Monday, April 29, 2013

"Dances from the Heart 2"

presented by The Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation
Palace of Fine Arts Theater, San Francisco
April 28th, 2013

On the last Sunday night in April, the San Francisco and Bay Area dance community gathered at the Palace of Fine Arts for “Dances from the Heart 2”. An eclectic and electric program of thirteen different works performed by eleven dance companies, the evening was presented by The Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation (REAF) to benefit Bay Area organizations committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS – this year’s focus being Larkin Street Youth Services, BAY Positives, and the Dancer’s Group’s Parachute Fund.

Ballet San Jose’s Rudy Candia and Alexsandra Meijer opened the first act with a lovely pas de deux by Sir Frederick Ashton (“Méditation from Thaïs”). An alluring yet difficult duet, the boureé-heavy choreography highlighted Meijer’s articulate and flexible arch. Next, Salsamania’s Latin Vibe Team burst onto the stage with the dynamic three-couple “Aun No Es Tiempo”. Sexy, hot and incredibly well-rehearsed, another equally vibrant team from this company also appeared in the second Act. The stunning Crystaldawn Bell danced an untitled solo by Robert Moses, specially created for this benefit performance. This work was a nice divergence for Moses; certainly a modern creation, but with definite neo-classical sensibility. As Bell moved in and out of several pools of light, Moses’ choreography accented and marked Paul Carbonara’s score, whether with a lift of the arms, a pop in the torso or a long extension in arabesque. An excerpt of “The Rambler” reiterated two enduring truths about Joe Goode Performance Group. Every company member is a quintessential and well-rounded performer, proficient in dance, voice and acting. And, Goode knows how to integrate all those entities together like no other, creating a true interdisciplinary sensation that makes sense. Post:Ballet offered a conceptual and technically demanding modern work (choreography by Robert Dekkers, danced by Christian Squires). Dekkers’ is never afraid to take ballet and contemporary syllabus into uncharted territory, which in “Sixes and Seven” was most readily apparent in the unbelievably smooth, yet super-human level changes. Act I concluded with parts of Patrick Corbin’s “For Use by Subhuman Primates Only”, performed by Company C Contemporary Ballet. This piece is a bit strange, but at its core, it is a work that communicates and celebrates the notion of community. And, community is really what “Dances from the Heart 2” is all about.

The six pieces that made up Act II illustrated the diversity that is Bay Area dance. From classical Indian Kathak to lyrical ballet to narrative Tahitian dance, there was something for everyone. Chitresh Das Dance Company introduced the detailed, fast-paced world of Kathak dance. From whirling pirouettes to subtle eye inflections to facial movements, “Malkouns Tarana” delighted the crowd. Diablo Ballet’s Robert Dekkers, Mayo Sugano and Hiromi Yamazaki took the stage in Trey McIntyre’s “The Blue Boy”, a pas de trois that combines the strength of ballet, the inventiveness of McIntyre and the uplifting music of Beethoven. The use of demi-pointe throughout the work was refreshing and the balancé section toward the end ate up space with its grand motion. ODC/Dance brought an excerpt of Brenda Way’s 2010 dance theater composition, “Waving not Drowning (A Guide to Elegance)”. Merging modern movement with multiple related narratives, the work examines the role of the individual within a collective, the deconstruction of the self and the passivity of society. Smuin Ballet contributed two variations from a larger work, Michael Smuin’s “Fly Me to the Moon, Sinatra Ballet”. In Act I, Robin Semmelhack and Joshua Reynolds took a youthful romantic journey in “Moonlight Serenade”, while Jonathan Mangosing soloed in “That’s Life” at the end of Act II. With a unique merging of classical and lyrical choreography, both pieces embody the characteristic style of this important San Francisco company – their niche, if you will. This amazing cooperative performance closed with a colorful, percussive extravaganza: “Vahines de Tahiti” from the Te Mano O Te Ra company. “Dances from the Heart 2” was a resounding success; please visit the Foundation’s website for information about upcoming events and be sure to make next year’s benefit part of your dance season –


Sven Erlandson said...

CrystalDawn Bell was amazing!

Sven Erlandson said...

CrystalDawn Bell was brilliant! Such a powerful body, yet such a nuanced performance.