The Joyce Theater’s annual American Dance Platform presentations are a boon for visiting dance companies who want to be seen by dance producers and presenters from across the country.

Lucky Plush Productions © William Frederking
Lucky Plush Productions
© William Frederking
Producers come from the concurrent APAP conference to get their first view of up to eight different troupes featured in a weeklong festival. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready for primetime and that was the case for this show (Program D) that included Lucky Plush Productions and Dallas Black Dance Theater.

LuckyPlush Productions presented Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of Superstrip, which seemed like it was more suited for presentation on college campuses for the entertainment of M.F.A. students. The joke of Superstrip is that there’s a think tank of putative super heroes who can’t seem to get off the ground because they can’t figure out exactly what they stand for or what they want their mission statement to be. There were amusing moments but, by the time they got to “checking their privilege” and lining up in order of who had the most privilege, I was rolling my eyes so hard that I think I sprained something. To add to the strain of watching this piece, the performers were only modestly talented. The extent to which it was self-absorbed and self-referential makes it a show with limited appeal for the general public.

In the second half of the show, Dallas Black Dance Theater  took the stage with confidence and gave a professional level, polished performance. They presented two pieces by veteran choreographers from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Dallas Black Dance Theater in <i>Furtherance</i> © Sharen Bradford - The Dancing Image
Dallas Black Dance Theater in Furtherance
© Sharen Bradford - The Dancing Image
Furtherance, by Kirven Douthit-Boyd and Tribute by Matthew Rushing, made effective use of the company’s abilities and showed the dancers off well. Rushing’s Tribute coined the term “dancestor” to pay tribute to the dance pioneers who blazed the trail that many black dancers follow today. It was a powerful work that stretched the company dramatically and technically while paying homage to the past. Douthit-Boyd’s Furtherance was less visceral but the company’s energy and conviction carried enough weight to make it enjoyable. DBDT is a company that deserves exposure.

The Joyce Theater does so much to support the growth of dance in this country and its American Dance Platform Festival is a terrific way for regional companies to get the kind of exposure they need to get to the next level. You have to go to the shows with an open mind and be prepared for the occasional miss because it isn’t all going to be great. This year’s gem is Dallas Black Dance Theater.