CUNY Macaulay Honors College at Baruch College/Professor Bernstein
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Category — Fall for Dance

Fall for Dance: I Fell for Ambiguity

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As the curtain was pulled away, two expressionless dancers in white unitard started dancing on the empty stage without music in Fall For Dance. As the light got brighter, the heavy metallic noises and ambiguous mumbles were coated on the dancers’ slow motions. XOVER started. There was neither rhythm nor liaison. When a group of identical looking dancers came out on the stage, a single word came across my mind:       “momentum.” I couldn’t understand why this clumsy and distasteful word, which retrieved the forgotten memories of my hateful high school physics class, kept entering my head while I was watching the modern dance performance.

The description of XOVER on the program booklet was “the final reunion of the “original collaborators”- Cunningham, Cage, and Rauschenberg- bringing together a beautiful assemblage of their individual mediums.” Certainly those three directors’ components were put together and lively appearing on the stage: Cunningham’s choreography, Cage’s music, and Rauschenberg’s décor and costume. What else was needed ?  However, the entire performance was like gobbling a whole pie of greasy pizza without drinking a sip of soda. There were too many things, so I couldn’t digest them all at once. All I needed was the moment that I could feel a sense of union, harmony, and ensemble. I didn’t feel like all three components were equally emphasized. When one component was strong, the other one was stronger.

As the performance was drawing to an end, I could finally understand why that clumsy physics word kept blinking above my head. Each individual dancer’s uniqueness was entirely eradicated. Without showing any sense of emotion, they were jumping up and down, flying over each other. Doing all those intricate acrobatic movements with their expressionless faces made me to question what they were dancing for. Are they enjoying their own performance? In my eyes, they were simply turning round and round, hand in hand rather than dancing. I could not see any attempt of communication between the dancers nor between the dancers and audiences. I had no idea whether they were actually understanding and interpreting the director’s intention or just doing it because they were asked to do so.

Let me put it into a simpler form: I felt like I was observing a massive atomic collision through a microscope. Since each dancer’s individuality was lost and his potentials were locked, I could see him as a hardened atom with heavy momentum rather than a dance performer. Such collision was eventually sublimated into an unidentified juxtaposition of harsh noises as musical accompaniment. It was ironic that the background painting, originally drawn by Rauschenberg, resembled a stop sign and bar in front of the train rails. Without reviving each dancer’s individuality, this performance would go on and on without having a definite end. Overall, it was a certainly something radically new, yet not enough to be a revolution.

October 5, 2010   No Comments

Autumn For Dance

After watching four distinct companies perform their own genre defining performances at this years Fall For Dance festival I was left more impressed with how varied the medium of dance can be, proven by how unique each production was, than the actual performances themselves.

The program for Fall For Dance opens with the genre melding modernist production Xover, followed by the bombastic and colorful I Can See Myself in Your Pupil. The third production, Vistaar, a world premiere, sticks to a more rigid form of dance in the Odissi tradition, traditionally performed in India. The closing act, performed by the Miami City Ballet is the most mainstream of the four performances, containing all the pirouettes and energetic leaps onto the stage that one would expect from a major ballet company, but it too is also unique for the fact that it is choreographed to the music of David Byrne, whose mellow vocals added a interesting contrast to the animated dancers on stage.

Xover, the most experimental, as well as the longest running dance performed that night might not even be considered, by many, to be a dance in the traditional sense, but a melding of audible art, as well as the two different types of visual art. The piece combines the sounds of the infamous composer John Cage with the kinetic choreography of Merce Cunningham, as well as the static backdrop and costumes designed by Robert Rauschenberg. The three interpretations of modernist art in each of the respected mediums tries to transcend preconceived notions about the mediums as well as question the idea of distinct and separate mediums altogether. On an artistic level it is fascinating, but for those that just want to be entertained it is too bizarre and detached to elicit any meaningful emotional response. What hurts the piece, in my opinion, is the music by John Cage, which overwhelmed the dancers and backdrop with distorted voices, combined with loud, often random bursts of various sounds; It often made the performance hard to grasp a hold of.

