The Louis Falco Dance Company
A Brief History
In 1967, while still a celebrated featured performer with the Jose Limon Dance Company, Louis Falco emerged as a choreographer of exceptional promise by presenting the first full evening of his own works as Louis Falco and A Company of Featured Dancers at New York's 92nd Street YMHA. "Argot", "Translucens" and "The Gods' Descent" were performed by Sarah Stackhouse, Carla Maxwell, Takako Asakawa, Diane Mohrmann, Clyde Morgan, Tony Salatino and Juan Antonio. In his choreographic debut, the young Falco was praised as "a talent to be fostered, a talent to be cherished."
By the end of 1970, Falco had created a stunning, unique repertory including "Huescape", "Timewright","Caviar" and "The Sleepers" which would eventually lead Clive Barnes of the New York Times to deem the young, upstart Louis Falco Dance Company as "the most exciting new modern dance company to emerge during the last decade."
With his dynamic, unsurpassed partnership with Jennifer Muller, whose choreography for the company included "Tub", "Nostalgia", "Rust" and her signature masterpiece "Speeds", Louis led his new close-knit ensemble (the dancers Juan Antonio, Matthew Diamond, Georgiana Holmes and Mary Jane Eisenberg) on tours in cities throughout the world where critics declared the Falco Company as "....the most adventuresome and stimulating modern dance company anywhere in the world." (London), "...very elastic, soaring, occupying space without seeming to know earth.... they are animated, with perpetual movement, with difficult moments never erasing their smiles. They radiate the happiness of dance." (Paris), " Dance, as well as theatre, of rare perfection," (Amsterdam), "It would be impossible to single out any one dancer as being outstanding. All seven are brilliant technicians at the peak of their form. One feels they could do anything with their bodies with perfect ease and razor sharp precision. This is unquestionably one of the finest dance companies to appear in Montreal for some time. It should not be missed." (Montreal)
In developing his own individual movement trademark, Falco extended the fall and recovery principles of his Humphrey/Limon heritage to an explosive, physical extreme. His company of technical virtuosos reveled in the sheer joy of performing high-spirited, risk-taking movement, coloring it with a sense of natural ease and oftentimes, sensuality. Falco's early experimentations of integrating natural behavior and dialogue with his vivacious, highly controlled yet abandoned movement style gave the impression that "His good-looking, technically gifted dancers moved across the stage as ordinary people who happened to communicate with one another through movement."
"One of the things I set out to do was to deal with dancers on the stage so that they maintained their identities as individuals."
"I want to take away the decorations, to keep the dance naturalistic while maintaining a high level of expertise"
During the early 1970s, Louis Falco Dance Company performances often evoked polarized audience reactions. Viewers were hard pressed to remain indifferent and more than a few eyebrows were raised among dance critics. The Falco Company became increasingly more difficult to categorize as noted by Clive Barnes in a 1973 New York Times review -- "This is a lovely company that annoys, more or less equally, the modern-dance traditionalists and the modern-dance avant-garde. I find this company outrageous but fun." And in Chicago -- "I walked away from the hall at 57th and University feeling I had seen one of the most talented vibrant and innovative contemporary dance groups working today. Seldom do you see a small troupe like this one with such a lively disrespect for the conventional, such an impudent touch of the bizarre, and such a vibrant sense of humor."
Throughout the company's fifteen year existence, Falco was celebrated as the essence of a contemporary artist. Trend-setting, and always the embodiment of the pulse his times, his cutting-edge image was enhanced through decor and costume collaborations with popular artists such as William Katz, Stanley Landesman, Marisol and Robert Indiana, with program designs by Andy Warhol, with eclectic rock and jazz musicians Burt Alcantara, Bobby Cole, Michael Kamen and David Sanborn, and the clothing designers Giorgio Armani and Michael Vollbracht. In 1977, Anna Kisselgoff of the New York Times referred to The Falco Company as "the ultimate in disheveled chic" and went on to write "the Falco Company was tuned in to its generation. It was concerned with "lifestyles" -- a word that came into fashion at the same time the company became fashionable itself. Some people, not entirely approvingly, called the group popular, Some called it pop."
"...'Safe, non-threatening dance turns me off. I explore identity, confusion, manipulation, whatever defines our character'...."
"I would love to create earthquakes onstage."
Controversial as well as outspoken, Falco's irreverent enthusiasm to push the boundaries of modern dance drove him with unapologetic candor to respond about his approach to his work and his view of the state of the art.
"Some people don't want to see a table full of food. They feel it's being wasted. Some people can be upset by so many images, so much energy, so many ideas. But that's what my work is."
