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Jennifer Wesnousky
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Elisa Monte Dance

by Jennifer Wesnousky
November 3, 2007
The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011
While the Elisa Monte Dance company, in their performances at the Joyce Theater between October 30 and November 4, 2007, seemingly skimped on sets and even costumes, almost all of which were beautiful yet stylistically simplistic in shades of silver and gray, they spared no metaphorical expense in terms of truly magical movement, which spoke for itself.

The striking opener "Hardwood" featured pods of male and female dancers whose interactions ranged from subtly sexual to slightly confrontational. Men intermingled and hoisted one another in intricate and apparently effortless lifts, prior to the entry of bands of undulating women. However, in spite of a vague allusion to intimacy between as well as a battle of the sexes, the piece ended with their spritely, lighthearted intermingling, including intriguing formations and adeptly staged partnering and mirroring.

Performed on the evening of November 3rd by Elisa Monte veteran performer, Fabrice Lamego, the arresting solo "Run to the Rock" featured an emotional collage of movement which catapulted between slow motion and frenzy. Exhibiting Lamego's shirtless rippling and serpentine frame, he executed a fusion ranging from balletic to tribal to Nina Simone's Gospel-inspired strains. Sharing his personal catharsis and ongoing search with the enraptured audience, Lamego demonstrated his ability to single-handedly command the stage.

Set to lively jazz music, "Slope of Enlightenment" then featured the company's more energetic, aggressive side while "Pigs and Fishes" showcased sophisticated staging as lines and formations of dancers faced off and alternated. Monte's utterly contemporary choreography again merged the dancers' top-notch ballet technique with African-inspired, billowing arms and pelvic thrusts.

While appearing in a variety of shapes, sizes and hues, each and every one of the Elisa Monte company dancers (Joseph Celej, Werner Figar, Matthew Fisher, Rachel Holmes, Fabrice Lamego, Tiffany Rea, Maya Taylor and Andre Zachery) were both physically and technically exquisite in their consistent display of onstage unity and intensity. Through the vehicle of Monte's always interesting and ethereal pieces, the dancers exhibited individual and collective commitment to their choreography, choreographer and one another, creating an ever-evolving series of moods and landscapes in which each of the individual dancers contributed seamlessly to a stunning whole.

Artistic Director: ELISA MONTE

Dancers: Joseph Celej, Werner Figar, Matthew Fisher, Rachel Holmes, Fabrice Lamego, Tiffany Rea, Maya Taylor and Andre Zachery

Co-founder and Choreographer: David Brown

Lighting Designer: Clifton Taylor

Company Photographer: Roy Volkmann

Stage Manager: Sarissa Michaud

Costume Designer: Karen Young

Director of Administration: Lauren Fairbanks

Lighting Director: Nick Houfek

Development Consultant: Kate Taylor

Director of Finance: Rosita Levy

Development Consultant: Kristin Young

Company Photographer: Roy Volkmann

Board of Directors: Deborah Kobe Norris (Chair), Michael Campbell, Yvette Campbell, Carolynn Dilworth, Laurine Garrity, Ann Marie Heal, Denise Jefferson, Richard Kirschner, Barbara Simon, Allen Thompson, Roy Volkmann, Nicholas Fox Weber, Vanessa Wilcox

Advisory Board: Nancy Perlman (Chairman Emerita), Babs Case, Margie Goldsmith, Nathalie Berlict, Maureen A. Hayes

Domestic Representation:
Gary Lindsey Artist Services
San Francisco, CA

International Representation:
Bernard Schmidt Productions
New York, NY

Italian Representation:
Modena International Music
Modena, Italy
Elisa Monte

Elisa Monte

Photo © & courtesy of Roy Volkmann

Elisa Monte Dance Members

Elisa Monte Dance Members

Photo © & courtesy of Roy Volkmann

Andre Zachery and Matthew Fisher, Elisa Monte dancers

Andre Zachery and Matthew Fisher, Elisa Monte dancers

Photo © & courtesy of Roy Volkmann

Tiffany Rea, Elisa Monte dancer

Tiffany Rea, Elisa Monte dancer

Photo © & courtesy of Roy Volkmann

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