I Can See Myself in Your Pupil was a stark contrast to the opening act. Colorful costumes, as well as wacky haircuts set up the mood for a fierce, wild, and seemingly improvised dance routine. The production’s physical chemistry and crowd-pleasing moments replaced the avant-garde intellectualism in Xover with raw fun and energy. The choreographer, Andrea Miller, did not seem to care about melding genres as much as hammering out the most emotional energy she could from each of her dancers as possible, then storing that energy until finally throwing into the crowd. This was done in the form of a mock kiss or by further egging on the audience with wild hand gestures.

The final two dances were just as unique as the first two. Vistaar represented the Odissi dance form, focusing on a rhythmic dance that does not change tempo throughout. The costumes, music, and dance fit more as a cohesive whole more than any other dance that evening, but this also made it less memorable than the other dances. Expert ballet dancers dressed in bright gold leotards, bathed in golden light, and accompanied by David Byrne’s new wave vocals performed the night’s final production. It represented ballet in all its purity and form bursting forth sunshine as over a dozen dancers darted across the stage. Compared to the other performances it was alone by being what most people would imagine when they think of the medium of dance.

Fall For Dance did not blow me away, but the varied performances kept me entertained without ever getting me bored. Whether or not you will like the dances themselves is really a matter of taste, since each company portrayed astute technical skill in their own genre. There really is something for everybody, and for those who are newcomers to dance, the four performances offer a nice taste of how varied dance as a medium can be.

October 5, 2010   No Comments

Fall–ing over–for Dance

Everyone loves a spectacle. And the “Fall for Dance” festival at New York City Center last Thursday became no exception to that rule.

As I stepped into the already packed theatre, I was fully prepared to become more “cultured” as the night went on. However, when I first opened the night’s playbill, I quickly began to fear what was to come. And the night’s first performance, XOVER, performed by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, did nothing to dissuade these fears. Although the dancing seemed as expected—incredibly intricate and expressive, of course—it was the piece’s accompaniment that worried me so: a wild conglomeration of coarse sound effects that seemed meant to grate against the “cultured” ear. At the very least, it made a large group of people around me quite uncomfortable (if that was a intentional, A+!), and at the very worst, I don’t believe that I’m the only one who feared the possibility of nightmares that night, or the only one that was often picturing a frantic escape down the side aisle. Still, despite the piece’s propensity for making the audience shake—be it from fear, or silent laughter—it successfully kept the crowd questioning the (wait for it) complete spectacle of experimentation in the arts.

The next piece in the line-up was, thankfully, just what was needed to maintain the audience’s faith in the night. Gallim Dance, with their performance of I Can See Myself in Your Pupil, kept the audience rapt from start to finish, but less out of awe than sheer curiosity. The piece’s ability to tell a story through huge, vibrant, freeing movements allowed each dancer to have a sort of individual character, that seemed to speak in isolation to the audience. This, along with the absolutely irresistible accompanying music—assorted songs by the group Balkan Beat Box—left me (and others) falling over from incredulous laughter, but in the best way: we all wanted more, and they didn’t hesitate to deliver. The performance was a perfect example of a dance piece successfully relating to the audience (which, in hindsight, seems odd, because it seems that the moves themselves, when taken out of the routine’s context, become nothing more than just movements; as a whole, the piece left many—including myself—very satisfied…and much more reassured of the direction the night was taking).  The piece’s fervor became a beacon for the rest of the night, giving the other groups—Madhavi Mudgal with her intricate dancers, and the glowing Miami City Ballet—a successful introduction that both reassured the audience, and made them want more.

October 5, 2010   No Comments

Dancing All Over New York City

New York is truly the cultural and artistic center of the world, and Fall for Dance is a microcosm of New York’s cultural diversity. Even if you think dancing isn’t for you, like I had previously felt, you are bound to find something that interests you in the show. It is truly a captivating collection of dance performances that exhibit cultures that stretch from all over the world.

