Roberta on the Arts

Henning Rübsam's Sensedance Presents "obsession/calm" and "Brahms Dances", Two Premieres, at Peridance Center


Henning Rübsam's Sensedance Presents "obsession/calm" and "Brahms Dances", Two Premieres, at Peridance Center

- Onstage with the Dancers

Artistic Director: Henning Rübsam


Henning Rübsam, Nathan Bland, Cynthia Dragoni,
Erin Ginn, Heidi Green, Temple Kemezis, Uthman Ebrahim,
Oisín Monaghan, Jacqueline Stewart, Matt Van

Peridance Center
136 East 13th Street

Press: Kevin McAnarney/KPM Associates

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 27, 2012

Henning Rübsam’s company, Sensedance, presented a pre-hurricane, ballet performance at Peridance tonight, with six engaging works. They were Petit Pas (2003), Göttingen (2006), obsession/calm (Premiere), Charon (2008), Half-Life 102 (2011), and Brahms Dances (Premiere). Recorded music ranged from Bloch to Barbara. This was my first experience with Sensedance, and I immediately noticed a freshness in Mr. Rübsam’s choreography, a poetic energy. Petit Pas, like all ballets on the program, was choreographed by Mr. Rübsam. The score is by Laibach, DAF, and voices of Neil Armstrong and Gloria Steinem. Jacqueline Stewart and Uthman Ebrahim danced this duo work. Visual imagery included rotating legs, with Ms. Stewart leaping onto Mr. Ebrahim’s chest and tumbling down his back. It was a spiritual work, evocative of space exploration, with floating and flying symbolism. A bright spotlight brings Mr. Ebrahim into moments of physical angst, and the athletic shifts of body weight were fascinating.

Göttingen was a solo for Oisín Monaghan, to music by Barbara. Mr. Monaghan pretends to be a fanciful French character in striped sleeveless shirt and white pants, falling and swinging his arms and head, and dancing about to these very Parisian lyrics. The Premiere of obsession/calm followed, danced by Erin Ginn with Cynthia Dragoni and Jacqueline Stewart, then Heidi Green. Music is by Ernest Bloch. The “obsession” half of the piece included multiple fouettés and leaps, while the “calm” half of the piece included reaching, stretching exercises. The Peridance theater is dark, and seating is on folding chairs, so it was difficult to take notes. I allowed myself to be swept into the moment, so as to absorb the dance momentum and aesthetic inventiveness. Charon, set to a Beata Moon (“Amaranthine Road”) score, was a solo for Uthman Ebrahim, his second dance of the evening. He wore yellow shorts for this brief atonal excerpt, switching direction, looking somewhat like an archer, readying his bow.

Half-Life 102, another Premiere, brought out an ensemble of six, three men and three women. This piece, danced to electronic music by Laibach, is high energy, with women en pointe. The final work on the program, Brahms Dances, another Premiere, brought out the entire company, including Mr. Rübsam, who danced with a seasoned, seamless flair. The score was a stream of seven select recordings of Brahms’ vocal works, by the New York Vocal Arts Ensemble. The second, danced by Erin Ginn and Matt Van, was notably evocative of Jerome Robbins’ lyrical partnering and emotional transparency. Some campy gestures enhanced the mood. When the ensemble joined the soloists, there were hints of inspiration from Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering, a tribute to Mr. Rübsam, that his aspirational models are the crème de la crème of ballet choreographers. Kudos to Henning Rübsam and Sensedance.

Jacqueline Stewart, Cynthia Dragoni, Erin Ginn

in Henning Rübsam's "obsession | calm"

Courtesy of Julie Lemberger

Heidi Green and Nathan Bland

in Henning Rübsam's "Brahms' Dances"

Courtesy of Julie Lemberger

Erin Ginn, Henning Rübsam, Jacqueline Stewart

in Henning Rübsam's "Brahms Dances"

Courtesy of Julie Lemberger