The opening night of RIOULT Dance NY took place at the Joyce Theater on Wednesday, May 31st. RIOULT Dance NY was founded in 1994 and has become a well-known name in modern dance for presenting the sensual, articulate, and exquisitely musical works of Pascal Rioult. Mr. Rioult came to the United States on a fellowship from the French Ministry of Culture to study modern dance in 1981. After performing with multiple companies and featuring in two television specials, he started RIOULT Dance NY and developed his own choreographing style and nurtured a robust ensemble of dancers. The New York City-based dance company has an annual New York season, tours internationally, and offers dance classes, workshops, and intensives to the public. At this particular performance, RIOULT displayed two innovative dances, the very first performance of Fire in the Sky and the classic Te Deum.
Fire in the Sky was Rioult’s first rock and roll piece, set to the music of Deep Purple. The performance was electrifying and fun, people in the audience nodded their heads to the beat of the music. Rioult says the dance was inspired by the music he danced to in the 70s at clubs during his journey to becoming a dancer, choreographer, and artistic director, and that was portrayed in the phenomenal performance. With songs such as “Smoke on the Water” and “Highway Star,” it was easy to feel like you were being transported back in time. The costumes on display in the performances were designed by the Emmy Award-winning, and Oscar-nominated designer Patricia Field and NYC designer David Dalrymple.
Te Deum premiered in 1996 and had always been performed by Rioult himself. Now, for the first time, Te Deum was conducted by another dancer other than himself. Set to Arvo Pärt’s score of the same name with costumes by Mondo, Marymount Manhattan College’s Costume Coordinator, the dance was beautiful and spiritually charged by the inspiration from Rioult’s home city Caen.
Audience members were in awe watching the dancers gracefully move across the stage, telling an emotional story with their bodies. Artists are always their biggest critic, and Pascal Rioult claims this is a piece he believes he will be working on forever, but this piece was magnificent.
The performance was followed by the opening party at the Italian restaurant Il Bastardo, where attendees were greeted to hors d'oeuvres and an open bar. Guests had the chance to mingle with the dancers, choreographers, and designers. It was a beautiful night of artistic inspiration and celebration.
Special thanks to Eve from Jonathan Marder & Company. Photos courtesy of Eric Bandiero and Sophia Negron.