On Tuesday evening, I attended a showing of work by six dancers whose companies are currently in residence at the NYU Tisch Dance Summer Residency Festival. The performance provided the dancers – who are members of David Dorfman Dance, Ellis Wood Dance, Gina Gibney Dance, Keigwin + Company, and Martha Graham Dance Company – the opportunity to show their choreographic skills and present their work to Tisch’s summer students and the public.
It was an eclectic program (not surprising, considering the choreographers’ disparate styles) with varied results. Strong dancers are not necessarily strong choreographers, but a solo choreographed and performed by Kyle Abraham of David Dorfman Dance proved that this elegant dancer is an exception. The delicate chords of Chopin shifted to Kid Cudi’s hip hop beats as Abraham grappled with conflicting internal forces. Meditative and cautious in one moment and suddenly frenetic and expansive in the next, Abraham was gorgeously fluid and articulate, quivering with unbounded emotion. He’s definitely a dancer and choreographer to watch.
Other notable pieces were False Start by Josh Palmer (of Gina Gibney Dance) and Jennifer Phillips’ Moth. The former was an intimate waltz for two women set to a melancholy song by Iron and Wine. It conveyed all the heartache and gloom of two people growing apart. Phillips, who is a dancer and rehearsal director for Ellis Wood Dance, stared menacingly at the audience as her limbs flailed and torso undulated in Moth. The angular tilt of an arm or leg offset her swirling, circular patterns. Phillips has an intense presence, and with a bit more excavation and development this work in progress will surely be fierce.