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      Black & White in Dance Gallery 2015
      Photo by Sharen Bradford
      Black & White
    The Young and the Restless

    Dance Gallery stays High-Energy at Ailey Citigroup Theater


    High volume and high energy define the Dance Gallery Festival. New choreographers and young dancers get plenty of room to shine on the Ailey Citigroup stage, and many do.

    All 12 pieces Friday had technically excellent dancing, and many had excellent choreography as well. In order of performance, Dark Circles Contemporary Dance's It's a boy is campy fun, maybe too much so, with white tie and tails and crooning fifties music. SANCE/Satomi Itohara's Unknown is a strong trio of Asian dancers, two small women and a larger man, with tasty movement choices, limited a bit by sticking with classical music by Bach. Estrangement by Nicolay Dance Works is a tortured-couple duet, athletically and beautifully danced but not breaking new ground, to drama-enhancing choral music.

    Choreography by: Joshua L. Peugh, Satomi Itohara, Dana Nicolay, Mersiha Mesihovic, Manuel Vignouille, Shaun Boyle, Gierre J. Godley, Steve Rooks, Christopher Rudd, Ashley Clos and Travis Prokop, Maurice Causey, Katherine Horrigan.
    Produced by: Astrid von Ussar.
    Lighting design by: David Deveau.
    Ailey Citigroup Theater
    September 25 (reviewed) to 27, 2015

    Three pieces before intermission feel meaty. VOID by Mersiha Mesinovic/CircuitDebris has a dramatic couple at its core, but the dynamic between a fast-moving Yuki Fukui and the giant, stolid Zach Bergfelt is powerful, as he carries and cares for her but is undeterred. Four women circle the two like a Greek chorus or four furies, insubstantial but interesting. Manuel Vignouille, white, and Rena Butler, black, dance the lights out of Black & White. Both are shirtless, a bold but understandable choice, given the rippling torsos of both and their acrobatic but sinuous partnering. Black & White comes close to showing off at times and possibly goes longer than it needs to, but it is undeniably a tour de force piece. And Composite, by Shaun Boyle in collaboration with its six dancers, melds nimble movement, quiet plucked music and mottled low light to best effect. All six maintain a lively, suspenseful feel, and Bret Yamanaka has a strong solo.

    VOID in Dance Gallery 2015
    Photo by Sharen Bradford

    After intermission, JOHN, by Gierre J. Godley/Project 44, is a sweet, gentle, caring trio with spice and speed. Godley is almost as large as the other two men combined, but the movement and interactions feel balanced and fully cooperative. Single-note piano music accompanies a notable final solo by Zachary Denison, who dances to the ground while the others shadow and ultimately "rescue" him.

    Bitter Earth by Ad Deum Dance Company feels young but competent. A core duo of women dance the lyrics "this bitter earth" while a trio of other women circle them like satellites around planets.

    Siren's Realm by RudduR Dance feels strong and complete, one woman dancing with and against three men. Her opening spotlit solo and their churning trio are highlights on the way to her shedding her diaphanous skirt and all three men eventually donning one. The program lists six dancers, but the concept works well with these four.

    Here's Mine is a delicious couple-on-a-couch duet, danced sharply by Timothy Amirault and Autumn Harms and choreographed by Ashley Clos and Travis Prokop. Plenty of superquick movement charges this inherently cute conceit, strife and conciliation with drama and humor, ending as it began with both lolling on the couch. Odd blackouts serve to shift gears or show time flowing.

    Another tour de force performance is Faizah Grootens', in Slapdash, choreographed by Maurice Causey. Subtle slapstick flashes by quickly, with the help of elusive spotlit squares and clever soundplay — silence to start, spastic cutting-in-and-out music later. Grootens plays it all sharply and seamlessly, and she fully earns her ultimate frustration.

    The piece that ends the evening, Collected Remnants by Katherine Horrigan, is a brisk celebration of youngwoman gorgeousness. All six dancers hold their own, with strong solos and duets, and costumes by Kyoko Ruch enhance the beauty and cohesion of the group.

    OCTOBER 1, 2015

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