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Fall for Dance: Vertigo Dance Company, Drew Jacoby, Jessica Lang Dance, Richard Alston Dance Company
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Fall for Dance: Vertigo Dance Company, Drew Jacoby, Jessica Lang Dance, Richard Alston Dance Company

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NY City Center
Fall for Dance – Program II

Vertigo Dance Company

Drew Jacoby

Jessica Lang Dance

Richard Alston Dance Company

At New York City Center

Arlene Schuler, President & CEO
Mark Litvin, Sr. VP & Managing Director
Stanford Makishi, Artistic Advisor
Clifton Taylor, Festival Lighting Director
Leon Rothenberg, Festival Sound Supervisor
Press: Helene Davis Public Relations

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 29, 2011

Vertigo Dance Company
Mana (2009): Choreography by Noa Wertheim, Music by Ran Bagno, Vocals by Emmanuel Hannoun, Costumes and Stage Design by Rakefet Levy, Lighting by Dani Fishof, Production Manager: Sandra Brown, Performed by the Company.

A highpoint of Noa Wertheim’s Mana is Rakefet Levy’s set, that resembles the outlines of a home, with a door for dancers to enter and exit. This Israeli company is imbued with charisma and affect, and the dancers changed shapes and structure as the white home outline moved forward or backward. The costumes were flowing, very dark, sometimes Amish, sometimes Fellini-ish. Program notes refer to the effect of sun and moon, light and darkness, contrasting space and dancers. An ensemble of eight twirled in gravity-defying spins, with high, extended arms, during this quite lengthy work. I would have enjoyed it more, had it been cut to a manageable time span. Or, maybe it just seemed endless and repetitive. I will note, however, that the piece began to grow on me, after a while.

Drew Jacoby
Bloom (World Premiere): Choreography by Andrea Miller, Music by Radiohead, Costume by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung, Lighting by Nicole Pearce, Production Manager: Betsy Ayer, Performed by Drew Jacoby.

A later work was my favorite for the evening, but Drew Jacoby’s Bloom was my least favorite. This improvisationally performed piece was at least a brilliant red, matching much of City Center’s new seating, with Ms. Jacoby in a red dress, dancing before a red curtain and fluorescent lights. The City Center re-design seemed to introduce new features each evening, with new lighting effects and curtains on view tonight. The highlighted feature for Bloom is an imaginary force, with Ms. Jacoby barefoot in her dress, tossing herself back and forth in a psychic storm, or whatever. The piece was brief, like a summer squall.

Jessica Lang Dance
Among the Stars (2010, NY Premiere): Choreography by Jessica Lang, Music by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Costumes by Elena Comendador, Lighting by Nicole Pearce, Performed by Yuan Yuan Tan and Clifton Brown.

Here it is, my favorite piece of the night. Clifton Brown, who has danced with the Ailey Company for years, to audience and critical acclaim, now calls himself a “guest artist” with the Ailey Company, and I certainly hope to see him again, when the Ailey Company appears on this stage in December. He was partnered here by Yuan Yuan Tan, of San Francisco Ballet, and Ms. Tan has also been reviewed on these pages in past galas and special ballet events. Together they were stunning, in Jessica Lang’s nighttime aura, with a long blue chiffony gown and stage length, blue chiffon train.

This piece is quite similar to Ms. Lang’s Splendid Isolation III, so often danced by American Ballet Theatre in its galas. Once again, the female dancer lures the male in exceptional romantic illusions, and tonight it was the nighttime sky, the enchanting blueness of Elena Comendador’s costume, and the Sakamoto score that drew me in. Ms. Tan rapidly turned en pointe, until Mr. Brown caught her, en air, in his open arms. With the audience as a barometer, this work was a huge success. The program notes mention a Japanese star festival, bringing two stars together in the sky in an annual celebration. Nothing could have been more exceptional than Ms. Lang’s ballet, as a performance piece to illustrate this celebration.

Richard Alston Dance Company
Roughcut (1990): Choreography by Richard Alston, Music by Steve Reich, Lighting by Charles Balfour, Production Manager: Zeynep Kepekli, Musicians: Roger Heaton, clarinet, James Woodrow, guitar, Performed by the Company.

Richard Alston’s 1990 Roughcut was quite evocative of David Parsons’ 1982 Caught, but without the strobe lights and electronic pulse. Two live musicians, Roger Heaton on clarinet and James Woodrow on guitar, create a more musical pulse, but the piece is hypnotic and captivating. An ensemble of nine creates ebullient leaps and spins. The notes say the work “does not bother to be tidy”, which, in my mind, warns the audience to expect improvisation, as we’ve seen in a few other works in the first two programs. In fact, this performance was very improvisational in motif, depending on the momentary strength and expressiveness of each dancer. It was dedicated to Val Bourne, a friend of Mr. Alston.

Vertigo Dance Company
in Noa Wertheim's "Mana"
Courtesy of Herbert Migdoll
Courtesy of Gadi Dagon

Yuan Yuan Tan and Clifton Brown
in Jessica Lang's "Among the Stars"
Courtesy of Sharen Bradford

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