Friday April 30, 2010 - The Eugene Lang College Dance Department presented their annual Spring Dance Performance on Friday, April 30th at Ailey Citigroup theater. Former Paul Taylor dancers Karla Wolfangle and Takehiro Ueyama (both of the Lang faculty) collaborated on a new work which Kokyat and I were keen to see, and our friend Sophie Bromberg was dancing. Kokyat's photo at the top: ensemble from Karla & Take's STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS.
All five of the presented works were very pleasing with an interesting mixture of music and with fine lighting (always a plus); there were several intriguing dance-personalities among the young people who performed and the house was full and enthusiastic.
In the opening work, CHARLOTTE choreographed by Rebecca Stenn, a community of dancers move to music of Rickie Lee Jones. Without sentimentality, Stenn shows us many moods from unity to isolation; alliances form and dissolve. Some of the most moving images are simply of the dancers walking.
This was followed by the duet CANDYLAND choreographed to music by CocoRosie which features rather deranged vocalism accompanied by harp. The duet was expressively danced by Yuki Fukui and Jeffrei Londono. Mr. Londono seems already to have developed a fan club which is understandable: he's a beautiful dancer.
And...here he is, in the opening solo of Anna Sokolow's LYRIC SUITE.
Tonight's performance marked the culmination of the yearlong residency of Jim May, artistic director of the Sokolow Theater Dance Ensemble. To commemorate the centennial of the birth of renowned American choreographer and modern theater dance creator Anna Sokolow, May has worked with the Lang students to reconstruct her groundbreaking work Lyric Suite. The piece, which has not been performed for 25 years, premiered in 1953 at the 92nd Street Y. Here is a note from this evening's program:
Above, Anna Sokolow in 1958.
Seeing the reconstruction of Lyric Suite was a revelation, especially as it was so beautifully performed by the young dancers. The Alban Berg score is mysterious, cool yet tantalizing. Following Jeffrei Londano's perfect solo...
...Yuki Fukui appeared for the Andante amoroso in a pool of light; she danced in her own world, with refined gestures. In this solo, the influence of
Yuki Fukui. Click on these images to enlarge.
Lindsey Weaving in the Allegro misterioso of the Suite; her vivid performance was reminiscent of operatic mad scenes.
Jean McLocklin and Jeffrei Londono (above and below) perform the Largo desolato as a sort of love duet, tender and quietly ecstatic though with darkish undercurrents.
The Presto delirando is a solo for Patrick Fannon (above), yet another very expressive dancer. Sokolow's work asks for clarity of gesture and nuance and everyone in the cast seemed dedicated to that goal.
The remarkable, glowing finale of LYRIC SUITE is a quartet for four women in red gowns: Marissa Nigro, Sophie Bromberg, Ella Misko and Lindsey Weaving; the music is marked Adagio appassionato and the four dancers - though young - found a nice depth of poetic resonance.
Enhance the above photos with a click.
The performance continued after intermission with a genuinely amusing duet called TINY POOLS in which two dancers Ben Van Buren and Emily Skillings (above) recall scenes from childhood: Emily remembers a visit to a swimming pool which she viewed as an enticement despite her trepidation. Ben's solo illustrates his secret joy in dancing around the house when he was a youngster. The duet is friendly and quirky rather than romantic and the score includes passages of spoken dialog blended with some vocals: it's always nice to hear Mama Cass in any context.
STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS, performed by an ensemble of sixteen, is a reflection on the times we live in here in Gotham: rushing, regimented, our individuality sometimes submerged in the routines of the day. Scott Marshall has compiled an audio collage of urban sounds and punchy rhythms to which the dancers move with complete naturalness. Karla Wolfangle and Take Ueyama create a series of vignettes and seem to invite their young cast to elaborate with their own details, though remaining part of a collective. Subways, cellphones, free newspapers are all part of the scenario.
It's a work filled with energy...
...and yet it ends with calm.
Performance photos by Kokyat.