Philadanco dancers wowed at The Egg on Friday night.
Strength, speed and style – these are all the words that came to mind while watching Philadanco – the gorgeous contemporary dance company hailing from Philadelphia.
The ensemble of 13 returned on Friday night to The Egg where they haven’t been seen since 2013. It was a happy reunion with local dance fans who appreciate their generous spirit – devoted to entertaining and astonishing.
The tireless cast presented four ensemble works that showed off their range – from the African/hip-hop inspired “Conglomerate” to the classical “La Valse.” All impressed.
The evening opened with Francisco Gella’s “Between the Lines,” a piece that pays homage to Frank Lloyd Wright. Starkly drawn light lines cast on the floor defined the space. While that caught my immediate attention, I was hooked by the music – a hypnotic score by Philip Glass. His haunting composition set the tone for the sober, but animated piece that set minds onto an astral plane -- a charcoal journey swirling with lush duets in which the dancers unleashed their souls.
Unfortunately, the transition to music by Gideon Kremer felt artificial, but the change was soon forgotten as the dancers were deployed in a river of big jumps, kicks and turns. It was a fantastic opener that was tied up neatly with an ending mirroring its opening.
“Super 8!” followed. Choreographed by Ray Mercer with music by Bongi Duma and John Powell was a three-part work that explored relationships -- sensual desire, compromise and loss.
While lovely, I preferred the luxurious “La Valse,” of which only an excerpt was shown. To Maurice Ravel’s soaring waltz, the work is a cauldron of elegance with seven women who mesmerized. They twirled and twirled in gold embroidered skirts that rose and fell with their whirl. It was an exquisite visual.
They were ushered about by two men, Joe Gonzalez and Victor Lewis Jr., who made their own magic with a show of strength and earnestness.
The company closed with Anthony Burrell’s “Conglomerate.” The dance, all in red with the women in fringed skirts that looked like flames, tapped into the dancers confident sass. To rhythmic music compilation by Darryl J. Hoffman, the dance burst with energy and attitude that electrified.