I hadn't previously heard of this 5-year old company, but by the end of the evening they had won me over and I hope to see them at the Joyce Theater for a full week soon. The evening started with "A Swing and a Miss," which included immensely technical dancing with off-kilter balances, tenuous lines and awkwardly beautiful handstands that travelled across the spacee. My only distraction was the fiery red and yellow unitards painted with nipples. In the second piece, "Rapture," the stunningly beautiful dancers Emily Craver and Marc Mann are at times competing with the film projected on the two walls of the space. I began wondering why there are different dancers in the first piece's unitards in the film, and if they are related. At this point, the evening shot way above and beyond my expectations.
Comparing the earlier works with his latest work "We Fall Down, We Get Up" indicates the artful road that Rubén Gracini is walking down and his company only strengthens and quickens his pace. The 24 choral members define the space with red rope for the 5 dancers clothed beautifully in sky blue filmy costumes by David Quinn, and the driftwood and mirrored sculptures by Phillip Trevnio make you feel as if you are in an avant garde gallery space. It was so inventive and well-balanced. The music mash up seemed odd until it was in context and it took me on an audible journey from a church to a porch swing and then to an intense drum circle and back.
The piece was about the identity of the boundaries we create for ourselves. I can feel this is a company of dancers who work so well together -- this is really evident in the quietest parts of the piece. In a particular instance, the tiny powerhouse Emily Pacilio mounts different dancers' shoulders and falls from them like a bird out of the sky leaving the audience breathless. Each dancer has their own distinct voice and is equally qualified and interesting. The classical long lines are woven into poetic phrases and Gracini's work has a real, fresh look to it. In fact, the classical cleanliness of the technique only allows the dancer's quirky artistry to peek through without being indulgent. RG Dance Projects will be doing another show in June 2013 at the Saratoga Arts Fest. Too bad it isn't closer to NYC.