January 21, 2010
The Critical Truth: Mdme. B.'s First Annual Dance Awards & Review
APAP (4 Stars!)
Association of Performing Arts Presenters (January 8-12, NYC)
http://www.apapconference.com/ & http://www.artspresenters.org/
APAP is your yearly ticket to see nearly every decent performing arts organization in the country, all in the course of 4 days! Running from morning to near midnight in studios all across the Metropolis, APAP elicits nearly 1000 showcase performances, proving itself a heady, Performing Arts Paradise. AND, IT IS FREE! This truly makes it a must of a venture. Even when the air is frigidly cold and begging you to stay in, I compel you to put on your silk britches and get out! Serving as the premier conference where Presenters and Artists meet and greet, all in hopes of finding or becoming the next big thing, APAP is bursting with fantastic actors, musicians, singers, dancers and more, sure to tickle even the most peculiar of fancies!
THE CHICAGO TAP THEATRE
3.75 Stars (out of 4 stars)
Mdme. B. Award(s): BEST CREATIVE DIRECTION FOR A TAP ENSEMBLE
Advice to Obey: When only showing 2 pieces, finish with your own Choreography!
Marketing Advice to Consider: Red Glossy Folders for your press pack instead of White. Everything else, the same.
Worth Presenting/ Funding Further?: Absolutely!
Fall For Dance Worthy? Yes for 2010!
At a Glance: Directed by a Very Charming Gentleman, Mark Yonally, this Troupe serves a wonderful example of good solid story telling. Mark has a varied background, dancing for Bill Evans and E.T.C. before starting his current endeavor. And this background has served him well, because he has integrated it so cleverly into a product that is rather unique when it comes to Tap Ensembles.
The Performance: Right away I was swept in. Beginning with "Bad Businessman" I was not only impressed by the strong costuming but also that each and every one of the 11 dancers seemed to be thoroughly unique besides. This was a true theatrical piece, with a strong plot carried right on through! The use of Rhythm and Gesture along with clever staging was perfect for the work. I'd love to see this troupe on a big stage - here -- in NYC. To add, I couldn't take my eyes off of the Dietrich Rendition of Jennifer Pfaff. She was just great! A strong presence and spot-on facial expression told me that she was thoroughly wrapped into character. Then as the work went further, Stacy Milam's diminutive spark started pulling me in. She's funny! Really, everyone was great and this is most likely because when the Choreography is great and the concept strong and well, all you really need is talent and good direction. Obviously, there is talent in this group. You really can't fake that with Tap. and Mark? Well if you go to his website here and look at the Repertoire list, you can see that he is no beginner as a Director -- plus he is a great performer to boot. He practices his Craft. YAY!
The second piece on the show was a staging of a Brenda Buffalino work titled :"Flying Turtles". It was charming enough and was especially fitting for dancer Phil Brooks who seemed quite comfortable floating about on a Breeze.... but well, I still loved Bad Businessman more and really feel that this piece should have begun, not ended this short program. After I found out that it was a re-staging of a much earlier work by Brenda, it helped me understand. It was a lovely and relaxing piece, and it does have historical relevance as Brenda was a sort of Ground Breaker with her Modern twist to tap, and it did balance out the program with its sort of float like a butterfly quality. But I still left wanting to see more of Mark's work. And so did my Opera Diva Friend.
To read more from Mdme B., visit http://mybitchylittlenyblog.blogspot.com