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Fall for Dance: Jared Grimes, Fang-Yi Sheu & Artists, Nederlands Dans Theater, BalletBoyz

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NY City Center
Fall for Dance – Program I

Jared Grimes
Fang-Yi Sheu & Artists
Nederlands Dans Theater

At New York City Center

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

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 28, 2012

Jared Grimes
Transformation in Tap (World Premiere): Choreography by Jared Grimes, Music by Drehz, Natalie Cole, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Jared Grimes, Music and Sound by Jared Grimes and Kahari Mays, Staged by Jared Grimes, Costumes by Jena Kinton, Lighting by Tony Mayes, Production Manager: Tony Mays, performed by Jared Grimes, Dewitt Fleming, Karida Griffith, Luke Hawkins, Robyn Baltzer.

Jared Grimes opened Fall for Dance’s 2012 season at City Center, a popular series of five evening programs, each shared by four visiting companies, some home-grown and some from across the Atlantic (or Pacific), to give the audience a glimpse of what’s current in the global dance community. Mr. Grimes taps with urban street appeal, but there’s nothing Broadway about it; in spite of the music of Natalie Cole and Sammy Davis, Jr. Since he’s his own choreographer, one wouldn’t know how much of tonight’s performance was on the spot improvisation. He appeared with four additional dancers, moving to Grimes’ recorded lesson on tap technique. Yet, this segment was fairly dry, as the rhythms weren’t engaging. Athleticism was key, while flair was diminished. This was more or less a performance for a school, not for City Center.

Fang-Yi Sheu & Artists
Five Movements, Three Repeats (NY Premiere): Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, Music by Max Richter and Otis Clyde, Staged by Jason Fowler, Costumes by Reid Bartelme, Lighting by Mary Louis Geiger, Performed by Tyler Angle, Craig Hall, Fang-Yi Sheu, Wendy Whelan.

This ballet-modern dance creation, by Christopher Wheeldon, was my favorite of tonight’s four performances. Fang-Yi Sheu, who danced for years in the Martha Graham Dance Company, has always been fascinating and intense. Here, in Five Movements, Three Repeats, she was mesmerizing, as the only barefoot dancer in the modern genre. Wendy Whelan, Tyler Angle, and Craig Hall, all of whom dance in New York City Ballet, took a more refined, classical approach to the music. The juxtaposition of Ms. Whelan’s pointe shoe and Ms. Sheu’s bare foot was remarkable. The Max Richter score showcases the skill and personality of each member of this quartet. Program notes invite us to notice “one thematic movement that is repeated three times”. There are solos, duos, and a passage for quartet. This crème de la crème ensemble did not disappoint.

Nederlands Dans Theater
Shutters Shut (2003): Choreography by Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot, Staged by Gerald Tibbs, Lighting by Tom Bevoort, Performed by Astrid Boons and Quentin Roger.

It took re-thinking to truly appreciate Shutters Shut, performed by two members of Nederlands Dans Theater, to a 1912 spoken poem by Gertrude Stein, “If I told him. A completed portrait of Picasso”. Astrid Boons and Quentin Roger seem to be in white face paint and heavy makeup, and, in their retro hair style and circus-like costumes, they resemble an extrapolation of a Picasso painting. Ms. Boons smoothes her face and hair in repeated backward gesture, as the phrases are heard echoing throughout the work. Mr. Roger, likewise, is task-oriented in sequential motion. They gaze out toward the audience, rather than each other, like Kukla from the mid-20th century TV show, “Kukla, Fran, and Ollie”.

Void (2011): Choreography by Jarek Cemerek, Music by Ondrej Dedecek/Yoav/Ismael De Garay, Film by BalletBoyz, Costumes by Shelina Somani, Lighting by Andrew Ellis, Production Manager: Andrew Ellis, Performed by the Company.

The BalletBoyz program, Void, was the least relevant to dance and the least engaging of the evening. They pushed and pulled each other in street rap fashion, danced to an electronic score. The imagery was grey-black, with red effects appearing in projections. The ensemble of ten youths in shirtless gym mode, was athletic, propulsive, and fast as a bullet train. Yet, like the first program, seemingly improvisational, this, too, had a casual attitude and presentation. And, like Jared Grimes’ tap, it appeared as fare for a high school performance, not for City Center standards. With so much explosive talent, this ensemble could have done much more.

Fang-Yi Sheu & Artists
Wendy Whelan and Tyler Angle
"3 Movements and 4 Repeats"
Choreography by Christopher Wheeldon
Courtesy of Erin Baiano

Nederlands Dans Theater
"Shutters Shut"
Courtesy of Rahi Rezvani

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