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Fall for Dance: Nrityagram, San Francisco Ballet, Stephen Petronio Company, Dorrance Dance
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Fall for Dance: Nrityagram, San Francisco Ballet, Stephen Petronio Company, Dorrance Dance

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NY City Center
Fall for Dance – Program IV

San Francisco Ballet
Stephen Petronio Company
Dorrance Dance

At New York City Center

Arlene Schuler, President & CEO
Mark Litvin, Sr. VP & Managing Director
Stanford Makishi, VP Programming
Clifton Taylor, Festival Lighting Director
Leon Rothenberg, Festival Sound Supervisor
Joe Guttridge, Director, Communications

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 8, 2015

Shivashtakam (“An Ode to Shiva”, US Premiere): Choreography by Surupa Sen, Music by Pandit Raghunath Panigrahi, Costumes by Bijayini Satpathy and Ghulam Rasool Tailors, Lighting by and Production Manager: Lynne Fernandez, Music Performed by Rohan Dahale on Chants and Mardala, Manu Raj on Bamboo Flute, Jateen Sahu on Vocals and Harmonium, Siddhartha Sarkar on Violin, Dance Performed by Bijayini Satpathy and Surupa Sen.

Tonight’s performance of “Shivashtakam”, by Nrityagram, a mesmerizing duo dance that premiered in Khajuraho, India, was accompanied by four musicians on Chants and Mardala, Bamboo Flute, Vocals and Harmonium, and Violin. Surupa Sen read aloud the title poem that inspired this work. When the flute and violin combined on the same, yearning notes, and the warm light fell on the colorfully costumed Bijayini Satpathy and Surupa Sen (choreographer), you could not hear even a breath in the hall, as the audience was so gripped in the moment. Those tones were exotic, ethereal, and gorgeous, while each dancer performed a solo or duo mirror dance, in the exact same gesture and pose as her partner. Their complementary red-orange-pink, silk dresses, strands of heavy pearls, bejeweled hair and foreheads, and shiny gold belts, ankle and wrist bracelets, all combined to transport the viewer to a mystical location. Every element of this spellbinding performance was high class and worthy of the stage, especially at City Center, where exotic murals can be found in the building’s décor.

San Francisco Ballet
Solo (1997): Choreography by Hans Van Manen, Music by Johann Sebastian Bach (“Violin Suite No. 1”), Costumes by Keso Dekker, Lighting by Joop Caboort, Production Director: Christopher Dennis, Violin score recorded by Sigiswald Kuijken, Dance performed by Gennadi Nedvigin, Joseph Walsh, and Hansuke Yamamoto.

Next, in tonight’s Fourth Program, three dancers from San Francisco Ballet, Gennadi Nedvigin, Joseph Walsh, and Hansuke Yamamoto, performed Hans Van Manen’s “Solo”, to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Violin Suite No. 1 in D minor. It’s possible that, like “The Three Faces of Eve”, “Solo” is the three personas of one imaginary, male character. The men dance solos and intertwining choreography, with generous leaps, spins, and speed. Each dancer was expressive and dramatic in telling his brief story of internalized being. I would like to see this fascinating ballet again.

Stephen Petronio Company
Locomotor (2014): Choreography by Stephen Petronio, Music by Clams Casino, Costumes by Narcisco Rodriguez, Lighting by Ken Tabachnick, Production Stage Manager: Robert McIntyre, Performed by the Company and Melissa Toogood.

The Petronio Company added enormous pulse, with Mr. Petronio’s “Locomotor”, danced to the music of Clams Casino. With Guest Artist, Melissa Toogood, dancers in black, white, or gray leotards and bare legs and feet climbed about, and walked around, one another, in varying tempos and rhythms. Propeller arms and above shoulder lifts are but a couple of my copious notes, although this is not what I’d consider a memorable work.

Dorrance Dance
Myelination (World Premiere): Choreography by Michelle Dorrance and the Dancers, Music by Gregory Richardson and Donovan Dorrance, Costumes by Byron Tittle, Lighting by Kathy Kaufmann, Production Manager: Tony Mayes, Music Performed by Gregory Richardson on Basses and Clarinet, Donovan Dorrance on Bass, Keys, Clarinet, John Angeles on Percussion, Aaron Marcellus on Keys and Vocals, with a vocal ensemble, Dance Performed by Michelle Dorrance and the Company.

Michelle Dorrance, a MacArthur “Genius Grant” winner for 2015, brought out her company in a wild display of solo, duo, and ensemble tap, with a live band in the backdrop, as well. Musicians were on basses, keys, clarinet, percussion, and vocals, performing original music by Gregory Richardson and Donavan Dorrance (both in the band). A portable tap floor was in place for the company, in grey-black street clothes, with Ms. Dorrance joining in, wearing a little black dress. There’s no way to know how much of this performance was spontaneous, but, regardless, this was extraordinary dance design. In the finale, the entire ensemble of twelve created a couple of rows of synchronized tap, that, if you closed your eyes, could have been pulled from a Busby Berkeley movie. The audience’s hoots and whoops added an additional dynamic to the percussively, pulsing auditorium in the always classy, City Center.

Bijayini Satpathy and Surupa Sen
in Surupa Sen's "Shivashtakam (An Ode to Shiva)"
Courtesy of Julieta Cervantes

Dorrance Dance
The Company in Michelle Dorrance's "Myelination"
Courtesy of Julieta Cervantes

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