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Tom Gold Dance at the Gerald Lynch Theater at John Jay College…

March 17, 2014
Tom Gold Dance in Tom Gold’s “La Plage”. Photo: Eugene Gologursky

Tom Gold Dance in Tom Gold’s “La Plage”. Photo: Eugene Gologursky

Without a doubt Tom Gold is a choreographer with a lot of promise. His choreography is intrinsically musical; it flows through and around the melody in ways that are unique to his vision. His command of the classical vocabulary was in strong evidence at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater during his New York season.

The program featured two world premieres. Urban Angels with music by Karl Jenkins and costumes by Janie Taylor, The Ladies Room, to the music by Claude Debussy,  a piece for three women that portray what happens when ladies meet in the lady’s room, as well as revival of La Plage, with music by John Zorn.

The press release stated that Urban Angels was inspired by the weeping angels from the Dr. Who television show where these angels might look beautiful but move with a velocity that will astound you. Well, I was never a fan of the Dr. Who series and so therefore I was unfamiliar with the show’s Weeping Angels.

Tom Gold Dance in Tom Gold’s “Urban Angel”. Photo: Eugene Gologursky

Tom Gold Dance in Tom Gold’s “Urban Angel”. Photo: Eugene Gologursky

The work was in three movements, the first movement ranges somewhere between Classical and Neo-classical, but not really being either. Mr. Gold, a former soloist with the New York City Ballet utilizes some of the best dancers in NYC, Sterling Hyltin, principal dancer with New York City Ballet; Nicole Graniero and Luciana Paris, Corps de Ballet with ABT; Marika Anderson, Emily Kitka, Meaghan Dutton-Ohara, Likolani Brown, Daniel Applebaum and Andrew Scordato, Corps de New York City Ballet and Stephen Hanna; a former principal with New York City Ballet and star of Broadway’s Tony Award winning, Billy Elliott.

The first movement I found predictable, little in way of innovation or creativity in the choreography. But, it was in the second movement of Urban Angels that you witness Mr. Gold’s true talent as a choreographer. He shows restraint but at the same time displays a continual mix of passion and deep emotion. He steps away from a strict interpretation and implementation of the manner of classical movement; instead he utilized his knowledge of the idiom but did not become encumbered by it. He allowed his creativity to reign free. Classical dancing became the voice in which he spoke, eloquently and with emotion. He used it to form his vowels of movement, putting them in a structure that fit his vision.

Tom Gold Dance in Tom Gold’s “La Plage”. Photo: Eugene Gologursky

Tom Gold Dance in Tom Gold’s “La Plage”. Photo: Eugene Gologursky

Mr. Gold’s talent also shined in the revival of La Plage, with music by John Zorn. When he let’s go and allows his creativity to shape the body in space as opposed to the politically correct strictures of classical dancing he shines.

Set in a tropical forest and within John Zorn you hear the call of exotic birds, nymphs found in nature frolic and play. You are captured in the very beginning of La Plage when three dancers, one behind the other, begin to move first arms then legs in a somewhat sensual manner that held deep mystery. I am again reminded of the Hindu Gods, Vishnu or Durga, each with multiple limbs for multiple purposes.

Sterling Hyltin shined in the work, with her crisp movements that allowed her emotionally softer undertones to blend with her musicality. Stephen Hanna’s muscular form seems to suggest a male god of nature; his every move was a stunning display of the male form in dance. His duets with Ms. Hyltin were a perfect blend of yin and yang. Together they created moments of tenderness and magic. A joy to watch, bravo to all…

Nicole Graniero, Sterling Hyltin & Luciana Paris in Tom Gold’s “The Ladies Room”. ”. Photo: Eugene Gologursky

Nicole Graniero, Sterling Hyltin & Luciana Paris in Tom Gold’s “The Ladies Room”. ”. Photo: Eugene Gologursky

Mr. Gold’s The Ladle’s Room, with music by Claude Debussy was a piece for three women, Nicole Graniero, Sterling Hyltin and Luciana Paris. There was no fault with the dancing, all three ladies performances were spot on.

But, though The Ladle’s Room was a pleasant enough piece it still lacked substance. Supposedly a tale of what happens when ladies gather in the Ladle’s Room to share the private moments of what is happening in their life. It read well in the press release, but it did not have the depth I had hoped for.

I was hoping for more detail, the solos for the women, though charming, lacked an inner dialogue, I did not see enough of a difference in the characterization. But this is things that more rehearsal time could have resolved.

Tom Gold Dance in Tom Gold’s “La Plage”. Photo: Eugene Gologursky

Tom Gold Dance in Tom Gold’s “La Plage”. Photo: Eugene Gologursky

In hindsight, I remember the excitement I experienced with Mr. Gold’s 2013 work Fauré Fantasy, a classically contemporary work set to the music of Gabriel Fauré. Mr. Gold, though speaking with his own voice,  present were the influence of Mr. Gold’s New York City Ballet background, that of George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. But he was speaking in a manner and style that is unique in tone of his generation. Nor, let us not forget Mr. Gold’s witty and somewhat tongue-in-cheek Gershwin Preludes that utilized the music of George Gershwin. He dazzled us with fast footwork and his natural lyricism.

Arnie Zane once truthfully said Dance eats money…”  I think that if Tom Gold could maintain a group of dancers, say for 28-32 or 4o weeks, then he could really invest the time to shape and mold each of his works without the constraints of limited studio time and a looming performance date.

Then I think the world would witness an artist of wonder who creates Neo-classical and contemporary ballets that Petipa or Balanchine or Béjart would be proud to see born….

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