Sunday March 10, 2013 - Peridance Contemporary Dance Company presented works by four choreographers this evening in a well-constructed programme. As always in a multi-choreographer presentation, some things spoke to us more profoundly or appealingly than others. What sustained the performance from start to finish was the power and commitment of the dancers, both as individuals and as a collective.
Enzo Celli's I'M HERE, a very moving response to the Holocaust, opened the programme. In this poignant dancework, eight young people move from the freedom of youthful friendships to their ultimate doom. After the opening segment, the boys take off their shirts and the girls their blouses: their vulnerability is captivating to behold. A spoken narrative, at once poetic and gripping, tells of the 'three deaths' experienced in the concentration camps. The cumulative effect of words and movement is fascinating and the work resonates deeply. However, the great power of the piece is then somewhat diluted by going on beyond the actual climax (death) into a series of abstract dances which - while finely wrought and executed - seem to veer into generalities: a potent statement thus becomes just another dancework. By paring the piece down to its essenctials, I'M HERE could have a far greater impact. Less is definitely more in cases like this.
Igal Perry was represented by two works on the programme, providing the evening's most satisfying moments both musically and choreographically. A gorgeous duet from TWILIGHT was danced with generous lyricism by the very attractive pairing of Eila Valls and Yesid Lopez. The choreographer's choice of the Chopin nocturne #2 in E-flat made this duet as meaningful to the ear as to the eye and spirit. The dancers were splendid.
Following the intermission, Mr. Perry's INFINITY took wing on the adagio from Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" sonata. In this finely-structured work - essentially a quadruple pas de deux - the dancers seemed to exude the magic of the music as one couple after another stepped into the forefront. As a manifestation of the three essentials of what makes for a satisfying dancework - music, movement, and the dancers to bring it to life - INFINITY rates high.
The quirky demands of the partnering motifs set forth in Ohad Naharin's duet from MABUL were met with distinctive and powerful success by Joanna DeFelice and Christopher Bloom. To a Vivaldi aria, Chris Bloom menaces Ms. DeFelice before they find common ground. As compelling for its brevity as for its dark wit and musical ravishment, this duet seemed to captivate the audience.
Songs by Nat King Cole - one of the all-time greatest pop vocalists in the history of song - set the stage for Dwight Rhoden's EVERMORE. In this smoke-filled, brilliantly lit space, the dancers moved smartly in steps which ran the gamut from ballet to ballroom to Broadway. The piece, entertaining and danced with vitality, stretched onward thru and beyond a couple of happy endings; after a while I began to feel the focus being lost. As in Robbins' DANCES AT A GATHERING, it seemed the choreographer could have continued working his way thru Nat King Cole's entire discography, turning out one pleasing vignette after another. It's all nice, but there's just a bit too much of it.
The dancers deserve huge credit for their excellent and dedicated work; Chris Bloom still seemed fresh and lively after dancing in four works (and an earlier matinee) and I always love to see Leigh Lejoi, Nikki Holck and Yesid Lopez. Some of the dancers newer to me will eventually seep into my dancesphere as I see them more frequently. And it was really good to find that Jerimy Rivera - once upon a time a Nutcracker Prince at New York City Ballet - has matured into a striking stage presence with a great smile: his SAB training shines thru at every moment.
Watching dance with someone as immersed in the dance world as Norbert de la Cruz is always enlightening, and I loved running into Lynda Senisi, Bennyroyce Royon and Manuel Vignoulle. A really pleasing evening in every way.