4/19/19 O&A NYC DANCE/REVIEW: NewSteps: a choreographers series

By Walter Rutledge

NewSteps: a choreographers series presented their 25th year of offering new and emerging dancemakers an opportunity to develop dances through the creative process. The bi-annual choreographic showcase offers five to six artists a small stipend, rehearsal space, mentoring and constructive feedback. The process culminates with three performances open to the public. Each choreographer is given a maximum of ten minutes of presentation time. This season NewSteps featured emerging choreographers Mat Elder, Annie Heath, Erin Byrce Holmes, Tanner Ryan, and Spencer Weidie. Continue reading

4/7/19 O&A NYC WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK: April 7 through April 14, 2019

Its beginning to feel a lot like springtime, and New Yorkers are out and about!  And this week we have a new film about the Queen of Soul and a Fosse muse on Broadway. America’s mother of modern dance turns 93 in Chelsea and Arthur Mitchell’s dream turns 50. Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps, guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading

3/30/19 O&A NYC SATURDAY MORNING CONCERT: Wattstax – Full Documentary (1973)

Wattstax was a benefit concert organized by Stax Records to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the 1965 riots in the African-American community of Watts, Los Angeles.  Continue reading

3/28/19 O&A NYC THROWBACK THURSDAY: Ike and Tina Turner Revue- Proud Mary and River Deep Mountain High (original 1966 promo)

Tina-Turner_Proud-Mary

Late in 1970, while on break from touring in Florida, the band recorded their cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Proud Mary. The song was released the following January and became the duo’s best-selling single, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and selling well over a million copies. The song earned the group a 1971 Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.  Continue reading

3/21/19 O&A NYC WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK: March 20- March 24, 2019

 

Spring has finally arrived! Soon the flowers will be in bloom and love will be in the air. And if you love the arts you will find dance from Da Bronx to the Chelsea, music in Brooklyn and at Radio City Music Hall, karaoke night in Garden City and explore Asian culture and art throughout the city. Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps, guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading

3/17/19 O&A NYC DANCE/REVIEW: Ailey II

By Walter Rutledge

Ailey II opened  their 2019 New York City season on Wednesday, March 13th at NYU Skirball, the five-day seven performance season runs through Sunday, March 17. More than a “farm team” for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater this 12-member ensemble has built a reputation as a solid repertory company; featuring stellar young artists performing dynamic, and sometimes edgy choreography. This year is no exception Program A (entitled All New) presented three world premieres by Ailey alumnus Uri Sands, Bradley Shelver, and Troy Powell; and one company premiere by Robert Battle. The evening of abstract narrative works could best be described as visually atmospheric.

Tracks by Uri Sands began with the full ensemble slowly proceeding downstage right (with their back facing the audience) in a single shaft of diagonal light. Ample smoke added the required visual drama to Burke Brown’s light design, which provided a stark canvas for the minimalist prelude.  Set to the prison work song Let Your Hammer Ring the section’s steady progression was occasionally interrupted by a dancer simply standing upright.

In sharp contrast, this was followed by four sections set to the music of the R&B group the O’Jays. The work lost the minimalist approach establishing a lush contemporary look. The centerpiece of the work was the duet set to Desire Me. Antuan Byers and Marcus Williams navigated the same-sex duet with quiet passion; the sculptural elements of the work evoked a sensory reaction void of saccharine melodrama. The work ended with Stairway To Heaven throughout the section Kyle H. Martin is enveloped into a moving cloud like mass; that gently jettisoned back into the space, only to be enveloped again. The repetitive phrase provided the work with a holistic conclusion.

Choreographers are teachers of movement. They have the ability to imbue dancers with qualities beyond technique. Ebb And Flow by Ailey II Artistic Director Troy Powell is just such a work.

The duet, set to the popular Adagio for Strings, Op 11 by Samuel Barber, gave Powell a monumental task- to breathe new life into this music chestnut. Corrin Rachelle Mitchell was bathed in an amber and blue glow held aloft by Leonardo Brito. Sequestered in a rectangular, that ran through the center of the stage, the duet displayed a musicality that did not rely exclusively on the phrasing; instead it became its own moving visual voice. Powell was able to share the power and majesty of the music through his choreography; while giving the dancers an opportunity to grow.

Flock, a septet by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Robert Battle, proved to be the most diverse work on the program. Battle’s vocabulary defied convention by avoiding classroom/technique- based movement. This allowed  the choreography to establish its own distant voice; unencumbered by conventional shapes and steps such as arabesque, attitude turns and posse’ pirouettes.

The abstract dance narrative takes us on a tale of trust betrayed a kind of abstract Emperor Jones or A Face In The Crowd. Kyle H. Martin leads his flock until his own “feet of clay” are exposed. Originally choreographed in 2004 the present social and political climate gives this allegory renewed relevance.

The evening closed with the full ensemble work Where There Are Tongues by South African born dancer, teacher, author and choreographer Bradley Shelver. The amalgam  of movement styles and cultural references give the work a textually rich element. References included indigenous movement from Africa and Europe; which created a universal and inclusive quality. The rhythmically complex music by french a cappella group Lo Còr De La Plana assisted in the universality by providing a pulsing audio score that transcended any one culture.

Ailey II continues to offer artists (dancers, choreographers light and costume designers) opportunities to develop their craft. It also continues to honor founder Alvin Ailey and his love for dance as a gift to all people. The 2019 New York City Ailey II season exemplifies this vision; one of the reasons this company has become a formidable force in its own right.

2/19/19 O&A NYC CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH- DANCE: Michael Jackson- Billie Jean (Outstanding Live Performance)


The King of Pop Michael Jackson is in great form in this live concert version of his classic Billie Jean. Continue reading

2/19/19 O&A NYC WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK: Art, Dance, Film, Music, Theatre… And More

It’s school winter break and the kids are home! Don’t worry! There are things for everyone. We have dance from Lincoln Center to Chinatown. Art on Museum Mile; and music from Harlem to Brooklyn. Here are a few of the many events happening in the city that never sleeps, guaranteed to keep you Out and About. Continue reading

1/31/19 O&A NYC THROWBACK THURSDAY: James Ingram- Just Once (Live in Korea)

James Ingram performs Just Once (Live in Korea) with introduction by Quincy Jones as part of Jones’ 80th birthday celebration. Continue reading

1/11/19 O&A NYC SONG OF THE DAY: Ella Mai – Live Concert “Trip”

British pop artist Ella Mai performed Trip  at Vevo LIFT Live Sessions in New York City. The live video was directed by Micah Bickham.The song is included on her self-titled debut album, which was released last October. She co-wrote the song with Sam Hook and produced by DJ Mustard. Continue reading