Mary Anthony’s Christmas Concert

Anthony Studio, 736 Broadway, New York City
December 12, 13, and 14, 2008

A Review

Each Christmas season Mary presents the work of her students followed by her own traditional A Ceremony of Carols (Benjamin Britten) at her studio. With drapery and color media on the lights (for which she has an eight dimmer control board) she has a very usable space for showing to about forty persons.

Of course the students’ work comes first on the program. The students are assorted in age and experience, but each has movement skill and their own unique vision.

The choreographer has a vision and makes a mark in space. That space is uniquely changed, so that the next mark must be concerned, not merely with the idea inside the choreographer’s head, but also with this changed space. Throughout the evening I saw impressive construction in motion and shape (solo and group), but these visions were ignored because the choreographer continued to pursue his intellectual concept instead of recognizing the motional construct. Each dance is really a living organism (as dancers are) and the choreographer must see and nourish what it is as it matures into a performing piece. That said—within every piece are moments of beauty or skill that make the evening worthwhile. As an example, I would site the work in Tina Lee’s Reconstruction Now as being well conceived and performed by Stephany Anie, Debora Thomasen, and Mark Mouritzen.

Debra Malden, who is the guest performer on this program, with her The Coal Man gives us complete emersion in idea and a great spectator experience.

To perform in A Ceremony of Carols is the aim of all of Mary’s students. It is, of course, a well-conceived piece, danced by veterans, augmented by students. The processional and the dance of joy open the work beautifully. Some of the unique images are unforgettable (Joseph carrying Mary) as was Ms. Anthony’s portrait of Jesus. The Angel’s dance is beautifully constructed and danced. The entire cast are to be commended, in particular the principals: Adrian Jeziciki (Joseph), Denise Elder (Mary), Juan Carlos Gonzales (Jesus), and Stephanie Van Zendorren (the Angel).

This concert demonstrates the bridge between “modern” and “contemporary” dance styles, with eclectic infusions of ballet, modern technical skills, street dancing, what-have-you. Ms. Anthony teaching follows the dictate of her generation and meets this generation with openness and grace to produce enjoyable dance art.

—Ruth Grauert, December 14, 2008


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