Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Horsing around

By Meredith Deliso

Call it dances with horses.

The Equus Projects, a city-based dance company that choreographs humans with horses, will bring its unique production to Prospect Park on Oct. 30.

“It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen,” said JoAnna Mendl Shaw, artistic director. “It’s not intended to be abstract. It looks pretty and festive.”

Dancers will don Victorian costumes, including long skirts and cutaway jackets, as they gracefully perform modern dance with five horses and each other. That could mean moving with the steeds as they graze or running with them as they gallop. Reins can lead them, but much of the movement is dictated by the horse, with the dancers responding to it.

Leading up to the company’s full costumed performance, the public will have the opportunity to observe the company’s warm-up and rehearsal for a rare behind-the-scenes look.

“It’s very important for us as dancers that we demonstrate that clearly, that the horses do not feel like they’re performing tricks, but actually having a dialogue with the dancers,” said Shaw.

GallopNYC, an equine therapy program that works with children with disabilities, invited The Equus Projects to join them in an event at Prospect Park for the Halloween weekend. There’s no doubt, though, that the horses will steal the show.

The Equus Projects at Prospect Park’s Nethermead field [enter at Prospect Park West and 16th Street in Park Slope, (718) 965-8900], Oct. 30 from 11 am-3 pm, with the full costumed performance, “Celebration,” at 2 pm. Free. For info, visit


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