Dancer, choreographer and artistic director Fadi J. Khoury’s dance company, known as FJK, launched its fifth annual season with performances September 13 and 14, 2018, at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Born in Iraq, Khoury is versed in Arab culture and folklore, to which his dance concepts are especially related, as well as also embracing jazz and classical. Performers are adept at body movement as a vibrant part of their dancing abilities. Khoury takes a lead role in most of the works presented.
I attended the September 13th performance and found the opener the most riveting. “Echoes,” a dance inspired by Dabke, folkloric traditional Bedouin dance from the mountains of Lebanon and Syria, featured Middle Eastern drums and percussion with electric based sounds and rhythms.
Five men and five women, sensually costumed, danced with great intensity and waving movements as an entire unit and breaking up into groups. The striking looking men were bare-chested, projecting gym-worthy physiques. Choreographer Khoury created perfectly synchronized body language for both sexes and the number frequently attained frenzied excitement. Soloists were especially appealing, and the entire experience was visually expressive and captured the essence of the company’s folk leanings.
Perhaps just to show versatility, the second number was titled “Waltz,” and that is exactly what it was, couples stylishly waltzing in what was a far cry from the first selection and more like old-fashioned ballroom dancing. The guest choreographer was Gary Pierce. Another first act offering was “Clockwork,” with Debbie Roshe as guest choreographer.
After the intermission, the dancers returned with a premiere of what was obviously meant as a major accomplishment titled “UnTold.” Also rooted in Middle East culture, this was a lavish intertwining of bodies and assorted movement creating a non-stop panorama to music by Hossam Ramzy and Phil Thornton. It went on at length, and although so much effort was poured into the concept and the dancers achieved their customary excellence, from my viewpoint, it was outshone by the especially admirable creativity demonstrated in the evening’s consistently striking first number, “Echoes.”
Particularly important in the company is accomplished Sevin Ceviker, associate artist and principal dancer. She was born inTurkey and trained there at an early age. It is also noteworthy that Khoury designs the costumes for the troupe.
The company’s dancers of varied origins include, Elisa Torn Franky (Bogota, Columbia); Serena Giannini (Bellinzona, Switzerland); Lucia Jackson (Madrid, Spain, and New York City); Stefanie Roper (Ft. Lauderdale Florida); Gabriela M Soto (Puerto Rico); Estafano Gil (Caracas, Venezuela); Gianni Goffredo (Italy); Dannys Gonzalez (Cuba), and Jose Losada (Cuba). At the Gerald W. Lynch Theater, 524 West 59th Street. Posted September 15, 2018.