Thursday, July 19, 2012

ChEck Us OuT! Dance Festival

A celebration of female choreographers
Saturday July 16, 2012
Summit Rock at Central Park

This past weekend was packed with dance! On Saturday, I saw an outdoor dance festival at a beautiful location, Summit Rock, yet another hidden gem of New York City that I had yet to discover. Allow me to set the stage for you...

photo by ACM

Gorgeous, Right?! I know.

The sun streaming through the tree branches created the perfect setting for a festival to celebrate female choreographers on this glorious Saturday afternoon. The ChEck Us OuT! Dance Festival was produced by ChEcKiTt!Dance, Artistic Director, Allison Brzezinski. In an effort to support eco-friendly awareness, there were electronic programs available for viewing with smart phones. Click here to see an E-PROGRAM. I think E-Programs are a wonderful idea and a great way to help the environment. I foresee a lot more shows doing the same in the future. 

There were ten different choreographers represented in the festival. I enjoyed the entire show and here are some of my highlights...

Congratulations to Allison Brzezinski for not only pulling off such a fantastic festival but also finding time to create and rehearse such a thought-provoking piece in "Reflect/Refract." The dance seemed to speak of challenging female stereotypes. Their movement was airy and swirling outward from their flowing white skirts. The dancers repeated one gesture placing their hands together to create a sort of diamond-shaped viewfinder. For me this gesture suggested a different point of view from each dancer or the notion of concern of what others think about you. The reverse of this gesture was also echoed later in the piece when one dancer would move in the center of a circle of mirrors carried by the others, reflecting and refracting the dancer and the bold sunlight. This provided a patch-like effect of 360 degrees of intensely-lit reflection around the soloist. The end brought out lipstick to scrawl on the mirrors several liberating statements like, "I am not your baby doll." 

"Reflect/Refract," by Allison Brzezinski/ ChEcKiT!Dance
photo by Masato Kuroda
(Shout out to fellow George Mason Dance Alum, Lauren Fakete, center)

"Ancient Bruises," by Melissa Gendreau of Perceptions Dance Company was a tender pas de deux that created a glimpse into this timeless battle for control and respect between two people. They manipulated and tossed each other aside only to be drawn back together by their instinctual attraction; a powerfully magnetic yet destructive attraction. The dance was filled with inventive lifts and dynamic uses of tempo change to seemingly stop time for fleeting intimate glimpses. Dancers, Laura Colon and Kyung Joon Lee portrayed a believable and endearing chemistry together that toed-the-line separating love and hate.

"Ancient Bruises," by Melissa Gendreau/ Perceptions Dance Company
photo by Masato Kuroda

"Gobbledigook," by Nina Joly
photo by Masato Kuroda

"Gobbledigook" and the ChEcK Us Out! Dance Festival Audience
photo by Masato Kuroda

"Gobbledigook," by Nina Joly was a massive group of sprite dancers creating a rowdy pitter-patter in the dirt and gravel right before the audience. Their costumes were all different layers of pants and skirts with blouses and vests- unified by an old-timey color scheme reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting. It was quirky, humorous, athletic and uplifting. It was the perfect close to the ChEcK Us Out! Dance Festival. Clouds rolled out from beneath their bare feet as the sun became lower in the sky and summit rock radiated with their glowing happy faces and joyful noise. The steady drumbeats of Sigur Ros combined with the dancers' crazy attitudes made it difficult to resist jumping up and dancing with the group.
"Room to Ruminate" Laura Baehr, photo by ACM

"Reflect/Refract" Allison Brzezinski, photo by ACM

"Reflect/Refract" Allison Brzezinski, photo by ACM

"Orange Boat" Laura Neese, photo by ACM

"Orange Boat" Laura Neese, photo by ACM
photos by ACM

I had a wonderful time at the festival and I look forward to continuing to follow the works of these talented female choreographers. Until next post...

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