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Henning Rubsam's Sensedance Presents Four Premieres and a Tribute Piece at The Kaye Playhouse
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Henning Rubsam's Sensedance Presents Four Premieres and a Tribute Piece at The Kaye Playhouse

- Onstage with the Dancers
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Artistic Director: Henning Rübsam

Papa’s Porter
And There Was Morning
Combat del Somni
Grand Canyon

Henning Rübsam, Maurice Dawkins, John Raffles Durbin, Luz Guillen
Kristen Stuart, Jacqueline Stewart, Uthman Ebrahim
Erin Ginn, Temple Kemezis, Barrington Hinds

Rosa Torres-Pardo on Piano
Bruno Axel on Violin

The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College
(Kaye Playhouse Website)
695 Park Avenue
NY, NY 10065

Lighting Design: Philip Treviño
Press: Michael Corda, MCRN Public Relations

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 2, 2015

The German-born, New York choreographer, Henning Rübsam brought a diverse program to The Kaye Playhouse to showcase his own, new choreographies, plus a solo work by the late, Beverly Blossom, one of Mr. Rübsam’s mentors and friends. The program was divided into four premieres, plus Ms. Blossom’s 1993 Shards, originally created as a tribute to Ms. Blossom’s mentor and friend, Alwin Nikolais. Mr. Rübsam’s original works, premiered in tonight’s repertory, are Papa’s Porter, to music by Cole Porter and Hildegard Knef, And Then There Was Morning, with Beata Moon’s original score, Combat del Somni, with Ricardo Llorca’s original score, performed live on piano and violin, and Grand Canyon, to Matt Siffert’s original, vocal score. Henning Rübsam studied at John Neumeier’s Hamburg Opera Ballet School and Juilliard, where he is on the dance faculty. His solo, Papa’s Porter, is a campy piece, with Mr. Rübsam in a striped, red-pink sleeveless top and wide-legged pants. The motion is sexy, wiggly, multi-directional, and gestural, a great opener. Mr. Rübsam shows originality and humor throughout.

And There Was Morning, the second premiere, is performed by Maurice Dawkins, John Raffles Durbin, Liz Guillen, and Kristen Stuart. In gorgeous yellow-green-blue striped and solid, two-piece, summery costumes, dancing to an original recorded score by Beata Moon, with Ms. Moon on piano, Ralph Farris on viola, and Zara Lawler on flute, the ensemble playfully romps about the stage. The design includes various shifts of backdrop lighting, with the lyrical, bucolic music propelling leaps, lifts, and en air motion. Before intermission, Mr. Rübsam returned for his second solo, Shards, by Beverly Blossom. In a clown-inspired tuxedo, spats, and collapsible top hat, Mr. Rübsam, carrying an old trunk, happens on a partially dismantled, female mannequin. He examines it, dances with sections of arms, legs, head, and torso, puts the mannequin back together, and dismantles it again. This is a whimsical, fantasy piece, with a gorgeous Tomaso Albioni score (“Adagio in G minor”).

Following intermission, an ensemble of seven appeared for the premiere of Combat del Somni, with live music by Ricardo Llorca, performed by Rosa Torres-Pardo on piano and Bruno Axel on violin. The work has three movements, each unique with three sets of costumes and moods. In the first, a couple in blue, Jacqueline Stewart and Uthman Ebrahim, are eloquent and ethereal. In the second movement, Erin Ginn, Maurice Dawkins, and John Raffles Durbin dance in burgundy leotards with rainbow-chiffon capes (the men) and a peach leotard and rainbow cape (Ms. Ginn). The dancers move like winged butterflies, with luscious lifts and airy stage flight. In the third movement, Temple Kemezis, a ballerina in a white leotard and tutu, dances a pas de deux with Barrington Hinds, who’s bare-chested in grey-black, checkered and striped, loose pants. The duo exuded a balletic aura and showed good technique and attitude. In fact, all the performers tonight were poised and brimming with stage presence.

The final work in the premiere repertory was Mr. Rübsam’s Grand Canyon, with a recorded score by Matt Siffert, on acoustic guitar, who later took a bow. Also performing in the recorded soundtrack were Joe Etzine on electric guitar, Curtis Nowasad on drums, Connor Schultze on bass, and Phyllis Heitjan on vocals. The entire ensemble, including Mr. Rübsam, performed onstage. Like the layers of the Grand Canyon, the ensemble, in shades of purple, blue, brown, orange, and gold, dance with ebullience and fervor, sometimes holding hands to create the wavy color effects of the canyon. At one point, Mr. Rübsam resembled a vertical section of canyon, with dancers perched on his shoulder, on his thigh, and between his legs. There were images of multi-level dance and landings, all entertaining and all artistic. Kudos to Henning Rübsam, and kudos to the dance ensemble, stage musicians, composers, and the late, Beverly Blossom.

Henning Rübsam in "Papa's Porter"
Courtesy of Reiko Yanagi

The Cast of "And There was Morning"
Courtesy of COSTAS

Henning Rübsam in "Shards"
Courtesy of Reiko Yanagi

Erin Ginn, John Raffles Durbin, Maurice Dawkins
in the Second Movement of "Combat del Somni"
Courtesy of Reiko Yanagi

Temple Kemezis and Barrington Hinds
in the Third Movement of "Combat Del Somni"
Courtesy of COSTAS

Henning Rübsam with Erin Ginn,
Temple Kemezis, and Kristen Stuart
in "Grand Canyon"
Courtesy of Reiko Yanagi

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