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Fall for Dance: Alina Cojocaru & Herman Cornejo, INTRODANS, Tiler Peck, Lil Buck & Brooklyn Mack, Rennie Harris Puremovement
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Fall for Dance: Alina Cojocaru & Herman Cornejo, INTRODANS, Tiler Peck, Lil Buck & Brooklyn Mack, Rennie Harris Puremovement

- Onstage with the Dancers

NY City Center
Fall for Dance – Program IV

Alina Cojocaru & Herman Cornejo
Tiler Peck, Lil Buck & Brooklyn Mack
Rennie Harris Puremovement

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 11, 2018

Alina Cojocaru & Herman Cornejo
Rhapsody (excerpts) (1980):
Choreography by Frederick Ashton, Music by Sergei Rachmaninoff, Arrangement by Kurt Crowley, Costumes by William Chappell, Lighting by Brandon Stirling Baker, Kurt Crowley on Piano and Attacca Quartet on Strings, Performed by Alina Cojocaru and Herman Cornejo.

Canto Ostinato (2015):
Choreography by Lucinda Childs, Music by Simeon Ten Holt, Staging by Diane Matla and Marlena Wolfe, Audiovisual Design by Dominique Drillot and Matthieu Stefani, inspired by Norman McLaren, Costumes and Lighting by Dominique Drillot, Performed by Verine Bouwman, Salvatore Castello, Kim Van Der Put, Pascal Schut.

Tiler Peck, Lil Buck, & Brooklyn Mack
Petrushka (World Premiere)
Choreography by Jennifer Weber, with Ebony Williams and dancers, Music by Igor Stravinsky, Lighting by Dan Scully, Performed by Tiler Peck, Lil Buck, Brooklyn Mack.

Rennie Harris Puremovement
Rennie Harris Funkedified (excerpt) (2018):
Choreography by Rennie Harris, Music & Sound Design by Darrin Ross, Staging by Rennie Harris, Set Design and Lighting by Bob Steinbeck, Visual Design by Jorge Cousineau, Costumes by Rodney Hill and Rennie Harris, Production Managers: Bob Steinbeck and Darrin Ross, Musicians: a Musical Ensemble (Mathew Dickey Music Director) with Guitar, Drums, Keyboard, Bass, Trumpet, and Saxophone, performed by the Company of dancers and six musicians.

Tonight’s Program IV of New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival 2018 opened with a former New York Ballet Theatre favorite, Alina Cojocaru (now of English National Ballet), tonight partnered with a longtime favorite, as well, Herman Cornejo, of Ballet Theatre. They danced excerpts of Ashton’s Rhapsody, to Rachmaninoff, performed exquisitely on stage by Kurt Crowley on piano and Attacca Quartet on strings. The always packed audience was breathless with these two stars onstage. Ms. Cojocaru wore a filmy yellow dress, by William Chappell, and they each danced a solo, as well as a vivacious pas de deux. At one point, Mr. Cornejo’s arms were around his partner’s back, sliding on her torso to the rhythmic theme. Of course, a high point was Mr. Cornejo’s iconic leaps in backbend, multiple spins, lunges, and so on.

Lucinda Childs’ Canto Ostinato, performed by Introdans, to fascinating and contrasting music by Simeon Ten Holt, was another high point of tonight’s selections. The dancers arrive through collaboration with the Dutch Culture USA program, and they took the task seriously and studiously. In two musical segments of languorous then rambunctious rhythms, two couples in naturally shaded costumes brought the tempo and tone of the moment to life. The music, evoking that of Philip Glass, was contagious and stayed in my mind for hours beyond.

Before intermission, a change tonight, we saw the third work, a Jennifer Weber choreographic concept for a trio, Tiler Peck, of City Ballet, frequently seen on these pages, with the very athletic and muscular Lil Buck and Brooklyn Mack. This was a premiere of a contemporary take of Petrushka, to the infamous Stravinsky score. The original Petrushka, a burlesquean tragedy created for Nijinsky, of the Ballets Russes, is performed in several scenes. Tonight’s version included the characters of Ballerina (Ms. Peck), Petrushka (Mr. Buck), and the Moor (Mr. Mack). This was a “take” on the original, and it was hugely successful and entertaining. What was apparent was great chemistry among the trio, in terms of mutual respect for talent and dramatization. No apathy here. Ms. Weber is noted as a hip-hop choreographer and director, and that was obvious in the high energy design.

Rennie Harris Puremovement brought, as a closer, Rennie Harris Funkedified (excerpt), choreographed by this street dance director. The pumped up and up and up music and sound design are by Darrin Ross, set by Bob Steinbeck and visual design by Jorge Cousineau. Matthew Dickey is music director and guitarist. Doron Lev, drummer, was also a music director. Four dancers were from a group called The Hood Lockers, one called Andrew “Riot” Ramsey. Eight dancers were from Puremovement, one called Ivan “Heat Rock” Cofield. I am neither an aficionado nor a fan of street dance, but I did get caught up in the dramatic and courageous choreography, much of which was so daring and propulsive. The “funk” motif was set against a video and Mr. Harris’ vocal but obscure narration. The notes mention “the landscape of African-American culture and political turmoil in the 1970’s”, and this work was meant as an informative homage to the history of the genre. Each dancer and musician put his or her utmost energy and focus into this project.

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

Alina Cojocaru & Herman Cornejo
in "Rhapsody" (excerpt)
Courtesy of Stephanie Berger

Tiler Peck & Brooklyn Mack
in "Petrushka"
Courtesy of Stephanie Berger

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