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Fall for Dance: Shu-Yi & (Dancers) Company, San Francisco Ballet, Emanuel Gat Dance, Paul Taylor Dance Company

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NY City Center
Fall for Dance – Program III

Shu-Yi & (Dancers) Company

San Francisco Ballet

Emanuel Gat Dance

Paul Taylor Dance Company

At New York City Center

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Mark Litvin, Sr. VP & Managing Director
Jed Wheeler, Artistic Advisor
Wendy Perron, Artistic Advisor
Clifton Taylor, Festival Lighting Director
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Press: Helene Davis Public Relations

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 2, 2010

Shu-Yi & (Dancers) Company
[1875] Ravel and Bolero (US Premiere): Choreography by Shu-Yi Chou, Music by Maurice Ravel, Bolero; Carl Orff, Carmina Burana, Scenery by Shu-Yi Chou, Costumes by Shu-Yi Chou, Lighting by Yun-Hsiang Kaun, Technical Director: Nick Hung, Performed by the Company.

I can only sum up Shu-Yi Chou’s US Premiere of Ravel and Bolero as total nonsense, cartoonish stage behavior, less appealing than a real cartoon. Dancers stand on a stage filled with deep green leaves, hundreds of them, while a fan blows their hair. Dancers are silent, then laugh, then scream! Yes, scream. Poor Ravel would be horrified to have his music associated with such artistic blasphemy. Twelve dancers wasted their time and ours by screaming and laughing in groups, screaming and laughing up close to one “dancer’s” face, and so on. Carl Orff would be horrified as well with his Carmina Burana adapted for dancers to fall and squeal with hysteria. This work was a shockingly bad contribution from the culture-rich Taiwan.

San Francisco Ballet
Diving into the Lilacs (2009): Choreography by Yuri Possokhov, Music by Boris Tchaikovsky, Sinfonietta for String Orchestra, Costumes by Sandra Woodall, Original Lighting by David Finn, Performed by Yuan Yuan Tan and Damian Smith.

Thanks to San Francisco Ballet, the mood and quality of performance dramatically shifted with Yuri Possokhov’s Diving into the Lilacs. Yuan Yuan Tan and Damian Smith danced a seductive duet, all too brief and elegantly expansive. The audience was enchanted, as was I, with the intertwining bodies, enveloping arms and legs, and winding torsos over, through, and around each other. Boris Tchaikovsky’s (no relation to Pyotr) Sinfonietta for String Orchestra filled City Center with much appreciated tonal brilliance, as the two ballet stars drew us in.

Emanuel Gat Dance
My Favorite Things (2007, US Premiere): Choreography by Emanuel Gat, Music by John Coltrane, “My Favorite Things”, Costume Design by Emanuel Gat, Lighting by Emanuel Gat, Production Manager: Florence Claudiere, Performed by Roy Assaf.

Another dance contribution from Israel, My Favorite Things, a US Premiere from Emanuel Gat Dance, was performed by soloist, Roy Assaf. One could read into this performance almost what one wishes to, as I found it amateurish and meaningless. Mr. Assaf waves his arms around his head, reels into circular motion, leaps about the stage, and seems to be in constant improvisation. One could never know if Emanuel Gat’s choreography is specifically or generally designed, as John Coltrane’s interpretation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ballad exudes relaxed and serendipitous musicality.

Paul Taylor Dance Company
Company B (1991): Choreography by Paul Taylor, Songs Sung by The Andrews Sisters, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company.

Now the Paul Taylor Dance Company arrived with its predictable perfection of performance, presence, and pleasure. This is a Company of gravitas and professional training, with some of today’s most accomplished dancers onstage. We were treated to Mr. Taylor’s crème de la crème, as Michael Trusnovec and a cast of women danced “Oh Johnny, Oh, Johnny, Oh!”. Mr. Trusnovec, reviewed each March when the Taylor Company is on this very stage, for weeks at a time, is an astoundingly natural dancer, seemingly never self-conscious, but always in sculpted form and motion. Eran Bugge and Jeffrey Smith danced “Pennsylvania Polka” with pulse, perkiness, and pizzazz, and Annmaria Mazzini led a cast of men in “Rum and Coca-Cola”, swiveling and flirting her way with them, in World War II era chino clothing. The Andrews Sisters’ score quintessentially captivates and surrounds the hall with bravura vocals and emotionality. Francisco Graciano’s “Tico-Tico”, one of his signature dances, was swift, smooth, and sizzling. My favorite, “I Can Dream, Can’t I”, featured the magnetic, Michelle Fleet in a sultry, romantic solo. Male dancers walk in background silhouette with military stances and slow collapses.

Shu-Yi Chou & (Dancers) Company
Courtesy of Chang-chin Chen

Yuan Yuan Tan and Damian Smith
Courtesy of Erik Tomasson

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at