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Student Author Progam – Review: Koresh Artist Showcase

By Hope DiTaranto for The Dance Journal
This review is part of the Dance Journal’s Student Author Program. Hope was mentored by Dance Journal writer, Roger Lee. His review of this performance may be read here. Hope is a freshman at Bishop Eustace Preparatory School.  She has studied a variety of genres of dance since the age three. Hope has a particular love and proficiency for tap dance.  She is excited about the student journalism program as a way to explore the merging of her interests in writing and dance.

Koresh Artist Showcase

The opening piece, Passage to the Light, had very sharp movement and a dramatic feel to it.  I thought Melissa Rector’s use of repetition of movement and her gradual adding of dancers was interesting to watch.  For example, one dancer would start a series of movements and another dance would join in every few counts.  The music added a sense of edge to the number because it transitioned from soft and acoustic to heavy and dramatic.  The short black trench coat costumes also added a sense of mystique to the piece. The intimate small studio space added to the appeal of the piece. It allowed the audience to feel the vibrations of each dancer’s stomp.

Crying Circle was a hip-hop piece to Ave Maria. I loved the contrast between sharp hip hop and soft, gentle music. The piece featured familiar costumes including black leggings, black combat boots, and red tank tops with some type of black overlay. However, the dance had many precision elements that were messier in the portion of the dance to Ave Maria. Midway through the piece, the music changed to a hip hop song with a beat that was easier to follow, so the dancers were more together during the second song. Reyes of SANBROOKA productions did a nice job of creating a Sandy Hook tribute in a unique way.

Be Still by Melissa Rector showed the long journey to peace.  Performed to Spanish guitar music, this piece was a moving contemporary number. The venue helped with the effect, since the audience could catch every last detail including the soloist’s breaths. This was also the case in What Escapes (excerpt from What Remains) by Liz Lyle. It consisted of three girls who looked like they were getting ready to go to a dance.  Each girl wore a formal dress, and they pretended to do their hair, get dressed, and do their makeup.  I was struck by how the piece seemed to play on the insecurities of teenage girls.  This was shown through how the girls would separate every time they made eye contact with each other.

Splendor Solis was a modern quartet to various verbal percussion sounds.  Amy Harding’s choreography displayed strong musicality.  The costumes were simple: black shorts or pants with a colored tank top.  At one point in the dance, the group executed a lift where one dancer held an arabesque on top of the other dancers’ backs. The music was very hard to count, but all of the dancers managed to stay in time with one another.

Untitled by Melissa Rector was a fierce duet that looked almost like a showdown.  The two girls wore black shorts and black halter tops that looked almost like vests.  I liked how the two dancers blended together and had the same strengths.  This is always important when choosing the dancers in a duet, since they have to work together.  The right balance was achieved in this piece.

The next number was Vivace by Jocelyn Hrzic.  The choreography was a mix between ballet and modern.  The girls wore long, white sheer skirts that added to the soft tone of the dance during their leg extensions.  They also wore black leotards that added some contrast to the skirt.  All of the dancers had great lines that were magnified by the costumes.

The finale consisted of a young boy and an older boy tap dancing to Me and My Shadow.  They looked like a father and son would in the way that they were dressed: white collared shirts, argyle sweater vests, and black pants.  The choreography did seem to be a little difficult for the young Soyan Angelov, but the piece still worked since he could look at the choreographer and older dancer’s feet.  Angelov really impressed me during his featured part, since he did multiple, clean, one-footed pull-backs at such a young age.  This number turned out to be my favorite because of the chemistry between the two dancers. They looked like they loved being together for this piece and that love translated to the audience.

- Steven Weisz

Founder & Editor
While not a dancer himself, Weisz’s love for the arts and dance started as a child growing up in New York City. With parents, who were strong supporters of the arts and part of a community with an incredible array of notable artists in music, dance, theater and fine arts, Weisz’s access and affinity for the performing arts took root. Upon attending college in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid 70’s, Weisz started performing as a puppeteer, magician, juggler and fire eater as a means of supplementing his income. This soon grew in to what became Rainbow Promotions Inc., one of the largest entertainment and special events producers in the region. It was here that he began to promote and book dance for major events throughout the city. Many of the dancers he worked with in the early days of his company are now major choreographers in Philadelphia. At the same time, Weisz’s interest in computers and the early developments of what is now known as the Internet, led him to also start another company, Delaware Valley On Line, which became one of the first regional ISPs. It was this combination of event production, internet development and event marketing that led him to examine the use of the internet as a means to promote the arts. Dance continued to be a major interest for Weisz and in 2005 he founded PhiladelphiaDANCE.org as a major online resource to promote dance in the city. It was soon after that the Dance Journal was also founded as a way to provide an outlet for writing on a range of topics that encompass the ever growing and emerging dance community in the region. Weisz continues to run both PhiladelphiaDANCE and The Dance Journal on purely a voluntary basis with no income derived from any of his projects. He is also the Artistic Director of Graffito Works, a unique platform for dancers and performing artists to create site-specific work and to make it readily accessible to the public.

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