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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Performance Reviews
The Joyce Theater
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

A review of Garth Fagan Dance

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 17, 2002
The Joyce Theater
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011

About the Author:

Garth Fagan Dance


Garth Fagan, Artistic Director
Grady S. Bailey III, General Manager
Bit Knighton, Company Manager

Odile Reine-Adelaide, Ellen Jacobs Associates, Publicity, ejacobsassociates@earthlink.net

Presented at the Joyce Theater

November 17, 2002
Review by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower

Garth Fagan is known as the 1998 Tony Award Choreographer of The Lion King, which is now running in cities around the world. Garth Fagan's began his career as a teenager from Jamaica, when he toured Latin America with Ivy Baxter and his Jamaican National Dance Company. Fagan studied with Martha Graham (See Topping Interview), Mary Hinkson, Alvin Ailey, and Jose Limon. He later performed with the Dance Theatre of Detroit and the Detroit Contemporary Dance Company. In 1970, he moved to Rochester and formed Garth Fagan Dance, now in its 32nd Season. He has directed and choreographed the Duke Ellington Street Opera, "Queenie Pie", at the Kennedy Center. He has also created works for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Jamison Project, and the Alvin Ailey American dance Theatre. Fagan has also choreographed pieces for the Limon Dance Company and the New York City Ballet's 50th Anniversary.

Upcoming events for Garth Fagan Dance are: Nazareth College, Rochester (December 3-8), University of Minnesota (January 25), Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, Johnstown, PA (January 28), Kimmel Center, Philadelphia (January 31-February 2), Monmouth University, NJ (February 8), Hendrix College, AR (February 14), and a tour of Europe (March 4-April 5).

Chris Morrison, Norwood Pennewell and Natalie Rogers
Photo courtesy of Steve Labuzetta

Natalie Rogers, Chris Morrison perform Garth Fagan Dance's "In Memoriam"
Photo courtesy of Steve Labuzetta

Traipsing Through the May (1987): Choreography and Costumes by Garth Fagan, Music by Antonio Vivaldi, Lighting Design by David Moore, Costumes by Zinda Williams, Performed by the Company. This was a most impressive work, with superb and athletic connections between the dancers in individual and group movement. This piece reminded me of some of Paul Taylor's works, also performed to chamber music, in which there is a buoyant and airy mood. The entire stage became a playground of wild, animated leaps and swirls.

Moth Dreams (1992): Choreography and Costumes by Garth Fagan, Music by Andre Jolivet, Thelonius Monk, and Wynton Marsalis, Lighting Design by C.T. Oakes, mainly performed by Norwood Pennewell and Natalie Rogers, accompanied by the Company. Norwood Pennewell, who is also Rehearsal Director, joined Garth Fagan dance in 1978. He is the recipient of a 1988 Bessie Award. Moth Dreams was especially created for this most engaging dancer. Pennewell teaches both Master and Company Classes for Garth Fagan Dance. He also assisted Mr. Fagan with his work on The Lion King and the NYC Ballet's 50th Anniversary Ellington Project. Trinidad-born, Natalie Rogers joined Garth Fagan Dance in 1989. Ms. Rogers also assisted Mr. Fagan on the above projects. Moth Dreams had a very Jazzy feel, with elegant dancing to scores of Jolivet, Monk, and Marsalis.

Translation Transition (World Premiere): Choreography by Garth Fagan, Music by Jazz Jamaica All Stars, Lighting Design by C.T. Oakes, Costumes by Mary Nemecek Peterson, Performed by the Company. The similarities, transitions, and meeting points of jazz and traditional Jamaican music are explored in this piece. In the first section, Natalie Rogers, Norwood Pennewell, and Sharon Skepple were distinctive in the sensual and provocative, ska-based (Jamaican) score. Steve Humphrey, a 1984 Bessie Award winner, and Keisha Laren Clarke, new to Fagan Dance, were amazing in superb technical skills and partnering abilities, as they led an ensemble through the second section, a reggae arrangement. The third section, led by the above dancers in solo and duet, then encompassed the entire Company. A distinctive feature of this piece was the continuous, flowing movements, repetitively, which, in some way, reminded me of the "Kingdom of the Shades" scene in La Bayadere (See Kirov Review)

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