Review: Dance Now! I
December 18, 2011 A sure sign of success for a dance company is when the roster of dancers changes, yet the vision of the founders remains. This was clear in the Dance Now! program presented at the Little Haiti Cultural Center last Saturday. A slate of new material (all but one of the pieces were world premieres) from founders Hannah Baumgarten and Diego Salterini featured many new dancers, yet the signature of each choreographer’s style was unmistakable. There was one very familiar face, former DNE principal dancer Colleen Farnum, returning to the Dance Now! stage. Perhaps I should say familiar limbs, as Farnum’s extra-long arms and legs folded and unfurled in a rectangular white box in an elegant series of yoga poses during the first of the world premieres, “floatingflyingfalling,” set to Pink Floyd and choreographed by Baumgarten. Apart from Farnum and fellow willowy red-head Megan Hollsinger, the rest of the sextet were relative newcomers, In his second season with the company, Dariel Milan flexed his contemporary muscles with breathtaking grace, especially in the lyrical duet “Three Moments in Time” with newcomer Cristiane Silva, choreographed by Salterieni. The duo enacted the progress of a couple’s relationship from first date through tenth anniversary seemingly floating in and out of each other’s arms — and across tables and chairs — in a rare narrative break from an otherwise abstract program. Hollsinger paired with another newcomer, Justin O’Ferrall, in the harder edged pas de deux “Pulverized Habitat” where Baumgarten had the two partnering like puzzle pieces coming together then breaking apart in sharp, geometric shapes. The evening closed with two high-energy pieces for the whole ensemble, introducing company apprentice Devaughn McGann, who proved a lanky counterpart for Farnum in Baumgarten’s “Memos from the Last Millenium.” The ensemble seemed genuinely to enjoy themselves in the leaps and leans of Baumgarten and Salterini’s closing “Crossroads,” a joy that was infectious as the friendly house left the cozy Little Haiti theater smiling. Originally published in the SunPost in December 2010.