What is one word captures the essence of XOVER? I would have to say bizarre. Everything, from the music, to the costumes, and to the dance was clashed together. First of all the music, if it can be called that, was absolutely horrifying. It ranged from sounds of nature to eerie sounds that felt as if they had been pulled straight out of a science fiction movie. As far as the dance goes, at often times, the dancers appeared rigid and emotionless, but they fit the bill for the music. Their all white attire also exhibited this sense of lack of emotion. In quite a few instances there was utter silence, and the dancers continued to dance in synchronization. It seemed as though the music they were dancing to was in their heads, and the noises were merely distractions. This encounter between the music and the dance was unique, even though the peculiar sounds hurt the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s overall performance.

The next performance, I Can See Myself In Your Pupil, performed by Gallim Dance was quite simply phenomenal. The upbeat music in this performance snatched the souls of the audience members, as the deep bass and the singing trumpets became one with the viewers’ beating hearts. A flavor of Israeli music provided some of this upbeat music. The dancing was free, wacky and highly entertaining. Each dancer was wearing casual/club style clothing, which along with the music and the dance allowed the viewers to form a connection with the performance. However, the most exhilarating part of their performance was captured in the backdrop. The shadows of the wacky dances on the backdrop, created a second, equally as entertaining show. At the end of the performance, members of Gallim Dance received a well-deserved standing ovation; not one person in the full house was seated.

Vistaar by Mahavi Mudgal was a tremendous display of attention to detail, and Indian culture. It wasn’t the most entertaining performance, but it was very well done. All five dancers worked together as an extremely cohesive unit. Throughout the dance they were arranged in tightly knit patterns, and didn’t spread across the stage. Each one of their movements was in synch, including the stomps, and their intricate hand movements. Their attention to detail was stunning. Indian culture was exhibited through every aspect of the performance, from the music to the costumes. They wore Indian saris, which is a traditional dress for Indian women. The music that they were dancing to was predominately vocal, with the tabla (Indian drum) and sitar providing the background beat; this captured the qualities of classical Indian music. Focus and collaborative work made their premier a worthwhile watch.

The finale, The Golden Section, performed by Miami City Ballet was a sensational display of ballet. They were probably the most talented dancers in the performance, and they showed their talents with fast paced dancing, and executing countless spins and acrobatic lifts. In the background, the music sounded like it was from an aerobics workout video. However, I can’t lie, it was extremely catchy. From their golden attire, to their fast dancing, The Golden Section was truly a golden finale.

Fall for Dance is a must watch for all those who have the slightest passion for dance. It provides the audience with a wide array of entertaining dances. All of the performances were unique, and could stand alone, but Fall for Dance meshes them together to establish a fabulous viewing experience.

October 5, 2010   No Comments

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

Sitting quietly in the aisle seat, I rifled through the program absentmindedly with mixed expectations. I looked around at all the strangers passing by: some giggling, some shuffling, some yawning, some stoic. I turned to my right to see two boys around my age. “Are you Macaulay too?”


…. And that was the extent of that conversation. Apparently they were from Queens, and the rest of their class was scattered throughout the theater. So I sat in silence waiting for the show to end before it even began.

But then the curtains opened, to reveal two dimly lit performers, a man and a woman as far upstage as humanly possible. As the woman crooned a beautiful spanish love song (or what I assumed as such), the man accompanied her on guitar. The buttery, but at times raspy, exotic warbling set the tone for the rest of the night: puzzling, but no doubt beautiful.

Then came a few more ensemble members creating music with their taps, claps, and something resembling a turtle shell. The tapping was phenomenal, but then the show rapidly took a turn for the bizarre.

I appreciated the time and effort it clearly took to master all the segments, but they were so abstract that I believe the only thing I truly could appreciate is the talent itself. Maybe I was tired, maybe I was not critically thinking, but I know for sure I just did not get some of the acts.

The “pauses” were long and many in between, which was not as expected. But, a break was needed to take a second to say to yourself, “WHAT?”

