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Dance for Medicine Gala

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 11, 2005
New York City Center
130 West 56th Street
(Audience Entrance is on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
(Entrance for Studios and Offices is on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
212.247.0430

About the Author:

Dance for Medicine Gala

Dance for Medicine Gala Performance
At
City Center
(City Center Website)
A Benefit for
The National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction
www.nffr.org

David Parson, Artistic Director
(Read an Interview with David Parsons)
Featuring Dancers from:
MOMIX
NYC Ballet
The Parsons Dance Company
Martha Graham Dance Company
American Ballet Theatre
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Special Honoree:
Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa for his Efforts on Behalf of NFFR

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 11, 2005

(This Gala Dance Performance and Benefit for The National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction was planned to help fund programs for children, who have craniofacial conditions, through comprehensive surgery, medical research, professional training, and various initiatives for public awareness. (NFFR Notes). An educational film was shown to the audience, prior to the concert).

MOMIX (Read about MOMIX): White Widow: Performed by Cynthia Quinn, Principal Dancer. Cynthia Quinn has been active on the Gala circuit lately, a virtuosic, refined, and highly mesmerizing dancer of that unusual genre, called MOMIX. White Widow includes long white ropes hung from the rafters, with recorded music (NFFR Programs did not list complete music and choreography credits), and with Ms. Quinn's acrobatic flying, dangling, swinging, climbing, and twirling with her white ropes, much like a butterfly's flight, as it emerges from the strings of a cocoon. David Parsons chose this work well, for its dramatic and daring effects. Mr. Parsons, I believe, also developed the metaphor of the butterfly, the insignia of NFFR, for each of his six chosen dances. In this case, Ms. Quinn flew across City Center stage, with invisible wings and a strong, white rope.

NYC Ballet (Read about NYC Ballet): Red Angels: Choreographed by Ulysses Dove, Performed by Peter Boal, Albert Evans, Darci Kistler, Wendy Whelan, Violinist: Mary Rowell. Darci Kistler, a last minute replacement for Maria Kowroski, is a team dancer of the highest professional talent, and this seasoned foursome was riveting in red costumes and backdrops with starkly lit silhouettes. Ms. Kistler's and Wendy Whelan's fluttering limbs in partnered lifts reminded me of two red butterflies (angels, in the title) in twilit night. Peter Boal gets better every year, stronger, poised, positioned, focused. Albert Evans is among the most muscular of the male principals, and his magnetic presence gave power to this layered work. Ms. Kistler and Ms. Whelan have probably danced this piece on numerous occasions, but their internalized and visceral dancing created dramatic angularity and dynamic angst.

The Parsons Dance Company (Read about Parsons Dance Company): Swing Shift: Performed by Elizabeth Koeppen, David Martinez, Brian McGinnis, Mia McSwain, Quilit Rarang, Abby Silva, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, and Jeremy Smith. This fusion dance of modern and ballroom includes the ultra swing dance moves of tossing and switching partners, again with that flying effect. Eight dancers in four couples in perky primary colors and an upbeat motif achieved quite an onstage presence in tonight's selection of Gala-worthy works.

Martha Graham Dance Company (Read about Martha Graham Dance Company): Embattled Garden: Performed by Elizabeth Auclair, Tadej Brdnik, Christophe Jeannot, and Miki Orihara. With Elizabeth Auclair as Lilith (Adam's first wife), in this renowned Graham work about the Garden of Eden (more butterflies?), and Miki Orihara as Eve, Tadej Brdnik as Adam, and Christophe Jeannot as the Serpentine Stranger, the Graham Company outdid itself in possessed attitude, internal and external muscularity, exuding of deep, dark emotions, and just pure dance. The fascinating, large, vibrant Noguchi sets were on hand, as the Graham Company is in residence this week. Ms. Auclair's interpretation of Lilith's feelings, contracting from the pelvis, Mr. Brdnik's interpretation of Adam's unbridled lust, Mr. Jeannot's interpretation of the movement and mind of a snake, and Ms. Orihara's interpretation of Eve's sensual seduction were breathtaking and show-stopping.

American Ballet Theatre (Read about American Ballet Theatre) and Parsons Dance Company: Caught: Performed by Angel Corella of ABT and Marty Lawson of Parsons Dance Company. Caught is one of my favorite acrobatic-dance works, with stark lighting catching the male dancer mid-air, as he presses a flashlight on liftoff. Usually danced by one, this work was danced tonight by two, and not just any two. Marty Lawson of Parsons Dance and Angel Corella of ABT were stupendous in their switching of positions onstage, mid-air, back and forth. In bare chests and white pants, they leaped with legs bent sideways and forward, under and over, giant butterflies in flight.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Read about Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater): Revelations (Excerpts): Performed by the Company, Featuring Chris Jackson, Clifton Brown, and Kirven J. Boyd. Revelations is like a large dose of vitamins, as you always feel energized and healthier after seeing it, even in excerpted form. The audience vocally showed its appreciation tonight, too. Take Me to the Water and Move, Members, Move included the signature scenes of the flowing Wading in the Water blue water dance, the Run, Sinner, Run dance, the spiritual solo of the long, white robe, and the fans and stools in yellow dresses and suspenders dance, to Rocka My Soul….

This was a grand finale to a grand Gala on behalf of The National Foundation for Facial Reconstruction. Kudos to David Parsons, Artistic Director, and all the dancers and dance companies who participated in tonight's event for such a worthy cause.

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