I’ve been such a bad blogger (and bad friend) lately! Back in November, my friend Henning Rubsam, who founded, directs and choreographs for SenseDance, premiered his latest dance, Impending Visit, at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Theater in midtown. I’d meant to write about it but lost track of time. So here are some pictures, all by JAN LA SALLE. Dancers are Erin Ginn, Heidi Green, Maria Phegan, Victor Gonzalez, Dartanion Reed, and Ramon Thielen.
It wasn’t the world premiere of the work, but the New York premiere. The world premiere took place in October at a festival — the Fiesta Iberoamericana de las Artes, in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, at which Henning was honored for his longtime commitment to using contemporary music in his ballets. He collaborated on this piece with Puerto Rican composer Rafael Aponte-Ledee.
The music was very abstract, very modern and at times light and mellifluous, at times discordant with an air of mystery, which well suited the dance, a combination of ballet and modern with some Puerto Rican social dance — rumba basics, salsa, and some swing — thrown in. Dancers moved in pairs, trios and in ensemble. The partnering moved from sweet and flirty (the social duets), to more daring (the balletic), with complex lifts and balances. The stage was made up, as you can see above, to resemble an industrial landscape, like the action took place in the interior of some kind of skyscraper perhaps. Lighting was by Philip Trevino. I’m not sure what it all meant, since it was very abstract, but it made me think of the way cultures can initially collide but through mutual exploration can eventually harmonize and breed something new.
Also showing were several other of Henning’s dances – I think there were eleven in all! What I love about going to a SenseDance show is that there is such variety. He gets straight to the point, his dances are never too long, and he presents a variety — ballet, modern, jazzy. My favorites are still Caves and Amaranthine, both danced with his most stand-out dancers (imo): Maria Phegan and Dartonian Reed. Caves in particular reminds me a bit of Balanchine’s Prodigal Son — with the innocent young man and the seductive siren, except here it’s more like human / ethereal creature resembling a spider who veers from companionable and intriguing to potentially ensnaring. Phegan has limbs that just go on and on and her poses are always so striking. And Reed is the perfect foil / partner for her.
(photo from Treehugger).
Here is a video clip of a composite of the performed dances: