Troupes bringing variety of styles to Egg, UAlbany

Up first on Saturday is Tango Fire Company of Buenos Aires
The all-male troupe 10 Hairy Legs debuts Oct. 12 at UAlbany’s Performing Arts Center.
The all-male troupe 10 Hairy Legs debuts Oct. 12 at UAlbany’s Performing Arts Center.

Collaboration between venues has become a trend. One of the more successful ones is between The Egg and the University at Albany’s Performing Arts Center, which features dance.

“The Dance in Albany series was developed three years ago … to provide Capital Region audiences with an increased and more diverse selection of dance performances, with an affordable ticket price,” said Kim Engle, assistant director at PAC, who worked with Egg executive director Peter Lesser on the series.

With the two venues barely 15 minutes apart, audiences could enjoy completely different experiences, as The Egg has a 1,000-seat stage and UAlbany’s PAC has a 100-seat studio space with intimate performances offered “in the raw.” The two venues would also attract companies who had wider-ranging technical and fiscal reasons, Engle said.

This year, there are four companies divided between the two venues that offer a wide range of styles. Up first on Saturday at The Egg is Tango Fire Company of Buenos Aires. Led by choreographer German Cornejo, who founded the troupe 12 years ago, the dancers include world tango champions and the best dancers from Argentina’s tango halls. Cornejo works with his longtime partner, Gisela Gabeassi, who — along with the five-member band that plays music by Piazzolla, Pugliese and Gardel — evokes the intoxicating passion of a late night in Buenos Aires with seduction, sophistication and sultry abandon. This stop at The Egg is part of a two-week North American tour. 

Randy James’ all-male 10 Hairy Legs debuts Oct. 12 at the UAlbany PAC with four dances that redefine what it means to be a male dancer, a mission James said he founded the company on five years ago.

“It’s not a man lifting someone,” James said. “It’s about humor and rhythm. I did not want to make a political statement about men but that they’re human. It’s how men react onstage different, and the need to open to a broader approach.”

The dances include “Bud” to Rufus Wainwright’s music, which is a love duet that is both athletic and technical; “Quadrivium” to Steve Reich’s music is a new commission about four boys playing on a playground; “Slapstick” has no music but its rhythms come from the two men creating body percussion; “Solo” to atmospheric music that is hypnotically beautifully; and “Trouble Will Find Me” to Pakistani/Brazilian/hip-hop music that has great lifts.

James is especially looking forward to the performance, which is part of an 11-state New England tour, because he’ll get to reconnect with old friends at Skidmore College, where he used to lecture some 15 years ago, he said. Although his company is still fairly young, they’ve already been to South Africa, the Cayman Islands three times and have plans to tour Bulgaria next year.

“I’m very, very grateful,” James said. “I’m riding the wave.”

Collage Dance Collective, which performs Oct. 20 at The Egg, is not your typical dance company. It was founded more than 10 years ago in New York City when Dance Theatre of Harlem went on a hiatus.

“We wanted to provide a platform for a racially mixed, diverse company that would reach nontraditional ballet audiences and would be a professional, full-time company,” Marcellus Harper said. “We moved to Memphis, where 65 percent of the population is Afro-American, so the demography spoke to our mission. There were also lots of talented kids without training and no ballet was being done. We also decided that if we really wanted to address the issue of professional diversity, then the ballet needed an educational component.”

The Collage Ballet Conservatory was established in 2009 and trains students in contemporary dance with a classic sensibility, Harper said.

Ten dancers will perform five pieces, including a world premiere, to music from Bach to Njo Kong Kie. The performance also includes a residency at UAlbany.

Raphael Xavier’s Point of Interest on Nov. 7 at UAlbany is a mesmerizing and artful presentation of hip-hop and break dancing that Xavier created 10 years ago after a spine infection and a temporary paralysis threatened his dance career with the Rennie Harris Puremovement company. Break dancing since 1983, Xavier’s improvisation-based performance has become world famous with stints as lecturer for college dance programs. His troupe will perform solos, duets and quintets, mostly to rap music.

If you go

Tango Fire: Sept. 30, 8 p.m. The Egg. $34
10 Hairy Legs: Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m. UAlbany Performing Arts Center. $15
Collage dance collective: Oct. 20, 8 p.m. The Egg. $28
Point of Interest: Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m., UAlbany Performing Arts Center. $15
More info: 518-473-1061; 518-442-3995;

Categories: Entertainment

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