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…Brazilian Street Dancing & Paul Taylor | New York City Center’s 12 Annual Fall for Dance, Program 3

October 14, 2015

Maninyas_Gonzalez and Yoshiyama_PC Amitava Sarkar-001

Program 3 of New York City Center’s 12 Annual Fall for Dance was perhaps my favorite program I’ve witness in this year’s two week festival. New York City Center’s Fall for Dance is an annual two week festival in which tickets are only $15. Each program gives the ticket holder the opportunity to witness diverse choreographies in an eclectic assortment of dance styles.

The evening opened with Brazil’s Companhia Urbana de Dança performing Eu Danço – 8 Solos No Geral, which translates to ‘1 dance, 8 solos overall’. Co-founded in 2004 by Tiago Sousa and choreographer Sonia Destri, the company is composed of Brazilian street performers, many of who grew up in the favelas of Rio

Companhia Urbana de Dança performing “Eu Danço - 8 Solos No Geral.” Photo: Renato Mangolin

Companhia Urbana de Dança performing “Eu Danço – 8 Solos No Geral.” Photo: Renato Mangolin

The nine dancers took a bare stage and filled it with a youthful energy and a sense of excitement. There were dancers spinning on their heads, performing helicopters on their backs and other typical hip-hip moves. The styles of dance were nothing new, well, not to New Yorkers who are exposed to various street performers on a daily basis.

There was little innovation or anything new in respect to the choreographer and how it was performed. I often wonder how often the dancers were actually improvising their own moves. It was exciting, but unfortunately that excitement began to wane rather quickly.

Fang-Yi Sheu and Herman Cornejo presented the N.Y. premiere of Ms. Sheu’s 2014 work, Pheromones. Ms. Sheu is a former principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company and Mr. Cornejo is a principal dancer with American Ballet Theater. Pheromones was commissioned by the Vail International Dance Festival.

The duet was a tender exploration of one dancer for the other as they moved with the melodies of Philip Glass’s Facades. Their bodies were always within arms’ reach of each other they as they formed a symbiosis of movement with little to no physical contact. I think very few dancers in the world could have carried off this work but these two. It was beautiful, emotional and intelligient…Bravo to both Ms. Sheu and Mr. Cornejo.

Fang Yi Sheu & Herman Cornejo in “Pheromones.” Photo © Erin Baiano 2014 Vail International Dance Festival

Fang Yi Sheu & Herman Cornejo in “Pheromones.” Photo © Erin Baiano 2014 Vail International Dance Festival

Originally created for the San Franciso Ballet in 1996, Stanton Welch’s Maninyas is an abstract work that mixes classical and contemporary ballet in a series of pas de deux and pas de trois. Set to the Australian composer Ross Edwards’ Maninyas Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, the work features five couples who move in and out of a series of soft luminescent veils that serve as a backdrop to the piece.

The work possessed a beautiful simplicity in both its construction and how Mr. Welch used the body in space. The work flows with difficult lifts and with moments that are exquisitely sculptural, all while retaining a sense of freedom.

Paul Taylor Dance Company in Paul Taylor’s “Brandenburgs.” Photo: Paul Goode

Paul Taylor Dance Company in Paul Taylor’s “Brandenburgs.” Photo: Paul Goode

The Paul Taylor Dance Company closed the evening’s program with Paul Taylor’s Brandenburgs. The dancers wove through Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos #6 (movements 1 & 2) and #3 with both sensitivity and grace. The musicality of the dancers is unmistakable. It was a fitting end to a wonderful performance.

 

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