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Three Female Choreographers Focus on Women’s Empowerment at NYLA 5/17-19

Photo Credit: David Gonsier

Known for its “powerfully engaging” (New York Arts) and “contemporary and fresh” (Theatre Is Easy) choreography, Ariel Rivka Dance (ARD) collaborates with the acclaimed Amy Marshall Dance Company and choreographer/dancer Chanel DaSilva for a season of provocative dance dedicated to empowering female expression. An audience favorite for its accessible, graceful signature style of movement, the all-female ARD celebrates its 11th season under the helm of choreographer Ariel Grossman. Program includes two world premieres by Grossman, one by DaSilva, and beloved repertory by both Grossman and Marshall. (Program details are below.)

“This is a particularly charged time and this year has brought to light many of the inequities women have faced historically,” says Ariel Grossman, artistic director of Ariel Rivka Dance. The way I can contribute to the movement of females empowering other females is by recognizing and supporting fellow choreographers.  I pride myself on the community of women I surround myself with, who are all intelligent, powerful, creative, and disciplined humans.”

“Amy and Chanel create honest and vibrant work that isn’t afraid of being extremely vulnerable. I am honored to share our season with two women who are not only incredible artists, but also women whom I have deep respect for because of their endurance, work ethic, and ability to bring communities together.”

ARD presents two new works: a solo work that reflects on the sacrifices one makes for passion, and She, a dance that delves into the emotional waves of motherhood. As a mother of two, Grossman shares her frustrations with striving to attain the unattainable goal of being “the perfect mother” in She. In collaboration with female costume designer Marianna Tsartolia (former Rioult dancer), this compelling work is set to a unique soundscape of layering breast pump sounds by female composer Stefania deKenessey. Also on the program is ARD’s No Words (2017), a response to the frustrations and fears associated with women being silenced. Commissioned by NJPAC, it premiered last year at New York Live Arts during ARD’s 10th anniversary season. According to Critical Dance, “it’s a coarse, angry, absorbing dance, and one that’s groundbreaking both for Grossman and her dancers.”

Sharing the stage is the Amy Marshall Dance Company. According to Marshall, she mixes contemporary themes with classical structure. “I fuse these elements into an enduring emotional experience. That which lasts beyond the performance itself is the essence of my work.” Marshall showcases three works from her inspiring, dramatic repertory. Two duets, Ne Me Quitte Pas (2014) and No Exit (2005)are athletic tour de forces. The ensemble work, Shakambhari (2015), is inspired by a story of the Hindu goddess who once had to defend herself and the people over a drought caused by the Demon, Durgamasur. Marshall has created movement and characters to help translate the story for the stage.

Chanel DaSilva returns to set a premiere piece on four ARD dancers with her signature energetic style. Her 2017 debut was a success: “the choreographer was multi-faceted and searing…the movement was unified and disciplined, programmed and purposeful (Critical Dance). DaSilva was a classmate of Grossman’s at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, is a Juilliard School graduate, and after a lengthy association with Trey McIntyre Project, is currently a member of Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and a co-founder of MOVE(NYC), an intensive summer program for local teenagers. 

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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