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Breaking Lines Dance Festival

by Robert Abrams
April 22, 2004
Abrons Arts Center at Henry Street Settlement
Harry du Jur Playhouse
466 Grand Street
New York, NY 10002
212-598-0400

Breaking Lines Dance Festival

Robert Abrams
April 22, 2004

Daniel Catanach wasn't satisfied with putting on dance performances, so now he and his associates have put on an entire dance festival. The opening night presented a wide range of dance styles, all expertly performed.

Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company will be performing on April 24 and 29, Come Dance with Us on April 25, Darrah Carr Dance on April 28, New Voices on April 30 and Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers on May 1 and 2. The idea is to showcase dance from many of the peoples who have called the Lower East Side home.

The Abrons Arts Center at Henry Street Settlement is located at 466 Grand Street. Even with a cab ride, the cost of attending is less than many shows elsewhere. Plus, it turns out that the Lower East Side isn't quite as remote as it looks. From the Upper West Side, for example, it is just a one seat ride on the B train to Grand Street. From there you take a ten block stroll along Grand Street and you are at the Abrons Arts Center's jewel box of a theatre.

For more information, call 212-598-0400 or go to www.henrystreet.org

Nelida Tirado - A Le Grias

Ms. Tirado began this presentation of Flamenco cast by the light as a classic silhouette accompanied by a grand piano. Dancer and musicians were posed against a dusk red backdrop.

Ms. Tirado gathered intensity from the air and then released it into the floor. Once in a while I saw an echo of Odissi's three bend postures. Maybe I was seeing connections where there are none, but she was certainly sinuous. There was also some leg slapping, a gesture also frequently found in Martha Graham's choreography.

Nelly Tirado, Roberto Castellon, Christian Puig, Gonzalo Grias

Nikolais Dance Theater - Noumennon

This work was originally premiered at the Henry Street Settlement in 1953. The two dancers are covered in silvery cloth bags. Working off of two benches, they created a series of fantastical shapes, morphing one into another. Their movements were set to strange, resonant, lost in space music. The effect was probably innovative in 1953. Today it feels retro, but in a good way. The work has integrity that stands the test of time. As much as the work overpowers one with its radical uniqueness, like all good works of art, it has connections both past and future. Noumennon bears a strong resemblance to Martha Graham's Lamentation, which dates from 1930. It also has elements in common with both Momix and The Notario Dance Company.

Choreography, costume design, lighting design and sound score by Alwin Nikolais
Performed by Alderto Del Saz and James Murphy

Paradigm - A Thin Frost

Three people in white sit on chairs. They crane their heads up and around. They change chairs. They moan and flail their arms. Sometimes they laugh. They are expressive. The dance is like an argument among three old friends where it has all been said before and discernable words are no longer needed. Until the end they never touch, though sometimes they reach for each other. At the end, three hands clasp.

Choreography by Gus Solomons Jr.
Performed by Carmen DeLavallade, Gus Solomons Jr. and Dudley Williams

Urban Ballet Theater - El Hambre

This was a ballet in the classical style. Chloe Reynolds has the reserved grace of a snowflake in a storm. She was ably partnered by Robert Brown.

Choreography by Daniel Catanach
Performed by Robert Brown and Chloe Reynolds

New York City Ballet - Russian Dance (Swan Lake)

Amar Ramasar and Ashley Bouder were composed and focused. Ashley's en pointe turns glided with the smoothness of the finest silk. Amar's stable frame allowed Ashley's extensions of her movements to be like a whisper. They were both playful and exuberant. Their dancing was well executed in both the fast and slow sections.

Choreography by Peter Martins
Costumes by Angela Kostrisky
Performed by Amar Ramasar and Ashley Bouder

American Ballet Theater - Don Quixote (Kitri solo from act II wedding Pas De Deux)

Misty Copeland showed off strong pointe work and a classic presentation.

Award Ceremony

Amar Ramasar, who began dancing at the Henry Street Settlement, and Danny Tidwell presented an award to Carmen DeLavallade, Gus Solomons Jr. and Dudley Williams. One generation inspired another, and visa versa.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater - Sweet Bitter Love

This dance began with the sound of crickets, like a summer night. This is an elegant multi-part work that tells the story of a couple in love whose ability to stay happy together is somewhat imperfect. I liked the way that Glenn Sims bent and twisted his body while moving around the stage portraying his agony, all the while maintaining his balance. I also liked the section where Glenn and Linda danced a clutch and sway. Normally clutch and sway is just an indication of a lack of dance lessons, but here clutch and sway never looked so graceful. If you could compete in clutch and sway, this would have been open gold. This section segued into a theatre arts section. Linda's elegant bare feet were a match for Glenn's patent leather shoes. Linda's simple pale blue dress became a complex of streamers when she spun. Some of her movements echoed flamenco, but with a softer tone. At one point she pulled part of her skirt over her head, making her look, for a moment, a little like Noumennon. Each section of the work portrayed the relationship from either the man's or the woman's perspective by matching the movement to the music.

Choreography by Carmen DeLavallade
Performed by Glenn Sims and Linda Celeste Sims

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