By Marina Harss
25 August 2020
Watching: ‘Dancing Through Harlem’
Something many films of dance fail to convey is the rush produced by the happy marriage of music and movement. A recent movie by two dancers from Dance Theater of Harlem — Derek Brockington and Alexandra Hutchinson — is an exception.
“Dancing Through Harlem,” created for the yearly Harlem Week festival and the African-American Day Parade, is both a tribute to the neighborhood in which it was filmed and a celebration of pure dance. In the early mornings over three days Mr. Brockington and Ms. Hutchinson filmed themselves and six colleagues performing excerpts from “New Bach,” by the company’s resident choreographer, Robert Garland.
Mr. Garland deftly combines the crisp rhythms of Bach with sharp footwork, jazzy syncopations, and hints of West African dance and the Harlem Shake. The dancers in turn take the choreography out into the streets: to a subway platform at St. Nicholas Avenue, a courtyard among the neo-Gothic buildings of the City College of New York, and out in front of the colorful murals around the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building. Dance has never looked more alive.
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