Ariel Rivka Dance, Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, featured soloists Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch and Paul Dennis, with special guest works by Sean Curran

Directed by Ariel Grossman and David Homan

Off Off Broadway, Dance
Ran May 28-30
NY Live Arts, 219 West 19th Street


by Jane Sato on 6.1.15

Ariel Rivka group showCarolyn Dorfman Dance Company. Photo by Paula Lobo.


BOTTOM LINE: An elegant array of choreographers and musicians curated by Ariel Rivka Dance.

This curated evening of dance showcases featured the choreography of Ariel Grossman of Ariel Rivka Dance (ARD), Sean Curran, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Deborah Goffe and Carolyn Dorfman. A large portion of the performance was performed with live music that ranged from string quartet and brass ensemble to beat boxing. Esteemed choreographer Sean Curran showcased 2 premieres.
Study for 3 Women from Bishkeh is a trio by Sean Curran where the women leaped through phrases with Barbie-like positions of the feet, swirling movements and characteristic walks that carved the space. The women stopped at moments to scan the horizon, and although the recurring themes and phrases were pleasant, it felt much like a study that revealed a new composition than a story.
The next haunting solo of a ghost-like woman, danced by Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch, Zjawa was sultry, tragic and mesmerizing. Ellmore-Tallitsch, well versed in Graham technique as a principal dancer in the Martha Graham Dance Company packed a punch. She imparted clarity to her emotions while keeping the audience wondering how this women found herself in this place. She trudged in backwards as if being rewound through space and her phrases felt like flash back scenes as they were repeated. At the end, she fades out of sight into the blackness again. The music by John Zorn encapsulated the yearning that her body brought forth and was a strong ally alongside Scarpetowska's bold statement. 
Desert Dance/Even Here, a group ensemble danced by ARD and created by Sean Curran was beautifully lit and costumed as the dancers fluttered from one side of the stage to the other like tumbleweeds at sunset. They clad red and tan and white tones by Amanda Shafran that added a tone to the piece. There was a playful yet conscious approach to the phrasing. The desert landscape came alive in their simple but profound gestures.
Paul Dennis and the four brass musicians were lit in silhouette at the start of Be'Spoke(n) by Deborah Goffe. As the musicians set a band shell for Dennis to dance both physically and audibly, the effect was cinematic. The score is inventive, incorporating the onomatopoeia of sound into a melodic piece. There was even a moment when the musicians stopped playing and all lit up the backdrop with their cell phones. Paul’s dancing was quiet and pensive in contrast to the sharp airy sounds expertly composed by Damon Honeycutt. 
Ori, a group piece by Ariel Grossman of ARD, filled the stage with 7 languid women. The choreography drew on balletic movement, but felt contemporary and fresh. The women recalled Ninjinska's Afternoon of a Faun as they linked arms to cello pieces composed by David Homan. They created architecture between them and with all the canons, it felt as if I was watching a zoetrope going around. Capturing the abstract, this husband as composer/wife as choreographer team left the crowd with dancers in black jutting quickly across the space and the music driving and forceful. They were equal forces of nature.
The last piece by Caroyln Dorfman was fun, but disjointed in feeling. Waves started off strong with a female solo, and duet to a beat boxer. This duet was intensely playful, as was the collaboration with  the musicians and dancers. This made for a strong theme to the evening. The music and dancers had great energy and respect for each other. The audience participation in this piece was well led by dancer Justin Dominic, but it would have felt more appropriate at the end of the show. The last group section was a little disappointing after this energy dropped, not that it wasn't celebratory.
Overall, an excellently curated show with interesting complimentary work. The evening felt well rounded and was like champagne taste on a beer budget.

(Ariel Rivka Dance, Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, featured soloists Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch and Paul Dennis, with special guest works by Sean Curran was at New York Live Arts, 219 West Street, from May 28-30, 2015. Tickets were $15-$30, available at or by calling 212.924.0077.)