Month: August, 2007

Dance dance revolution

Friday, August 24th, 2007 | All Things, Arts, Events

On Friday: one last visit to the Downtown Dance Festival.

New York City-based Spinnin Ronin Dance Company was the final troupe to perform at this year’s festival. Their segment was described as “Martial Arts Dance Theatre.” Director/choreographer Tsuyoshi Kaseda conceptualized a fantastical story (narrated in voiceover) around which he arranged choreography, fusing elements of modern dance, acrobatics, martial arts and traditional dances of China and Japan.

A princess! Ninjas! Not your typical financial district scene. I spotted more than one double-take from the suits passing through the plaza this afternoon.

Downtown Dance Festival 2007

Downtown Dance Festival 2007

Downtown Dance Festival 2007

In 2002, Spinnin Ronin put on a self produced show at La MaMa Annex. They’ve also been seen at Joe’s Pub and at the Joyce Soho where they garnered fine reviews for their unique vision and eclectic style.

The group reprised their performance the following Sunday on the Lawn at Battery Park.

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Downtown Dance Festival 2007

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007 | All Things, Arts, Events

All this week, the 26th annual Downtown Dance Festival presented 19 dance companies from the United States, Europe and Asia for lunchtime crowds at Chase Plaza. The troupes represented styles as varied as ballet, modern, African, Indian and martial arts, and included several NYC and U.S. debuts. This year the festival introduced “Everybody Dance Now!” in which the companies invited audience members onstage to learn a segment from the pieces showcased on each performance day. The average age of those who cared to take the dancers up on the offer was solidly in the single digits.

The Parijat Desai Dance Company (one of four groups on the roster this afternoon) performs a blend of Indian classical dance (bharata natyam) and modern dance, with elements of yoga and martial arts.

Downtown Dance Festival 2007

Downtown Dance Festival 2007

Downtown Dance Festival 2007

Downtown Dance Festival 2007

Downtown Dance Festival 2007

A full house on the plaza:

Downtown Dance Festival 2007

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Never let ’em see you sweat

Monday, August 20th, 2007 | All Things, Events

Tonight, the launch party for “Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion” at D’Or, located below Amalia restaurant adjacent to the Dream Hotel .

M and I checked in at street-level, and descended into D’Or’s cavernous subterranean space by way of a candle-lit staircase. The lounge had the vibe of a swanked-up wine cellar: all secret, shadowy nooks, wax-dripped candelabras, exposed brick and stone, gilded mirrors and crystal chandeliers.

For the past dozen years, Gen Art has hosted this showcase for up and coming designers; past beneficiaries have included such now well-known names as Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor and Chaiken. This year’s New York show will take place September 5, opening night of New York Fashion Week, and will feature the runway debuts of eight hot new designers: six womenswear and two menswear collections. Another four accessory designers will be showcased in installations during the show’s pre-reception.

But tonight: the party to build the anticipation for the main event. The clothes themselves were represented by designers’ sketches, hung up on walls around the lounge. M and I wandered among the pretty people, as we sipped on pretty p.i.n.k. drinks. The spirit is the brainchild of David Mandell, who in 2004, launched this plain Dutch vodka infused with caffeine and Brazilian guaraná plant extract, to capitalize on the popularity of energy drink and vodka combinations. Mandell’s end product is intended to produce the same energizing effect as a Vodka Red Bull without all the extra sugar; one serving of 80 proof p.i.n.k. contains about 80 mg of caffeine, or the equivalent of a small cup of coffee. Just the fuel to keep us partying through the night.

Gen Art Fresh Faces

Gen Art Fresh Faces

The fashion evening’s other sponsor: Botox. (And yes, I already made the joke about this being an event for “Fresh and Freshened Faces in Fashion.”) The company spokesperson on hand to deliver a brief presentation was quick to clarify that they were promoting the product not for its more widely known wrinkle-treating purposes, but to combat excessive sweating. Apparently, when injected into armpits (or other sweat-prone areas) Botox temporarily paralyzes a nerve that stimulates sweat glands, a use for which the drug was approved by the FDA in 2004. The condition is known in medical circles as hyperhidrosis, and while there was a young woman in attendance that night to testify how greatly she was helped by the treatment, I strongly suspect that the company has a target audience much wider than the 1-2% of the population truly afflicted. I couldn’t help thinking of those plastic surgeons so quick to point out the fine work they do mending cleft palates and helping burn victims, when most of their time is actually devoted to giving nose jobs to teenagers and performing breast augmentation.

As M dryly (ha!) observed, “Are there really now no other problems to treat?”

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