March 1, 2023
Emerge125’s New York City premiere is a joint effort between Chelsea Factory and the
company’s artistic director and choreographer Tiffany Rea-Fisher. The program is a thoughtful
dive into Rea-Fisher’s fluid contemporary style consisting of six dances from the last ten years of
The first dance, scored by a lilting saxophone, is a tender tribute to the late Barbadian
dancer Richild Springer. Seven dancers bound across the stage, dynamic, graceful, and
overflowing with jubilant energy as their undulating leaps and twists carry them in and out of the
wings. Alisa Gregory is featured as a soloist and ends the piece with a gentle exhalation that
ushers an air of intimacy into the spacious theater.
Following this, Identity centers on the balletic
and muscular Dennzyl Green, whose lithe movements are complemented by cannoning waves of
motion across the ensemble as they snake about the stage. Similarly, Behavioral
Synchrony finds deep contractions and expansions echoing through the company punctured by
acrobatic jumps. Lit with saturated magenta the dancers' contorted bodies cast long and dramatic
In the second half of the program, Rea-Fisher’s frenetic style crystallizes. 2022’s Poly
String Theory takes the music of Kaiser Quartet as inspiration for its gyroscopic momentum,
propelling the dancers through unfurling sequences of attitude-bent legs and pointed toes.
audible panting continues through the cerebral Newton’s Cradle, in which the dancers—clad in
geometric leotards by Rachel Dozier-Ezell—drift with lifted eyes between stillness and
delicately swishing feet.
The final performance of the evening: Rights of Renaissance is scored
by the voices of Emerge 125’s company members as they discuss Ibram X. Kendi’s essay on the
presence of a contemporary Black renaissance.
A series of introspective solos flow in abstract
spirals before the unified company breaks into a boisterous sequence that brings the program to a
Throughout the evening Rea-Fisher appears on stage to provide context for the dances,
notably outlining the evolution of her relationship to light throughout her career from an intense
interest in the innumerable variations of white against deeply saturated colors.
Three of the
dances are lit by Christopher Brusberg, who also recreated the designs of former designers Nick
Hung (Identity), Clifton Taylor (Newton’s Cradle), and Michael Cole (Renaissance) to great
effect. Such attention to the multidisciplinary nature of dance along with Rea-Fisher’s warmth
and creative transparency is a welcome balm to an eager audience.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Noah Witke Mele