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Fall for Dance: Ballet Hispanico, Junior Cervila & Guadalupe Garcia, Acosta Danza, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
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Fall for Dance: Ballet Hispanico, Junior Cervila & Guadalupe Garcia, Acosta Danza, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

- Onstage with the Dancers

NY City Center
Fall for Dance – Program V

Ballet Hispánico
Junior Cervila & Guadalupe Garcia
Acosta Danza
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

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 13, 2018

Ballet Hispánico
Con Brazos Abiertos (2017):
Choreography by Michelle Manzanales, Artistic Collaboration by Ray Doñes, Music Soundscape includes Carla Morrison, Cheech & Chong, Julio Iglesias among nine musical collaborators, Costumes by Diana Ruettiger, Lighting by Joshua Preston, Production Manager: Nathan K. Claus, Performed by the Company.

Junior Cervila & Guadalupe Garcia
Tangos (World Premiere):
Choreography by Junior Cervila and Guadalupe Garcia, Music by Manuel Joves, Duke Ellington, Daniel Binelli, and Astor Piazzolla, Staging by Junior Cervila, Scenery and Lighting by Brandon Stirling Baker, Costumes by Guadalupe Garcia, Musical Director: Daniel Binelli, Polly Ferman on Piano, Nick Danielson on Violin, Pedro Giraudo on Bass, Pablo Aslan on Bass, Daniel Binelli on Bandoneón, Rodolfo Zanetti on Bandoneón, Marcelo Wolofsky on Drums, Alejandro Berti on Trumpet, Performed by Junior Cervila and Guadalupe Garcia.

Acosta Danza
El cruce sobre el Niágara (1987)
Choreography by Marianela Boán, Music by Olivier Messiaen, Costumes by Leandro Soto, Lighting by Carlos Repilado, Production Manager: Luis Carlos Benvenuto Solás, Performed by Carlos Luis Blanco Ramos and Alejandro Silva Colás.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Stack-Up (1982):
Choreography by Talley Beatty, Music by Various Artists, Restaging by Masazumi Chaya, Scenery Design adapted from a painting by Romare Bearden, Costumes by Carol Vollet Kingston, Lighting by Chenault Spence, Stage Manager: Nicole A. Walters, Performed by the Company.

Tonight’s final Program V of New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival 2018 was the finest of all, pure bliss. Ballet Hispánico, under the leadership of Eduardo Vilaro, brought Michelle Manzanales’ Con Brazos Abiertos. The entire Company of 14 was festive in costume and attire, flirtatious in mood, and dancing up “una tormenta”. Red sombreros were everywhere, with beige-white unitards (thanks to Diana Ruettiger), and the “Soundscape” of Latin music, like Julio Iglesias and Cheech & Chong, kept the clavé choreography like a mambo marathon. I noted that traditional and contemporary Latin music was a backdrop blend to more pop culture Latin rhythms. The light-hearted dramatic vignettes added to the ballet’s intrigue. Ray Doñes is listed as an artistic collaborator. Years ago, I was a journalist in residence with Ballet Hispánico at Skidmore, and I have often seen them perform, always with seasoned focus and fervor.

Three of tonight’s four presentations represented Latin dance, the second of which was quite familiar to me, Junior Cervila with Guadalupe Garcia, in Mr. Cervila’s Tangos, choreographed by this duo. As a former tanguera, I knew Junior, who was always becoming more and more rarified as a performer. In the New York City Center Encores! March production of Grand Hotel, Mr. Cervila and Ms. Garcia performed mind-boggling tangos, with enormous talent, drama, and attitude, and tonight they reprised that stunning, unforgettable motif. Moreover, many of my favorite tango musicians were onstage tonight, led by bandoneónist, Daniel Binelli, including his partner Polly Ferman on piano (see musician list above). These Argentine tangos were intense, muscular, steamy, sensual, and even included a champagne drinking binge to Ellington. Of course, music by Piazzolla, Joves, and Mr. Binelli was also performed. I could have watched this endlessly.

Acosta Danza, led by a former Ballet Theatre star, the Cuban Carlos Acosta, reprised Marianela Boán’s El Cruce sobre el Niágara, seen this past April, right on this stage with Mr. Acosta’s Company. Scored to music by Olivier Messiaen, this is a pas de deux for two men, Carlos Luis Blanco Ramos and Alejandro Silva Colás. Once again, this same duo danced solo and in mesmerizing togetherness. This seems to be a love affair, with one dancer at first lying onstage in the fetal position, before the other walks to his location, where they reconnect in echoing physicality and spirituality. These two are not strangers. The costumes, by Leandro Soto, are totally minimal and warmly lit, thanks to Carlos Repilado. The mirrored twin-like dance is still hypnotic and visually extraordinary. I would love Mr. Acosta to bring his Company to New York often.

Nobody can close a 20-dance, five-night festival like the Ailey Company, and tonight they did not disappoint. With 16 dancers, they performed Talley Beatty’s Stack-Up, from 1982, with vibrant costumes and lighting, restaged by the marvelous Masazumi Chaya. Music is “by various artists”. The ballet is an homage to 1980’s Los Angeles, and its “emotional ‘traffic’ in a community that is stacked on top of one another”. The scenery is adapted from Romare Bearden’s “Under the Bridge”. Dancers depict junkies, gang members, street kids, flirts, those not flirting, and so on. Motion is so fast, and the ballet so rare, that it was tempting not to take notes. However, I can recall exuberant elevation, precise, poised en air leaps and kicks, and athleticism and sultry swagger, all leading to a rousing, standing ovation.

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

Ballet Hispánico
in "Con Brazos Abiertos"
Courtesy of Paula Lobo

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
in "Stack-Up"
Courtesy of Paul Kolnik

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