and touching performance that held us spell-bound. Ms. Whelan and Mr. Tyler merged to become a singular expression of yearning and a perfect ending to an incredible evening.
Rose Caiola, Stuart Coleman, Julia Gruen, Heather Watts, Christopher Wheeldon and producers Erin Fogarty and Daniel Ulbricht presented the third annual Dance Against Cancer at the AXA Equitable Theater on Monday, May 6, 2013. The event marked the 100th birthday of the American Cancer Society.