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Overview: Formidable however uneven, Fall for Fall Dance Pageant had some motion gems

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 primarily based in Atlanta.

Dancer/choreographer Catherine Messina is the pageant’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 unimaginable to adequately cowl all 34 works offered, however to supply a style of the pageant, ArtsATL assigned a special dance reviewer to every efficiency. Opinions of Friday and Saturday’s lineup observe. Sunday’s evaluation will run tomorrow.


Friday — by Gillian Anne Renault

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

Leo Briggs’ dreamBOY (this can be a ghost story) got here to life when Briggs gave a strong monologue about three desires: 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 acquired 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 troublesome 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 sublime use of house 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 high quality 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 mass was a humorous rundown of how trendy dancers are skilled in ground work, and the Rebellion Dance Firm, that includes 9 dancers of colour in denims and sneakers, fused energized avenue dance with bouncing jumps and formations.

Jodie Jernigan and Caleigh Santa Maria flirted with modern poses and too many sun shades within the breezy It’s At all times 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 palms 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 indicate their work, not an invite for Atlanta audiences to expertise the very best of the town’s up to date dance scene.


Saturday — by Robin Wharton

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 numerous, culturally inclusive and technically difficult invoice. On the identical time, Fall for Fall’s partnership with sponsor Neighborhood Ballet evidenced a technique that Messina has efficiently leveraged inclusion and variety to increase the pageant’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 are so typically undercurrents within the inventive 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 pretty and at instances 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 palms greedy collectively between them, left palms pushing towards the opposite dancer’s proper shoulder. Once they linked totally, 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 which means of struggling “with” — as one thing denoting both opposition or cooperation, relying on context. The work drew collectively social, ceremonial and performative features 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 continued water disaster in his hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. Fantastically and easily costumed in unfastened becoming, off-white shirts and pants or shorts sparsely adorned with vibrant plastic flowers, the 4 dancers — Audrey Crabtree, Emily Davis, Jenn Klammer and Pritz — labored by means of lyrical motion sequences with a heavy 50-foot rope. Photographs of submersion and emergence recalled scenes of drowning, delivery and baptism.

Along with the official pageant 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 pupil 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 anticipate to see at a present like this one.

Whereas a special strategy to curation may create larger consistency within the programming, one that’s too unique dangers sacrificing some circumstances which have allowed Fall for Fall to flourish. Because the pageant matures, Messina will certainly strategy with usually considerate creativity the query of how you can stability the preferences of critics and dance connoisseurs with the necessity to develop the viewers for up to date dance in Atlanta.


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 Faculty of American Ballet and the Pacific Northwest Ballet Faculty. 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 regulation diploma and a Ph.D. in English, each from the College of Georgia.



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