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    34 Prayers Before Passing in Solar-Powered Dance festival
    Photo by Quinn Batson
    34 Prayers Before Passing

    Solar-Powered Dance of Summer

    Solar-Powered Dance festival keeps summertime moving


    Free outdoor dance concerts in New York city during the off-peak season of summer are a relaxed and informal pleasure. The Solar-Powered Dance Festival has a bit of a State Fair exhibit feel to it with its tiny stage in front of a tiny building at the East River's edge. Solar panels on the building power the sound system, and the dance concert here is just one of a series of small events showcasing both performers and solar power.

    Choreography by: Christine Coleman, Andrea Gise, Kelly Hayes, Paloma McGregor, Bret Manyk, Stefanie Nelson.

    Related links: Official site
    Solar-Powered Dance Festival Program A Stuyvesant Cove, 23rd Street at the East River July 26-28, 2007

    Bret Mantyk of Bret Mantyk/The Future started the pre-dusk show almost invisibly in front of the stage, as an appealing mime with cryptic showcards. His piece "Almost There" could be referring to the future or The Future or solar power, but it is mainly a painless intro to the rest of the show.

    Christine Coleman and Corinna Brown begin Coleman's "Sub/Con" as strangely veined creatures in mosquito netting in a piece described in the program as a fusion of Modern Dance, Butoh and Stop Motion, an odd mix that generally works in its outdoor setting, offering a wide dynamic range of motion and stillness.

    "Wonder, a brand new dance" by Kelly Hayes of Redshift Dance, performed by Hayes, Katy Orthwein and Storme Sundberg, is the sort of lightly fluffy piece that works well in an outdoor summer setting. This is a piece about dishwashing, somehow, but yellow rubber gloves and bubbles and exuberant dancing take any feeling of work and chores out of the picture and give it a 1950s live-action TV advertisement quality, along the lines of something the women on "I Love Lucy" might have gotten themselves into.

    yellow rubber gloves and bubbles and exuberant dancing take any feeling of work and chores out of the picture  

    Stefanie Nelson's "Out of Wonderland (excerpts)" is a strong duet danced mainly in solos by Saar Harari and Cara Liguori, possibly exploring the unspoken desperation or passions of each partner in a couple. The duo are well-matched, and he, dressed in a suit, has a wonderful Ray Bolger as the Wizard of Oz scarecrow quality.

    "House of Leaves" by Andrea Gise, as performed by the three similarly strong and compact dancers Celia DeVoe, Alexandra Rose and Lindsey Ransom, is a relatively straightforward and physical piece with plenty of contact with the ground and the other dancers, with fairly appealing matching costumes in muted green and plum.

    Paloma McGregor's "34 Prayers Before Passing" put the biggest cast and heaviest subject matter onstage last. Slam Poet national champion Patricia Smith reads her poem about the aftermath of Hurrican Katrina while Alexandra J. Houston, Juri Nishio, Melana L. Lloyd, Vershawn D. Saunders, Chevon M. Stuart and Sharon C. Manuel dance. There is a natural synergy between dance and poetry, and McGregor makes the most of it here. She also dances with the Urban Bush Women, and her choreography has much of the energy and power and African influence of that group.

    Program B of the Solar-Powered Dance Festival happens August 2-4 at 6:30 pm.

    JULY 29, 2007

    Reader comments on Solar-Powered Dance festival:

  • Congrats Chevon   from Cherita, Aug 1, 2007

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