Saturday, October 28, 2017

How Igal Perry's Dance Company In New York Is Integral To Humanity In General

Photo Courtesy Of Cesar Brodermann, Peridance Contemporary Dance Company

Located in the heart of New York City, close to Union Square, Peridance Contemporary Dance Company was founded by Artistic Director Igal Perry in 1984, one year after he founded the Peridance Capezio Center, one of the foremost training institutions in New York. Perry wanted to provide a dance home in the city for artists from around the world, both in the center and the company.

Peridance Contemporary Dance Company employs 10 dancers and three apprentices. All of the dancers are classically trained but are each also incredibly versatile in their movement and vocabulary. They rehearse at their home studios, the Peridance Capezio Center.

Most of the terpsichoreans get into the company by attending their annual workshop and open audition. Some also come into the house by first attending the two-year, pre-professional certificate program at the Peridance Capezio Center. Current company members Alexandre Barranco, Greta Zuccarello, Matteo Fiorani, and Sohye Kim attended this program before joining the company.

Peridance is repertory, and their work spans many genres, which showcases their incredibly versatile dancers. Many of their productions are contemporary, and contemporary ballet, but they have also had improvisational, jazz, and flamenco works in past seasons. Their main opus is our annual New York Spring Season: in this make, they premiere new works by Igal Perry and guest choreographers such as Ohad Naharin, Dwight Rhoden, Bryan Arias, Sidra Bell, and many others. This piece serves as a springboard for future touring opportunities, in which they tour the works from the season to national and international festivals and venues. They also have an au courant version of "The Nutcracker", choreographed by Perry, that provides a fun, fresh version of the classic to audiences each December.

Perry is heavily influenced by ballet and elements of folk dance that he grew up with in Israel. But the company is also deeply influenced by the dance culture of New York City: the culture of collaboration, innovation, diversity, and excellence. Peridence invites many New York City-based choreographers to set work at the company, and each of them influence culture in a unique way.

So just how important is New York as the backdrop for the arts and culture scene? "We believe it is critical: the venues, funding, and popular support for the arts in NYC are arguably more than any other place in the United States. (Although both studio space and funding is becoming more scarce)," says administrative coordinator Hanna Newman. "New York City truly has a culture of art appreciation: people support the arts here by coming to performances, giving money, or even participating themselves in recreational dance classes. And as a multicultural center, it also has a richness of diversity that shapes the arts and culture here. Peridance is an example of that: with international directors and many international dancers (half of our company!), we see the incredible benefit of having people of diverse perspectives and experiences working together in the arts. And that is what New York City is really all about."

And there's more to be said as Newman further elaborates that moving one's feet and body to the sound of music, as an expression in our present climate, is a form of communication in a world that desperately needs to explore how to better communicate with others. "It's a valuable resource for expressing ideas in a different way that makes them more accessible. Dance also has the power to carry powerful, overt messages--or subtle, thoughtful ones. It can ignite discussion as we seek to understand it and appreciate it. And in an often overly polarized cultural climate, this honest discussion and expression can unite and heal where society was once divided. A few of our works have socio-political thematic elements that allow us to speak to the current cultural shifts."

This of course raises the question: How essential is it for mankind to boogie down? "There is something very special about a group of people (most of whom don't know each other) coming together to watch a two-hour dance performance in the same space that is a shared experience that has just been created between a group of people who may have had nothing in common before," explains Newman and continues, "humanity needs more shared experiences. Dance is a language that everyone can understand, and it dissolves boundaries between people."

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