A Style review yesterday of a performance by the CityDance Ensemble incorrectly identified one of the performers in "Awake on the Dark Side." The dancer was Francesca Jandasek. (Published 11/17/99)
At Joy of Motion Dance Center, the stage is narrow, the ceiling is low and sightlines are all painfully horizontal. But as Saturday evening's performance by CityDance Ensemble showed, this intimate space can be flattering to well-executed choreography. The company, along with the duo of Karen Bernstein and Alvin Mayes, presented seven well-crafted works.
"At Six," by Paul Emerson and Teri Brown, was based on A.A. Milne's poem about being 6 years old. The four women dancers projected brash, youthful exuberance into the balletically derived choreography. "Awake on the Dark Side," choreographed by Vanessa Williamson, evoked nightmare images. Perhaps a feminist parable, the piece began with Francesca Gordon asleep, and Ludovic Jolivet dancing an awkward, instinctive orbit around her. At first Gordon moved only in narcoleptic response to Jolivet's urgings, but later awakened in sudden, glittering clarity. This ultimately provoked a dreamscape murder.
"The Card Party," choreographed by Mayes, was a more extended piece, set to a brilliant medley of Duke Ellington's music. Four dancers progressed through a series of comic social scenes. "8:59 Revisited" and "Jinari" were both serious ensemble works of a sort more often seen on larger stages.
"Embraceable You," Bernstein and Mayes's delicate jazz pas de deux, was set to the tune of "They Can't Take That Away From Me." The two have an amazing chemistry. He is a graceful big man and she's an exquisitely proportioned, lovely dancer. Together they convincingly reinvented the metaphor of formal dance as stages of courtship. In "The Long Goodbye," the pair seemed to capture every nuance of feeling in a Mozart piano sonata.