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To quote rapper Eminem:

“Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got somethin to say 
but nothin comes out when they move their lips; just a bunch of gibberish….”

When it comes to contemporary choreographers these days, this phrase perfectly sums up my view on most of what I am seeing. For the Tenth Anniversary season of Keigwin + Company which closed last Nov. 3 at the Joyce, Larry Keigwin proved once again why his work and his company deserve to be lauded across the dance world and beyond.

Saturday evening’s performance, consisting of four works, demonstrated the wide array of work the company has produced from its inception to the present. Earlier works, Mattress Suite (2001-2004) and Natural Selection (2004), were as relevant and fresh as the two New York premieres of Girls and Canvas.

I offer a list of adjectives and sentiments invoked by Keigwin’s expertly crafted style:

-Joyful

-Freedom

-Love

-Excitement

-Sexy

-Athletic

-Grace

-Technicality

-Artistry

-Crispness

Keigwin is not the first choreographer to use music pop icons such as Frank Sinatra (Girls) and Etta James (the last section of Mattress Suite). Often choreographers fall into the trap of literal interpretation when using popular music, which translates as a lack of creativity. Keigwin, on the other hand, utilizes such a musical range without seeming contrived or cliché. In addition, it is challenging to present an evening of one’s own work while keeping the audience hungry for more, but he nails it every time. Keigwin’s keen sense of theatricality is a refreshing testament that one doesn’t have to sacrifice technique and artistry for entertainment value. It is possible to educate while bringing people joy. In an age where choreographers have become so masturbatory, it seems that many have forgotten how to connect with an audience. Keigwin + Company does so with every step–it is accessible yet challenging for both the viewer and dancer.

Last year, I had the pleasure of seeing the company for the first time and now I can say without hesitation that my enjoyment wasn’t a fluke. This company delivers excellence with every grande jete, pirouette, hinge, and mattress bounce. Larry Keigwin is well on track to move into the ranks of the greatest choreographers of our time. Finally we’ve  found someone who gets it. Here’s to the next decade, Larry.

 

Written by Matthew Donnell

Matthew Donnell

A graduate of North Carolina School of the arts, Matthew Donnell is a freelance dancer, actor, clown, instructor, and film maker residing in NYC. After a decade with the Kansas City Ballet, he turned his focus toward musical theater and teaching. He strives to bring the humor of his life into his art in order to promote artistic health for himself and those around him.