Shall we dance? Absolutely! This Sept. 26, 2016 photo released by New York City Center shows STREB Extreme Action performing at Fall for Dance Opening Night at City Center in New York. (Stephanie Berger/New York City Center via AP)
Shall we dance? Absolutely!
Lexile

As the annual Fall for Dance festival opened this season at New York City Center, the usual reprimand to turn off those phones was missing. In its place was a request.  The audience was told to take them out. Shoot and tweet away!
 
There's always an energetic feeling at Fall for Dance. It's a 10-day affair. It is a smorgasbord of performances by 20 companies from around the globe. The $15 price tag makes it much more affordable than other dance fare. And the house is always packed and vocal.
 
The clear highlight this year was the appearance of not one, not two, but three much adored ballerinas. Two have retired from the ballet stage. But the festival also was notable for its great diversity of offerings.
 
Opening night was especially energetic. This was thanks to the Brooklyn-based Streb Extreme Action. It is a troupe that performs high-flying, injury-defying feats. These often include dancers slamming their bodies into the floor from nauseating heights.
 
Their new piece, "Airslice," didn't just involve body-slamming. There also was a series of maneuvers aboard a huge spinning ladder. Dancers swung from its rungs and otherwise tempted fate (and bodily harm). They performed as the ladder kept speeding up. You could have cut the tension with a knife. The dancers clearly have found an outlet for their thrill-seeking tendencies.
 
In later programs came the ballerinas. First up was Wendy Whelan. She retired from the New York City Ballet two years ago. Since then, she has been busy exploring contemporary dance. A beloved New York fixture, Whelan appeared not in pointe shoes but in black heels. She wore black stockings. And she wore a button-down white shirt.
 
Whelan performed with Edward Watson of the Royal Ballet. They danced in Arthur Pita's "The Ballad of Mack and Ginny."  It is a tango-inflected piece. It's set to Kurt Weill's "Tango Ballad" from the 1928 musical "The Threepenny Opera." 
 
A few nights later came a more classic take on doomed love. It featured the rare appearance on a New York stage of Alina Cojocaru. The Romanian-born dancer and her fiance, Johan Kobborg, originally had been due to perform Frederick Ashton's "Marguerite and Armand" along with the Bucharest National Opera Ballet. Because of their recent rift and departure from that company, the couple performed instead with the Sarasota Ballet.
 
The diminutive Cojocaru was her usual delicate, soulful self. She danced the acting-heavy role of the fragile heroine dying of tuberculosis. Kobborg was her stern father.
 
And then, on closing weekend, came Alessandra Ferri. She is one of the world's most popular ballerinas, still dancing at age 53 despite "retiring" from American Ballet Theatre in 2007.
 
Ferri, who in June made a triumphant one-night return to Juliet - her signature role - with ABT, appeared with her favored partner of the last few years, Herman Cornejo. On a dark stage adorned by a lighted column on one side, the two twisted and churned slowly to "Witness."  It is a new piece by choreographer Wayne McGregor.
 
Other highlights included everything from classical Indian dance (Shantala Shivalingappa) to a sobering meditation on human sacrifice by the South African choreographer Dada Masilo. Memorably, Demetia Hopkins-Greene of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed the powerful solo work "Cry."
 
And Spanish flamenco dancer Farruquito sent a jolt of energy through the room. He whipped his feet around the stage, long hair flying and beads of sweat misting the air.
 
At the end, he invited each of his musicians and singers to take a spin onstage. In the spirit of the occasion, they all obliged. And the audience cheered.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are cell phones encouraged?
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COMMENTS (20)
  • olivial-orv
    10/17/2016 - 07:34 p.m.

    Those body slamming dancers must be dare devils. I can't even imagine doing the stuff that they do. I would probably ask for a parachute if I had to jump from high heights like that.

  • belindav-stu
    10/18/2016 - 10:18 a.m.

    so inserting

  • valeriac-dal
    10/18/2016 - 11:37 a.m.

    The cell phone go off because the people do not what to miss no part of the show that is why they turn off cell phones

  • smattison-dav
    10/19/2016 - 07:30 a.m.

    This is very interesting to read the different shows they did. The fact they can do this without hurting themselves. I cant imagine how much training they had to do. I am truly fascinated by this.

  • jacklynt-ste
    10/20/2016 - 05:10 p.m.

    This year at the dance festival instead of telling people to put away their phones they were told to take them out. I think this is wrong because people are missing the true beauty of what is going on in real life. I also think that it is amazing how this festival is 10 days long, that's a lot of dancing!

  • dharper-dav
    10/20/2016 - 09:14 p.m.


    In response to "Shall we dance? Absolutley!," I agree that they told them to take there phones out. One reason I agree is that it will promote there dance. More people will know about it and be interested with it if it is all over social media. Another reason is that it is awesome to get amazing pictures while they are persorming. It says in the article "The audiance was told to take them out." A third reason is that they usually never let you have your phone, so now you can take videos.Even though people should put there phones down and live in the moment, I think this was a good idea.
    _______________________.

  • lbocc-wim
    10/21/2016 - 11:36 a.m.

    I enjoyed reading this article. It allowed me to become much more interested with this occasion, Fall for Dance. It is a ten day event and is an affordable event for the types of dances preformed, only $15.00!! I enjoyed hearing much about the ballet preform! Although, I did notice that this event takes a big part of culture. Indian dancing, flamingo dancing, and ballet are the type of dances that were preformed in New York City.

  • nathanm14-ste
    10/21/2016 - 01:26 p.m.

    I think that social media sucks the life out of culture. If you want to go and watch people dance around, then watch people dance around. Personally i wouldn't want a single soul to know that i was witnessing such a weird display.

  • laurenw-arl
    10/22/2016 - 10:07 a.m.

    Cell phones might be encourgad because they can tweet away saying, "This is so much fun! Everyone should come!" Also, when people are on their cell phones it can get them exicted at a screen. Maybe that is the dancers want the people to feel exicted at the performance.

  • giavannac-orv
    10/24/2016 - 02:17 a.m.

    I can't believe how brave those dancers are. I can barely jump over a 6 foot fence.

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