Home & + | Search
Featured Categories: Special Focus | Performance Reviews | Previews | DanceSpots | Arts and Education | Press Releases
Join ExploreDance.com's email list | Mission Statement | Copyright notice | The Store | Calendar | User survey | Advertise
Click here to take the ExploreDance.com user survey.
Your anonymous feedback will help us continue to bring you coverage of more dance.
SPOTLIGHT:
PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
ExploreDance.com Kickstarter Campaign

The ExploreDance.com Kickstarter campaign is live! Please consider backing our campaign to help us expand our coverage of dance.
www.kickstarter.com/projects/1306220552/exploredancecom
ExploreDance.com (Magazine)
Web
Other Search Options
Bonnie Rosenstock
Interviews
Performance Reviews
Hustle
West Coast Swing
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ** **
exploredance.com

Performing in NY Showcase - West Coast Swing & Hustle Showcase with Choreography by Erik and Anna Novoa

by Bonnie Rosenstock
August 16, 2013
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
405 West 55th Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 405-9000
Renowned ballet teacher and former NYC Ballet dancer Kat Wildish created the Performing in New York Showcases in 2008 to give her eclectic adult students of all ages and levels the opportunity to perform classical repertoire. But she also opened it up to other dance genres and choreographers to showcase their works and students.

For three performances (one on Friday, August 16, and two on Saturday, August 17), 17 groups, ranging from classical to modern and Latin to hip-hop, brought their A-game, with varying skill sets but lots of heart. Setting the tone—and the bar—was the opening dance performance by West Coast Swing & Hustle Showcase. It was the third time Wildish invited them as a group to participate.

Husband and wife dance partners and teachers Erik and Anna Novoa co-choreographed a lovely gem which incorporated moves from both dance styles. From the Hustle world, the choreography included the open throw out and shadow position; West Coast Swing footwork featured the sugar push, right side passes and whips.

The 18 dancers were drawn from the Novoas' advanced Thursday West Coast Swing class and Tuesday Hustle class, which they teach at their studio in Norwalk, Conn. The dancers, plus Erik and Anna, all had their moment in the spotlight. Pairs whirled to change partners around the stage. Two lines stretched across the stage, with the back line boogying onto the front footlights for some "me" time, and vice versa.

"The first goal is to teach people how to move and dance with each other," Erik explained in a pre-performance telephone interview. "The second goal is to add more dance vocabulary and tools. Then you take a quantum leap and take what you know and do what other professional dancers do: learn routine, musicality, new movements, styling, technique."

He continued, "Then you do what dancers go through: the rehearsal process, perfected and beautified, and you make it look easy. The dance world knows how hard it is, but the audience doesn't. You create Illusion."

The beauty of both West Coast Swing and Hustle is that they can be done to a variety of sounds and musical styles, he said, unlike Salsa and much of Ballroom. English R & B singer Lemar's "Me, U and The Music" was an inspired choice, with its driving rhythms and lyrics that get inside your head. "It's uplifting and makes you feel good," said Erik. The downside was the entire song lasted for under four minutes, which went by in a flash, with the cheering audience and this reviewer wishing for more.

Breaking down the individual performances, some dancers were clearly more advanced than others. But overall, the group coalesced and kept up with the rhythm and spirit of the dance. After, I walked over to the post-performance party (open to the public), held at You Should Be Dancing, 412 Eighth Avenue, between 30th and 31st Street, where the Novoas, who live in Stamford, regularly hold dance parties. One of the performers who stood out for her stage presence and command of the dance was Kathy Johanessen. She acknowledged she was a competitive dancer in West Coast Swing, Hustle, Ballroom and Salsa. She thought the performance went well. "We had fun, but people also take it seriously," she said. "Erik and Anna did a great job on the choreography with difficult skill levels."

Anna Novoa had words of praise for Wildish. "Erik and I feel fortunate to work with Kat," she said. "It was a unique performance, which serves students of dance who get a chance to perform. She's a tremendous force."

Probably the oldest dancer was Ed Blum, who was going to celebrate his 70th birthday the next day. He said about his Friday performance, "Mostly I did it right, but I have two more shots." Blum raced motorcycles for 35 years and has braces on both legs. "I can't walk too well, especially on stairs, but I can dance," he said.

His wife, Sandy Blum, participating for the second time, said of the performance, "It was both scary and great. Erik is supportive and great at deconstructing dance."

Erik pointed out that the people he teaches are adults, and not New York adults, who are over 30 and have learned to love dance later in life. "If you saw them on the streets, you wouldn't know," he said.

"I love when they do it well, when you watch them dance, see what they can do and how the audience reacts," he added. "They are not who you would originally think was going to kick the crap out of the song. What I love feeling is looking at this group of people I have taught to dance and realizing it doesn't really matter what age you are, you can learn how to dance well.

"I have given to them what I consider to be the gift of dance—Hustle and West Coast Swing—but they are applicable to all forms of dance. I talk about ballet technique: positions of arms, etc., technical terms that others don't use. Then they appreciate other dance forms."

Anna added, "I was pleased that everyone lived up to their best."

Erik also emphasized the social aspects that the dance community affords for friends and relationships. "You find a nice group of people to hang out with," he said.

These days it's less about winning a trophy, said the multiple-award-wining dance champion. "My focus in life has changed," Erik acknowledged.

And lest we forget Lemar's message, "Let me see you move/Like nobody's watching/Don't hold back let loose."



