By Merilyn Jackson
This year's Rocky Awards, presented Monday night by the previous year's winners to other dancers of their choice, moved at such a clip they lasted a mere hour and a quarter.
The host, as in recent years, was the inimitable Jaamil Kosoko, in spanking white attire (well, it was Labor Day), blonde wig, and gorgeous feather ruff. The formal look belied his laconic demeanor as he moved the show along with the assistance of Melanie Stewart, in a slinky blue sheath. The first of the 2011 awards (wooden shoe molds) was given to Leah Stein by Gabrielle Revlock.
In amongst subsequent presentations, several entertainments had been devised for our amusement. Few other cities can boast the range of talented people it takes to pull these little bagatelles together, but between our dance and theater folk, we're never in want.
Germaine Ingram, who later received a Rocky, wowed us not only with her get-down tapping, but with sultry vocal snippets of "Wild Is the Wind." Michele Tantoco and Sean Roswell danced Revlock's snaky yoga dance. Jumatatu Poe brought his crew up for a peek at his spanking new airline-themed work-in-progress.
Martha Graham Cracker (Dito van Reigersberg in a pink-fringed sheath) and a mustachioed Nicole Canuso spat, split and reappeared later in Anna Drozdowski's tribute tango to the tech guys of the dance community, including techno-couples Jorge and Niki Cousineau and Amanda Miller (whose cross ankle steps were perfect) and Tobin Rothlein.
The newly refurbished ballroom upstairs at the RUBA Club Studios, with its cozy proscenium stage, was the best spot ever for these hijinks. Cabaret shows are running there every night around 11 p.m. throughout the Live Arts Festival/Philly Fringe, and management hopes to extend performances year-round.