Tuesday, July 16, 2013

SummerStage Livens Up Summer With New Dance Program.

By Tami Shaloum

SummerStage, the City Parks Foundation’s free performing arts festival that runs all summer long in parks throughout the five boroughs, has stepped up their dance program this year. The stellar lineup, which has been curated by Danni Gee, a former principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, includes performances by the world-renowned Martha Graham Dance Company (July 23 and 24), Hip-Hop group Rock Steady Crew (July 28 and 31), and master classes by Rennie Harris Collective Inc. (July 19) and DANCE IQUAIL! (July 20) open to all levels for free. 

"The Carpetbag Brigade" performs at Global Family Day
WGINY recently attended Global Family Day at Central Park SummerStage, where a performance by Ifetayo Youth Ensemble provided an enticing preview of their July 24 appearance at Seward Park in the Lower East Side. This group is comprised of youth of the African Diaspora who live in underserved areas of Brooklyn. Ifetayo means “love is enough for joy” in West African Yoruba, and there was plenty of joy to go around in their exciting and colorful performance of African dance and drumming. The group was so engaging and looked like they were having so much fun that they inspired this writer to sign up for an African dance class.

Nemcatacoa Teatro
Photo by Tami Shaloum
Also on the program were two separate acrobatic stilt walking performances by The Carpetbag Brigade, a Bay Area-based physical theater company, and Nemcatacoa Teatro, a street and experimental theater company from Colombia. These two physical theater groups performed fantastic feats of acrobatics and dance on stilts. The Carpetbag Brigade’s movements were sensual, fluid, dream-like and balletic, made all the more so by the long “legs” and pointed “toes” of the stilts. Nemcatacoa’s performance was more mysterious, with their white and black painted bodies and slow, halting movements set to three lilting pan flutes. There was a subversive element to both groups’ performances, as though they are rebelling against authority through their art.

There are more than 20 dance performances left this summer, as well as hundreds of music and theater shows, as part of SummerStage. Check out the Summerstage calendar to plan your next alfresco evening with the performing arts.

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