Evaluation: Bold however uneven, Fall for Fall Dance Pageant had some motion gems

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Atlanta’s Fall for Fall Dance Pageant began throughout Covid and this 12 months — its third iteration — the three-night occasion featured works by greater than 30 choreographers, most of them based mostly in Atlanta.

Dancer/choreographer Catherine Messina is the competition’s mastermind and convener, and final weekend her efforts got here collectively in three performances at three totally different out of doors areas: Underground Atlanta on Friday, Ormewood Church on Saturday, and on Sunday at Uptown Atlanta.

It’s unattainable to adequately cowl all 34 works introduced, however to offer a style of the competition, ArtsATL assigned a unique dance reviewer to every efficiency. Opinions of Friday and Saturday’s lineup comply with. The evaluate of Sunday’s efficiency will run on Wednesday.



The Underground Atlanta neighborhood at evening may be sketchy, however as soon as the panhandler was quietly escorted away from the viewers, and the small however enthusiastic crowd obtained used to road sounds and the pounding of music close by, we settled in to observe 11 dance works, most of them within the up to date/fashionable vein.

Leo Briggs’ dreamBOY (this can be a ghost story) got here to life when Briggs gave a strong monologue about three goals: two about seeing ghosts and one about Ben Hopkins, a part of the punk duo PWR BTTM, which was a sufferer of cancel tradition. What began as a joke about seeing J.Okay. Rowling’s ghost within the grocery retailer obtained much more critical when the phantom was that of Matthew Shepard. Briggs’ informal telling of the story whereas consuming grapes drew the viewers into a tricky topic with out sermonizing. Atlanta poet HG Gruebmeyer wrote the script.

An excerpt from Permanence by wldflwr (Tamara Leigh, Dale Ratcliff and Nikki Theroux) was a fantastically structured and well-developed work that emphasised connection and lack thereof. One dancer gestured repeatedly above one other’s head as if aiming for a hug however embracing solely empty air, a motion theme reprised all through the work. Just a few actual hugs ensued. The fluid transitions from solos to duets and unison work together with a chic use of area revealed each depth and texture.

Fall for Fall Dance
Dancer-choreographer Patsy Collins in her solo “Paroxysm No. 1” (Picture by Walter Apps)

Among the many solos, Patsy Collins’ transient Paroxysm No. 1 highlighted her superb approach and compelling stage presence with flung gestures of head, arms and higher physique.

Amanda Sieradzki and Maddie Kurtz’s one other dance about muscle groups was a humorous rundown of how fashionable dancers are skilled in ground work, and the Rebellion Dance Firm, that includes 9 dancers of shade in denims and sneakers, fused energized road dance with bouncing jumps and formations.

Jodie Jernigan and Caleigh Santa Maria flirted with trendy poses and too many sun shades within the breezy It’s All the time Sunny and Nadya Zeitlin reprised her Archs & Textures duet for Raina Mitchell and Meg Gourley.

The 90-minute efficiency closed with RyderDance performing Jordan Ryder’s Storage. It featured dynamic contact among the many seven dancers: for example, holding fingers in an uneven, tensile circle, or one dancer being lifted gently by the others. Aryanna Allen was a standout on this and dreamBOY.

Each choreographer who utilized to Fall for Fall was accepted, which meant that the extent of each choreographic craft and efficiency diverse significantly on Friday. The occasion appeared designed primarily as a platform for choreographers to point out their work, not an invite for Atlanta audiences to expertise the very best of the town’s up to date dance scene.

— G.A.R.



This two-hour program was sturdy total, and three works specifically clearly demonstrated how adopting a juried choice course of may nonetheless produce an aesthetically various, culturally inclusive and technically difficult invoice. On the similar time, Fall for Fall’s partnership with sponsor Neighborhood Ballet evidenced a method that Messina has efficiently leveraged inclusion and variety to increase the competition’s attain.

The efficiency opened with . . . I really feel that, which mixed structured improvisation, spoken phrase and set phrases in what choreographer Sammy Spriggs described as a “rumination on … the revolutionary nature of discovering pleasure and pleasure within the physique.”  The “collaborating performers” — Briggs, Sharon Carelock, Jacque Pritz and M Wu — all introduced fantastically expressive approach and impeccable comedic timing to an exploration of the dynamics of care, one-upmanship and play which can be so usually undercurrents within the creative course of.

Fall for Fall Dance
Pritz in “. . . I really feel that” (Picture by Addison Rudicile)

The piece opened with Briggs and Pritz in dialogue, one saying “I really feel” after which providing a brief motion phrase the opposite repeated. Carelock and Wu joined initially as observers and commentators, then as individuals. The spoken and gestural banter was beautiful and at occasions laugh-out-loud humorous.

The duet WE ARE THEY opened in silence with choreographer billie james hawkains iii and one other dancer locked in bodily wrestle, proper fingers greedy collectively between them, left fingers pushing in opposition to the opposite dancer’s proper shoulder. Once they linked absolutely, their our bodies gave a bodily jolt, as if finishing an electrical circuit, and the rating — chanting accompanied by spare percussive instrumentation — started.

All through, the dancers appeared to discover the twin that means of struggling “with” — as one thing denoting both opposition or cooperation, relying on context. The work drew collectively social, ceremonial and performative points of dance to contain the viewers as witnesses to what hawkains described as “true therapeutic and true deliverance.”

Although billed as a work-in-progress, Atarius Armstrong’s nest nonetheless glowed with theatrical polish. In accordance with Armstrong, the piece started as a mirrored image on the continuing water disaster in his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. Superbly and easily costumed in free becoming, off-white shirts and pants or shorts sparsely adorned with brilliant silk blooms, the 4 dancers — Audrey Crabtree, Emily Davis, Jenn Klammer and Pritz — labored by means of lyrical motion sequences with a heavy 50-foot rope. Photos of submersion and emergence recalled scenes of drowning, delivery and baptism.

Along with the official competition program, the efficiency included three works carried out by Rise Metropolis Dance, Neighborhood Ballet’s youth firm, and choreographed by Fall for Fall Dance Pageant artists. The inclusion of scholar performers ensured the occasion was well-attended by a various viewers, comprising their family and friends along with the same old core of latest dance devotees one may count on to see at a present like this one.

Whereas a unique method to curation may create higher consistency within the programming, one that’s too unique dangers sacrificing some situations which have allowed Fall for Fall to flourish. Because the competition matures, Messina will certainly method with usually considerate creativity the query of steadiness the preferences of critics and dance connoisseurs with the necessity to increase the viewers for up to date dance in Atlanta.

— R.W.


Gillian Anne Renault is a senior editor for ArtsATL, and has lined dance for the web site since 2012.

Robin Wharton studied dance on the College of American Ballet and the Pacific Northwest Ballet College. As an undergraduate at Tulane College in New Orleans, she was a member of the Newcomb Dance Firm. Along with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Tulane, Robin holds a legislation diploma and a Ph.D. in English, each from the College of Georgia.


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