The annual Fire Island Dance Festival took place in New York last week and raised a record-breaking amount for its worthy cause: Dancers Responding to AIDS. This year also featured five new world-premiere works and more than 30 professional dancers.
Highlights included ballerina Wendy Whelan in choreographer Brian Brooks' piece First Fall, a MADBOOTS Dance piece in response to the Orlando tragedy titled For Us and the first U.S. performance of Cuba's Ballet Contemporáneo de Camagüey. Dance Theatre of Harlem also debuted Equilibrium (BROTHERHOOD) by Darrell Grand Moultrie and Dorrance Dance performed a jaw-dropping tap piece.
Wendy Whelan and Brian Brooks perform First Fall. (Photo by Daniel Roberts via Facebook, Dancers Responding to AIDS)
The fest's iconic stage, overlooking the water, makes for a pretty stunning venue. And thankfully, for those that missed out, some of the dances have made their way to YouTube. Check out the highlights video first, then scroll down for a full-length performance of Al Blackstone's upbeat "Gay Paree" (a re-imagined piece from his recent hit Freddie Falls in Love) and appearances by Dance Theatre of Harlem, MADBOOTS Dance and Gallim Dance.
It's time for another round of How Awesome Is Wendy Whelan? Let Us Count the Ways!
The New York City Ballet principal has always been a thoughtful dancer, interested in exploring new ways to expand her artistry. Recently she's been working on projects that even take her outside the realm of ballet. Her latest adventure, Restless Creature, is an evening of dance featuring Whelan performing new works by contemporary choreographers Kyle Abraham, Josh Beamish, Brian Brooks and Alejandro Cerrudo. The show's official premiere will be at Jacob's Pillow this August. But you don't have to wait that long to get a taste of what's sure to be an amazing program.
This Sunday, Whelan and her team will give the world a sneak peek at Restless Creature as part of the Guggenheim's excellent Works & Process series. The presentation will include excerpts from the show and a discussion with Whelan and the four choreographers, moderated by Ella Baff of Jacob's Pillow.
Naturally, this thing is totally sold out. But never fear! There'll be a livestream of the event, which starts at 3 pm EST, here.