With the squall-threatened Great South Bay as backdrop, the Fire Island Dance Festival, benefiting Dancers Responding to AIDS, offered a stirring lineup of 13 works. Mourning lost men, Complexions’ performers contracted shoulders and swung fists in Dwight Rhoden’s
Gone. Sharing hope for community in Nicholas Leichter’s Free the Angels, members of nicholasleichterdance (accompanied in one performance by a swan spontaneously swimming past on the bay) extended open hands, relished a group hug, and ended with arms stretched skyward. Each show started with a premiere:
DRA Fanfare, a display of optimism with leaps and lifts choreographed by Ron De Jesus to music by Philip Glass, was first. Timothy Bish and Tony James performed the second, the intimate duet
Heart Tides, which they choreographed with Cornelius Carter. Bish caressed and cradled James, preventing him from plunging offstage into the gray waters. Their final, life-affirming kiss touchingly addressed DRA’s mandate.