Go See TAKE!

For anyone in New York, if you have no plans tonight (Saturday), go see TAKE Dance Company at Columbia University’s Miller Theater. Philip invited me to go last night and I was honestly feeling a bit “danced out” having gone to the ballet for the past couple nights and then spending a lot of time writing about NYCB and DWTS and all, but decided to go anyway, and I’m so glad I did. I LOVED it!

TAKE is a small modern dance company founded by former Paul Taylor dancer Takehiro Ueyama, who choreographs most of their work. The evening consists of five pieces which all vary greatly in style, and is about two hours long total, and the theater is small and intimate so you get an “up close” look at dance, which I find always brings me closer to the art.

“Looking for Water” and “One”, which bookend the night, are very poetic pieces, at times rather haunting. The latter reminded me a bit of the book-into-films “The Sheltering Sky” and “The English Patient” the way the dancers, dressed in sand-colored tops and pants, evoked a vast, Sahara-like terrain, at times partnering to make shapes resembling endless hills and dunes that one can only run around and around, never finding the end, and at times, bending down and mourning each other’s motionless bodies, then looking prayerfully toward the skies. Combined with the music, which ranged from classical Bach, to contemporary World music, to Samuel Barber’s famous “Adagio For Strings” (which will be familiar if you’ve seen an epic movie) reminded me of a foreigner lost in an exotic land, losing a loved one, unable to find home. It was beautifully bewildering.

The middle three pieces were “Love Stories”, a series of duets performed by the mesmerizing Nana Tsuda and Kile Hotchkiss, shifting between emotional states — soft and loving, struggling for attention, angry and betrayed, then realizing there’s only so much one can know about the other; “Huella” a short, lyrical solo choreographed by Asun Noales to Bach and performed beautifully by Mr. Ueyama himself; and “Linked,” one of my favorites, which looked very Paul Taylor-y and was for the most part high spirited and super charged with dancers in regular street clothes running about the stage, doing quick pirouettes and intricate footwork to a fast, fun beat that sounded Brazilian-inspired to me.

Dancers who stood out the most to me were the aforementioned Tsuda, the enchanting Amy Young who blew me away in “One,” the versatile Elise Drew who looked like she’d be at home doing African or Latin or virtually any kind of dance, and James Samson, a great, expansive, Paul Taylor-y mover who really fills up the space around him (and who’s cute to boot :)) Their pictures are below.

Also, Andy LeBeau, longtime and well-known Paul Taylor dancer (now retired from that company) performed in “Linked” as well. Fun to see a familiar face again (although to be honest, I haven’t seen P.T. perform much live, so I guess he’s mainly familiar to me through magazine and newspaper articles and this great docu).

Anyway, general Admission tickets are only $25 ($15 for students). It’s a great value for a wonderful evening of dance.

Here’s Philip’s review. Thanks again, Philip!


  1. The ‘desert’ feeling of both LOOKING FOR WATER and ONE gave the programme a sort of full-circle feeling even though the two works were very different. Right now I’m reading a really interesting book about the search for the ‘lost oasis’ of Zerzura in the African desert – a sort of backstory for THE ENGLISH PATIENT. Maybe that was another reason those two pieces of Take’s seemed so immediate for me. I love finding these kinds of associations in dance.

  2. I know, me too! Thanks so much again for talking me into going 🙂

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