Dance Entertainment

Overview: Exhibiting Off Rock-Strong Approach and Some Erotic Acrobatics

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Philadanco! is an organization in transition. A number of years in the past, Joan Myers Brown, the pathbreaking establishment builder who based the Philadelphia Dance Firm in 1970, stepped apart, putting in Kim Y. Bears-Bailey as inventive director. However when the troupe returned to the Joyce Theater on Tuesday for the primary time because the handover, it regarded just about the identical as ever.

There they had been — the impressively expert dancers with the velocity, sharpness and stamina, the rock-solid balances and spins. There was the Philadanco! give-it-your-all spirit. And there was the choreography that confirmed all that off however hardly ever steered a deeper artistry.

This system — oddly titled “Intangible!,” as if the exclamation level just lately added to the corporate title had been contagious — options 4 New York premieres. The primary, “From Dystopia to Our Declaration” by Nijawwon Matthews, is the murkiest. Fifteen dancers sit in dimness, supervised by some type of overseer. They transfer in mechanical tandem, snapping their heads again, till one (the hanging Raven Joseph) stands and factors. She one way or the other leads the best way to freedom, although that journey is hobbled by Dave August’s rating, which is cinematic in a crude sense.

“Mating Season,” by Christopher Rudd, is way clearer. Rudd is on the rise; two of his works have just lately been carried out by American Ballet Theater. Right here, he arranges three {couples} in erotic acrobatics. The ladies throw a leg up on the lads’s shoulders, hook a foot on a neck and lean again. A person and a lady somersault whereas conjoined, and end by turning that bodily circle right into a rectangle. A person holds a lady over his head, the wrong way up together with her legs unfold, and so they spin.

So it goes, ingenious and applause-getting and generally lovely, to music (by Loscil and Tariq Al-Sabir) that’s unobtrusive digital burbling. A program observe asserts that rejecting the disgrace of attraction will promote gender fairness. Towards the top, there’s a flash of same-gender partnering, and choreography from the start is repeated with the gender ratio reversed, now two girls supporting a person. All through, the lads have been mounting supine girls, however within the last picture the ladies are on high.

Ray Mercer’s “Stability of Energy” has no overt theme, however there’s a trace of a shifting energy steadiness of gender when a fierce feminine trio is adopted by Floyd McLean Jr., who drapes a sports activities coat over one shoulder. McLean — lithe, cool and fast — companions a sequence of girls. The primary takes his jacket, solely to provide it again later; this jacket swapping turns into a motif for the entire ensemble, serving to to tie the vigorous work collectively.

“Someplace Between Heaven and Earth,” by Tommie-Waheed Evans in collaboration with the dancers, is a tribute piece, devoted to the reminiscence of Deborah Chase Hicks, who served Philadanco! in lots of roles for greater than 45 years. It’s nearer, with the most effective music of this system: some Phyllis Hyman, Jeff Buckley and Afro-house combined by Connor Lemon to sound prefer it’s coming from a greater place.

The work is someplace between Alvin Ailey’s “Memoria” and Twyla Tharp’s “Within the Higher Room.” In hazy gentle, dancers preserve arriving and leaving, in several groupings adroitly organized by Evans. With some Black vernacular strikes tossed in for spice, the performers show once more their approach and drive — a tribute not simply to Hicks, but in addition to Bears-Bailey and the legacy of Joan Myers Brown.


Via Saturday on the Joyce Theater;