Dance Times Square Showcase, Etc.

I meant to write about this yesterday but took the day off from writing when I got a pleasantly unexpected invitation from Lucky Broadway Girl to see a play! Imagine that: words, actual words spoken on a stage! Hehe, I used to go to plays all the time but kind of stopped when I got so into dance — had no time. Anyway, we went to see Love Child, off-Broadway, at the 59East59 theater, which I’d never been to before.

Nice space, for lots of small theaters — kind of like some of those buildings on far west 42nd street. The play was good and the actors (Daniel Jenkins and Robert Stanton) excellent — these two men played several different characters and they had to change from one to another in a split nano-second. No time for line flubs! And there was a little choreographed movement — sometimes they had to do a little series of turns to show they were going from one character to another. So there was some dance after all :) Anyway, so great to finally meet Lucky Bway Girl!

The Dance Times Square showcase I won’t say much about because I’m writing a review for Explore Dance which I’ll link to as soon as it’s up, but just briefly: wow, their best showcase yet, or at least one of their best. Sabra and Neil from SYTYCD were there, each danced two solos apiece. Excellent solos, obviously. Neil’s were both kind of Movin’ Out style, white t-shirt and jeans, the first more beautifully balletic with lots of whipping fouettes and multiple pirouettes and big leaping jetes. He has a really beautiful line. Somehow I’d kind of overlooked that on the show. His second solo was more gymnastic with a few fun tumbling passes, which I guess is what he’s known for (not only on the TV show but he was also in Tharp’s acrobatic Times Are A’ Changin’). I personally prefer the ballet, but the crowd went nuts when he went flying :)

And Sabra danced gorgeously. Her first was this kind of cutely sexy Bjork-esque number in a pink and white baby doll dress, and her second a more passionate contemporary of the style you’d see on the show, danced in a vibrant purple unitard. She moves so well, and she dances with such passion and emotion and her form is so perfect; she has perfect ballet turn-out. This was the most up-close I’ve seen her and she really is a miraculous dancer; I can clearly see how she won the crown.

Still, to me Eugene Katsevman and Maria Manusova stole the show with their three Latin combo routines. They are such a splendid partnership — they’re both very good dancers, both quick, sharp, and precise, and neither tries to outshine the other; they actually work as a team, which is unfortunately becoming increasingly rare in ballroom…

And Michael Choi (a DTS teacher) and his professional partner Becky Melton did a luxuriant ballroom combo to Andrea Bocelli’s rich, luscious Con Te Partiro, one of my favorite musical pieces period, but particularly for ballroom dance.

It was a tribute to the Helen Sawaya Fund — a group supporting breast cancer survivors, and they (the member survivors) did a little Broadway-esque / ballroom number, all dressed in dazzling bright red gowns, with the male pros at DTS, all in dapper black tuxes. Mercedes Ellington presented them, and opera star Aprile Millo sang. Gorgeous voice — and she sang without accompaniment. Philip told me some interesting stories about her — she has a cult following and there are even some exhibits in the Met opera house dedicated to her! No wonder it was so packed in the house — opera divas with cult followings, TV stars, stars of the Latin ballroom world… And this was the most diverse it’s ever been — a lot of the numbers were kind of Broadway dance or contemporary dance combined with Latin and ballroom. They weren’t one specific style. So, the studio is branching out!

All in all, it was a fabulous night. As always, the students are loads of fun to watch, and to cheer on — both advanced and beginner. Elaine (full disclosure: my friend), who often steals the student portion of the show, ended it (with teacher Michael Choi) with a disco tribute to Donna Summer, and had the crowd roaring to its feet. This biannual showcase is always such a blast. It’s not ABT, you know, but it’s just a huge blast!

Tonight and tomorrow night I have law events, so may be little late with my DWTS posts, but will definitely tape, watch, and blog! I’m excited — I think — to see the contestants dance with each other. That’s what they’re doing tonight, right?…

5 Comments

  1. Thanks for the recap of the Sabra/Neil appearance! Is there any chance you got pictures of them individually or together?

  2. Hi Jess — no, unfortunately I didn’t. The theater strictly forbade pictures, and I was sitting in the first row, so couldn’t really be clandestine. There was a professional photographer there though, so I’ll ask the studio!

  3. So, I talked to the studio people and they told me they hoped to have the pictures up on the website later next week. I’ll link to it when they’re up!

  4. Thanks Tonya! Are they up yet?

  5. It looks like it’s still last showcase that’s up: http://www.dancetimessquare.com/index.php?page=46 There are some good ones of Pasha :) This is I assume where they’re going to put the new ones. Sometimes it takes their photographer a long time. I’ll ask again!

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