15th Annual DUMBO Dance Festival

Article By Jasmin Justo
Photo by Shuo Chen

The 15th Annual DUMBO Dance Festival is one of the most diverse dance festivals in NYC. With dancers from Canada, U.S, Hungary, and Korea, they all come together in Brooklyn to showcase their talent from October 8 to October 11. The four day dance festival is open to the public free of charge so everyone can have a chance to enjoy watching traditional and contemporary dance. On October 8th, Gelsey Kirkland Center of Classical Ballet hosted the DUMBO’s festival opening night. Young Soon Kim (artistic director) and Wesley Etheridge (festival coordinator) gave a welcoming speech expressing their enthusiasm for hosting their 15th annual DUMBO Dance Festival and there high hopes for the public to enjoy and support the performing arts from around the world.

The first opening act was “Breathing Together” performed by contemporary artists Zita Horvath and Janos Feledi. With dim yellow lighting, the dancers movement mimicked the movements of gliding in water while also doing a lot of leg splits, spins, and mimicking each other to the sound of Vivaldi. The viewer can only interfere if the story is of two lovers in complicated relationship as they each take turns dancing a solo or dancing together in unison. Choreography is created by Janos Feledi.

“The excerpts from Lovely” was a strange and interesting piece. The audience is introduced to a group of ladies wearing black dresses and Elizabethan ruffs and gentlemen in business suits. They were all standing in straight line with serious expressions until one girl fell and thus commenced the performance. The performance was done by each pair doing a different movement and followed a different tempo while the sound of cut radio announcements about beauty management were played in the background. The performance would then transition and alternate between each pair, from spins, falls, swirls, stretches and paired dancing. At the end, they go back into their places in orderly fashion like they did in the beginning. The choreography was created by James Hansen and the music by Jerome Kern. List of performers: Alexis Cordella, Dutch DeCarvalho, Andrew Duran, Emily Gerst, Jordan Lloyd, Chloe London, Baylee Simpson and Nicole Woodcock.

“Don Quixote Act III, Grand Pas de Deux” performed by Erez Milatin and Dawn Geirling. This piece was extraordinary. Both dancers were very precise with their movements. From their feet, their posture and even hand gestures, were all deliberate and beautifully coordinated. The prima donna with her bright red flamenco styled ballet outfit and her companion with a sparkling royal jacket, were dashing and brisk, as they quickly leaped and spun around the stage. In the first few minutes they performed as a duo to the sound of lively instrumental music. After their duo dance, they each performed a solo showcase to demonstrate their own footwork. At then end, they once again performed a duet, with a fantastic finale of the gallant carrying the dame with a leap. Choreography by Petipa/Gorsky and music by Minkus.

“La Migra, Let’s Run (baseball)” is a very interpretive piece. The performance begins with six people lined up facing the audience. They’re all dressed in diverse outfits and there’s a referee that walks behind them as if she was inspecting them. She then yells “Play Ball!” and everyone scatters. The piece than alternates to a man and a girl with rigid steps creeping in the background carrying a large bucket and a another girl with a white flowing outfit gliding and slithering, taking the bucket and swinging it with her. Meanwhile another man is doing a combination of dance and workout exercises in the front with the referee spazzing. The background music consists of a radio announcing statistics of immigrants who have passed or have been deported. Then the music shifts from the sound of violins and flutes to drums, maracas and tambourines with a mix of techno. The performance became fast paced and soon the whole group came together and performed in unison combining various different dance styles. In the end, they bunch up together next to the referee who yelled “Out!” at everyone. Then she was left alone and continued moving like a spider until she stopped and realized there’s no one to play ball with anymore. Choreography and umpire call text by Annielille Gavino Kollman. Music by Kimmo Pohjonen and Katie Moore. List of performers: Evan Fisk, Dana Pajarillaga, Christina Carlotti Kolb, Jason Gonzales, Alexis Guthrie, Andrea Romesser, Guidong Zhou and Annielille Gavino Kollman.

“Duet from a Sacred Landscapes Episode 1” is a beautiful piece of nature and smooth dancing. Performed by So Young An and Juan Rodriguez, the prima donna was dressed in blue and green silk and her companion is tall in green and brown. Together it seemed as if she was a bird soaring through the forest while the her companion, the tree, helped her throughout her journey. Their movements were swift, soft and smoothly linked together as they twirled and glided. The lighting effects of the leaves and forest were created by Jack Mehler. The instrumental music created by Paola Presenti and choreography by Jacqulyn Buglisi.

Last but not least, “Here…Eternal NOW” was choreographed by Young Soon Kim with the performers. This piece was fairly long with four smaller performances “Opening, and now…”, “now four”, “eden”, and “brothers +one”. The performance combined various dance styles, tempos, transitioning from an factory place with rigid and work like movements to a forest with smooth paces and stretches. From dancing in unison as a large group to the upbeat of the drums and pipes to dancing in pairs, the performance was vibrant and energetic. The lighting and sounds aided in conveying the setting and atmosphere of each piece as they transitioned from one story to the next. Music composed by Marco Cappelli. Dramaturgy by James Leverett. List of performers: Anton Martynov, Emily-Pope Blackman, Guanglei Hui, Juhwan Hwang, Tsai Hsi Hung, Mikelle Rindflish, Mark Willis, Cara Seymour and Casey Lavres.

The opening night ended with a gala for all the hosts and sponsors of the festival. The audience can observe the beautiful artistry of the choreographers, listen to the diverse instruments and sounds, and admire the talent of the performers in traditional and contemporary dance.

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