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    Bennyroyce Royon, Marie Zvosec in Bennyroyce Royon: Chronos Project
    Photo by Kokyat
    Bennyroyce Royon, Marie Zvosec

    Dance for Dancers

    Bennyroyce Royon gathers some peers for his Chronos Project


    Strong dancers may be the main thing that Bennyroyce Royon and the choreographers who joined him for Chronos Project share. In an evening full of big dancing, that is a good thing.

    Choreography by: Monique Meunier, Nilas Martins, Brian Gibbs, Bennyroyce Royon.
    Dancers: Adam: Elysia Dawn, Luke Manley, Victoria North
    Coma: Natsuki Arai, Kendrick D. Carter, Kevin Furgeson, Francesco La Macchia, Bennyroyce Royon, Ritsuko Sato
    Study: Natsuki Arai, Brian Gibbs, Alex Jenkins, Trisha Kelly, Jennifer McQuiston Lott, Ariane Roustan
    Chronos: Lucie Baker, Trisha Kelly, Francesco La Macchia, Jennifer McQuiston Lott, Ariane Roustan, Bennyroyce Royon, Marie Zvosec
    Music by: Philip Glass (Adam), Terry Riley (Coma).
    Lighting design by: Joe Doran.
    Video: Brian Gibbs, Rodrigo Ribeiro.
    University Settlement
    April 22-24, 2010

    The first piece, Adam by Monique Meunier, flirts with overwrought and overacted, in a very ballet piece that gives Adam a love triangle to negotiate. Luke Manley does a good job dealing with Elysia Dawn and Victoria North and soloing his indecision. Though the intentions of all are clear, overly affected and extra movement sometimes shouts or declares when a conversational voice would do. Meunier comes from principal dancer stints at NYC Ballet, ABT and Complexions and is rehearsal director at Armitage Gone!

    Coma by Nilas Martins is full of whipping dance by small and speedy dancers. Natsuki Arai is the focal point of the piece and consequently dances herself to exhaustion as she finds herself in the middle of four men, one of them Bennyroyce Royon, who is hers but for the attention he gives to Ritsuko Sato. He both revives and exhausts Arai, who dances a solo of defeat and exhaustion to end the piece. There is plenty of drama here, and the coma comes either from physical exhaustion or emotional breakdown. All have strong ballet technique, an obvious asset when working with Martins, who was also a principal dancer at New York City Ballet.

    Ritsuko Sato in Bennyroyce Royon: Chronos Project  
    Photo by Kokyat  
    Ritsuko Sato
    Brian Gibbs gives his dancers more chances to let their hair down, technique-wise, in A Study of Things Gone Wrong!. A beginning on chairs, with a sort of rural/nature video backdrop, is a bit odd, but the piece goes several other directions as well. Also awkwardly interesting is a voiceover counting fives on top of music that may or may not be in a signature of five. The movement is often fast and furious, as exemplified by Natsuki Arai windmilling her arms with each forward chug of her feet at an improbably quick tempo. Also improbably fast is Ariane Roustan, who catches the eye here and holds it even more in Bennyroyce Royon's piece that follows. Overall Study is loose and fun, a pleasant contrast to the pent-up pieces that precede it.

    Chronos is a study in fierce and pizzazz. A beautiful contrast of slow, then QUICK, drives most of the movement and gives the piece its style. Black and white video art by Rodrigo Ribeiro enhances the piece by keeping the imagery simple and graphic, often with large closeups of Bennyroyce Royon. Voiced-over poetry gives the piece further richness, and flatout dancing by Royon, Lucie Baker, Trisha Kelly Francesco La Macchia, Jennifer McQuiston Lott, the aforementioned Roustan and Marie Zvosec just explodes off the stage. Where does he find these people? A background of Juilliard, Rasta Thomas and Armitage Gone! and a stint with the Montreal-based Cas Public gives some idea, but he obviously also has a gift for choosing dancers and collaborators.

    MAY 12, 2010

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