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An Evening of Choreography by Kyra Jean Green

by Carmel Morgan

October 16, 2007 -- Millennium Stage, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC

In a parting gesture of sorts, Kyra Jean Green recently presented an evening of her choreography at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.  Ms. Green, a 2006 Juilliard graduate, performed with Washington, D.C.’s CityDance Ensemble from June 2006 to October 2007.  Perhaps as a nod to her French heritage (Ms. Green was born in France but raised in West Palm Beach, Florida), she has left the CityDance Ensemble for the contemporary dance company, Cas Public, in Montreal, Quebec.  Her peppy presence will be missed, along with her fresh choreographic voice.       

Ms. Green’s show was edgy and fun, much like I imagine Ms. Green is personally.  Her works simply scream “twenty-something.” Club music provides much of the background.  A live deejay, Dave Nada, aka “DJ Dave,” rocked the house during the performance.     

The program consisted of several works that seemed very much alike, sometimes tryingly so.  Ms. Green definitely has a signature style.  Her movement tends to be playful and quirky.  Think of a drunken ballerina, constantly off-balance, or a possessed comic book robot, or a rebellious rag-doll come to life, and you can begin to picture Ms. Green’s dances. 

The evening opened with “Dave vs. Kyra.”  Ms. Green, looking every bit the wayward ballet student, reeled around the stage to the classical music of Franz Liszt, with a twist.  DJ Dave manipulated the notes so that the tune scratched hip-hop style, starting and stopping suddenly.  Ms. Green’s face contorted as she struggled between control and mayhem, her body moving from recognizable ballet class forms to crazed turned-in feet, spastic jerks, and head rolls.  This work, including its humor and charm, turned out to be very characteristic of the rest of the evening’s program.   

In “‘3z1#QP73\dY^9’ is what I think about” Ms. Green and Paula Osmer gallivanted about in brightly colored t-shirts and short ruffled skirts (the costumes for the show were all designed by Ms. Green).  This was a short and punchy duet, reminiscent of kindergarteners chasing each other.  The two dancers exchanged finger points in alternate directions with child-like wonder.  The lively mixed music, by Canadian turntablist Kid Koala, actually complimented the piece really well. 

The most accomplished work was “Bubbles,” which was performed by Ms. Green and Jerome Johnson.  It was choreographed by Ms. Green and Idan Sharabi, a current member of Nederlands Dans Theater II and a fellow Juilliard graduate who was awarded the Hector Zaraspe Prize for Outstanding Choreography upon graduation.  “Bubbles” is somehow more adult and appears much more carefully crafted.  Though it shares many of the same quirky movements Ms. Green clearly loves – classical ballet positions gone awry – it embraces stillness and challenges the dancers with sections of satisfying unison.

Ms. Green possesses a great deal of spunk and her youthful approach is surely an asset when working with young dancers.  Her piece “Rubix,” jointly choreographed with Joshua Gilmore and the teenage dancers of Culture Shock DC, was successful largely because of the fitting tribute it is to the Hip Hop culture in which these young dancers live.   

Ms. Green shows great promise as a choreographer.  Indeed, she was selected as one of three winners from a pool of 114 applicants in Hubbard Street 2’s annual national choreographic competition in 2006.  The last piece on the program, a structured improvisation, was titled “What I Want to Be When I Grow Up.”  Ms. Green wore a tiny apron and argyle knee-high socks.  The music cooed about wanting to be a housewife, but it was readily apparent that Ms. Green is already living her dream as a dancer and choreographer.  However, there’s certainly room for her grow as she continues to grow up.    

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