ChEck Us Out Dance Festival
Dancer:Hailey Flame. Photo by Sofia Negron.
BOTTOM LINE: There couldn't have been a more beautiful backdrop for this site-specific dance festival.
The ChEck Us OuT Dance Festival had its third annual performance this last Saturday at Central Park's Summit Rock. It was a fun filled evening with a lively crowd gathered around on benches and blankets- a more quiet and intimate version of Central Park's Summerstage.
There were 15 different female choreographers most of whom were performing in their own work. They danced in this beautiful location with slate, gravel, and grass under foot and a light rain which didn't thwart a single audience member. Everyone sat quietly while a few put up umbrellas and it was quite a pleasant atmosphere created by free baked goods and lots of smiles going around. Clearly, everyone was there to have fun.
Something that struck me in Allison Brzezinski's production of the ChEck Us OuT Dance Festival was that it was an eco-friendly evening and that there were no paper programs. They were available on smartphone. I never keep old programs, so why the waste? Good call. Brzezinski put together quite a diverse show ranging from Joya Powell's (Movement of the People Dance Company) African style piece "Love Against the Rocks" to more of a comedic and theatrical production by Stacy Donovan's (Improbable Stage Company) "Elements of a Sustainable Rhythm."
Dancers leapt across the grass, ran over the hills and behind trees, and even the red hawk of Central Park made its appearance by flying over head. An especially touching moment was during the last piece of the evening, when the technicalities of being outdoors had rendered the iPod useless. The choreographer herself, Ellenore Scott (ELSCO Dance) came up and sang, narrated, and counted the piece of music. It was so heart felt and raw to see the woman who made the work be so flexible and able to adapt to the environment. In this, I realized that the point of the whole evening was to capture the versatility and hunger of dancers and choreographers in New York City, and it did.
(ChEck Us OuT Dance Festival: A Celebration of Female Choreographers played at Summit Park in Central Park, 81st and Central Park West on July 13th. Free admission.)