A Coming Together of Body and Soul

The Rivertowns are a hotbed of dancers.  I have that from a reliable source. Maxine Sherman, a former principal dancer with Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Theater and Martha Graham Dance Company told me so…and she should know.  With the drop of a tiara, Maxine can reel off the names of dozens of well known ballet greats who make their home in the Rivertowns as she does.  Maxine is the power behind the RiverArts dance program which Saturday night presents Choreographer Rashaun Mitchell in a performance of his rave-reviewed “Interface” featuring several of his fellow Merce Cunningham dancers. Sarah Lawrence College may well be the reason for Westchester’s wealth of professional dancers.  Both Maxine Sherman and Rashaun Mitchell are affiliated there, which explains the genesis of the second piece of the evening, the world premiere of “Conversation Piece,” a breathtaking new work created with the Mitchell’s alumni dance department at Sarah Lawrence College.

As a bonus, Maxine Sherman, herself a contemporary dance legend, will appear in a “cameo.” Starting to dance at age four, Maxine’s fairy tale career landed her at age 17 years old at the Alvin Ailey company where for eight years she danced every role in the repertory before moving on to an 11-year stint with the Graham company.  “The arts fill up our souls with things we don’t have in everyday life”, says Maxine, who found a refuge in dance growing up in Illinois.  “To me, dance is a coming together of body and soul.  There is nothing between you and the movement.  No paint, no musical instrument. Dance is a universal expression about freedom from all boundaries.” RiverArts’ signature dance event which Maxine has curated every year since 2005 will be held at the Master’s School in Dobbs Ferry on May 11.  This is a rare opportunity for the hundreds of young ladies plié -ing at dance academies throughout Westchester to learn from the masters.

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