The World of Dance, offering la creme de la creme of dance at the Y., has done it again - sold out its four performances. So this report may be as close as you will get this year to this consistently entertaining and deservedly popular event. Better luck next year, and remember to order your tickets early for a program that's guaranteed to make you wanna dance.
The well-produced, well-lit show flows without a hitch (well, hardly a hitch) through an uninterrupted hour and a half, while a low-key narrator of few words announces the dances that you can't read from your program in the dark.What better introduction than the International Folk Dance Ensemble, stepping off in music and dance of Yugoslavia - women in a circle, men in a line with jingling spurs, and finally a quaint couple dance. The dancers further entertain with a stylish Krakowiak from Poland, dressed in beautiful costumes and performing a complex, pretty choreography by director Edwin Austin. Six women of the company dance the "Clauddagh Ring" with all the precision and vivacity one associates with this traditional step dance of the Emerald Isle.
Showing the verve, effervescence and professionalism that have again made them U.S. amateur champions in Latin style dance, the ready-for-prime-time Ballroom Dance Company climaxes the show with an inspired "West Side Story" Latin-American medley.
Choreography by Corky and Shirley Ballas and company director Lee Wakefield capitalizes on every element of Bernstein's peerless score in a dance that's lean and spare, as clean as an etching, and flicks as tellingly as a whip. The men have mastered the nuances of streetwise carriage, the women are believably Latin, and their work as couples runs a gymnastic, breathtaking gamut.
The Dancers' Company continues to distinguish itself with a large troupe whose movement vocabulary has developed immensely during the past couple of years. Most commendable are the purposeful way in which they attack and the determination with which they carry through. No half-hearted approach here, as they demonstrate in "Sanbourne, et al.," a rocking, swinging choreography by Marilyn Berrett in which every dancer finds his/her own inner rhythm and lets it all fly free.
Caroline Prohosky's "African Nightfall" is a fine atmospheric piece with a few inspired moments, especially for the male contingent, and a couple of good dancers to make the most of them. It's a showpiece for the whole company, with Rick Chitwood's score projecting the feeling of African rhythms and African habitat, and dancers slipping in and out of the evocative set, in solos, duos, trios and en masse, often suggesting ritual or some sort of compulsion.
To be a Cougarette, you need a mane of hair, preferably blonde; also a great figure and the ability to cut loose music video style to contagious rhythms, as these young women do in "Vogue," with music by Madonna. Lisa Arbon's choreography in this and their other entry, "Higher Road," is lively, mod, even rambunctious, and celebrates the glory of being a girl.
Two pas de deux represent the Theater Ballet. From the comic "Phantasie" two agile dancers in leotards perform a dance loaded with gymnastic contortions, which they carry off splendidly. The wedding pas de deux from "Coppelia" features Mark Lanham and partner in an episode of classic refinement that could stand a dollop more of temperament and exhilaration.
The Children's Dance Theatre completes the program with charming fantasy excerpts from "Rain Makes Applesauce."