The 10th anniversary season of New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival opened this week, presenting - over a 10-day period - performances by 20 acclaimed dance companies and artists from around the world. Included in the five programs are three new works - commissioned by New York City Center - from some of the most exciting young choreographers of today.
The Fall for Dance Festival has received international praise for the quality, innovation and success of the works presented over the years, and for introducing new and younger audiences to the world of dance. Since its inception, the Festival has presented 177 companies and introduced more than 220,000 newcomers and dance enthusiasts to a wide-ranging mix of choreographers and performers.
“We launched Fall for Dance nine years ago,” says Arlene Shuler, President & CEO of New York City Center, “with the goal of introducing new audiences to dance and providing a highly visible showcase for artists, and it has succeeded beyond our wildest dreams.”
The opening program, on September 25 and 26, featured four very different works. The Devil in the Detail, is a jazzy piece by the Richard Alston Dance Company set to the music of Scott Joplin. Celebrated Argentine tango dancers Gabriel Missé - widely admired for his classical tanguero style - and Analía Centurión made their Fall for Dance debut. Choreographer Justin Peck created a new work, The Bright Motion, for New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns, and Casey Herd, principal dancer of Dutch National Ballet. And DanceBrazil presented Jelon Vieira’s Fé do Sertão - a snapshot of life in a largely rural area of Northeastern Brazil - through the company’s fusion of Afro-Brazilian movement, contemporary dance and Capoeira.
Program Two of Fall for Dance - on September 27 and 28 - presents a Festival debut entitled Vibhakta. Choreographed by Surupa Sen, it’s performed by Nrityagram, regarded as one of the foremost dance companies of India. Nrityagram is dedicated to ancient practice, but is also committed to carrying Indian dance into the 21st century and commissioning new compositions from leading Indian classical musicians.
Another Festival Debut, and a US premiere, comes from Vancouver-based company 605collective, with a work entitled Selected Play. It comprises material from two of the company’s full-length works - Audible and Inheritor Album - in which physical conversations set off a chain-reaction dance.
London-based company, HeadSpaceDance, makes both its Festival and New York debuts in Light Beings - choreographed by Mats Ek. Described as “a joyful, quirky duet”, it’s an adaptation from Ek’s full-length work Ljusvarelser (Light Beings), set to Sibelius’ Andante Festivo.
Internationally acclaimed Dance Theatre of Harlem performs Gloria - a ballet choreographed by Robert Garland, and set to the music of Francis Poulenc. The company was originally formed to give new opportunities to the lives of young people in the neighbourhood of Harlem, where its founder, Arthur Mitchell grew up, and Gloria is a tribute to the spiritual legacy which lives on in that community.
Program Three - on September 30 and October 1 - features American Ballet Theatre in José Limón’s The Moor’s Pavane. Subtitled Variations on a theme of Othello, and based on dance forms of the high Renaissance, this work is regarded the world over as Limón’s masterpiece. ABT, known as ‘America’s National Ballet Company’, is recognized as one of the premier dance companies in the world.
Colin Dunne makes his Festival deubt with a US premiere, The Turn, adapted from his work The Turn: Dance in Your Blood, which premiered in his native Ireland as recently as July. Described as "rhythmical and dynamic", The Turn makes use of electronic elements, where amplification of dance steps is used to trigger the live processing of sound - a growing feature of Dunne’s solo theater work.
Ballet Hispanico presents a world premiere and Festival commission, Sombrerísimo, choreographed by Belgian-Colombian Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. This all-male work takes a lighthearted look at stereotype and the removal of convention. The score includes music by Banda Ionica, Macaco el Mono Loco, Titi Robin, Lisa Gerrard and Michael Small. Led by Artistic Director, Eduardo Vilaro, Ballet Hispanico is regarded as the leading Latino dance organization in the US.
Another company making its Festival debut is Introdans, one of the Netherlands’ most acclaimed dance companies. Introdans performs the US premiere of Sinfonía India, choreographed by Nacho Duato, and inspired by the composer Carlos Chávez, who in turn drew his inspiration from the ritual dances of Mexian Indians. It’s described as a work of “vitality, joy of dance and passion”.
The 2013 Fall for Dance Festival runs until October 5 at New York City Center (West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues). Tickets can be purchased online at www.NYCityCenter.org, by calling CityTix at 212.581.1212, or at the City Center Box Office.
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