277DanceProject Presents FLIGHT

Article By Joy Chiang Ling
Photo credit: Satoshi Tsuchiyama & Jaqlin Medlock

The Dixon Place is a small theatre space where performing artists go to showcase their creativity. It is located at 161A Chrystie Street, and features a cozy cocktail lounge the moment you walk in. The basement of the building contains a theater, which, from June 17th to June 19th, was the venue for 277DanceProject’s performance called FLIGHT.

FLIGHT was the brainchild of Nicole Philippidis, the artistic director and choreographer. The dancers in the performance include Nathan Duszny, Hannah Claire Emerson, Jordan Gehley, Ben Wolk and Mika Yanagihara. Also included in the performance was Haejin Han, the lighting designer and stage manager.

The choreography opened up with a video featuring the New York City subway system. It reflects on the everyday life of New Yorkers, and how they are both “inspired and isolated” by the massive city that surrounds them. Present in the video are the dancers themselves, who act as silent background characters in the train. The overall tone of the presentation is brooding and philosophical – the artists were clearly trying to send an existentialist message to its audience.

After the short video faded to black, Ben Wolk emerged and danced in silence until music, created by contemporary band Burlap to Cashmere, started playing. The solo performance turned into a duet when Mika Yanagihara emerged, and later on, the other dancers – Hannah Claire Emerson, Nathan Duszny and Jordan Gehley – joined the performance. Their movements were loose and elegant. They would occasionally synchronize, and then break apart into their individual dance moves. The lighting was also dramatic. One scene, in which Wolk and Yanagihara dance against a wall that was lit strongly from an angle, was particularly stunning.

The dance was divided into segments by short video clips that pondered upon the nature of New York City and its inhabitants. The videos featured sweeping landscapes of iconic New York City areas, such as Coney Island, the East River and other parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan. It was nice to see diverse areas of the city being represented, aside from the stereotypical skyscrapers that made New York famous.

FLIGHT is an interesting expression of anonymity, connection, inspiration and escapism. Its contemporary style is sure to please a diverse audience. FLIGHT will hopefully “provide vivid experiences that stimulate the imagination of [their] audience.”

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