Koresh Dance Company | Kelsey Hutchison (Jan. 2013)

Koresh Dance Company
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Miller Symphony Hall
Allentown, PA

By Kelsey Hutchison



Celebrating their 20th Anniversary, Koresh Dance Company presented an explosion of nineteen excerpts from eight diverse works displaying modern, jazz, ballet, musical theatre, and Israeli folk dance.  The company’s agility, dexterity, precision, and strength kept the audience perched on the edge of their seats for much of the two hour performance at Allentown’s Symphony Hall this past Saturday.

The concert opened with four excerpts from Trust, the first of which was titled “Space”.  True to the name, the dancers enveloped space while adroitly transitioning from sharp and precise movement to an easily languid freedom.  Dancers dropped to the ground in deep lunges only to spring back up into a kick, weight shift, or jump.  The next three excerpts, “Fire”, “Trust”, and “Air on a String”, compared a heterosexual duet fluidly moving in and out of lifts, a male duet moving gracefully in synch with piano notes, and a female duet performed with ethereal grace and strength.  This trio of duets showcased the variety of flavors that Koresh has to offer while challenging conventional gender barriers.

Changing tone from serious to comic, the excerpt “Kiss”, from The Heart, showcased a fourth duet reminiscent of a French bedroom farce.  Melissa Rector straddles Joe Cotler, flashes her skirt, and stomps the ground while Cotler grabs her hips and hoists her above his body.  Throughout the piece, he carries Rector around like a limp doll, tossing her into ridiculous positions.  For the final hurrah, Rector sprints, punching the air with her fists, before pouncing on the reclining Cotler center stage.  “

Act Two returns to excerpts from Trust that bleed into each other.  “Strings” is luxuriant and breathy.  Five couples languish in a waltz through the dissipating fog.   The couples break apart to fall into gender divided movement.  Glowing in amber light, the women are sharp and linear while the men pull metaphorical strings from the air with their fists.  Bathed once again in blue, the dancers return to their couples and their sweeping dance again unfolds.  “Waltz” continues this theme with one couple whose easy grace and physical and emotional connection to one another is a joy to watch.  Cotler lifts Alexis Viator into a double attitude and she floats through the air like the crest of a wave.  Softly returning to earth, she twirls under his arm to find his embrace.

In “Fantastic,” five women march flat footed across the stage like a flock of birds.  The three excerpts from Looking Back: The Music of the 40s & 50s, transport you back in time as the stories behind the music “Hound Dog”, “Hit the Road Jack”, and “Route 66” are dynamically unfolded through musical theatre that is reminiscent of Ailey.  Eric Bean is thrown out by his lover and her friends and finds a new home with three fellow hitchhikers.  What enfolds is a highly entertaining and quirky display of talent and technique with some barefoot tap dancing thrown into the mix.

 

The duet from Standing in Tears returns to the Israeli roots that are deeply engrained in Koresh’s work.    Moved by the Israeli-folk rhythms, Rector spins her story of longing while Micah Geyer looks on before joining her. This excerpt demonstrated both traditional and ethnic movement that intertwined into the unique style Koresh is notable for.

Koresh’s 20th Anniversary Program is impressive, varied, and overwhelming.  The company pushes technical virtuosity to the limit in every dance genre.  The nineteen excerpts create an awe that isn’t given the time to coalesce into something deeper.  Instead, this concert provides a dessert sampler: little treats of what the company does best.