Guest Comment: -dick swain-

Since I couldn’t attend the July 16 concert in Palmer Square, I put out a call for guest writers and dance aficionado and musician -dick swain- responded, along with another volunteer I’ve never met. Thank you!

Here is his account.

It turns out that Palmer Square is a dandy place for a dance concert! The space is
wide, the ground is pretty even, the grass is soft, and the trees tower. A very hot night produced a cool evening of dance — a soft breeze helped — back lit as the sun sank behind the Nassau Inn. Lots of folks of all ages were out and about looking for fun, entertainment, dance — and ice cream!

The best thing about the dances was the variety — from classic modern dance to quirky modern dance to jazz dance to salsa. An hour was just about right.

Christine Colosimo (Princeton YWCA) opened with one of her beautiful and mysterious pieces — a huge white cloth-for billowing and with holes for emerging bodies. A variation on “What Happens Next” that she did for Rider in the spring, this dance was considerably more dangerous and frightening and perfect for the outdoor space.

Dawud Jackson’s jazz dance piece was a sexy girls’ contrast to Colosimo’s abstraction.

Then Loretta diBianco Fois lightened things up considerably with one of her “dance-a-logues”- a very clever and funny one in which she explained and showed us what she was THINKING of doing for tonight’s performance. Her talk/dance finished with the Announcement — “Ms. diBianco Fois will not be able to perform tonight” which got a big laugh.

Next up was Marie Alonzo Snyder’s (Princeton Dance and Theater Studio) with a lovely sweet and sad lovers’ duet from her “Songs of Nilad”-and “Homelands” — a “structured improvisation,” site-specific piece of nostalgia in which the dancers drew out audience members for props.

Mary Pat Robertson (Princeton Ballet School) revived for the occasion a piece created years ago for Teamwork Dance — the ‘Crickets” section from “Field and Stream.” Four dancers swayed back and forth and broke apart and came back together in serious slow motion to a tape of — you guessed it. This controlled elegance segued perfectly into a new solo for Katie Scibienski (an extremely beautiful, very long-limbed dancer), by Janell Byrne called “In Liquid” to a tape of — you guessed it. The appropriateness of both dances to the al fresco occasion was wittily clear.

I guess my favorite piece was part two of Susan Tenney’s “Je Me Souviens” (“I Remember..”) – her evening-long-memory-dance-in-progress. Her company dancers were joined by glorious young students from Rome, Italy who are participating in the Princeton Ballet School’s summer program. The charming opening trio for young girls — presumably Susan at different ages — was broken into by an extremely lively “surreal” dance of circus performers (it felt Fellini), high-stepping horses who spread out wide across the lawn. Nostalgic, dreamy, witty — typical Tenney. And it was over.

To finish off this dandy evening of dance, Henri Velandia of HOTSALSAHOT gave a HOT salsa demonstration and lesson to a whole lot of folks, young and not so young, who had been twitching all evening to get up and dance. As the HOT — in the 90’s! — dancers moved forward in a hot salsa line, and s the sun set behind them, the evening ended.

DO IT AGAIN! Make it a regular summer feature on the Square — PLEASE!

by -dick swain-

The photo, taken in rehearsal, is of Katie Scibienski in Byrne’s piece “In Liquid.”

The cast for “je me souviens” includes three original American cast members (Gary Echternacht, 12 yr. old Kylan Hillman, and 8 yrs. old Cynthia Yank) – with 2 new Americans: her 10 year old sister Jacqueline Yank, and Princeton University’s Elizabeth Gunnerson plus six young adult Italian dancers who are dancing with Princeton Ballet’s Summer Intensive program for pre-professionals: Valentina Cassutti, Stefano Rufini, Franco Conquista, Carola Goldoni, Tullio Cata,and Davide Internullo. The cast for “Crickets” included Stephen Campanella, Erika Mero, Cameron Lussier, and Katie Scibienski.

1 thought on “Guest Comment: -dick swain-

  1. On Friday evening, July 16th, I had an opportunity to see the dance performances on Palmer Square.  I spent a lovely evening in an outdoor amphitheater,  created by a canopy of tress with seating offered by portable wooden bridge chairs and beach blankets watching very talented dancers. The performance was well attended by an equal distribution of children and adults. During the dance performances, I was moved by the Susan Tenney Dance Company and found that the imaginary of this performance and dancers encouraged me to think about stories I visualized and imagined as a child.  The dancers portrayed  characters of playful unicorns and Alice in Wonderland fairy princesses with flowing scarves. The gentleness of this work evoked audience reactions of sighs followed by applause.  It seemed that the dancers established a sense of comfort and reminiscence to a simpler time.  The  character of the performances in the Palmer Square Program are needed in our fast paced world, filled with technology, to give others the opportunity to experience a quality of movement that may not always be attainable in our present time. I hope that these programs will continue to be offered on a regular basis.Meg Mowrey

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