Shall we dance? Absolutely! This Sept. 26, 2016 photo released by New York City Center shows STREB Extreme Action performing at Fall for Dance Opening Night at City Center in New York. (Stephanie Berger/New York City Center via AP)
Shall we dance? Absolutely!
Lexile

As the annual Fall for Dance festival opened this season at New York City Center, the usual admonition to turn off those phones was missing. In its place was a request: Take them out. Shoot and tweet away!
 
There's always a boisterous feeling at Fall for Dance. It's a 10-day affair, a smorgasbord of performances by 20 companies from around the globe. The $15 price tag makes it much more affordable than other dance fare, and the house is always packed and vocal.
 
Though the clear highlight this year was the appearance of not one, not two, but three much adored ballerinas - two who have retired from the ballet stage - the festival was also notable for its great diversity of offerings.
 
Opening night was especially boisterous, thanks to the Brooklyn-based Streb Extreme Action, a troupe that performs high-flying, injury-defying feats that often include dancers slamming their bodies into the floor from nauseating heights.
 
Their new piece, "Airslice," involved not only said body-slamming, but also a series of maneuvers aboard a huge spinning ladder. Dancers swung from its rungs and otherwise tempted fate (and bodily harm) as the ladder kept speeding up. You could have cut the tension with a knife - perhaps that's where "slice" came from - but for the gleeful looks on the faces of the dancers. They clearly have found an outlet for their thrill-seeking tendencies.
 
In later programs came the ballerinas. First up was Wendy Whelan, who retired from the New York City Ballet two years ago but has been busy exploring contemporary dance. A beloved New York fixture, Whelan appeared not in pointe shoes but in black heels, along with black stockings, topped with a button-down white shirt.
 
Whelan performed with Edward Watson of the Royal Ballet in Arthur Pita's "The Ballad of Mack and Ginny."  It is a tango-inflected piece set to Kurt Weill's "Tango Ballad" from the 1928 musical "The Threepenny Opera." 
 
A few nights later came a more classic take on doomed love - and the rare appearance on a New York stage of Alina Cojocaru. The Romanian-born dancer and her fiance, Johan Kobborg, originally had been due to perform Frederick Ashton's "Marguerite and Armand" along with the Bucharest National Opera Ballet. Because of their recent rift and departure from that company, the couple performed instead with the Sarasota Ballet.
 
The diminutive Cojocaru was her usual delicate, soulful self as she danced the acting-heavy role of the fragile heroine dying of tuberculosis. (Kobborg was her stern father; her ardent lover was the Stuttgart Ballet's Friedemann Vogel.)
 
And then, on closing weekend, came Alessandra Ferri, one of the world's most popular ballerinas, still dancing at age 53 despite "retiring" from American Ballet Theatre in 2007.
 
Ferri, who in June made a triumphant one-night return to Juliet - her signature role - with ABT, appeared with her favored partner of the last few years, Herman Cornejo. On a dark stage adorned by a lighted column on one side, the two twisted and churned slowly to "Witness," a new piece by choreographer Wayne McGregor.
 
Other highlights included everything from classical Indian dance (Shantala Shivalingappa) to a sobering meditation on human sacrifice by the South African choreographer Dada Masilo. Memorably, Demetia Hopkins-Greene of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performed the powerful solo work "Cry."
 
And Spanish flamenco dancer Farruquito sent a jolt of energy through the room as he whipped his feet around the stage, long hair flying and beads of sweat misting the air.
 
At the end, he invited each of his musicians and singers to take a spin onstage. In the spirit of the occasion, they all obliged, with the audience cheering.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are cell phones encouraged?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (9)
  • kaileew-ste
    10/18/2016 - 02:42 p.m.

    The annual Fall for Dance festival in New York City has opened. The cost for this global 20 company event is only 15 dollars. This is cool because normally dance events are really expensive so now everyone will get the opportunity to witness some beautiful dances.

  • pilarj-cel
    10/21/2016 - 09:44 a.m.

    Cell phones are encouraged because the audience is witnessing something that will likely not happen again or rarely because there are many retired dancers performing again! It's a rare opportunity and something that is tremendous to experience.

  • annakatep-cel
    10/21/2016 - 10:23 a.m.

    Cell phones are encouraged at this event so that people are able to remember the event more. Also people are able to advertise the event more. By taking pictures and videos of the dancers they are showing people how exciting the event is and making people pumped to come.

  • jareds-cel
    10/24/2016 - 10:24 a.m.

    Cell phones are encouraged for many reasons. One of them being you can get in touch with whoever whenever you want. Also if you are in trouble cell phones are a quick way to get in touch with your loved ones if something happens. With the dancers however, you can tell your friends all about them and more people will come out to watch the show.

  • michellec1-lam
    10/28/2016 - 01:33 p.m.

    Dance is hard in general but being a ballerina is a sport. Maybe that's why some people took dance at a very young age.

  • hannahh3-man
    11/03/2016 - 11:06 a.m.

    The director of all of this most likely wants the event to be more out there and available to everyone whether they are in New York or not.

  • noahr-ste
    11/11/2016 - 12:31 p.m.

    Cell phones are encouraged at these events for many reasons. One reason and probably the biggest is, so people advertise the dance events. Also it gives people the memories they can look back on. Lastly it lets me show others what they are missing out on when people post things so then they want to do it.

  • gabbyt-lam
    11/23/2016 - 02:24 p.m.

    I would have loved to go to this. It really seems interesting because it wasn't just ballet, or just one kind of dance, but many! It's fascinating how diverse the forms of dance were, and it was also affordable. Paying 15 dollars to see a plethora of different dancers and choreography seems like a great opportunity!

  • giannab-
    2/14/2017 - 01:01 p.m.

    To tell about the ballet and so people can tweet if they liked it or dis liked it and show their expirences in photos. its cool that it is only $15 because usually things like this are alot more money.

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