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Next Move Dance presents Jessica Lang Dance

Ralph Malachowski

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posted by Ralph Malachowski on Apr 13, 2017 10:30am | comments


Jessica Lang Dance will perform at Philadelphia’s Prince Theater until Sunday, April 9 as part of the Next Move Dance season. The nine dancers performed a program on opening night of solo and group works beginning with Solo Bach (2008). Patrick Coker was the soloist this evening. (He alternates in the role with Jammie Walker.)  Mr. Coker exploded onto the stage with enough energy to light up Philadelphia. A handsome man, Mr. Coker’s explosive power was centered from his well-developed thighs and torso. Think the Belvedere Torso, and its powerful form. His performance garnered unsure applause no doubt due to it being first on the program, but also because of its brevity. Like a hummingbird hovering over a blossom, Mr. Coker’s joy was there, and all too soon gone.

Immediately following after a pause was Among the Stars (2010). Danced by Laura Mead and Jammie Walker, we encountered a mysterious landscape said to be the story of two heavenly bodies or deities crossing paths in the sky. There was much to commend the dancing, as both artists were given opportunities to shine.  After another pause came Her Road (2017). The choreographer had earlier introduced the piece in her opening remarks to the audience as a tribute to the centenary of Martha Graham. Four women, Julie Fiorenza, Eve Jacobs, Kana Kimura, and Laura Mead danced about a landscape which could have been New Mexico, a field of grass, or heaven to music by Beethoven.

After the intermission was a solo, The Calling (an excerpt from Splendid Isolation II, 2006) wonderfully danced by Kama Kimura wearing a dress recalling that once worn by Grace Jones in one of her videos. Unlike the dress worn by Grace Jones, this one did not grow to be hundreds of feet high, but rather moored the dancer into mostly static, torqueing postures punctuated by agonizing spasms of the torso and hands.

The final work of the evening, Thousand Yard Stare (2015), also had music by Beethoven, and included the entire company.  Unlike the other works on the program, we experienced a battlefield where the dancers appeared to be killed, only to rise to be killed again. Adding to the eerie effect was the lighting which at times mimicked the fluorescent green of night vision weapon sights.

Jessica Lang Dance will be at the Prince Theater until April 9. It will then be followed by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, May 3 – 7. For information and to purchase tickets, visit or call 215-422-4580.

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