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Open: 05/05/14- Close: 05/05/14 Dance Against Cancer
Reviewed for By: Ashley Griffin

The 2014 Dance Against Cancer Gala was a spectacular evening with a performance that was a true embarrassment of riches and was at once deeply moving, and incredibly inspiring. The event was always beautifully focused on the American Cancer Society – the most poignant moments being when the show opened with sound clips of the dancers saying their name, their company, and dedicating their performance to a loved one who has, had, or passed away from cancer. Both Erin Fogarty and Christopher Wheeldon made beautiful, and deeply moving speeches as well. This is a fantastic event, and I highly recommend attending/donating in the future.

Highlights of the evening included a world premier ballet (“Sea Change”) by NYCB member Justin Peck and danced by Patricia Delgado, Lauren King, Jared Angle, and Taylor Stanley. Justin Peck has established himself as a choreographer of note, and his fluid, floating choreography in this new piece was at once beautifully ethereal, and emotionally grounded.

The always wonderful Liam Scarlett presented an excerpt of his piece “Acheron” danced stunningly by Tiler Peck and Robert Fairchild. Scarlett also designed the costumes, which I found to be some of the most beautiful, and effective dance costumes I have ever seen.  Scarlett is second to none at creating shapes and transitions within the ballet vocabulary that have never been seen before. “Acheron,” especially as danced by real life couple Peck and Fairchild was sensual, loving, emotional, passionate, and always beautiful.

Daniel Ulbricht stopped the show with his performance in “Les Lutins” by Johan Kobborg. Dancing faster, and jumping higher then seemed humanly possible; he was an explosion of joy onstage. I’ve never seen tours look quite so easy, or liberating.

Clifton Brown of the always excellent Lar Lubovitch Dance Company presented a lovely contemporary work “Dedications” by Frederick Earl Mosley, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company presented a phenomenal “Men’s Quartet from Cloven Kingdom” featuring Michael Trusnovec, Robert Kleinendorst, James Samson, and Sean Mahoney.

The always extraordinary Gillian Murphy performed the “Don Quixote Pas De Deux” and did the fastest, most commanding fouettes I’ve ever seen.

The incomparable Christopher Wheeldon presented his beautiful duet “After The Rain” featuring Criag Hall and Alessandra Ferri. It was an especially poignant performance as the first ballet Wheeldon ever saw was Ms. Ferri’s debut performance with the Royal Ballet at Covent Gardens.

AXA Equitable Theater : 787 Seventh Avenue