New York is about laying it all on the line..'if you can make it here you can make it anywhere' and Perceptions Contemporary Dance Company throws their hat in the 'if you can make it here you can make it anywhere' ring of NY with their explosive evening length premier at Teatro LA TEA Theater last Friday. Relocating from Boston to NY 7 months ago, PCDC boasts fourteen highly trained and expressive dancers - including Artistic Director Melissa Gendreau and Assistant Director Molly Fletcher Lynch. Gendreau believes that because 'Perception is experience' you should 'experience Perceptions' and this statement earns its clout throughout their work. Pieces that showcase PCDC's promise as key players in NY were Gendreau's Magnetic Affixion and Ancient Bruises. Guest choreographer, Natalie Teichmann, of Anahata Dance's Apres Moi shows that same promise.
Magnetic Affixion showcases sequential synergy at its finest. Passing an itch that no one can seem to scratch, the piece reveals a charismatic quartet including Gendreau and Lynch where athletic prowess - and fashion conundrums are put to the test with sneakers and high heels in the mix. The archetypical characters of a businesswoman, "dude," fashionista, and a running woman a la "Sporty Spice" in true NY fashion collide as the magnetic "affixion" sends each character into intense connectedness often channeling whirling dervishes. In their exploration of contact, dancers find themselves stacked tall, held close, on their heads, hands and feet and then propelled away from each other only to be magnetized back until new configurations result. Gendreau and Lynch's intriguing extremities pair well with Jessie Cosentino and Kyung Joon Lee's compact explosiveness.
Ancient Bruises reveals the companies softer and more sobering side - showcasing stunning extension with tear jerking imagery in white, they unabashedly mesmerize. Based on a true story of domestic violence the company weaves the silver lining of a situation laced with a guttural and gruesome stigma. Perceiving an opportunity to breathe beauty into a story wrought with grit - Gendreau's perceptions shine. Her physical storytelling features soloist Chihiro Shimizu as the clay to mold these visions. Striking sculptural pauses of Shimizu's musicality evokes artful upliftedness. Her navigation of connecting with fellow dancers and melting into her own limelight speak both to her clarity of the piece and to Gengreau's direction. Lynch's artistic grasp of the choreography's underbelly leads her to stand out immensely. The soft concavity of her gestures emanates through vibrating hands - no detail of her dancing tale goes un-traversed.
PCDC company member Natalie Teichmann also Artistic Directs Anahata Dance and her work Apres Moi provides a complementary contrast to PCDC. With a strong tongue in cheek presence, architectural precision and an enigmatic "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" charm, Teichmann and Lauren Rosenstein delight. Their impeccable control of both physical and spatial connectivity is channeled through alert eyes. In turn, their audience connection grows stronger with every second. Using the stage as a dynamic playground, a sense of fun perforates any stuffiness residue left from the 9 - 5 crowd. Sweeping to the floor, silently they communicate a sense of peaceful ease - one I know does not hold true but resonates clearly.
The raw materials of PCDC and friends have a home in NY - now their attention must be drawn to connecting the dots through quicker pauses between pieces and other details that have little to do with artistry. I await their new works - Gendreau has big plans for the company on, off and behind the stage with the brand new Perceptions Contemporary Dance Festival this fall, and the PCDC Summer Youth Intensive Dance Camp in August. Be sure to get to the next PCDC show to see heightened humor, subtle softness, and enough passion to claim NY as home base.
As Gendreau says, "Perceptions is Experience...Experience Perceptions!"
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