Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Summer Soiree

Sobers & Godley hosted their summer Dance Soiree at Ailey Studios on Saturday, July 21st. It was certainly a soiree of versatile dance performances from emerging choreographers. And as a dancer myself, I was physically moved by each piece and had the desire to get up and dance throughout the entirety of the performance. I could not have been happier as a spectator. These emerging choreographers truly emerged with a BANG in one of New York City's finest dance facilities. A very intimate, yet grand setting, of one of the larger studios allowed a close connection between the audience and dancers. With this showcase, I hate to use the word "favorites", because I truly did enjoy the ten pieces of the performance. However, there were 3 pieces of the night that had me over the edge and emotionally fastened.

Photo credited to Richelle Gribble
Pictured:  Sage Caprice Abowitt, Allison Beler,
Sean Hatch, Katie Philp, and Rachel Rizzuto
"Elleman-O-P (NY Premiere)" was a unique and intriguing piece with comedic puns that kept a smile on my face from start to finish. The piece was choreographed by Mari Meade Montoya of the Mari Meade Dance Collective and featured music from...well, the dancers! With each letter of the alphabet, the dancers' full commitment to their characters, which appeared to be a dad, pregnant mother, and 3 kids, had executed different sounds and recognizable themes. The dancers: Sage Caprice Abowitt, Allison Beler, Sean Hatch, Katie Philp, and Rachel Rizzuto should be commended for their superb acting in addition to the movement throughout the piece. Their acting and deliverance was believable and had me completely connected. The bright-colored costumes and cartoonish makeup heightened the humor of the piece. I was eagerly waiting for each letter's comedic presentation, and I loved it from A-Z!

Photo credited to Richelle Gribble
Pictured: Khadija Ahkmaddiyah, Ashley Chavonne,
Angel Chinn, Kayla Hamilton, Nathalie Thomas, Tiffany Webb
"Pluto", choreographed by Angel Chinn of the Nonalee Dance Theatre, definitely took me on a trip with its dynamics and high intensity. There was a strong, quick start to the piece that demanded the audience's full attention in order to keep up with the pace of the dancers. Featured dancers: Khadija Ahkmaddiyah, Ahley Chavonne, Angel Chinn, Kayla Hamilton, Nathalie Thomas, and Tiffany Webb took full control of the floor with athletic movements and powerful execution. Each dancer had a strong use of her core, with great transitioning from a quick leg tilt to a contraction movements in the back. There appeared to be elements from multiple genres, including Horton, African, ballet, and contemporary. Overall, the movement was interesting and captivating to the eye and had me fully connected from their entrance to exit of the stage.

Photo credited to Richelle Gribble
Pictured: Jacqui Defranca, Bahareh Ebrahimazadeh,
Renee Kester, Devin Oshiro, Lavinia Vago
Lastly, "A slant to the right", choreographed by Mike Esperanza of BARE Dance Company, had me on the edge of my seat and eager to dance with the performers. Featured dancers, Jacqui Defranca, Bahareh Ebrahimazadeh, Renee Kester, Devin Oshiro, and Lavinia Vago
were a collectively strong female unit, with passion and devotion to Esperanza's intent in the choreography. The piece started off with a rocking motion from each dancer and evolved into impressive and interesting movement that seemed spider-like and animalistic at times. Esperanza's choreography included a sense of inverted movement that reminded of contortionists as well as jagged and twitchy motions that perked my attention. The dancers had a great awareness of each other with intertwining moments and cannons of dance sequences. Each female had outstanding body control, leg extensions, and were blessed with gorgeous feet! I was intrigued by the interesting movement and wanted more choreography. This was truly a well-done piece.

BONUS PIECE: One of the showcase's directors, Gierre Godley had choreographed and performed in "II. Twins" and "III. Misfit" from "Project 44". "II. Twins" featured Godley and dancer Nile Baker, in which they demonstrated great unison. They had an individual aesthetic in how their bodies took the choreography, in which they looked different but performed the same movement. The choreography worked well with the music and had moments of working against the music, creating a pleasant contrast to the piece's overall character. There were unexpected but beautiful leg extensions and a penche moment that was picture perfect. The choreography transitioned well with "Misfit", which featured soloist Patrick John O'Neill. He proved to have great ballet training, with his battement going up beyond his head. Godley incorporated great moments of stillness, great floor choreography and use of space, as well as contrasting O'Neill's movement to the "twins" solidified gestures. The dancers performed in socks, which enhanced the transitions across the floor and with lifts. The piece was well performed, and I would love to see it again!

As I mentioned earlier, I could not have been happier as a spectator to this performance. The arts are truly an important factor to society, which sometimes gets overlooked and under appreciated. Godley commented on the festival's mission, saying this is an "outreach to each other and the audience"  and going further to say, "emerging dancers and choreographers need to stick together". I am in full agreement and support of Sobers & Godley's mission.

Be sure to support and look for upcoming showcases by visiting
And for more pictures from the show click on "Dance Review Pix & Vids".

This was a soiree to remember, and I look forward to the next showcase. Sobers & Godley is on the right track of promoting the arts and educating the community through the media of dance.


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