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Marilynn Larkin
Performance Reviews
Various Partner Dances
Various Performance Dances
PMT Dance Studio
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY
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PMT Fall Dance Series 2013: Why Connection Matters

by Marilynn Larkin
November 23, 2013
PMT Dance Studio
69 W. 14th Street

New York, NY 10011
212-924-5694
As always, reviewing a PMT production is both inspiring and thought provoking. Owner Pavan Thimmaiah continues to expand the series' offerings, both in scope and style. So many groups participate that attending any one show inevitably means missing some of the numbers; the fact that 25 choreographers present over the course of six shows in a single series is a testament to the success of Thimmaiah's mission "to provide students of all levels more than just dance classes, but performance and other opportunities that will provide them with the tools they need to become better dancers and immerse themselves in the culture of dance."

Because each show offers a mix of styles and includes dancers of varying abilities, I normally don't compare one piece to another. Yet one dance concept—the importance of "connection"—emerged so powerfully from this particular show that it makes some comparisons possible. For me, the term "connection" has multiple meanings. In the context of partner dancing, which I was involved with for several years, connection mainly refers to a dancer's connection to his or her partner during the dance. In the context of performing, connection has broader meanings: connection of the dancer to the audience; in non-solo performances, it also refers to the connection among the performers in a particular piece; also at play are the connection of the dancers to the music/sounds/lights that infuse the piece; and connection to a story line or message. When all these connections are made, the piece is a success regardless of whether I personally like or can relate to a particular dance style.

The opening number was a good example of multiple connections. "Four Chambers of the Heart," choreographed by Sarah Burke, was conceptually rich: Using compelling clips from a 1950s documentary on the heart as a kind of leitmotif, Burke structured her piece around four ideas generally associated with the heart: what the heart does anatomically; love (infatuation/seduction); heartbreak; and degeneration/death. The dancers were energetic and earnest, connecting to the theme, audience and to each other. I would like to see this concept developed further at some point.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Thimmaiah's "Just Got Paid" was an easy concept to convey, and the dancers had a ball delivering it—the perfect, crowd-pleasing closing number. Also energetic, it showcased an array of hip hop styles and a terrific camaraderie among the performers (and the performers and the audience!).

Other highlights included Mei Yamanaka's "Return," danced to live music by Mizuho Tanaka—Yamanaka's seamless connection to the music and lights, and her frequent metamorphoses demanded the audience's attention and focus; "Seasons of White," done in pointe by four powerful members of the Arch Contemporary Ballet (Kaitlyn Salisbury was particularly strong, even when serving as the base for another dancer's lift); "Insincerely Yours," engagingly performed by Lauren Haug to Bach's "Toccata & Fugue in D Minor"; "The Conversation," a rollicking ensemble piece with dancers smiling throughout, drawing the audience in; and "Frayed Ends," in which the connection between dancers Virginia Home and Jace Coronado was so strong that Home inadvertently struck Coronado in the nose early in the piece, but neither missed a step and they went on to complete their performance.

In sum, the PMT Dance Series performances are always a joy to attend, and it's particularly heartening to watch student dancers as they grow from showcase to showcase, and to appreciate new choreographers. The New York dance community is fortunate to have a venue that provides these opportunities.
Four Chambers is choreographed by Sarah Burke

Four Chambers is choreographed by Sarah Burke

Photo © & courtesy of Eric Bandiero


Four Chambers is choreographed by Sarah Burke

Four Chambers is choreographed by Sarah Burke

Photo © & courtesy of Eric Bandiero


Insincerely Yours is choreographed by Nancy Cantine (performed by Lauren Haug)

Insincerely Yours is choreographed by Nancy Cantine (performed by Lauren Haug)

Photo © & courtesy of Eric Bandiero


Insincerely Yours is choreographed by Nancy Cantine (performed by Lauren Haug)

Insincerely Yours is choreographed by Nancy Cantine (performed by Lauren Haug)

Photo © & courtesy of Eric Bandiero


Just Got Paid is performed by PMT Dance Studio, choreographed by Pavan Thimmaiah

Just Got Paid is performed by PMT Dance Studio, choreographed by Pavan Thimmaiah

Photo © & courtesy of Eric Bandiero


Just Got Paid is performed by PMT Dance Studio, choreographed by Pavan Thimmaiah

Just Got Paid is performed by PMT Dance Studio, choreographed by Pavan Thimmaiah

Photo © & courtesy of Eric Bandiero


Return is choreographed and danced by Mei Yamanaka

Return is choreographed and danced by Mei Yamanaka

Photo © & courtesy of Eric Bandiero


Return is choreographed and danced by Mei Yamanaka

Return is choreographed and danced by Mei Yamanaka

Photo © & courtesy of Eric Bandiero


The Conversation

The Conversation

Photo © & courtesy of Eric Bandiero

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