Wednesday April 24th, 2013 - Certain dancers seem to grab our attention no matter what they are dancing. I've been following Yuki Ishiguro's work here in New York City for a few seasons now and he's a dancer I'll often go out of my way to see. Tonight he was performing in a piece by Charly Wenzel in a mixed programme at Dixon Place; the evening was part of the NYC10 Festival.
Yuki began his dance-life break-dancing in Japan. Since coming to New York City, he has danced with isadoraNow (where I first saw him), for Darcy Naganuma, Sunhwa Chung, and Emery LeCrone; he appeared in a witty work with Yoo and Dancers and he's currently involved in Cori Marquis' The Nines. Yuki performed his poignant solo ANOTHER WORLD with BalaSole Dance Company, and was photographed by Kokyat while rehearsing a duet with Kentaro Kikuchi.
What makes Yuki so intrguing - beyond his style of movement - is his enigmatic quality. There's no other dancer quite like him on the Gotham dance scene. Tonight he appeared in an excerpt from Charly Wenzel's mysterious Light and Breath and Life and Thought, a work for small ensemble which incorporates hand-held lights and tiny mirror-discs sewn to the costumes which create starry patterns as they catch the light. Yuki danced beautifully in a role that featured elements of break-dancing, a form in which his combination of technical skills and artistry make him a stand-out.
My plan this evening was to go, watch the piece that Yuki was in, and leave. It turned out that Yuki was on next-to-last but it didn't matter because I ended up enjoying the entire programme. Here is a brief commentary on each of the participating companies:
The Beat Club - a tremendous and diverse large ensemble of gorgeous young people; they closed the evening with a fantastic performance; combining many genres, their energy was unstoppable in this brilliant and often auto-biographical work combining spoken narrative and infectious rhythms.
Charly Wenzel & Dancers - at once dark and luminous; a mystery-filled excerpt which makes me want to see more.
NonaLee Dance Theatre - four dancers in tightly-hooded body suits dancing excellent moves, with appropriate-energy music. I liked this a lot.
Sublime Dance Company - really inventive, very well-danced, and an interesting 'script' actually spoken by the dancers. Nice individual performances; I know dancers don't like talking as a rule but they handled it very well.
SUNPROJECT - fantastic send-up of SWAN LAKE with four black-leather and boldly-sassy swans doing wildly provocative moves to Tchaikovsky; hugely entertaining, and I was smitten with Keiji Kubo.
Sunny Nova Dance - very fine choreography and super-good dancing, the music was a bit anonymous but the dancers carried it really well.
MJM Dance - the most thought-provoking work, very well-executed; it's the story of a tragic 1911 sweatshop fire in New York City that killed over 140 workers. Nice ensemble work from the all-female cast.
DanceSpora - four distinctively beautiful women on pointe; really enjoyed this choreography and all the dancers, despite an innocuous musical score. The movement and individual personalities were very pleasing.
Billy Bell’s Lunge Dance Collective – a powerful, sensuous and violent pas de deux danced magnificently by Billy Bell and McKenna Birmingham; everything here was engrossing except the music, the anonymity of which somewhat undemined the power of the piece. Nevertheless, a fascinating and disturbing work, and Billy Bell is tantalizing in his cruelty shaded with guilt while Ms Birmingham gives a courageous performance.
Yoo and Dancers - a truly original work in which a young woman deconstructs and re-builds a male statue; live piano music enhanced the performances of Mary-Elizabeth Fenn and Sean Hatch, who carried out the choreographer's idea with a lovely seriousness of intent.
So, because of a single dancer - Yuki - I met a whole lot of new choreographers and dancers, including some I definitely want to see again. It was a really good evening.