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Fall for Dance: Tayeh Dance with Heather Christian, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Nederlands Dans Theater 2, National Ballet of China
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Fall for Dance: Tayeh Dance with Heather Christian, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Nederlands Dans Theater 2, National Ballet of China

- Onstage with the Dancers

NY City Center
Fall for Dance – Program III

Tayeh Dance with Heather Christian
Dance Theatre of Harlem
Nederlands Dans Theater 2
National Ballet of China

At New York City Center

Arlene Schuler, President & CEO
Stanford Makishi, VP Programming
Clifton Taylor, Festival Lighting Director
Danny Erdberg, Festival Sound Supervisor
Joe Guttridge, Director, Communications

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 6, 2018

Tayeh Dance with Heather Christian
Reclamation Map (World Premiere):
Choreography by Sonya Tayeh, Music by Heather Christian, Costumes by Marion Talan Del Rosa and Sonya Tayeh, Lighting by Davison Scandrett, Production Manager: Davison Scandrett, Stage manager: Stephanie Byrnes Harrell, Musicians: Heather Christian, Jo Lampert, Onyie Nwachukwu, Performed by PeiJu Chien-Pott, Austin Goodwin, Reed Luplau, Ida Saki.

Dance Theatre of Harlem
Balamouk (World Premiere):
Choreography by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Music by Les Yeux Noirs, René Aubry, Lisa Gerrard, Costumes by Mark Zappone, Lighting by Les Dickert, Production Stage Manager: Heather Olcott, Performed by an ensemble of ten.

Nederlands Dans Theater 2
Midnight Raga (US Premiere)
Choreography by Marco Goecke, Music by Ravi Shankar and Etta James, Scenery and Costumes by Marco Goecke, Dramaturgy by Nadja Kadel, Lighting by Udo Haberland, Technical Director: Eric Blom, Performed by Surimu Fukushi and Adam Russell-Jones.

National Ballet of China
The Crane Calling (excerpt) (2015):
Choreography by Ma Cong and Zhang Zhenxin, Music by Shen Yiwen, Scenery by Gong Xun, Costumes by Li Kun, Make-Up by Xu Bin, Lighting by Liu Zhao and Deng Wen, Stage Manager: Qi Jinsong, Performed by the Company.

Tonight’s Program III of New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival 2018 opened with Tayeh Dance with Heather Christian in the premiere of Ms. Tayeh’s Reclamation Map. PeiJu Chien-Pott, a beloved dancer in the Martha Graham Company, frequently reviewed on these pages, was a lead of four fantastic dancers. Ms. Christian, composer, pianist, and vocalist (with Jo Lampert and Onyie Nwachukwu) added greatly to the spiritual quality of this layered concept. Before long, a dancer was crawling rhythmically near the piano, and soon a dancer was on the piano. There was more interaction of singer-musicians and dancers, with rhythmic slapping and clapping, but the high point was Ms. Chien-Pott, mesmerizing as always.

The Dance Theatre of Harlem is never to be missed, always professional, sophisticated, stylized, and dynamic. Tonight they were again magnetic to behold, in Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Balamouk. The Company, wearing bright solid costumes, red, orange, green, as it seemed in the dim lighting, drew the audience in. Men spun about swiftly and smoothly, women made the most of their stunning, en pointe limbs, and the dancers seemed to thoroughly enjoy their limited time on stage. After all, each of the five Fall for Dance programs introduce four different companies or projects. The music was vibrant, exotic, and captivating. Kudos to Virginia Johnson, the Company’s exceptional Artistic Director.

Nederlands Dans Theater 2 brought Midnight Raga, choreographed by Marco Goecke. Ordinarily I would love Etta James vocals and Ravi Shankar’s sitar, but the twitching, arm-wrestling, mirror muscle dance of these two quasi gymnasts, was agonizing. I have seen way too much, in recent years, of twitch dance stylizing, in the name of ballet or modern, and it is unsightly. Both men tonight, Surimu Fukushi and Adam Russell Jones, were visibly sweating in the spotlight, enough said.

However, the final work of the night was National Ballet of China’s The Crane Calling (excerpt), sublime, ethereal, visually enticing, a pure pleasure. With 29 dancers, and one very memorable, lush pas de deux, choreographers Ma Cong and Zhang Zhenxin brought down the house with the synchronized, detailed, absorbing imagery. Women floated, arms angular like winged cranes, held in the arms of their male crane partners, and I could have watched this ballet repeatedly. A group of peasant-type dancers joined the cranes. Gong Xun’s pastel scenery and Li Kun’s uncluttered costumes gave this ballet feathery-light ambiance and a moonlit mood. Shen Yiwen’s musical score was inspiring, as the program notes indicated the ballet was a tribute to China’s youth culture with its dreams.

Kudos to New York City Center for its annual Fall for Dance Festival, always a high point of each new dance season.

Dance Theatre of Harlem
in "Balamouk"
Courtesy of Paula Lobo

National Ballet of China
in "The Crane Calling" (excerpt)
Courtesy of Paula Lobo

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