Original Art In Southern Brooklyn? Check With Covenant

Red Scare, Photo: Barry Yanowitz

I hear from many of my fellow Brooklynites, usually the Wisconsin-born hipster of the north, that Southern Brooklyn is a cultural wasteland. “There’s no dance. There’s no theater. There’s no music. There’s no food worth a damn.”

Frankly, they’re wrong. We may not have much, but what we have is pretty damn “choice.”

Last week, my wife and I were treated to a performance by Sheepshead Bay’s own Covenant Ballet Theater at Kingsborough Community College’s Leon M. Goldstein Performing Art Center of three original pieces. That’s right. Original art conceived, realized and performed – right here in Southern Brooklyn.

Brought to Light, Photo: Barry Yanowitz

The first piece, Brought to Light (right) was a modern dance piece simulating the experience of the architecture, space and light of a medieval cathedral. Using classical and modern dance techniques, dancers Rebeccah Hope Brann – a Sheepshead Bay resident – Jessica Higgins, Joseph Tudisco and others, realized the experience and sense of awe created by entering one of the great medieval cathedrals of the world.

As the name suggests, Covenant Dance Theater is a Christian-based group. Using the music of Bach’s “Passacalia and Fugue in C Minor,” a sense of reverence and celebration came through as the dancers danced.

In the next piece, The Red Scare, we leave the sacred and enter into the secular. The Red Scare abandons all sense of traditional ballet and fully embraces modern American dance. Here we see the paranoia of the 1950’s red scare played out on stage. High intensity music with a relentless beat, minimal costumes and lighting brings home the fear of “the bomb.” The piece was not stuck in the 50’s, however. It was brought to life, with a slightly uncomfortable audience shifting beneath the well-conveyed gaze of Big Brother looming overhead. The current warnings of “If you see something, say something,” could be integrated into this piece seamlessly.

Fool's Gold, Photo: Barry Yanowitz

The final performance of the evening was Fool’s Gold. Here we enter the wild west as “the men” tame the unknown land. Full of boundless opportunity, the men encounter “The Siren,” who introduces them to all her wild ways with the debauchery building until it peaks in murder.  As time goes on and the siren’s way of life becomes too costly, she is driven out. Families settle and morality tames the wild west. But, does it? You’ll just have to see the show to find out.

I was very impressed by the lead dancers of this piece. Allison Jay-Baber as the siren was very alluring and tempting. How she stayed on pointe (dancing on the tip of her toes) throughout the performance was astounding. The male lead, Royce Zackery, who is new to the Covenant cast,  performed with passion and skill, masterfully projecting his character’s emotions throughout. Nirvan Singh as “the boy” is someone to look out for in the future. I don’t know how old he is, but he has a promising career ahead of him.

You can see Covenant Ballet Theater’s performance schedule here. For more information, please call (718) 891-6199.

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