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The Mazzini Dance Collective Presents Premieres at The Ailey Citigroup Theater
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The Mazzini Dance Collective Presents Premieres at The Ailey Citigroup Theater

- Onstage with the Dancers

Shon 45 Wines & Spirits
(Shon 45 Wines Web Page)
840 8th Ave (50th-51st)
New York, NY 10019

Mon - Thurs 10AM - 11PM
Fri - Sat 10AM - 11:30PM
Sun 12PM - 9PM

Mazzini Dance Collective

Annmaria Mazzini, Artistic Director
Elizabeth Bragg, Executive Director
Audra Bailey, Marketing Director
Robert Paterson, Resident Composer
Lisa Labrado, Press Agent
Steven Carlino, Stage Manager

The Ailey Citigroup Theater
(Ailey Studios Web Page)

Elizabeth Bragg, Sara Mulry, Samantha Silvers, Sylvana Tapia,
Megan Cohl, Rachel Holmes, Kristi Tornga, Audra Bailey,
Emily D’Angelo, Corinna Nicholson, Andy Jacobs,
Johnny Vorsteg, Jake Deibert, Sasha Smith
Francisco Graciano and Robert Kleinendorst
Carol Ann Aicher, William Hestand, William Short, Rob Sedgwick

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 6, 2014

Playing with Angels (World Premiere): Choreography by Annmaria Mazzini, Music by Robert Paterson (Elegy), Costumes by Aileen Roehl, Lighting by Donalee Katz, Performed by Andy Jacobs, Audra Bailey, Elizabeth Bragg, Sara Mulry, Samantha Silvers, Piano: Carol Ann Aicher, Bassoons: William Hestand, William Short.

When We Rise (2014): Choreography by Orion Duckstein, Music by Zoe Keating, Lighting by Donalee Katz, Performed by Orion Duckstein and Annmaria Mazzini.

Tower (2013): Choreography by Annmaria Mazzini, Music by Pierre Jalbert (Visual Abstract, 1-3), Costumes by Faye St. Georges, Lighting by Donalee Katz, Performed by Audra Bailey, Megan Cohl, Andy Jacobs, Samantha Silvers, Sylvana Tapia, Johnny Vorsteg.

Introducing Mrs. Stephen P. Baxter (2013): Choreography by Orion Duckstein, Music by Les Baxter, Costumes by Sean Sullivan, Original Lighting by Joshua Monroe, Performed by Rachel Holmes, Audra Bailey, Elizabeth Bragg, Megan Cohl, Emily D’Angelo, Sara Mulry, Corinna Nicholson, Samantha Silvers, Sasha Smith, Sylvana Tapia, Orion Duckstein, Rob Sedgwick, Johnny Vorsteg.

Criminal Commoners (World Premiere): Choreography by Annmaria Mazzini, Music by Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Damian Eckstein, St. Vincent, Phantogram, Cold War Kids, Pulp, Goldfrapp, Costumes by Faye St. Georges, Aileen Roehl, Lighting by Donalee Katz.

Annmaria Mazzini has been truly missed in recent Paul Taylor Dance Company performances, since she left to form her own group. Now her fans can see her once more in her Mazzini Dance Collective, and she’s even recruited Orion Duckstein, another former Taylor dancer, as Guest Choreographer and performer in his own two works. Also recruited from the Taylor Company are current members, Francisco Graciano and Robert Kleinendorst, as well as Aileen Roehl, who has designed some of the costumes for this two-performance New York Season at The Ailey Citigroup Theater. Tonight’s opening event included two world premieres by Ms. Mazzini.

Playing with Angels, Ms. Mazzini’s first premiere for the evening, was accompanied by Carol Ann Aicher on piano and William Short and William Hestand on bassoons, performing Resident Composer, Robert Paterson’s Elegy, a smoothly rendered work. Live music was a lovely addition to this introductory piece. The two bassoons provided an elegant, regal aura of sweeping tonality, and the piano passages and blending were sumptuous, as well. Especially noteworthy were Aileen Roehl’s chiffony blue costumes for the quartet of women, with Andy Jacobs in a darker blue, or so it seemed in Donalee Katz’ warm lighting. Notes indicate this is a memorial tribute work, and it was eloquent and languorous. Dancers move as if with wings, floating and creating synchronized images slightly en air.

Orion Duckstein’s When We Rise was a duo for the choreographer and his former Taylor colleague, Ms. Mazzini. Music, by Zoe Keating, drove the fascinating momentum, with Ms. Mazzini actually standing on Mr. Duckstein’s bent back, at one point. The Taylor genre is athletic and astounding, and one could see elements of Mr. Taylor’s bold concepts here in his protégées, with motion that’s propulsive and rhythmic. Ms. Mazzini’s Tower was a more complex piece, choreographed for six dancers to Pierre Jalbert’s darkly charged score. In fact, the dancers, in black, even sport black cords across their legs like steel architectural spokes. It could be that this piece is an homage to the fallen Twin Towers, much like Mr. Taylor’s Promethean Fire. There seemed to be a socially conscious message inherent in the three-movement work, with dancers surviving stage thunder and lightning effects, plus outreached arms blocking paths of direction. It was dynamic, edgy, and wild, with additional hints of Taylor’s more upbeat, Esplanade in the mayhem.

Mr. Duckstein’s second work, Introducing Mrs. Stephen P. Baxter, was danced to Les Baxter tunes, with elements of Mr. Baxter’s “Exotica”, or primitive, ritualistic music, with congas and marimba. The concept in this piece is one of 50’s and 60’s stay-at-home wives in colorful satiny dresses and pearls (thanks to Sean Sullivan, designer), who bake, dust, and prepare cocktails for their detached, unappreciative husbands. I actually enjoyed this piece immensely, as it was a caricature of mid-twentieth century social mores, performed with astounding ebullience. The music was sultry and campy (the program should have listed the tunes), and Rachel Holmes, as the Mrs., was outstanding in the theatrics. The ensemble was cohesively entertaining, swirling about, breaking eggs into bowls with kitchen tools at the ready. Performers even handed out cookies to a few lucky viewers. The work is a metaphor for the lack of societal progress on sexism, and the message was well delivered with pointed mirth.

The final work tonight was Ms. Mazzini’s second premiere, Criminal Commoners, divided into seven segments and scored to pop rock. It was nice to see Francisco Graciano and Robert Kleinendorst, both powerful members of the Taylor Company, here on the Ailey Citigroup stage. This work includes seductive, athletic, driven choreography. Mr. Graciano and Ms. Mazzini (in a tight, bright red, skirted leotard) introduce the work with high powered, sexy, intertwined phrases, followed by Mr. Kleinendorst and Ms. Mazzini in a passage more athletically subdued but heightened with dizzying dissonance. A female solo ensues, on the heels of Mr. Graciano’s vibrant, vivacious solo, followed by an ensemble dance, before a hairy ape arrives to steal Ms. Mazzini’s torn heart in a King Kong-ish motif to “Monster Love”. At this point, Ms. Mazzini has changed to white. Kudos to all.

The Cast of "Tower"
Choreography by Annmaria Mazzini
Courtesy of Sarah Sterner

Annmaria Mazzini in "Criminal Commoners"
Choreography by Annmaria Mazzini
Courtesy of Jaglin Medlock

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