9/15/19 O&A NYC SUNDAY AFTERNOON JAZZ CONCERT: Bad Blood- Ulysses Dove

ulysses-doveBad Blood received its World Premiere, in 1984 on Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal. Featuring music by Laurie Anderson (Gravity’s Angel and Walking and Falling) and Peter Gabriel (Excellent Birds) the work in an erotic tour de force battle of the sexes. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre premiered the work in 1986. It is one of seven Dove ballets in the Ailey Company repertoire.  Continue reading

2/1/19 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY- BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Bad Blood by Ulysses Dove

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Bad Blood received its World Premiere, in 1984 on Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal. Featuring music by Laurie Anderson (Gravity’s Angel and Walking and Falling) and Peter Gabriel (Excellent Birds) the work in an erotic tour de force battle of the sexes. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre premiered the work in 1986. It is one of seven Dove ballets in the Ailey Company repertoire.  Continue reading

5/2/17 O&A NYC DANCE REVIEW: Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) presented their annual New York City season April 19, 20 and 21 at New York City Center. The performances marked the sixth season since the company’s much anticipated return after a seven-year hiatus. This new re-configured DTH, under the artistic direction of former company principal dancer Virginia Johnson, continues to mature into a new and important dance voice, while staying true to its founding principles. Continue reading

2/16/17 O&A NYC DANCE- BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Bad Blood by Ulysses Dove

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Bad Blood received its World Premiere, in 1984 on Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal. Featuring music by Laurie Anderson (Gravity’s Angel and Walking and Falling) and Peter Gabriel (Excellent Birds) the work in an erotic tour de force battle of the sexes. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre premiered the work in 1986. It is one of seven Dove ballets in the Ailey Company repertoire.  Continue reading

7/21/16 O&A NYC DANCE REVIEW: Rainbow Round My Shoulder Receives Bessie Award For Outstanding Revival

By Walter Rutledge

On Wednesday June 14, 2016 Donald McKayle’s Rainbow Round My Shoulder received a New York Dance and Performance Award (The Bessies) for Outstanding Revival. The 32 Annual Bessies Awards will take place on Tuesday, October 18, 7:30pm at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House. This review was originally posted by O&A NYC Magazine on April 11th, 2016.

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Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance presented Donald Mckayle’s masterwork Rainbow Round My Shoulder during their 2016 New York City season. Dayton Contemporary Dance Company performed the work as guest of the Taylor Company. This marks the second year of Taylor’s new dance initiative, which presents modern dance classics often performed by guest companies.  Continue reading

4/15/15 O&A REVIEW: Dance Theatre Of Harlem

By Walter Rutledge

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The Dance Theatre Of Harlem presented their New York City season April 8 through 11 at New York City Center. This is the third season since the much heralded return of the company in 2012, and for the 2015 season Artistic Director Virginia Johnson curated two programs, a total of seven works, presented over four performances. Aside from the two neoclassical Balanchine works the repertoire reflected a new direction for the company.

Many have anticipated the return of the barrier breaking dance institution that literally evolved, under the direction of founder Arthur Mitchell, from Afros to ballet buns. The 2015 New York City season introduced a svelte company of eighteen young dancers that has evolved into a formidable contemporary ballet company. Johnson tapped an eclectic array of choreographers to challenge the dancers showcasing the strengths of each young artist.

The three highlights of the season were Nacho Duato’s Coming Together, Ulysses Dove’s On The Front Porch Of Heaven and The Mirror In Her Mind by Christopher Huggins. These works provided the dancers the opportunity to transcend the physical limitation of the stage. The dancers reached beyond the footlights to touch the audience.

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Nacho Duato’s Coming Together kept us on a suspense filled movement roller coaster from beginning to end. This master craftsman skillfully heightened the work’s intensity through strong choreographic structure. His reliance on design produced a kinesthetically stimulating ensemble dance.

Virtuoso dancing performed at a breakneck pace enhanced the choreographic design and brought the company’s technical prowess to the forefront. Here the company was at its best! They performed with verve, vigor, and a strong assured attack- “balls forward”. They were not just dancing; instead the company was in the moment- living through the movement.