"I wanted to make dances that were a part of our lives and I wanted to use the popular music we listened to while living those lives."
A man of "tempestuous charm" with "smoldering good looks" and a powerful, yet sensual physicality, Falco and his company dancers also brought to the modern dance arena an unabashed sexuality, glamour and haut monde.
"I didn't want people to look like dancers on stage. I wanted them to look like people who dance. I didn't want to see their hair in tight little buns and didn't think there was any reason why some of the most beautiful people in the modern dance world had to go on stage in ugly little leotards and tights and bad makeup, and look unattractive and grovel on the floor. I wanted that to change. I didn't think modern dance had to have that stigma. I wanted to make it more accessible."
"At times, we definitely are sexy, so that's right on to say so. But if someone wants to say it's all just sexy and chic and they put it in that category, there's nothing I can do about that. All I can say is I don't feel my work is about that. I feel that those are aspects in my work. They're definitely there."
The lyrical, thoughtful choreography of Juan Antonio also became an integral part of Falco Company performances after the departure of Jennifer Muller in 1974. Included were Antonio's "B-Mine", "I Remember", "Coasting", "Imago" and "The Other One." The 1977 New York Season at the Roundabout Theater celebrated Juan's tenth anniversary in association with the company. The free-spirited, Mexican-born dancer/choreographer would remain affiliated with The Louis Falco Dance Company throughout its entire existence.
Always comprised of dancers from diverse ethnic backgrounds, Falco's company performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Canada with tours also to the Middle East, the Far East and Mexico. The company appeared at such major dance festivals as Jacob's Pillow, the American Dance Festival, Spoleto Festival in Italy, the Holland Festival and at Avignon in France.
The Louis Falco Dance Company's tremendous success in Italy from 1980 to 1983 was a meteoric phenomenon many in that country will never forget. Vittoria Ottolenghi writing for Paese Sera after viewing the Falco Company's 1982 season at Rome's Teatro Olympico proclaimed, "Louis Falco dances America. Louis Falco is America." And other Italian dance writers noted:
"They are beautiful, they are young, they are very, very talented. The dancers....are enjoying a tumultuous success, matching the great ovations of the past. Even if they do not have what one would call a big name, even if Louis Falco is not dancing... the shouts, the rhythmic applause, the bravos! would make Nureyev envious." (Milan)
"Louis Falco, superstar. Few people knew him when he was invited to La Scala in 1980 for the creation of The Eagles Nest. Today, his name is known even to the large audience that, until recently, reserved the "sold out" sign for the great stars of classical ballet."
"The name of Falco, dancer, choreographer, has become, in a very brief time, a trademark of great renown, more even than a style, that not only pleases the eye, but suggests, beneath the lines, unseen secrets of enchantment and success."
Having created the choreography for the MGM motion picture "Fame" in the summer of 1979, Falco's growing interest in film and television eventually led him to disband the company in order that he could devote all his time to more commercial endeavors, freelance choreography and full scale productions. The Falco Company's final performance in New York City was at the inauguration of The Joyce Theater on June 1st, 1982 and in March of 1983, the company was gone.
The Louis Falco Dance Company repertory has also been performed by the Paris Opera Ballet, The Lyon Opera Ballet, the Netherlands Dans Theatre, the Gulbenkian Ballet, MaggioDanza Firenze, Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the North Carolina Dance Theater and the Sydney Dance Company.
In addition to the twenty-one pieces created for the Falco Company, Louis choreographed ballets for many other dance companies throughout the world. Consequently, many of his creations were never seen in the United States, including "The Eagle's Nest" and "Nights In A Spanish Garden" for La Scala Opera Ballet, "Tutti-frutti" for Ballet Rambert, "Cooking French" for the Ballet Theatre Contemporain de Nancy, "Jack-In-The-Box" for the Tanz-Forum der Oper der Stadt Kln and "Reunion in Portugal" for the Gulbenkian Ballet.
Falco also created four original works for the Netherlands Dans Theater entitled "Journal", "Eclipse", "Caterpillar" and "The Lobster Quadrille", for the Boston Ballet, "The Gamete Garden", and "Caravan" for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Australian Ballet.
Before he died in March 1993, Louis Falco entrusted the artistic direction of his repertory to Alan Sener, long-time choreographic assistant and a former principal dancer with The Louis Falco Dance Company.
For more information about this exciting dance legacy, click on The Repertory of Louis Falco. Anna Falco-Lane (executor) may be reached to answer inquiries about availability and licensing through the Contact Information page.
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