New York City choreographer and teacher, of Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, Ryan Daniel Beck had a wish… a dance wish. After working extensively overseas with esteemed European choreographers, he wished for some way to bring his NYC students to Europe - sans the jet lag and weeping bank accounts.
(Cue light bulb!) Why not bring fresh choreographers from across the Atlantic right here to NYC? And that is exactly what went down this Wednesday night, September 9th, (09-09-09, hehe) during the 4-hour long, boot-camp-esque EURO-graphers JAM! Beck organized the first of what he hopes to make a monthly event. The master classes, in which I partook fully as a student (one of the cool iDANZ perks for being an iDANZ critic), were MERAVIGLIOS! (Italian for wonderful!)
EURO-graphers JAM RECAP:
5 PM The lineup starts off at at MMAC with the Italian beauty, Desi Storani, who offers an INTENSE no-nonsense warm-up similar to our American advanced jazz warm-up, but with some noticeable and welcome differences. “Fast-paced”, “unique”, and “dynamic” just begin to describe it. Storani attacks her warm-up as if she is performing for a crowd of millions. It is truly inspiring. Once the onslaught of plies, developpes, and releves commence, she explains in her limited English an across the floor combination and eventually leads into the combo.
5:45 PM Storani’s style of movement blends classic jazz with the contemporary edge that has infiltrated the whole world of dance. Most interesting is her ability to be completely effective despite a serious language barrier. It just goes to show that you can hold a great dance class without even saying a word! She uses the Foo Fighter’s “Best of You” and produces an artistic interpretation of the music as she hears it… free from an American’s perception of lyrics.
6:30 PM The sweaty masses take 15 to shove down Luna bars and sneak a text.
6:45 PM Beck introduces the dainty Julie Bour of France, for an hour-long crash course in exploratory contemporary movement to an eclectic mix of songs from classical to techno! Bour stresses the importance of “going there”. Whether it be high, low, or side to side. My favorite quote from her, “Don’t SHOW your dance. DO it.”
7:45 PM Surviving students wish they had remembered a 5-hour energy drink.
8 PM French contemporary master Manuel Vignoulle, with his fiery hair and long-limbed physique, defines the home-stretch of the “Eurographers Jam” with floppy “arm-tastic” choreography. Set to music that I’d like to say would accompany a duck-hunting outing…. we put our hands to our face “Home Alone” style and did everything but cartwheel our way to the end of the combo. This Cedar Lake dancer stresses details and not giving a long combo but one that is refined and worthwhile!
Overall a huge success, Mr. Ryan Daniel Beck surely must be proud of the evening he has presented. Not only do the dancers receive an astounding workout, but get to experience the advanced, out-of-the-box choreography that Europe’s finest have to offer.
iDANZ Critix Corner
Official Dance Review by Sheena DiMatteo
Workshop: EURO-graphers JAM 2009
Facilitated by: Ryan Daniel Beck
Venue: Manhattan Movement and Arts Center (MMAC), New York City
Date: September 9, 2009
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