Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

June 19, 2008

Garth Fagan Dance

Jacob's Pillow Dance, Becket
through June 22
by Rachel White

Opening the 76th season at the legendary and historic Jacob's Pillow, Garth Fagan Dance showcases their unique style and choreography to Western Massachusetts' dance enthusiasts to enjoy in a rare and treasured evening. Tony Award winning choreographer Garth Fagan brings his signature piece "Griot New York" and offers audiences a glimpse at his vision displayed in a wonderful blend of Caribbean, African, Modern and Ballet styles of dance.

Originally staged in 1991, the evening begins with distinguished set design, performed to the music of Wynton Marsalis and continues on a wonderful journey into the mind of a great crafter of dance choreography. Dancers perform with intense concentration and focus, drawing the audience in the minute the curtain rises. Notable and enchanting, the third segment of the first act, "Spring Yaounde," is a beautiful performance by Fagan's rehearsal director and "muse" Norwood Pennewell with Nicolette Depass. Sensual and passionate, the pair are both athletically and artistically sculpted, and demonstrate a deep and emotional connection throughout the intense choreography.

The second act begins with a personal piece performed by the Company, "The Disenfranchised," depicting the constant struggle between art and AIDS. A lonely and desperate piece, the choreography displays amazing intensity and strength, while bringing beauty with each detailed movement. Continuing on a lighter note, it guides the audience through a series of segments that display dance on a global stage, blending traditional dance with cultural history. Dancers are fabulously gifted not only on an aesthetic level, but also on an emotional level as they show a deep commitment to their craft.

It is an amazing thing to be in the presence of an industry leader and his vision; Garth Fagan and his company bring this wonderful opportunity to Jacob's Pillow. Though unique, the bill may not be for the novice dance lover, however the chance to view a piece that is and will be treasured for generations to come, should be embraced and celebrated to those fortunate enough to enjoy the experience.