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Musa! A Dance Festival at Baruch Performing Arts Center….

June 29, 2013
Zvidance in Zvi Gotheiner Sky and Water. Photo by Phyllis McCabe

Zvidance’s Kuan Hui Chew & David Norsworthy in Zvi Gotheiner Sky and Water. Photo by Phyllis McCabe

Musa! A Dance Festival at Baruch Performing Arts Center was a two-week celebration of dance works by Zvi Gotheiner, Cherylyn Lavagnino, and Dušan Týnek in which music is an equal partner in both creation and performance. The three choreographers’ companies appeared together on a mixed bill for the festival’s opening night on June 12th. The festival ran from June 12th – 22nd with the companies performing on subsequent nights which also included post show discussions with the artists.

The evening began with Zvidance and the world premiere of Zvi Gotheiner Sky and Water. The work is inspired by the work M.C. Escher and set to a commissioned score by Scott Killian. The beauty of Sky and Water lies in the abstraction of the work, Mr. Gotheiner’s use of movement, his phrasing, entrances and exits of the dancers and even the dancers’ groupings, all worked. Small gestures are explored and expanded on; hands move the head then travel to the chin then builds through the body. There is something animalistic in the movements, a birdlike quality of stops and starts.

Zvidance in Zvi Gotheiner Sky and Water. Photo by Phyllis McCabe

Zvidance in Zvi Gotheiner Sky and Water. Photo by Phyllis McCabe

David Norsworthy’s performance was a thing of brilliance. His floor work during his solo was enhanced by the use of extreme muscle control. Lying on his side, he would use his hand to position his foot, then placing his hand flat against floor, his wrist would bend in such a way that the Mr. Norsworthy would be reclining on his elbow.

Alison Clancy must be mentioned for her performance and her impeccable technique with its long, graceful line. Ms. Clancy is the unique artist that when she dances every movement phrase becomes a unique expression. She has a keen understanding of the use of the body in space making her riveting to watch.

Zvidance in Zvi Gotheiner Sky and Water. Photo by Phyllis McCabe

Zvidance in Zvi Gotheiner Sky and Water. Photo by Phyllis McCabe

Nicole Marie Smith and Nathan Coder come together in a duet, using their hands as if reading Braille, it become a form of communication, a language that was spoken only between these two. When the dancers all came together, they were like a flock of birds, their energies nervous, looking around, as if fearing of being preyed upon, their heads bobbing back and forth.

The movements had hints of Cunningham technique, the tilted body and the transitioning in and out of a wide fourth position. Also there was a random casualness in the selection of phrases of movement and how they were put together

Everything about Zvi Gotheiner’s Sky and Water worked. Mary Jo Mecca’s costumes of all black with the left arm white added to the abstraction of the work as did Mark London’s lighting design and Scott Killian’s excellent score. The piece ended in mystery as Alison Clancy whispered something into Todd Allen’s ear, then the lights blacked out.

Alexander Berger, Emily Gayeski & Elisa Osborne with The Dušan Týnek Dance Theater (DT)2  in Dušan Týnek’s Apian Way. Photo by Phyllis McCabe

Alexander Berger, Emily Gayeski & Elisa Osborne with The Dušan Týnek Dance Theater (DT)2 in Dušan Týnek’s Apian Way. Photo by Phyllis McCabe

The Dušan Týnek Dance Theater (DT)2  performed excerpts from the 2008 work, Apian Way, The work was inspired by the social interaction of Bees and the current phenomena of Colony Collapse Disorder. Fibiola Kim performed J.S. Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin while standing serenely in the back of the stage, the dancers performing before her.

This is not a serious, angst ridden expression of much soul-searching, but rather there is a lightheartedness to the work that makes it fun. The dancers come on running with their knees bent, hands at their side while bobbing up and down. The movement is often off-center, the body askew then righting itself. The dancers’ arms would move fluidly one moment than sharp and angular the next. The movement phrasing seems almost arbitrary and sometimes seems to ignore the music.

Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance in Cherylyn Lavagnino’s Treize en Jeu (movements 1 & 2). . Photo by Phyllis McCabe

Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance in Cherylyn Lavagnino’s Treize en Jeu (movements 1 & 2). . Photo by Phyllis McCabe

The second section was a quartet consisting of Alexander Berger, Ann Chiaverini, Emily Gayeski and Elisa Osborne performed to Sonata No. 3 in C Minor-Adagio. It was a bit of contradiction in its make-up, while the four women’s dancing exhibited a sense of great freedom, almost Duncan-ish in style, the music itself was very structured.

The last section, Sonata No. 3 in C Minor- Allegro Assai, was a trio for John Eirich, Ned Sturgis and Timothy Ward. It was fun and playful, boisterous boys being boys, jumping off each other, jumping towards each other, arms held out while running as if airplanes.

Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance performed Compadre and Treize en Jeu.(movements 1 & 2). Both accompanied by live music.

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