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Fall for Dance: STREB Extreme Action, Dada Masilo / The Dance Factory, American Ballet Theatre, Farruquito
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Fall for Dance: STREB Extreme Action, Dada Masilo / The Dance Factory, American Ballet Theatre, Farruquito

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NY City Center
Fall for Dance – Program I

STREB Extreme Action
Dada Masilo / The Dance Factory
American Ballet Theatre

At New York City Center

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

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 27, 2016

STREB Extreme Action
Airslice (World Premiere):
Action Architect and Choreographer: Elizabeth Streb, Resident DJ/Music Producer: Zaire Baptiste, Scenery and Lighting by Matthew McAdon, Production and Stage Manager: Anne McDougall, Performed by an ensemble of nine, aka Action Engineers.

Dada Masilo / The Dance Factory
Spring (World Premiere):
Choreography by Dada Masilo, Music by Max Richter, Igor Stravinsky, and Arvo Pärt, Costumes by Suzette Le Sueur, and Dada Masilo, Lighting and Production Management by Suzette Le Sueur, Performed by an ensemble of five.

American Ballet Theatre
Monotones II (1965):
Choreography by Frederick Ashton, Music by Erik Satie, Orchestrations by Claude Debussy and Alexis Roland-Manuel, Staging by Lynn Wallis, Designs by Frederick Ashton, Lighting by Brad Fields, Performed by Veronika Part, Thomas Forster, and Cory Stearns.

Mi Soledad (Solea) (2001):
Choreography by Farruquito, Music: Popular Cantes por Solea, Performed by Farruquito, Vocals by Encarna Anillo, Antonio Villar, and Mary Vizarraga, Roman Vicenti on Guitar.

What a thrill to have STREB Extreme Action open the five-night, 20-program 2016 Fall for Dance Festival. This Company generates a thrill a moment, with nine “Action Engineers”, aka dancers, catapulting, leaping, and riding a Lego-inspired ladder that morphs into a Ferris wheel, all to electronic noise. There’s no real music here, although Zaire Baptiste is called a DJ and Music Producer. The Engineers in orange jump suits fall head first into what I hope were not hard mattresses, although that’s what they seemed, but the New York City Center crowd went wild. I have to admit I was riveted by Airslice and do look forward to more from Elizabeth Streb.

The Dada Masilo / The Dance Factory work, Spring, also a world premiere, is a take on the various versions of The Rite of Spring, only Mr. Masilo adds elements of Max Richter and Arvo Pärt to Stravinsky’s renowned score. An ensemble of five, with four dancers towering over the petite maiden, who’s sacrificed in this mysterious rite, exude primal sensuality and compelling movement. At one point, the encircled maiden strips off her costume, apparently in preparation for her fatal demise. At this point, The Rite of Spring has now been mounted in New York in so many differing productions that it’s time for choreographers to look elsewhere for world premieres.

The evening became sublime and high class, when American Ballet Theatre’s trio of Veronika Part, Thomas Forster, and Cory Stearns took the stage to preview Frederick Ashton’s Monotones II, to Erik Satie’s Trois Gymnopédies. This flawless, ethereal, transporting performance brought vocal accolades from the Fall for Dance fans, although, as is the custom, this crowd goes wild throughout each evening’s show. I overheard a colleague say he “got lost in it”, echoing my sentiment. The recorded Debussy orchestrations were eloquent, and I cannot wait to see this in its two-ballet form, soon, during ABT’s Fall Season at The Koch. Most impressive was the physical coordination and synchronization of the trio, as they move on one foot, the other leg raised at just the same height as that of the other two dancers. After the lengthy, first two featured dances, I wished that both parts of this ballet had been showcased.

The final work, Farruquito’s Mi Soledad (Solea), was an illustration of pure flamenco, at its finest, although for the man, not the woman. In an exercise of dizzying, audible foot work, seasoned timing, wound-up, tight posture, and gestural, emotional release to the Spanish chants of the three vocalists, Farruquito dazzled the fans. I did see the cajón, a wood box drum that the percussionist sits upon, and some additional percussion, but the main musical instrument was Roman Vicenti’s vibrant guitar. I hope, though, next time Fall for Dance will import an ensemble of female flamenco artists, swirling in long, ruffled skirts and stomping in thick heels.

STREB Extreme Action in
Elizabeth Streb's "AIRSLICE"
Courtesy of Stephanie Berger

American Ballet Theatre in
Sir Frederick Ashton's "Monotones II"
Courtesy of Stephanie Berger

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