One segment in particular made me question my sanity, but in a good way. The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company performed an eery duet that just blew me out of the water. It was simple, but mind-boggling. Two dancers hopped, swayed and pirouetted to a cryptic choreography to the tune of an interview with John Cage. The backdrop of sound was sometimes cut off, leaving the dancers to do their work in silence. The heaviness of the piece just struck me, as it’s little intricacies unfolded with each deliberate movement and choice of word.

I left with my feathers ruffled, but in an oddly exhilarating way. It left so many questions, and answered none.The absurd abstractness of it all was, in the end, a great way to spend my evening alone.

October 5, 2010   No Comments

An Introduction to the World of Dance

The theatre fills with a strange groaning sound as graceful dancers glide onto the stage. There is an awkward break in the noise, during which the dancers continue to move as if to their own internal soundtrack, and then an unpleasant moan disrupts the silence. These sounds seem like a strange introduction to a song but instead they are the song. What the audience is hearing is the work of John Cage, a very influential musician of the 20th century. “Xover,” choreographed by Merce Cunningham of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, is a tribute to Cage. The dancers moved beautifully and powerfully, yet the routine seemed to drag on, likely due to the blend of Cage’s “music” and the bland choreography. The uniform white leotards also did not contribute to catching the audience’s attention.

The mood changes immediately as the upbeat and catchy music of the band Balkan Beat Box blasts through the speakers. People straighten up and lean forward in their seats as the dancers of Gallim Dance prance out on stage to perform “I Can See Myself in Your Pupil.” The women were dressed in short, flouncy dresses in bright colors and the men were wearing casual business attire. The dancers moved in a way that did not seem rehearsed. Their arms and legs were flying everywhere in a seemingly natural manner. The happy beat and the carefree, joyous movement of the dancers made me want to run up on stage and join them. The dancers seemed so comfortable with themselves and each other and their bright smiles throughout the routine conveyed their love and passion for what they were doing. They were able to pull the audience along with them into their animated world of joy and spirit.

Now the stage is dark but for a light shining on a table with a vase full of white flowers. Exotic music fills the air as choreographer Mudhavi Mudgal dances out with her four students. They all wore elaborate, traditional Indian dress, embroidered with shiny thread and flowers. Though the dance was beautiful, I felt much of it was lost for me sitting in the balcony of the theatre. The movements were subtler than those in the other dances since they were focused on the women’s hands and feet and you needed to be closer to the stage in order to observe and appreciate these steps.  The dance was obviously well rehearsed as the women remained in near perfect synchronization with each other, throughout the entire routine. The music and the movement were slow, making “Vistaar” a sweet but not very memorable piece.

The last performance of the night, “The Golden Section,” was another burst of energy, resembling but not reaching the level of enthusiasm in the Gallim Dance performance. Miami City Ballet did a ballet routine, choreographed by Twyla Tharp, to the music of David Byrne. They leapt around the stages in perfect jumps and turns. Though the dancing was beautiful and lively, the dancers did not have the personality you would expect from performers in such a dance.

Though the four routines of the night were not equally enjoyable, they were all interesting and original. Somehow four completely different types of dance managed to fit together into one entertaining show. This Fall for Dance was a great way for a person new to the world of dance to expose themselves to different styles and discover what they like.

October 5, 2010   No Comments

Review: Fall For Dance…/AliceKlock_Pupil.jpg

It seemed as if when the first performance, “Xover”, began, everyone in the audience around me started looking side to side at one another as if to say, “Is this serious?” “Is this really the performance?” For myself, I honestly thought that maybe the microphones were getting too close to the speakers on stage and it caused that achy, high-pitched “noise.” I understand that this “music” by John Cage is where the origin of electrical music began, but everything seemed so unplanned and ill-prepared that I don’t think it is worthy enough to be played at a performance. Partially because I don’t really think you can dance completely accurate to these sounds. In my opinion though, Merce Cunningham’s Dance Company did a good job for the most part, staying in sync with all their combination of acrobatic and ballet moves, despite there being no real flow to the “music” to keep rhythm on. Like I said, dancing to the music being played is very difficult, but I believe they did an adequate job for what they were given.

