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Fall for Dance: Richard Alston Dance Company, Gabriel Missé and Analía Centurión, Sara Mearns and Casey Herd, DanceBrazil
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Fall for Dance: Richard Alston Dance Company, Gabriel Missé and Analía Centurión, Sara Mearns and Casey Herd, DanceBrazil

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NY City Center
Fall for Dance – Program I

Richard Alston Dance Company
Gabriel Missé and Analía Centurión
Sara Mearns and Casey Herd

At New York City Center

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

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 26, 2013

Richard Alston Dance Company
The Devil in the Detail (2006): Choreography by Richard Alston, Restaged by Martin Lawrance, Music by Scott Joplin, Costumes by Peter Todd, Lighting by Charles Balfour, Production Manager: Paul Kizintas, Pianist: Jason Ridgway, Performed by the Company.

What a delightful opening work for this year’s Fall for Dance. With a very professional ragtime pianist, Jason Ridgway at the keyboard, and a ten-dancer ensemble effervescently bouncing and skipping through engaging choreography by Richard Alston, the audience was vocally impressed. Each performer in the modern dance motif created syncopated motion and steps to the Scott Joplin rags, such as “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer”. The work is fueled with energy and playfulness, with an occasional mimicking of piano fingers, while en air. Also, en air, are sideways kicks and campy expressive gestures that endeared them to the audience. At one point there were hints of Robbins, then Taylor, then Tharp, or maybe I envisioned a fragment of past-seen favorite works. Mr. Ridgway added trills and tonal ornamentations that enhanced the gaiety of the moment. The Devil in the Detail is lighthearted and lyrical, and Joplin was well celebrated in Mr. Allston’s inclusion of the crème de la crème of modern dance elements. Peter Todd’s costumes, in chino and light, neutral cotton, with faux gardenias in the women’s hair, expand the casual, captivating air.

Gabriel Missé and Analía Centurión
Esencia de Tango (Premiere): Choreography by Gabriel Missé and Analía Centurión, Original bandoneón compositions by JP Jofre, Lighting by Tricia Toliver, Production Manager: Barbara Saraintaris, Stage Manager: Tricia Toliver, Bandoneón: JP Jofre, Performed by Gabriel Missé and Analía Centurión and Carlos Barrionuevo and Mayte Valdes.

As a former Tanguera, it’s always thrilling to experience Gabriel Missé and Analía Centurión in their exquisite tango performances. Tonight’s Esencia de Tango is indicative of many productions reviewed on these pages of the development of contemporary tango, weaving through the streets and brothels, the clubs and stages, and dance studios and social milongas. Mr. Missé and Ms. Centurion were joined by Carlos Barrionuevo and Tricia Toliver. They danced ethnic and gaucho Argentine dance, in britches and boots, a bit of Presley (“Blue Suede Shoes”, to center historical timing), some male machismo tango (with jealousy and territorial fervor), and breathy, steamy, close embrace tango with performance features.

The couples danced together and in spotlighted twosomes. Performance features included Mr. Missé standing still while Ms. Centurion rapidly swivels torso and hips in place, or her sliding her leg and strapped tango shoe up his side, or his whipping her into a long-held back bend, or her practically climbing his torso, as they whip legs through each other’s thighs (ganchos), or her boléos, whipping a leg in half rear circle, and so much more. The Barrionuevo-Toliver duo, likewise, showed off star turns in similar motifs. Attitude is key. JP Jofre, tonight’s bandoneónist and bandoneón composer, took some rhythmic solo turns, in occasional pauses. Momentum and fascination for both highly seasoned couples were quintessential. This World Premiere was astounding.

Sara Mearns and Casey Herd
The Bright Motion (World Premiere): Choreography by Justin Peck, Music by Mark Dancigers, Costumes by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung, Production Management and Lighting by Brandon Sterling Baker, Piano: Cory Smythe, Performed by Sara Mearns and Casey Herd.

The exciting factor in this new Justin Peck work was the chemistry between Sara Mearns and Casey Herd, whom I’d not seen previously. This guest artist exudes tremendous charisma and attentive energy, and the way he watched and gazed upon Ms. Mearns was enthralling. The piece is brief, by Mr. Peck’s ( a City Ballet Soloist and rising star choreographer) standards, and Cory Smythe’s live piano solo that brought forth the repetitive, ethereal score, by Marc Dancigers, accentuated the motif of yearning and longing. As Mr. Herd reached around Ms. Mearns’ waist to pull her into his space, he created something to trigger the imagination: a dance partner for this exemplary, womanly, stylized, yet earthy performer, someone closer to premier danseur, than she’s performed with at City Ballet (as a Principal), except for the gallant Amar Ramasar, one of her frequent partners. Mr. Herd matched Ms. Mearns’ passion and ardor, musicality and magnetism.

Fé Do Sertão (2013): Choreography by Jelon Vieira, Original score by Marquinho Carvalho, Costumes by Thais Araújo, Lighting by Michael Korsch, Production Management by Nick Kolin, Rehearsal Director: Sissi de Melo, Musicians: Neil Ochoa, Benhur Oliveira, Amarildo ‘Popó’ Costa, Performed by the Company.

This percussive piece, with a jungle motif, was athletic and acrobatic, with cartwheels and cacophony. It was an ebullient finale to Program I, but far less substantial than any of the first three works. Jelon Vieira’s choreography to Marquinho Carvalho’s vibrant score was a mental copy of so many similar works performed in recent years as Fall for Dance finales. An accordion added a new dimension, and musician, Neil Ochoa, appeared just tonight, but the all-male ensemble of ten danced with forced theatricality and heightened entertainment.

Richard Alston Dance Company
in "The Devil in the Detail"
Courtesy of Tony Nandi

Gabriel Missé and Analía Centurión
in "Esencia de Tango"
Courtesy of the Dancers

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