By Ed Kliszus
This evening, New York City Center presented the fourth installment of its Fall For Dance Festival with a trio of spectacular, diverse dance offerings. The packed house experienced a celebration of dance and music, a magical fusion of parallel art forms that expressed the rich sonic and visual imaginings of composers and choreographers alike. Tonight’s performances were enriched with sophisticated lighting, sound, choreography, and assiduous attention to detail.
The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company opened the program with Indestructible, which began with startling lighting and powerful digital music emanating from the theater’s state-of-the-art sound system. The dancers moved principally without musical accompaniment through duos, trios, and the entire troupe that complied with brusque utterances and commands. Their movements expressed scenes of power, resistance, athleticism, and strength. We observed ubiquitous synchronized sequences, independent movement, and opposing postures. They energetically danced to complex rhythmic motifs and ended segments with waves of percussive digital soundscapes. The audience enthusiastically stood to applaud.
The soft strains of a solo guitar began from Joni Mitchell’s 1967 performance of “I Don’t Know Where I Stand” as Sara Mearns and Robbie Fairchild entered to perform the sequence entitled The Two of Us. Mearns and Fairchild expressively utilized the formalized grace and precision of ballet to express longing, and the tensions, interactions, and struggles of a couple. They danced together, apart, in conflicting directions, and ever gentle. The music corroborated as we traveled in time from the 1960s through the spirit of Joni Mitchell’s idyllic and insightful vocal poetry. The performance was celebratory and hopeful with a dash of realism. Before robust audience affirmations, many sighed as it ended in a whisper as they walked away from each other. It was beautifully done, indeed.
After intermission, the first part of a performance by Kyiv City Ballet began. This renowned troupe left Ukraine for Paris in February 2022 to avoid the destruction that continues today.
While the troupe was dressed in tan-colored androgynous garb, danseur Vladyslav Dobshynskyi approached front and center shirtless with white lower garments. His physique and bearing immediately reminded one of Leonardo DaVinci’s 1504 magnificent statue of David. Many in the audience gasped in admiration as Dobshynskyi basked in the forefront.
Haunting recorded whispers began as the troupe furtively started their performance. Poignancy was immediately apparent as one considered the plight of the exiled company, the beauty of their art, and the dedication of these artists to their craft. It is profoundly sad that Ukraine no longer possesses this national treasure.
The sophistication, stature, and artistic prowess of the Kyiv City Ballet were immediately apparent as they began their performance of Excerpts from Thoughts in this New York premiere. Their sublime dancing aptly conveyed the music’s reflective, beckoning calls and sometimes agitated Zen. The performance continued as it expressed enigmatic, complex ruminations. Their visual, movement interpretation of the diverse music, ranging from Zen to driving Middle Eastern fare, was stunning.
After a brief pause, The Men of Kyiv valiantly danced onto the stage, smiling and dressed in brightly colored costumes. They performed smartly to classic Ukrainian folk music set primarily in duple meter (like a quick march or polka). The audience clapped and exclaimed as the troupe demonstrated their prowess, athleticism, and bravura. The ladies of the company joined the men as an orange scrim was raised backstage; the cast now set themselves for extended standing ovations and bows, which they duly received.
Performed by the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company Debbie Blunden-Diggs, Chief Artistic & Producing Director Choreography by Abby Zbikowski Music by Death Grips Costume Design by L’Amour Ameer Lighting Design by Matthew J. Evans Production Manager Matthew J. Evans
Devin Baker, Qarrianne Blayr, Alexandria Flewellen, Robert Pulido, Quentin Apollovaughn Sledge, Sadale Warner, Countess V. Winfrey
February 4 & 5, 2023 The Black Tour Victoria Theatre Dayton, OH
THE TWO OF US
Performed by dancers Sara Mearns and Robbie Fairchild Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon Music By Joni Mitchell Costume Design by Harriet Jung & Reid Bartelme Lighting Design by Kate Ashton Stage Manager: Lori Wekselblatt Music Credits: I Don’t Know Where I Stand; Urge for Going; You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio; Both Sides Now. Written by Joni Mitchell.
Sara Mearns September 20 – October 16, 2022 New York City Ballet New York, NY Robbie Fairchild October 25–November 19, 2022 Metropolitan Opera New York, NY
KYIV CITY BALLET
Excerpts from Thoughts (New York Premiere)
Ivan Kozlov, Artistic Director Choreography by Vladyslav Dobshynskyi Music By Nils Frahm Staging By Vladyslav Dobshynskyi Costume Design for Kyiv City Ballet by Olena Ivashchenko Lighting Design For Kyiv City Ballet by Egor Budkin
Vladyslav Dobshynskyi, Maryna Apanasenko, Yaroslava Antonenko, Oksana Bondarenko, Volodymr Bukliev, Mykola Chebotarov, Kateryna Feshchuk, Yumeko Ide, Kristina Kadashevych, Daria Kuha, Nazar Korniichuk, Anna Ltchenkova, Oleksandr Moroz, Yelyzaveta Nadenenko, Stanislava Pincekova, Danyil Podhrushko, Diana Potapenko, Olha Pushkarova, Polina Rabotina, Anastasiia Rodina, Nataliia Salii, Mykhailo Shcherbakov, Yevhenii Sheremet, Aelita Shevchuk, Vlad Surdu, Arno-Stin Tsembenhoi, Olesia Tymchyshyn, Anastasiia Uhlova
Men of Kyiv (New York Premiere)
Choreography by PAVLO VIRSKY Music: Traditional Ukrainian Folk Music
Volodymr Bukliev, Mykola Chebotarov, Vladyslav Dobshynskyi ,Nazar Korniichuk, Oleksandr Moroz, Danyil Podhrushko, Yevhenii Sheremet, Mykhailo Shcherbakov, Vladyslav Surdu, Arno-Stin Tsembenhoi
October 3, 2022 Bass Performance Hall Fort Worth, TX
New York City Center Theater and Box Office 131 W 55th Street (between Sixth and Seventh avenues) New York, NY 10019