A mentor/friend/teacher most eloquently said to me, and I’m paraphrasing, there aren’t that many young contemporary ballet choreographers and Jessica Lang is important. She is right. Jessica Lang Dance, a company of really good dancers (Clifton Brown, Todd Burnsed, Julie Fiorenza, Sarah Haarmann, Kirk Henning, Kana Kimura, Claudia MacPherson, Laura Mead and Milan Misko) presented an evening of varied works by Lang at The Joyce (February 21). The premiere, Aria II (the only work en pointe) danced beautifully by Mead with three male partners, Burnsed, Henning and Misko was a poetic marriage of classical ballet and modern dance styles where the men carry, moves and manipulate Mead in sometimes breathless pairings flying on and off stage, into and out of their arms, from out of nowhere. Brown shone in The Calling (an excerpt from Splendid Isolation II) (2006) a work generally danced by women, in the voluminous white skirt spiraling inward and out with each movement. Other works on the program, Lines Cubed (2012) was a mix of moving set pieces (done by the dancers) and nice display of colors upon colors. Though not meant to be cute, I think, the dance on film, White (2011) though when slowed down we see how good the dancers are at executing the movement, sometimes it was a bit cliché. Cliché comes to mind again when the dancers “jump” or “leap” seemingly activating the movement of the ink splotches on the screen in i.n.k. (2011). All in all, yes, it’s really good to have Lang making dances especially with such a good cast.
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I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I am a faculty member at Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Empire State College's online program Center for Distance Learning. I am also a former faculty member of The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Kean University and The Joffrey Ballet School's Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program. I write on dance for The Amsterdam News, Dance Magazine and various publications. Click below to read more about me at my home page - "About Me."