Dancing on Eighth Avenue


Well, the opportunity to say that I have been scooped by the New York Times will probably not happen again soon. I opened the paper to see a review of Garth Fagan’s Dance Company the morning after I saw it and I thought, well, the Times agrees with me.

My friend had an extra ticket and I gladly accepted although, to my shame, I knew only the name of the company. The Joyce is right in the heart of Chelsea–on Eighth Avenue, near 18th Street. You can eat dinner in a chic restaurant,

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buy a vintage poster,

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or adopt a dog

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near the theater.

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The original 1941 Elgin went through stages as a revival cinema then a pornographic one. It’s now the Joyce, a jewel box 471-seat theater, with a cafe,

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and a wonderfully roomy balcony complete with comfy chairs.

The Joyce, “created by dancers for dance,” provides performance space for small- and medium-sized dance companies plus rehearsal studios–a tough thing to find in this town. While the top ticket price is $69, with a little foresight you can snag a seat for $19 and there are no bad seats at the Joyce. If you buy tickets for four shows, you will also get a 25% discount. Dance doesn’t come any more accessible than this.

According to its website,The Garth Fagan Company, now in its 43rd year, has been named one of the “100 Irreplaceable Dance Treasures” by the Dance Heritage Coalition and I could see why. Fagan paid homage to previous generations’ giants–Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey, George Balanchine –and traditions–Latin, Caribbean, African, ballet– in his signature style. And it is gorgeous.

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In Easter Freeway Processional, dancers fling their arms into the air as they whirl, creating “jet trails,” my friend said. They balance, lean on air, and jump high. In No Evidence of Failure’s pas de deux, danced to the moving “No Woman No Cry,” Natalie Rogers leaps into Vitolio Jeane’s arms as he spins away.

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At the end, all the dancers bowed down low to their toes (next time I take a bow, I’m going to do this),

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and Fagan, who choreographed The Lion King, and a bit of an old lion himself, danced onto the stage for his well-deserved kudos.

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