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Three Hits and a Miss - 360º Dance Company - Night Journey, New Work, Maktub, The Devil in Massachusetts

by Marian Horosko
May 9, 2009
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
405 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 405-9000
Exploring new sites and finding exceptional works can provide an unexpected source of wonder and pleasure. One unexpected site for a program of extraordinary dance was presented as a Sneak-Peak-Showcase at a large, 5th floor rehearsal room of the Ailey Joan Weil Center, by the 360º Dance Company, on Saturday, May 9. The rehearsal room extends across one side of the building, lined with the welcoming daylight from windows on two sides. The audience was seated on the same level as the dance space, at a distance from the dancers.

The company, under artistic director-choreographer Martin Løfsnes, opened the sneak-peak with Alessandra Prosperi, a former principal dancer with the Martha Graham Company, in an excerpt from Graham's "Night Journey" (1948). There was no doubt of her command of the work and solid technique.

This was followed by an excerpt from Løfsnes' "New Work" (2009), to music by Alberto Iglesias, Arvo Part and others. Seven dancers of his company shaped the patterns and intent of his work. They were swift, sure and individual, contemporary. Løfsnes himself has impeccable technique and taste based upon his Norwegian and London Contemporary Dance School/The Place, education.

The group then performed "Maktub" (2007) by Lauri Stallings, a popular but repetitious choreographer.

But wait, there was an unexpected gem on the program: the reconstruction of Mary Anthony's 1952 work "The Devil in Massachusetts." This work, set in 1692 Salem, MA reproduces a religious ceremony in which the supplicants are terrorized by their minister. It is clear, powerful and intense with a potent subject, that was inspired by the McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950s. Modern dance has never backed away exposing injustice through choreography: "The Green Table," (1932) by Kurt Joose, Graham's protest over the Spanish Civil War and "Lynchtown" by Weidman.

Anthony, now in her '90s studied with Hanya Holm in the early 1940s, began her own theater in 1956 and is recognized as one of the leaders of the modern dance movement, as choreographer and as an exceptional teacher. She continues to teach "sporadically" at the Herbert Berghof Studio for Actors, and was blacklisted for this work by the McCarthy Committee during their investigation of "subversive" artists.

The mission of the 360º Dance Company is to preserve and develop the modern dance lineage.

This program will be repeated November 20-22, 2009 at the Ailey Group Theater.
Martin Løfsnes' 'New Work' Dancers: Danelle Morgan, Yuko Giannakis, Sadira Smith, Jason Jordan, Troy Macklin

Martin Løfsnes' "New Work"
Dancers: Danelle Morgan, Yuko Giannakis, Sadira Smith, Jason Jordan, Troy Macklin

Photo © & courtesy of Alexandros Giannakis III


Mary Anthony's 'The Devil In Massachusetts' Dancers: Yuko Giannakis and Natasha Diamond-Walker

Mary Anthony's "The Devil In Massachusetts"
Dancers: Yuko Giannakis and Natasha Diamond-Walker

Photo © & courtesy of Alexandros Giannakis III

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