Archive for the ‘Dance’ Category
The New York City Ballet Opens the New Ballet Season with an All-Balanchine Mixed Bill, and Some More Comic Programming
When do you ever see a bill outside Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center with no other names but “Hindemith,” “Webern” and “Stravinsky?” And at that with an extremely well played concert behind it with energy and seriousness and intelligence? Only at the ballet it seems.
What is le Corsaire? Is it a ballet? Is it entertainment — mere divertissement? Is there any difference? I believe intuitively that there is. Ballet defines itself on telling a story (even if there are exceptions) rather than presenting divertissements in vignettes, it is not a sort of artistic form of gymnastics. One more often encounters le Corsaire nowadays, at least in the west, as the extraordinary virtuoso pas de deux on its own, with its impossible leaps and lifts and turns for the man and the ballerina, and so this is what the ballet is known for, now associated especially with male virtuosity, thanks to Baryshnikov’s dancing, but the ballet presented as a whole is still a working piece of theatre.
Balanchine’s Allegro Brilliante and Stravinsky Violin Concerto and Robbins’ Cage and Andantino at the New York City Ballet
The style of the New York City Ballet is almost tree-like, branching and spreading in a floral rather than faunal manner, achieving a harmonious whole that is not purely rational or classical or athletic or anything covered by a single label. Their pure and natural variety of grace certainly suits Balanchine’s choreography, bringing out its best qualities. Allegro Brilliante, as the title might suggest, opens with style and grace, there is a certain abstraction with this stylish dancing before a plain blue screen and following no definite plot or action. We have Tchaikovsky’s music speaking to us very eloquently through Clotilde Otranto’s baton and Elaine Chelton’s fingers, music with fairly strong and definite, but not heavy, emotions. The costumes, the women’s light dresses in gentle hues and secondary colors and the men’s loose sleeves and waistcoats, do not place them absolutely as characters, but are enough to complement simply the movements. Yet there is a sense of a social entity, of mute social forces at work, drowned out by the music perhaps, and even a suggestion of court in the group scenes in their almost 17th Century style of abstraction, as they blur the lines slightly between social and theatrical dancing; the interactions of the dancers on stage are absorbing and interesting, brought across by their dramatic sense, their sense of theatre. The dancing doesn’t borrow openly from any real historical form but somehow the push and pull of social dancing is suggested. The piece at least gives the feeling of being indoors. Megan Fairchild and Andrew Veyette dancing the leads give a particularly strong sense of conversation in their dancing together in the pas de deux and also amongst the larger group. Nothing happens, the ballet remains abstract, yet it develops in an arc into something very moving and ineffable beyond the music, as if the entire piece, developed into a whole wishes to give something to you, and the performance succeeded in this and the lack of downrightness was very refreshing.
One would have difficulty imagining a more diverse ballet program than that presented by the American Ballet Theatre last Friday afternoon, in its brief series of fall performances at New York City Center. It was a journey through four centuries of music, and over half a century of choreography. First on the program was “The […]
The New York City Ballet began its fall season at the David H. Koch Theater with a three-program tribute to the legendary choreographer/composer duo of Balanchine and Stravinsky. The first installment (which this reviewer unfortunately did not see) featured the classic Greek trilogy of Orpheus, Apollo, and Agon. The second program comprised the most overtly Russian collaborations of the two artists, drawing upon their common background in rich folk and fairy tale traditions.
Lincoln Center, David H. Koch Theater (unless otherwise noted): June 12 – August 5 (the Lincoln Center Festival begins July 5) Please see below for schedule. The Australian Ballet, which tends to tour “overseas” once a year, will come to Lincoln Center first, in June, with Australia’s main indigenous contemporary dance company the Bangarra Dance […]
Michael Clark’s Who’s Zoo at Whitney Biennial (in Conjunction with Carnegie Hall’s American Mavericks)
All of the wall dividers in the Whitney’s fourth floor galleries are down creating an enormous long, rectangular dance platform. The iconic trapezoid window jutting out over Madison Avenue has been covered. Yet, my eyes, perhaps accustomed to seeing painting and sculpture in this space, seem to look for comparisons with static art forms in the seven-part abstract dance sequence by British choreographer Michael Clark, entitled “Who’s Zoo,” to the pop-punk recorded music of Javis Cocker. This is dance more like animated sculpture, creating forms and shapes to be viewed as curious objects, not fluid art in motion.
Three women bow in prayer before three ropes of suspended white cloth on a stage cast in mist. When the music begins, they shake and tug at the cloths to undo knots that symbolize a soul entangled by bitterness and regret. A fourth woman, crouched behind the others, is the shaman who leads the Ssitkim […]