Fall For Dance is always a huge talkabout here in the Dance Media offices. So after all the programs were performed this year, a few of the editors from Dance Magazine, Pointe and Dance Teacher got together on Google Hangouts this morning to share our thoughts. Here are excerpts from our convo:
Jennifer Stahl, Dance Magazine: So, Fall For Dance 2017—biggest surprises?
Madeline Schrock, Dance Magazine: I'm not sure if it was a surprise, but the energy in the house during Michelle Dorrance's Myelination was infectious. I loved seeing an audience get so excited about dance. Not being able to wait until a section was over to erupt into applause or holler.
Jennifer Stahl: That was like the French hip hop group Cie Art Move Concept. The audience kept hootin and hollerin!
Betsy Farber, Dance Teacher: I always like how diverse and unique the Fall for Dance performances are and it was extra refreshing to see performances like the Cie Art Move Concept in the lineup.
Amy Brandt, Pointe: I didn't really know what to expect from Cie Art Move Concept, but I was really moved. The dances were exciting, of course, but I also thought the piece was very beautiful—I wanted to cheer but I also wanted people to be quiet, to listen to the story.
Lauren Wingenroth, Dance Magazine: Fall for Dance audiences are always super vocal! It's not hard to tell what resonates with them. And what doesn't...
Madeline Schrock: Ha ha. That's so true
Jennifer Stahl: Any obvious duds this year?
Lauren Wingenroth: It was well-danced, but I was disappointed that Polyphonia replaced the Schumacher premiere.
Jennifer Stahl: Yeah, I feel so bad for Troy that they decided to pull his piece
Lauren Wingenroth: I was curious about that—and there was already a Wheeldon on another program AND Polyphonia at NYCB the same week.
Jennifer Stahl: Did anyone see both? I didn't feel like Pennsylvania Ballet quite did Wheeldon's Rush justice—the corps especially didn't look comfortable moving at that speed
Amy Brandt: I agree, Jenny. The company seemed to lack cohesion in the Wheeldon piece. But Alexandra Hughes really stood out to me.
Jennifer Stahl: I loved Ana Calderon, too. How about Sara Mearns' piece with Honji Wang?
Madeline Schrock: It was disappointing. I went with Courtney [a DM assistant editor] and she mentioned that, in theory, the concept was okay, but the execution of it was something entirely different.
Jennifer Stahl: If only they hadn't brought out a ballet barre... Or done something more interesting with it
Madeline Schrock: I'm all for cross-genre collaborations, and I think there's a lot dancers can learn from each other. But this felt too cliché.
Jennifer Stahl: It made me wonder if the choreographers had seen other collaborations like this, like Tiler Peck and Bill Irwin last year
Madeline Schrock: Which, even that felt unfinished to me. But at least it was entertaining and emphasized each dancer's prowess in a fun way.
Lauren Wingenroth: Was anyone else wistful for Dorrance's original Myelination from 2 (3?) years ago? I missed the simplicity of it—I loved this one but it seemed to be trying to do just a little too much.
Jennifer Stahl: Well, she is a "genius" now...that's gotta be a lotta pressure to be creative
Lauren Wingenroth: True!
Madeline Schrock: I appreciated that she dared to go in different directions, even if some sections felt more "successful" than others.
Jennifer Stahl: For me, with all the collaborations and fancy things Fall For Dance offers, my favorite piece was probably the simplest: Petronio dancer Nicholas Sciscione in Steve Paxton's solo Excerpt from Goldberg Variations. He's such a compelling performer
Amy Brandt: He looked fantastic in that!
Betsy Farber: I LOVED Excerpt from Goldberg Variations too
Lauren Wingenroth: My fave was simple too: Trisha Brown's You can see us
Madeline Schrock: I loved that duet too. It reminded me of how good that type of movement can feel on your body.
Lauren Wingenroth: It had such a quiet beauty, and the two dancers moved so similarly that you could almost believe they were a mirror—and yet they both brought their own flair to it too.
Madeline Schrock: There was something so calming and trancelike about it.
Lauren Wingenroth: Exactly.
Madeline Schrock: And their timing!
Lauren Wingenroth: Yeah it was so nuanced.
Amy Brandt: It was fun to see the Trocks in the mix, too.
Jennifer Stahl: What'd they perform?
Amy Brandt: Paquita
Jennifer Stahl: Fun!
Amy Brandt: With all the talk on gender and ballet these last few weeks, it was kind of ironic to see the Trocks on the same program as Ratmansky!
Lauren Wingenroth: Ha.
Jennifer Stahl: Ha! Good point. How was that Ratmansky piece for ABT?
Amy Brandt: It felt a bit too sentimental for my taste, and I couldn't quite follow the story.
Lauren Wingenroth: What about Kyle Abraham's new piece?
Jennifer Stahl: I enjoyed it! I don't think it's one of his greatest hits, but I loved the music—and the energy of his dancers. I could watch Tamisha Guy for hours and not get bored
Madeline Schrock: The audio at the end of Kyle's piece, that was Obama's voice backwards, right?
Jennifer Stahl: Oh, I didn't catch that! What was he saying?
Madeline Schrock: I was pretty sure it was him. You couldn't make out the words but I recognized the voice.
Jennifer Stahl: Interesting. The ending actually kind of felt a little unresolved to me, with the solo dancer onstage. It was kind of that awkward moment where the audience isn't sure whether to clap or not
Madeline Schrock: I will say that at least it didn't go on for too long...which I felt like some of the FFD pieces did
Jennifer Stahl: True. I loved Gauthier Dance's piece by Andonis Foniadakis for like the first 10 minutes, then it just kept going on...
Jennifer Stahl: Speaking of things just going on... any last thoughts before we wrap up?
Lauren Wingenroth: This was fun!
Betsy Farber: Makes me wish I would have gone more than one night!
Jennifer Stahl: There are so many great performances going on in NYC this time of year—but Fall For Dance always remains a must-do. Even if you can't make it to all the shows.
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