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    2018-2019 reviews:


    Donnell Oakley in DorothyAnnieMaria
    Photo by Steven Schreiber
    Donnell Oakley

    Three of a Lovely Kind

    Dorothy Annie Maria join forces at Joe's Pub


    It struck me, watching Dorothy Annie Maria as part of DanceNow at Joe's Pub, that maturity and virtuosity have a rich and complex relationship. Both are vital to compelling dance performances. Age gives maturity to those who continue to grow and takes away physical virtuosity, often surprisingly gradually. Like any of life's negotiations, sometimes we find the perfect balance and sometimes we're working it out. So we as audience members get to watch the sweet spots in healthy, talented performer/choreographers like Nicholas Leichter, David Parker and Doug Elkins shift over time. All three seem to surf life's waves well as they continue to find and maintain their balance, and there were sweet spots throughout this shared evening of work inspired by musical theater movies.

    Choreography by: Nicholas Leichter and Wendell Cooper, David Parker, Doug Elkins.
    Dancers: Nicholas Leichter: with Lauren Basco, Wendell Cooper, Aaron Draper, Nicholas Leichter, Dawn Robinson
    David Parket: with Dylan Baker, Jeremy Bensussan, Jeffrey Kazin, Nic Petry, Amber Sloan, Gregory Youdan, Jr., Anrew Zanoni
    Doug Elkins: with Archie Burnett, Carolyn Cryer, Donnell Oakley and David Parker
    Music by: Quincy Jones, Irving Berlin, Rogers and Hammerstein.
    DanceNow at Joe's Pub
    February 14-16, 2013

    Nicholas Leichter went with maturity for The Whiz: Emerald City, and it was a wise choice. Veterans Lauren Basco, Wendell Cooper, Aaron Draper and Dawn Robinson, and Leichter, give ease and flow to this funky take on Oz; their solid musicality is a joy to watch. Youth dances to impress; maturity dances to enjoy and spread the joy. OK, maybe Leichter and Cooper still dance to impress, and both have fun with footwear, Leichter with ruby slippers and Cooper with high heels. Forties' suits and fedoras are fun for all, and Draper is fluid as ever as a skinny Rocky boxer. The pacing and mix of the excerpts shown works well to keep the energy flowing, and Leichter keeps the ending short and sweet, in his ode to the 1975 musical and 1978 Motown/Michael Jackson/Diana Ross movie "The Wiz."

    Nicholas Leichter in DorothyAnnieMaria
    Photo by video
    Nicholas Leichter

    David Parker adds some new blood to his core team of Jeff Kazin, Nic Petry and Amber Sloan, in excerpts from Showdown, his dance ode to the 1946 stage musical and 1950 MGM/Irving Berlin "Annie Get Your Gun." Amber/Annie has some male competition in this vigorously physical and somewhat-more-same-sex version. Solid Nic Petry somehow hoists everyone around, including several tall men. The best of these moments may be Kazin magically snaking his way around and down Petry, head-first. The song "Old Fashioned Wedding" here becomes a tap dance-off between Parker and Kazin and a sly stump for same-sex weddings.

      Doug Elkins in DorothyAnnieMaria
      Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
      Doug Elkins
    Doug Elkins' megahit — in downtown dance terms — Fraulein Maria gets the last word in the evening, and brings back some of the gems of this storied and long-running, soon-to-be-retired dance ode to the 1959 Broadway musical and 1965 movie "The Sound of Music," specifically the music of Rogers and Hammerstein. Donnell Oakley tears it up as the bold Maria to Carolyn Cryer's shy Maria, voguemaster Archie Burnett returns as black Rolf to David Parker's maybe-older-than-sixteen Liesl, and Elkins signifies to the heavens as b-boy Mother Abbess ("Climb Every Mountain"). It's not possible to say enough about this inspired creation, but it has certainly brought joy and laughter to many audiences and will be missed.

    MARCH 5, 2013

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