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Fall for Dance: Shen Wei Dance Arts, LDP-Laboratory Dance Project, Circa, María Pagés Compañía
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Fall for Dance: Shen Wei Dance Arts, LDP-Laboratory Dance Project, Circa, María Pagés Compañía

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NY City Center
Fall for Dance – Program V

Shen Wei Dance Arts
LDP-Laboratory Dance Project
María Pagés Compañía

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
October 13, 2012

Shen Wei Dance Arts
Rite of Spring (2003): Choreography by Shen Wei, Music by Igor Stravinsky, Scenery and Costumes by David Ferri, Performed by the Company.

Tonight was the final fifth night of five programs in the 2012 series called Fall For Dance. To a clear, vibrant piano score, with one dancer at a time, then an ensemble of seventeen, dancers in cloudy-colored costumes twist and fall, leap and wave, walk and jump. This is Stravinsky’s music, but it’s hardly the Rite of Spring we know and respect. Although many choreographers have presented renowned dances to this mesmerizing, percussive score, it also tells a story, or at least evokes an image. One’s mind might wander to Nijinsky’s 1913 original choreography for Ballets Russes, with the Chosen One dancing herself to death, in ritualistic fashion. There’s a 1920 version choreographed by Massine, and then Graham’s 1984 version, plus countless others. To include Shen Wei’s abstract version we experienced tonight with the above complex, coherent versions would be insulting to the Rite of Spring ballet repertoire.

LDP-Laboratory Dance Project
No Comment (2002): Choreography by Chang Ho Shin, Music by Goran Bregovic & Transglobal Underground, Costumes by Chang Ho Shin, Production Manager: Hye Jeung Chung, Performed by the Company.

A male ensemble of nine, from China, highlights elements of martial arts, hip-hop, and self-flagellation…Yes, they beat their bare chests and do cartwheels. Costumes are minimized, while onstage, to reveal fist-ready torsos. The score, by Goran Bregovic and Transglobal Underground, added little to improve this perplexing hormonal piece. This may have been better seen in a high school dance lab and would have been better appreciated.

Circa (2009): Choreography by Yaron Lifschitz and the Circa Ensemble, Costumes by Libby McDonnell, Lighting by Jason Organ, Producer: Danielle Kellie, Performed by and ensemble of six.

Tonight’s entire program seemed like leftovers, with nothing better to present. Circa’s acrobatics were sadomasochistic and cruise ship fare. This Australian ensemble literally staged women walking in stilettos on men’s chests, women hula-hooping with multiple shiny hoops, women appearing to jump-rope, men carrying other men on their heads and shoulders, then women carrying men, and more of the same. It was Cirque du Soleil light. On a positive note, this ensemble was brawny, vigorous, dexterous, and free of fear. On a negative note, it did not belong in Fall for Dance.

María Pagés Compañía
Deseo Y Conciencia (Desire & Conscience) (US Premiere): Conceived, Choreographed, and Directed by María Pagés, Asst. Choreographer: José Barrios, Music by Rubén Lebaniegos, Fred Martins, Isaac Muñoz, and José “Fyty” Carrillo, Scenery and Costumes by María Pagés, Lighting by Pau Fullana, Stage Manager: Pablo Ramos, Performed by María Pagés and an ensemble of six, Musicians on vocals, guitar, and cello.

To add to the final evening’s disappointment, María Pagés Compañía’s Deseo Y Conciencia (Desire & Conscience) was not the flamenco I had hoped for. There are flamenco ensembles and soloists who have perfected rhythmic footwork that matches the palmeras (who clap hands), all synchronized to cajón, castanets, and exotic drums. Ms. Pagés was more of an aesthetic showpiece, perhaps beyond her rapid dancing years, who kept appearing in lavishly long costumes that inspired slow, muscular and hand-arm gestures, rather than rapid, vivacious dance. Six additional dancers, three men and three women, plus five musicians, on vocals, guitars, and cello, were also onstage, more as a corps backup, rather than spotlighted stars. While I expected fire and fury, I experienced dreamlike impressionism, an evocation rather than an exhibition of flamenco.

Shen Wei Dance Arts
"Rite of Spring"
Courtesy of Bruce R. Feeley

María Pagés Compañía
María Pagés in "Deseo y Conciencia"
Courtesy of David Ruano

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