In some ways, the Nicholas Leichter Dance show last week at the Schwartz Center was a success. In others, it was a bit of a disappointment. Overall, however, I found to be one of the more accessible dance shows that I’ve seen in a while. This was based on its use of pop culture, contemporary dance styles, and hip hop-influenced movement. Leichter himself was very fun to watch. His movements were full of life and energy. Unfortunately, his other dancers seemed to lack the special something that Leichter was able to accomplish through his movement. This was one of many aspects of the show that made it seem a bit sophomoric; it was reminiscent in ways of the dances that were performed at my high school. This is discouraging to think that a professional, New York-based dance company shares some recognizable movements and forms with shows choreographed by teenagers.
I am glad Nicholas Leichter came to Cornell, and I did have the opportunity to take a master class with him. There is no doubt that Leichter himself is a fabulous dancer, and he does bring a certain style of hip-hop/modern fusion that could definitely go places in the dance world. It is not often that the two styles of dance are combined, and so it will be interesting to see how Leichter could be an influence in this new way of forming movement. And yet I hope that Leichter can find dancers that match his qualities, or even elaborate on them further so that it really seems that they are speaking the same language through their bodies.
I will be paying attention to where Leichter takes his company in the next few years. There is a lot of talent out there, and he may not rise to the occasion. But he has the potential to do something great with his choreography. His visioning just needs a little fine-tuning.