Dance for the Fun
| ||Photo by Quinn Batson|
Niles Ford presents In Search of
Invisible People at
By QUINN BATSON
In Search of Invisible People is equal parts history lesson, nostalgia and joyous dancing. 'At one point we had the whole world dancing, but innocence never lasts long' sums it up, a rough paraphrase of one of the DJs interviewed in a projected video. Old footage and interviews cover the house music and the vogueing scenes especially, but the dancing onstage ranges from the virtuosity of vogue legend Archie Burnett to b-boy throwdowns to couples swing-dancing to group dancing with solo cameos.
A tutu-wearing boy vamps and struts in near-darkness to start the show and reinforce the point that dance is about personal expression and show, followed soon by a large and diverse group of people dancing in harmony in various styles that brings home the point that dance is for everyone to enjoy. This first group scene is so natural and comfortable and fun, so unpretentious and relaxed; age, weight and body style are clearly irrelevant to dancing well and enjoying it.
|NILES FORD: IN SEARCH OF INVISIBLE PEOPLE|
|Choreography by: Niles Ford and Nathan Trice.|
Dancers: Dancers: Stephanie Booth, Whitney Brown, Stephesha David, Vincent Hernandez, Andre Irons, Jessica Parks, Cara Robino, Michelle Siegel, Ronnie Thomas, Yin Yue, Royce Zachary
Community Dancers: Karen Amatrading, Carolyn Grimaldi, Roma M. Irizarry, Mihoko Ninomiya, Sal Rentas, Armando Sanchez
Guest Artists: Archie Burnett, James "Cricket" Colter, Conrad Rochester, DJ Eddie S, Nathan Trice.
Music by: Kevin Hedge, Timmy Regisford, Louie Vega.
Production design by: David Paupaw.
Video design: Marilys Ernst.
Operations Manager: Marissa Maislen.
Video production: Sarah E Shively.
Related links: additional photos
January 6-9 and 13-16, 2010
Watching a spotlit Archie Burnett vogue near the beginning and at various points through the show is worth the price of admission and not to be missed, even now almost a quarter century after the peak of the underground vogue scene documented in the movie Paris Is Burning. Two b-boys don't have the same impact but show plenty of skills and style. The main point of Invisible People is that dance is a democratic, freeing form for everyone, not reserved for those with formal training but open to anyone willing to let go and have fun and just move as they feel. A section with three diverse couples swing- or social-dancing and swapping partners is a welcome antidote to the dead seriousness of most modern dance presentation. Even the dancey parts of this piece and the showoff solos by each dancer are more fun than self-conscious.
It is sad to be reminded of how much damage the cabaret laws resurrected under then-mayor Guiliani have done to the club, bar and music scenes in New York city, and to watch old footage of people just having fun dancing or making their own steps and dances, including watching Keith Haring dancing at the Paradise Garage, the home and base camp of house music and club dance creativity in New York city for decades until it closed in 1990.
| ||Photo by Quinn Batson|
| ||Archie Burnett|
This sense of nostalgia and loss threatens to swamp the piece at times, especially in an odd segment of lost souls walking slowly back and forth across the stage and a bit where co-choreographer Nathan Trice dances up to too-cool people along the back wall and gets nothing but indifference or worse from them as they walk away, but the final, joyous group dance, choreographed by Trice, is beautiful and liberating, and the hand-clapping curtain call is fun and uplifting.
|JANUARY 8, 2010|
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