Ariel Rivka Dance 9th Season Festival—A Mixed Bag of Modern Dance: Works by Ariel Grossman, Pascal Rioult, Heidi Latsky and Elisa King

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Ariel Rivka Dance. Photo David Gonsier.

Ariel Rivka Dance. Photo David Gonsier.

Ariel Rivka Dance
9th Season Festival

Works by Ariel Grossman, Pascal Rioult, Heidi Latsky, and Elisa King

New York Live Arts
May 20, 2016

A Mixed Bag of Modern Dance

Strong women are the hallmark of this modern dance program featuring works by Ariel Grossman, Pascal Rioult, Heidi Latsky and Elisa King. Male dancers also take the stage, notably in Grossman’s Variations on a Box, the final piece, and one of the most powerfully engaging, as the dancers push and shove one another, abruptly fall to the ground, rise and move as a group with small, shuffling steps.

Several pieces featured four cellos with original music by David Homan, sometimes accompanied by two vocalists, an excellent Nicholas Dromard and less successful Carrie Manolakos who pushes beyond her range.

Timestamp #4, #1 and #2, are pieces of pure movement for men and women choreographed by Heidi Latsky that I found a little monotonous and therefore less captivating than other works on the program.

Wein, danced by RIOULT dance to Ravel’s Bolero, turns the classic piece upside down. Instead of sweeping elegance, we get perpetual motion and repeated patterns with dancers in silver body suits turning themselves into machines. It’s almost hypnotic.

Elisa King performs her own choreography in Sky Blue World, dancing to music by the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra that sometimes sounds (and feels) like a gigantic in- and exhalation. King, with her mop of reddish-gold hair, is forceful and fully in command of the stage throughout. I’d keep an eye out for her.

Some of Grossman’s choreography is overly repetitive—that may be her point but over time can become hard to watch. In Hallelujah Eva, five women investigate their lives together and apart, ultimately finding a shared vision but more variety of steps would give the piece greater dimension. ARD Company dancers, Caitlyn Casson, Allie Kronick, Kristin Licata, Casie O’Kane, Kyleigh Sackandy, Danita Shaheen, and Hana Ginsburg Tirosh work hard throughout the performance. Despite some wobbly arabesques and other balances, they handle the choreography, with its ample measures of leaping and spinning, well.

Founded in 2008 by dancer/choreographer Ariel Rebecca (Rivka) Grossman, Ariel Rivka Dance (ARD) is a contemporary ballet company based in New York City committed to creating work that explores raw emotion in the context of strong technique and form. In 2014 ARD was awarded a residency at MANA Contemporary through Armitage Gone! Dance and a grant from the Nathan Cummings foundation. Recently, ARD was presented at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Saratoga ArtsFest and Greenspace Blooms Festival and was the recipient of a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council grant.

Pascal Rioult, Artistic Director and Choreographer of RIOULT Dance NY, is a former French track and field athlete who performed with the Martha Graham Dance Company as a principal. He founded his company in 1981.

About the author

Mari S. Gold

Mari S. Gold is a freelance writer who contributes to many magazines and websites. Her blog, But I Digress… , on cultural events, travel, food  and other topics is at She lives in New York City.

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