FALCON DANCE Review by Mary Seidman

New York, New York June 9 -- Seated in the front row in the Gibney Theater this reviewer sat in the first row I was surprised to find I was part of the opening section of Beauty Happens, choreographed collaboratively by eight dancers of Falcon Dance and Brit Falcon, Artistic Director was commissioned by Gibney and curated by Eva Yea Asantewaa.

Eight dancers walk on from the wings, seating themselves as audience in the middle of the front row. After a long wait, a percussive and electronic sound score activates the upper bodies of the dancers, one somersaulting from the second row to the first, then standing vertically on one chair, as the others undulate spines and arms.

The activity beneath my row caused a series of eruptions as I reluctantly indulged the discomfort of my location. One dancer finally stood and lunged onto the stage, as two, then four joined. Turns, rond de jambe and attitude turns in the air were mesmerizing. After fifteen minutes, all were on stage standing stationary in two lines, fast drumming and body movements pounding, shaking, as if exorcising demons. Then a sudden stop and black out of lights.

This pattern repeated throughout: lights off suddenly, then lights on (lighting by Beaudau Karel Banks) opening to a new section, as the lusty, vivacious dancers perform delicious physically demanding dance phrases, in plain dance attire: tee shirts and loose pants.

A lot of heavy breathing and strenuous “contact” work looked like it developed from weeks of collaboration in the studio. Chairs were placed at first in the back of the stage, dancers sitting in them, and then periodically lifted and moved to other areas of the stage for dancers to sit in for rest or to witness their colleagues on stage. What metaphor was this?

Glenn Fitten, sound designer, created interesting collections of pieces for the various sections, from drumming, to bird chirping, to waltz music, to calypso, to mournful piano, offering many changes that supported the work, but the overall hourlong dance piece had a redundancy that sadly, didn’t feel like change.

This young, earnest collaborative group shows great possibilities in its future, but a point of view that is more obvious to the viewer will be appreciated.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY - Mary Seidman

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