The inaugural American Dance Platform presentation at The Joyce Theater concluded with Ate9 dANCE cOMPANY and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet. The series is presented in conjunction with the Association of Producers and Presenters conference to give dance companies a chance to be seen by presenters. Four different programs each featured two dance companies and was a great opportunity to get acquainted with dance companies that some might not have seen before.

Adji Cissoko in <i>The Propelled Heart</i> © RJ Muna
Adji Cissoko in The Propelled Heart
© RJ Muna
Danielle Agami’s Ate9 dANCE cOMPANY presented EXHIBIT b to open the show. It consisted of a series of vignettes with music by Iranian composer Omid Walizadeh. Agami is a Batsheva veteran and choreographs in the signature Gaga style. Musically it was somewhere between Middle Eastern and Hip Hop which was sometimes catchy and sometimes kitschy. The dance is generally centered on the theme of conflict and how it affects daily life in Israel. The problem I had with it is that it did not quite add up to the sum of its parts. There was a discontinuity that prevented any feeling of resolution.

Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet presented excerpts from two works: Biophony and The Propelled Heart. The very first thing anyone notices about LINES is that it is a company of beautiful bodies. They are uniformly strong with broad shoulders, sharply tapered torsos and muscular legs. In everything King choreographs there is a feeling of dancers stretching their bodies to the fullest limit of their extension. Everything looks long, arms fully extended, legs as high as they can go. The effect is sculptural with a keen sense of the instrinsic geometry of ballet. All lines extend to infinity.

Biophony was created to a “soundscape” of recorded sounds from the wild. It included birds, insects, rainstorms, primates, large cats and probably much more. The dancers embraced this foray into the animal kingdom and it was powerful even if I don’t know that I’d want to see more than just the excerpts that were presented. There was a lot going on and when the whole company was on stage it was overwhelming. I just had to pick a few dancers and be content with watching them. Axel Morgenthaler’s lighting was gorgeous. To say that the stage was “bathed in light” seems terribly hackneyed but in this case it was absolutely true. The many different shades and tones of light were perfect with this piece.

Robb Beresford and Adji Cissoko in <i>The Propelled Heart</i> © RJ Muna
Robb Beresford and Adji Cissoko in The Propelled Heart
© RJ Muna

The Propelled Heart was centered on the music of pop diva Lisa Fischer. It’s as though King was engaged in a dialogue with the singer when he created this. At times there is too much choreography at too high a level of intensity which diminishes the effect. It’s like having the volume turned up to eleven the whole time so that when the climax comes there’s little differentiation. Still, the duets were lovely and these are some of the most saw inspiring dancers you'll ever see.

American Dance Platform at The Joyce is a great opportunity to catch a taste of a number of different companies. Eight companies were presented over four evenings and were able to share the production costs making it much more affordable for them to be seen. It is intended primarily to enable the companies to be seen by potential bookers but it’s open to the general public and well worth anyone’s while to drop in and catch a show.