On Sunday, I hopped on the subway and went up to Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall to check out the second-to-last performance of Nick Cave's terrific Heard NY.
Both wings of Vanderbilt Hall featured roped off areas containing 15 of Cave's horse suits resting on sawhorses, along with a platform for a harpist and a percussionist to play. Arriving at 10:40am for the 11:00am performance, the crowds for both show areas were already five people deep! One section on the side of the roped off area was reserved for parents with small children.
Promptly at 11:00am, The Ailey School dancers filed out and put on their horse suits. Each horse required two dancers - a head and a rear-end. When all the suits were donned, the horses began to trot around their pens accompanied by the gentle harp, playfully interacting with viewers and inviting them to pet them. The children seemed particularly thrilled to touch the charming, colorful horses. After a few minutes, the harpist stopped playing and the percussionist took over with a powerful, infectious beat. The horses began dancing wildly. The William Gill-choreographed movements included the horses' heads bopping to the music as well as the horses' bottoms (separating from their front halves) springing up and energetically bouncing and spinning around, creating wonderful rustling sounds with their straw costumes. After a few minutes of the joyful, reckless abandon, the drums started to slow down, as did the raving horses, until they became still, and it was all over.
As a part of a series of events commemorating Grand Central's centennial, Cave's Heard NY was a vivacious and extraordinary twenty-minute celebration that entertained both children and adults. If only commuters were treated to such wonderful bouts of whimsy all the time. March 25th - 31st. Learn more at Creativetime.org. See my September 2011 post on Cave here. And this is just awesome - Brooklynvegan.com.