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Da’Von Doane’s solo courageously “throw caution to the wind”. His risk taking paid off, at one point creating a catalyst effect that seemed to draw the dancers back to the stage. Dylan Santos also distinguished himself with clean execution; his firecracker attack revealed an exciting inner fire.

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Christopher Huggins’ The Mirror In Her Mind was a visually satisfying quartet also danced with great aplomb by Ashley Murphy, Da’Von Doane, Anthony Savoy and Samuel Wilson. The dance was filled with sumptuous partnering executed with daring and precision. Leaping, turning and yearning with great abandon, Murphy’s male trio moved her effortlessly around the stage. Her compelling interpretation combined the right amount of strength and vulnerability.

If Huggins had designed a pure movement/abstract work the quartet would have been truly dazzling. As a narrative it lacked the needed character development to create a complete scenario. This dance felt like an excerpt, possibly the middle section from a larger work.

We never knew who the three men really were and what led Murphy on her path. To equate it in more visceral terms it was like sex without foreplay or afterglow- definitely satisfying just not totally fulfilling. A work with this much potential deserves a beginning section to establish the relationships and an ending section for a real resolution.

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Ulysses Dove’s haunting allergy Dancing On The Front Porch Of Heaven made its Dance Theatre of Harlem premiered in 2014. The acquisition of this work helped set the tone for the company’s present and welcomed aestheticism. The work set to Arvo Part (Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten) featured dancers in white unitards designed by Jorge Gallardo.

DANCESTL, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Anthony Savoy and Fredrick Davis, Photo by Sharen Bradford

The centerpiece of the work is a male duet performed by Anthony Savoy and Frederick Davis. The ethereal nature of the duet created a noble sojourn. Davis’ stoicism balanced Savoy’s brave journey into the unknown. The ensuing performance became a profound conversation between brethren. The final upstage ascent into the darkness was not an ending, but a peaceful walk into “the next”.

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Throughout the season there were additional performers and performances that should be mentioned. In the opening section of Robert Garland’s Return, and the pas de quartre in Duato’s Coming Together Jenelle Figgins danced with the appropriate command and temperament. Chryrstyn Fentroy was a beacon of hope in Agon. Her performance in the second pas de trios section displayed technical proficiency, and a sense of confidence and élan. And Keenan English’s clean line and inmate style allowed him to standout in the corps. English has that God-given quality that makes you want to look at him.

As Dance Theatre of Harlem moves forward they will have to decide whether to recreate the Company of old or to move into a new future. Presently it seems they are trying to do both with a modicum of success. It would be a brave and bold move to honor the Company’s 45 year legacy by pursuing a direction more in tune with the present.

This new company could have a bright future if it redefines as oppose to confine itself to a past image and standards. The great response from the large and enthusiastic audience at New York City Center shows the public supports the new direction and has embraced this Dance Theatre Of Harlem. Hopefully they will get the proverbial “800 pound Neo-classic Gorilla” out of the room.

4/6/15 O&A Profile: Anthony Savoy- Accentuating The Positive

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Anthony Savoy has learned how to “accentuate the positive”, to build on his strengths as a performer. His tall lithe frame, pliant physique and impeccable line have become his trademarks. In 2010, Savoy joined Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble and a year later became an original member of the new Dance Theatre of Harlem.

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During the 2014 season Savoy and Frederick Davis performed the duet centerpiece of Ulysses Dove’s Dancing On Front Porch of Heaven. This became a breakout role for Savoy; showcasing his artistic talents, and his technical and physical prowess. Out and About NYC Magazine founder Walter Rutledge sat down with Savoy to discuss his preparation for the role and the upcoming 2015 Dance Theatre of Harlem New York season.

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Dance Theatre of Harlem returns to New York City Center April 8- 11 for four performances. Dancing On Front Porch of Heaven will be performed on Wednesday, April 8, 7pm and Saturday April 11, 2pm. For more information including a complete list of performances and/or to buy tickets visit dancetheatreofharlem.org. 

Dance Theatre of Harlem New York Season 2014 (Review)

By Walter Rutledge

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 The Dance Theatre of Harlem held their New York season at the Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center Wednesday, April 23 through Sunday, April 27. Two very ambitious programs were offered featuring works by five choreographers. The season, which had something for everyone, could best be described as uneven. Continue reading