I think it’s fair to say that the second performance really captured everyone’s eyes and was the clear cut favorite of the audience. It was such a pleasant change from rather slow ballet dancing, all white leotards, and unclear “music”, to the upbeat dancing, colorful outfits, and contagious music. “I Can See Myself In Your Pupil” by Gallim Dance was really exciting to watch starting with the quirky duet between the boy and girl, all the way to the final bow. The dances seemed so provocative, quick, and rhythmic that you just couldn’t look away. Every part of this performance was a show in itself… The dancing, the music, the outfits, and even the background. The back-screen of the performance created a whole different perspective of the dancers through their shadows. It enhanced the size and movements of the dancers in a way where you didn’t know whether to watch the actual dancers or their shadows. By the time the performance was over, the crowd showed its delight in this particular performance by the loud, thunderous, standing ovation they gave. This to me was the highlight of the night.

The third performance, “Vistaar”, seemed to me like the most unique performance, dance wise. It was a very traditional dance style, which focused on different hand movements belonging to the Odissi dance style. This dance brought the focus on one lead dancer and basically her four imitative dancers who would follow her movements. I felt that their synchronization worked well and that the movements with their hands through their fingers brought a liveliness to the dance altogether. The outfits worn for this performance worked very well with the Indian theme. They were very lively looking with the gold and crimson colored designs included on them. They worked well with the performance. The only negative I saw with this performance was that it had to follow “I Can See Myself In Your Pupil”, because let’s be honest, that was definitely the hardest act to follow. I think having to follow it made it have to live up to higher expectations, which I don’t think were met… But not necessarily their fault.

I actually really enjoyed the final performance, “The Golden Section.” The first thing I saw was all the matching gold outfits and right away I liked it. The energy on stage and the highly acrobatic “flying” of the dancers made it exciting to watch. With the costumes, I felt like I was watching a pack of lions running and tearing around the stage. The dancers were obviously extraordinarily talented and meshed well with the energetic music playing alongside them. All in all I thought this was a great ending to Fall For Dance because it ended the night on a good note.

Fall For Dance was a performance I was not expecting, nor ready for. But at the end of the night I was definitely pleased with the performances and was truthfully happy I went. I thought I might be a little bored by the show, being that modern dancing and ballet aren’t really some of my strongest interests. But even sitting through “Xover” I wasn’t bored because it was so new and interesting, that even though I didn’t love it, I couldn’t stop watching it. Everything was a mystery to me so I was glad I got to see and listen to these performances to open myself up to these new genres and performances.

October 5, 2010   No Comments

Fall for Dance Delicatessen

"I Can See Your Pupil" by Gallim Dance; Taken by Chris Randle

Fall for Dance is a Whitman’s sampler box of dancing, with various flavors ranging from post-human to Israeli beat box, and others in between. This years showcase presented a dynamic range of performances that offered something for audiences of different tastes

The first performance was perhaps the darkest and most bitter chocolate of the bunch, entertaining intellectuals who are well versed in the arts and offering little meaning for the average audience. The Merce Cunningham Dance Company performed Mr. Cunningham and John Cage’s collaboration, XOVER, a controversial post-human piece that was set in tune to a live, deadpan, vocalization of random noises. From what first sounds as the throat juggling of hairballs materialized language and stuttering opera pitches that an ignorant audience can easily mistake for a broken radio. Nevertheless, the “random array of noises” seemed to guide the movement of the dancers, developing a reactionary motion as two of them complemented each other in a physical unison; with one shadowing the other, their performance can leave anyone mesmerized. Their flawless execution has done justice to the choreography, that is to say that their execution was void of emotion. For those who dare to draw their iPhones amidst a “mesmerized” state, and Wikipedia Merce Cunningham’s work in experimental dance and John Cage’s metaphysical take on music, will find a delicacy of substance. As the principal collaboration of the two lovers, the unique product won a standing ovation from many, but little affection from young college students such as myself.

