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In the News > Under the Influence

23 May 2011

Performing Arts: Dance

May 23, 2011
There are, increasingly, more non-traditional spaces for the public to
see dance. The strategy here is to draw in audiences new to dance with
the hope that they go on to become regular attendees to the art form
in its many stylistic diversities.
One such venue, the Museum of Arts and Design, hosted a four part
series, running February through May 2011, entitled, Under the
Influence and guest curated by author and dance writer, Valerie
Gladstone. The last segment of the series, on Wednesday, May 18, 2011,
offered a variety of dance forms by performers Gallim Dance, David
Parker and The Bang Group & Jason Samuels Smith.

Attendees experience just what the series’ description says, it
“showcases the messy, creative, and difficult process of transforming
inspiration to innovation.” Onstage are sketches of what might or
might not become part of the performance ready piece. It is like
attending an open studio rehearsal for a work in progress. Mention
must be made of the tiny stage space. The depth appeared to be around
seven feet. Tap dancer, Jason Samuels Smith narrowed the stage even
more by dancing on his own rectangular wooden sound box and making
room for an onstage piano for musician Harold O’Neal. Smith is full of
energy and strength. His precise and clean footwork is dazzling to
watch. O’Neal’s lyrical jazz riffs work beautifully. This is a
first-class partnership.

David Parker and The Bang Group’s excerpt from Misters and Sisters: A
Love Song and Dance is being made ready for a June engagement at Joe’s
Pub. They sound good, possess grace on stage and glide through their
dance and song transitions with ease. Slapstuck, from 2001, has two
performers in Velco costumes which enable their torsos and various
body parts to stick to each other in funky ways. This piece elicited
squeals of delight from children attending the show.

Gallim Dance (gallim means waves in Hebrew) with its four dancers in
full out movement showed ideas and intents. Here, the stage size
seemed to keep cutting off where those ideas might go. What did
resonate is the energy of the dancers as they anchored a foot,
extended their limbs and pivoted from the anchor point. They jumped,
and in fluid melts to the floor, used it to their advantage. Hearing
the kinetic sounds of their moves added a visceral dimension.

A post-performance dialogue with the audience and performers was lead
by Dance Magazine editor in chief, Wendy Perron, and Gladston.
EYE ON THE ARTS,NY--Christine Dobush


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Christine Dobush