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Against the Grain/Men in Dance Festival 2014 (Seattle)
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Author:  Francis Timlin [ Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Against the Grain/Men in Dance Festival 2014 (Seattle)

In the Seattle Times, Alice Kaderlan previews the 2014 Men in Dance Festival at the Broadway Auditorium in Seattle. Two programs are presented over two weekends: September 26-28 (Program 1) and October 3-5 (Program 2).

Seattle Times

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Against the Grain/Men in Dance Festival 2014 (Seattle)

Alice Kaderlan reviews the Friday, September 26, 2014 performance for the Seattle Times.

Seattle Times

Author:  Dean Speer [ Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Against the Grain/Men in Dance Festival 2014 (Seattle)

On, Wisconsin!
Men In Dance Festival
Week One, Saturday September 27 2014, 2:00 p.m. matinee

by Dean Speer

It began with an idea. One that was creative, forward-thinking, and which has provided a much-needed platform – that of celebrating and giving men in dance the spotlight. Since its inception in 1996, Men In Dance [Against the Grain] has presented 10 bi-annual shows. This in itself is quite an achievement and when you count in the number of male performers [the dancers are always men or boys] and choreographers represented, then its accomplishment is even more monumental.

The edition this time is in two rounds over as many weekends. The first weekend showcased 9 pieces and ranged from a bit of an excerpt from Ted Shawn’s work celebrating the Olympics to the weird and slightly kinky and from light to serious in tone.

“The Cheer Leaders” was an excerpt from Shawn’s “Olympiad: A Suite of Sport Dances" (1936), staged by Hannah C. Wiley to the tune of “On, Wisconsin!” by Jess Meeker. Fun and good-natured, its three men captivated us with it jaunty energy.

It was good to again see Tim Lynch’s “Social Exclusion” which is excerpted from his larger work for his master’s degree project, Boys Who Dance. Lynch tells a story well, keeping his dance focused and not allowing himself to be distracted by the extraneous. It is well-disciplined and this showed clearly in the result.

With jazz-style sharp movement and phrases and just a hint of Fosse, “Just Because” by Rhonda Cinotto and Paula Peters is a short foray into this vernacular for Austin Nguyen, Fausto Rivera, and David Schleiffers.

Mike Esperanza’s BARE Dance Company was new to me and his “Venomous” probably set the most disturbing images of the evening, with its suggestion of a male-male relationship with one being domineering and perhaps a bit threatening with its strong cast of Vincent Arzola, Michael Abbatiello, Jake Bone, Larry Daniels, Clinton Martin, and Paul Vickers..

Lightening the mood and concluding the first half, was Rainbow Fletcher’s “Sportif” which played with the idea of men doing typical burlesque kinds of movements – in high heels, strutting around the stage, shedding layers, and finishing with a vibrating and shaking derriere to the audience. Sylvain Boulet, Benjamin Maestas III, and Keon Price each are thin with long legs, extension – especially Boulet and they vested this small morceaux with élan and expressions that hinted at the sardonic and a worldly insouciance that dared the audience, seeming to say, “This is who we are and it’s all you’re going to get, so there!”

Bill Wade’s “Center of the Earth” piece impressed me as being very sincere and it impressed for its use of cantilevered bodies tumbling over and lifting each other. A strength and control act, fused with dance. As I was watching it, my only wish was to have enjoyed with some kind of classical music accompaniment, as I felt this would have greatly elevated the “high art” factor of this already strong piece. Kudos to is cast of Joshua F. Brown, Dominic Moore-Dunson, and Kevin Parker.

Wade Madsen has become a Seattle modern dance icon and his “Federcio” solo suggested retrospection through minimal gesture and movement.

Sean Rosado in choreography [“Warhol”] by Jonathan Campbell and Austin Diaz of MADboots dance company had the interesting assignment of dancing what seemed a straight-forward solo but then concluding with a black-dressed character coming onto stage, pulling down Rosado’s tights and pulling his T-shirt over head, with Rosado’s hand in where it shouldn’t be – all while holding a rose in the left hand. Very strange ending and probably not necessary.

“Tango Del Hombres” showcased the high technical abilities and facility each of its cast members so readily possess: Sylvain Boulet, Anthony Gamroth, Drew Lewis, Thomas O’Neal, Russell Ridgeway, and David Schlieffers. Gérard Théorêt’s choreography pulled from these amazing talents deep penché arabesques [several of the men being limber enough to put their legs nearly at 180 degree], one who pirouetted and turned in attitude back – while holding his leg, plus several other OMG moments of leaps and fine ensemble work.

Men In Dance is a festival that continues to delight, even if in the overall and natural scheme of things, the level of concept to choreography fluctuates from program to program.

Program II is coming up soon and I can hardly wait.

File comment: Men In Dance: "Sportif" with Benjamin Maestas lll, Keon Price, Sylvain Boulet. Photo © Colleen Dishy
PhotographerColleenDishyTitle-SportifChoreographer-RainbowFletcherDancers-BenjaminMaestaslll,KeonPrice,SylvainBoulet_WEB.jpg [ 64.8 KiB | Viewed 9946 times ]

Author:  Francis Timlin [ Tue Oct 07, 2014 9:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Against the Grain/Men in Dance Festival 2014 (Seattle)

Charlotte Hart reviews the first week of Men in Dance for Seattle Dances.

Seattle Dances

Author:  Dean Speer [ Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Against the Grain/Men in Dance Festival 2014 (Seattle)

Men in Dance, Part II
Friday, 3 October 2014
Broadway Performance Hall
Seattle, Washington

by Dean Speer

Sometimes the saying, “Saving the best for last,” is true. I found this to be the case with Men in Dance’s Program II – stronger choreography and the most accomplished of the cadre of dancers.


Seattle’s homegrown Mark Morris’ “I Love You Dearly” made in 1981 to three traditional Rumanian songs was brightly performed by Aaron Loux.

“Trouble” by Amy Johnson hinted at the dark currents of a relationship, using jazz motifs.

Always the showman, Bill Evans' “Blues” tap solo was an extended a capella cadenza.

“Power Tower” – was amazing and fun! A strength act, Canadian Darren Bersuk dances on, around, and upon, a free-standing pole – hanging horizontally out, going up, down, and over, all the while exhibiting grace, strength, and control and making beautiful shapes and movement. The kind of impressive act you might see on America’s Got Talent.

Two of the most beautiful dancers came from Bryon Heinrich’s Man Dance Company of San Francisco in “Beyond Brokeback” – Cole Companion, Jonathan Dummar, and Byron Heinrich (narrator).

Another amazing dancer – almost transparent – was Christian Squires in Robert Dekkers’ “Sixes and Seven” giving us ‘Faun’ like pose and visual references.

Men in Dance is a festival that the Seattle area dance community looks forward to and I can hardly wait for 2016!

File comment: "Sixes and Seven" by Robert Dekkers with Christian Squires. Photo © Colleen Dishy.
Sixes & Seven by Robert Dekkers with Christian Squires_Photo Colleen Dishy.jpg
Sixes & Seven by Robert Dekkers with Christian Squires_Photo Colleen Dishy.jpg [ 49.14 KiB | Viewed 9633 times ]

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