The second performance, titled “I Can See Myself in Your Pupil” and conducted by Gallim dance, was the most exotic of the bunch, living up to its description as “a joyous romp that plays with the madness of imagination and the ecstasy of movement.” Delivered with personality and joint-defying explosive movements, Gallim’s dancers were the only ones who were accoutered in varying urban, casual, attire, offering each one a distinguishable identity that was elaborated with individualistic motions. Nevertheless, their movements were thematically correlated to sexual relationships, and their choreography familiarized with hip-hop dance, although to the sound of an ecstatic trumpet. The company’s jittery and seemingly caffeinated motions resonated well with the young audience; necessitating no research of a recipe grasped by a youthful taste.

The third treat was an Indian Odissi movement. In a ritualistic and communicative performance, Madhavi Mudgal offered insight into Indian culture in his world premiere of Vistaar. The dance was well choreographed in a rhythmic progression achieving symmetry. Although its message may be fragmented in translation, the execution of the performance itself was impressive, lending to traditional “division in Odissi dance of head, bust and torso.”

Like a liqueur-centered truffle, the final movement was the most exquisite, offering traditional ballet and captivating acrobatics with a “The Golden Section” in between the energetic intoxication and technical style. Twyla Tharp succeeded in intertwining ballet dance with David Byrne’s contemporary symphonies.  The stage was showered in the ambiance of golden lighting, appropriately matching the dancers’ outfits and the triumphant mood of the musical piece.

With few potential flaws, and the accommodation of a multitude of tastes, Fall for Dance offered a salivating serving of entertainment to a diverse audience.

October 5, 2010   No Comments

(Alas, I could not fully) Fall For Dance

For purposes of full disclosure, it should first be mentioned that I have never been to a professional dance performance before, it also should be noted that I have never had that high of a perception of the art. Yet, as I took my seat at the NY City Center last Wednesday night, I was willing to set all my prejudices aside and was hoping, nay praying that the performances would somehow surpass the minimal expectations that I had set for them in the moments before the curtain rose.

Sadly, it was not meant to be. As the first performance Xover took to the stage, I quickly realized that this would not be the fun-loving highly synchronized dance routine that I had hoped against hope for. Instead, we were greeted with what sounded to be an incomprehensible muddle of mixed vocal and sounds, which one might expect to come from a garbage disposal, certainly not a professional stage. To each their own, but to me the sound only detracted from what was going on onstage, but perhaps this is partly due to my fledgling flavor for dance. As I overheard someone state on the way out: “it seemed they needed to fill every second with some sort of sound,” I couldn’t have agreed more; but it was a dance that I had attended, not merely a musical performance and the unorthodox soundtrack forced me to realize the importance of the two running hand-in-hand. With the wildness of the sounds, it was impossible to expect the performance onstage to somehow flow with the music, it didn’t. Not to discredit the hard work of the performance of Xover over the past three years, the dancers undoubtedly put a concerted effort in, but in no way did I feel it warranted ‘opening’ this year’s Fall For Dance program.

If my expectations were low going into the first act, they only dropped further during the break that preceded the second. Fortunately, the two dances that followed not only were a change of pace, but much more enjoyable as well. The second, I Can See Myself in Your Pupil was in an entirely different league than the dance that had come before it. Set to upbeat and carefree music from Israeli group, Balkan Beat Box, Gallim Dance Company’s performance was inventive and enthusiastic, and utilized music to their advantage as it was inextricably weaved into their routine. Compared to the drab white garb of Xover’s dancers, Gallim’s crew was refreshingly colorful in both appearance and attitude. Following them came the dance: Vistaar, which was a take on the traditional Oddisi movement. While the dance style itself may be customary, the performance was enjoyable in not only its synchronicity but its constant movement and rhythm created bells worn by the dancers. Also worth pointing out were the live musicians for the act, which were a major and important component of the performance. The final dance featured a much more technical yet modern ballet performance, which as far as I could tell went along very smoothly.

