Friday, September 21, 2012

See superb dancers for a pittance

Clifton Brown in Collective Body's Sunglasses
No secret that New York boasts some of the finest large dance companies in the world, such as Alvin Ailey, American Ballet Theater, and New York City Ballet. But there's a phenomenon happening that seems to be more and more common—dancers with such major companies perform freelance with, or depart to, younger troupes that perform in smaller spaces. For the most part, tickets to these shows are far less expensive than those companies where these dancers found fame, and can be an interesting option to see new work on a budget.

Michele Wiles of Ballet Next. Photo: Paul B. Goode
In the coming weeks alone, you can see Clifton Brown (for years, a star at Ailey), dance with Brian Carey Chung's Collective Body Dance Lab at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center on Sep 21 & 22; Michele Wiles and Charles Askegard (ex-principals with ABT and NYCB), founders of Ballet Next, dancing in their own company's week at the Joyce (Oct 23-28) alongside dancers from several major ballet companies in dances by five choreographers including Mauro Bigonzetti and Brian Reeder; and Satellite Ballet at Lynch Theater (John Jay College) on Nov 2, put together by NYCB corps member Troy Schumacher, who has corralled such on-the-rise NYCB hotshots as Lauren King, Ashley Laracey, David Prottas, and Taylor Stanley in work choreographed by Schumacher but that strives to emphasize the collaborative process.

Satellite Ballet's Epistasis
Chung, who danced with LINES and Karole Armitage, will present two works on a bill shared with Danszloop (from Chicago, with Paula Frasz as artistic director). Chung's Let's Pretend We're All Wearing Sunglasses combines verbal commentary on male guardianship and materialism with bursts of athletic movement that shows off the preternaturally leggy company of nine. Brown has a lengthy closing solo that demonstrates why he's considered among the finest of his generation—his serene, commanding presence, endless wingspan, and supple power are all apparent in Chung's often witty phrasing that emphasizes line and stage composition. Tickets start at $20 (and $10 for the other two shows), a bargain to see some of the finest dancers around doing what they love. 

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