For more information:
Katwildishshowcase.com.
Erik's blog: swingshoes.net/blog.
Dancers: Erik Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Anna Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Sandrine Menoret, Kathy Johanessen, Diane Ard, Ed Blum, Sandy Blum, Doug Holaday, Mary Holaday, James Reilly, Paula Thomes, Susan Wittmann, Mindy Carter, Marsha DeSouza, Neal McDermott,Susan Chen, Tom Casolino, Daren Roeder, Crystal Seaforth and Diana Criscuolo.

Dancers: Erik Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Anna Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Sandrine Menoret, Kathy Johanessen, Diane Ard, Ed Blum, Sandy Blum, Doug Holaday, Mary Holaday, James Reilly, Paula Thomes, Susan Wittmann, Mindy Carter, Marsha DeSouza, Neal McDermott,Susan Chen, Tom Casolino, Daren Roeder, Crystal Seaforth and Diana Criscuolo.

Photo © & courtesy of Arthur Coopchik


Dancers: Erik Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Anna Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Sandrine Menoret, Kathy Johanessen, Diane Ard, Ed Blum, Sandy Blum, Doug Holaday, Mary Holaday, James Reilly, Paula Thomes, Susan Wittmann, Mindy Carter, Marsha DeSouza, Neal McDermott, Susan Chen, Tom Casolino, Daren Roeder, Crystal Seaforth and Diana Criscuolo.

Dancers: Erik Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Anna Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Sandrine Menoret, Kathy Johanessen, Diane Ard, Ed Blum, Sandy Blum, Doug Holaday, Mary Holaday, James Reilly, Paula Thomes, Susan Wittmann, Mindy Carter, Marsha DeSouza, Neal McDermott, Susan Chen, Tom Casolino, Daren Roeder, Crystal Seaforth and Diana Criscuolo.

Photo © & courtesy of Arthur Coopchik


Dancers: Erik Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Anna Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Sandrine Menoret, Kathy Johanessen, Diane Ard, Ed Blum, Sandy Blum, Doug Holaday, Mary Holaday, James Reilly, Paula Thomes, Susan Wittmann, Mindy Carter, Marsha DeSouza, Neal McDermott, Susan Chen, Tom Casolino, Daren Roeder, Crystal Seaforth and Diana Criscuolo.

Dancers: Erik Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Anna Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Sandrine Menoret, Kathy Johanessen, Diane Ard, Ed Blum, Sandy Blum, Doug Holaday, Mary Holaday, James Reilly, Paula Thomes, Susan Wittmann, Mindy Carter, Marsha DeSouza, Neal McDermott, Susan Chen, Tom Casolino, Daren Roeder, Crystal Seaforth and Diana Criscuolo.

Photo © & courtesy of Arthur Coopchik


Dancers: Erik Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Anna Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Sandrine Menoret, Kathy Johanessen, Diane Ard, Ed Blum, Sandy Blum, Doug Holaday, Mary Holaday, James Reilly, Paula Thomes, Susan Wittmann, Mindy Carter, Marsha DeSouza, Neal McDermott, Susan Chen, Tom Casolino, Daren Roeder, Crystal Seaforth and Diana Criscuolo.

Dancers: Erik Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Anna Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Sandrine Menoret, Kathy Johanessen, Diane Ard, Ed Blum, Sandy Blum, Doug Holaday, Mary Holaday, James Reilly, Paula Thomes, Susan Wittmann, Mindy Carter, Marsha DeSouza, Neal McDermott, Susan Chen, Tom Casolino, Daren Roeder, Crystal Seaforth and Diana Criscuolo.

Photo © & courtesy of Arthur Coopchik


Dancers: Erik Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Anna Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Sandrine Menoret, Kathy Johanessen, Diane Ard, Ed Blum, Sandy Blum, Doug Holaday, Mary Holaday, James Reilly, Paula Thomes, Susan Wittmann, Mindy Carter, Marsha DeSouza, Neal McDermott, Susan Chen, Tom Casolino, Daren Roeder, Crystal Seaforth and Diana Criscuolo.

Dancers: Erik Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Anna Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Sandrine Menoret, Kathy Johanessen, Diane Ard, Ed Blum, Sandy Blum, Doug Holaday, Mary Holaday, James Reilly, Paula Thomes, Susan Wittmann, Mindy Carter, Marsha DeSouza, Neal McDermott, Susan Chen, Tom Casolino, Daren Roeder, Crystal Seaforth and Diana Criscuolo.

Photo © & courtesy of Arthur Coopchik


Dancers: Erik Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Anna Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Sandrine Menoret, Kathy Johanessen, Diane Ard, Ed Blum, Sandy Blum, Doug Holaday, Mary Holaday, James Reilly, Paula Thomes, Susan Wittmann, Mindy Carter, Marsha DeSouza, Neal McDermott, Susan Chen, Tom Casolino, Daren Roeder, Crystal Seaforth and Diana Criscuolo.

Dancers: Erik Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Anna Novoa, dancer and co-choreographer, Sandrine Menoret, Kathy Johanessen, Diane Ard, Ed Blum, Sandy Blum, Doug Holaday, Mary Holaday, James Reilly, Paula Thomes, Susan Wittmann, Mindy Carter, Marsha DeSouza, Neal McDermott, Susan Chen, Tom Casolino, Daren Roeder, Crystal Seaforth and Diana Criscuolo.

Photo © & courtesy of Arthur Coopchik


Pictured L-R: Erik Novoa, Kat Wildish, Anna Novoa

Pictured L-R: Erik Novoa, Kat Wildish, Anna Novoa

Photo © & courtesy of Arthur Coopchik

ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
* **** ****


ExploreDance.com
ExploreDance.com is sponsored by
******* ******
exploredance.com


home || view our calendar || the store || copyright information || join our mailing list || mission statement
Search for articles by
Performance Reviews, Places to Dance, Fashion, Photography, Auditions, Politics, Health