It is a shame that the night had to be dampened by the show’s opening act, which unfortunately took away from the show as a whole. Yet the dance that followed the first (I Can See Myself in Your Pupil) did its best to redeem the night, and for the most part, it did a good job in doing so. While in no circumstance would I recommend the viewing of Xover again, the poor choice in opening act should in no way affect one’s enjoyment of the other performances; unfortunately however it has undeniably affected my memory of the night as a whole.

October 5, 2010   1 Comment

…in the Eye of the Beholder

Balkan Beat Box – Cha Cha

Cock-a-doodle-doo!  The sound of a rooster marks the beginning of Balkan Beat Box’s “Cha Cha” to which an upbeat, fun story is performed by a couple from the Gallim Dance Company.  It was the kind of high-tempo music and engaging expression and dance that makes the watcher want to jump up and join the dancers on stage.  It was the kind of happy wake-up call necessary to follow the abstract and highly conceptual performance of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

Set to John Cage’s “music” and with Rauschenberg as inspiration for the backdrop, the piece, titled “Xover,” features dancers in minimalist white unitards.  Alternately prancing around the stage in pairs and individually and finally altogether, the dancers show they are technically sound and practiced in the timing of their movement to the silence that occurs in the “music.”  Followed by a screech or some random French musings, dancers appear or exit the stage with no coherent fluidity.  Where there should be strength in movement, especially when partnering, there seemed to be a lack of conviction; there was no feeling given to the physical motion nor was there a perceived emotional connection between partners.  Sure there was a theme, but the only feeling elicited was annoyance; sure the John Cage’s challenged conceptions of music, but use of traditional steps and technical dancers left the watcher in confusion.  There was no movement or motion that challenged conceptions of dance nor was there anything to add interest.

The aforementioned Gallim Dance Company swooped in like a tornado of fresh air and a bubbly mood that was inescapable.  All the dancers were featured at some point, and the boldness of each individual was expressed in their bright and varying costume and consuming movement.  Everyone on stage related to each other well in emotion, partnering, and technical strength, but what made the performance especially gripping was the way the audience was engaged.  Sometimes it would be mouthing the words or giving a little smile or nod to the audience, inviting them to show emotion; this piece is fittingly entitled “I Can See Myself in Your Pupil.”  There was power and interest in the movement and it very well related to the eclectic music chosen.  Every dancer was special, there was control and energy from head to toe, and there was a great group dynamic.  This performance left me with an inspirational sort of feeling that still hasn’t left.

What followed was a traditional Indian performance from Madhavi Mudgal.  It started out beautifully in movement and one was transported into a melodic style that was easy on the eyes.  However, what started out promising didn’t continue that way.  The composition was choppy in movement on the stage and in formation and moving out of formation and the tempo and style started to put me in a sleepy lull.  The performance focused on one dancer while the rest felt like backup dancers but shouldn’t have been.  There was more energy created with all the dancers moving as one rather than the appearance of subservience to one.  The result was a thoroughly uninspiring piece.

However headache-inducing the show started, it ended with a delightful presentation of Twyla Tharp’s “The Golden Section” by the Miami City Ballet.  There was an ease and confidence into the jumps and motions of the dancers and simplicity yet intensity to the composition of the dancers and the piece.  The only criticism I can express is what felt like a lack of conviction for the emotion at times.  But the dynamism and strength of movement made up for what the dancers’ faces didn’t provide.  There was subtlety in the warm feeling to be elicited, and the beauty was in the vigor yet tranquility of movement.

The medley of performances provided a well-rounded variety for the night; from conceptual to modern, people continue to fall for dance because there are so many different styles and interpretations that can be conceived.  Movement and dance is available to anyone, and Fall for Dance serves to showcase what can be made of it; even if not every section is enjoyed, one can question why they didn’t.  The show was like a day where the morning was mind-numbing and painful, the afternoon took a huge upturn and was exciting, the evening mellowed out, and there was a nice dessert before sleeping.  And when the next day starts (no thanks to a rooster), there is an uninhibited desire to dance.

October 5, 2010   No Comments