Archive for the ‘Dance’ Category
The evening’s first piece, “Toccata,” is part of a longer work, Come and Get the Beauty of it Hot, created by Talley Beatty in the 1960s. The dance is described as “set in the streets of New York” and has a jazzy feel that reminded me of West Side Story although with a more classic look and feel. Set to music by Grammy Award-winning Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin, the piece incorporates ensembles, duets and trios with a “big” finish when the girls leap—almost sail—into the men’s arms with their own arms outstretched. The whole is fun but not very arresting, almost like a series of class exercises.
The modest setting: a large practice studio at City Center with the room’s reversed big-bowl chandeliers providing the “lighting;” the audience on folding, metal chairs. German-born Miro Magloire was everywhere at once; welcoming the audience, providing background before each of the six offerings and repositioning the grand piano and music stand. Magloire’s company, New Chamber Ballet, is small with five dancers and often a guest artist; pianist Melody Fader whose brilliant playing enhanced three pieces and violinist Doori Na who played the other three.
The evening as billed suggested that Mr. Wheeldon would be the center of attention which, given the raves for American in Paris on Broadway, was understandable. Unassuming and polite, Wheeldon spoke of his family’s love of all things theatrical and about their taking him, quite young, to a Gershwin concert which he was prepared to hate but found he adored.
his program, divided into three sections, showed the company in very different lights. Up first, Show. Girl, with choreography by Rosie Herrera, costumes by Diana Ruettiger and lighting by Joshua Preston, uses the “Cuban cabaret ethic” to put forth dances that don’t have much relationship to each other. Show. Girl opens with a line of women in columnar pink dresses with deep slits on both sides, moving rhythmically to silence other than the occasional slaps they give themselves. It’s a bit unsettling. After a time, they sing a banal song about a turtle and move in the creamy light, posing for one another and the audience.
Although the three works, Rite of Spring, Company B and Piazzolla Caldera that made up the evening are very different in style and tone, they are equally compelling.
Just after Justin Peck goes on stage to acknowledge the applause as the choreographer of Paz de la Jolla, a new ballet, he leaves and goes backstage. He walks to a small dressing room where he takes off his dark suit, puts on makeup and his costume and, responding to the PA summoning dancers to the stage, goes back downstairs to perform in another ballet.
This version of the beloved holiday classic, The Nutcracker, is less a focus on technical brilliance and more a charming family event with a host of young (and very young dancers). I went with two teenage girls, both veterans of other performances including the iconic New York City Ballet version. We agreed that the dancers worked hard and danced their little hearts out and that a huge amount of time and effort, to say nothing of a lot of rehearsals, went into the performance.
Move over Les Miz! The Flames of Paris is an opulent, highly muscular, charged ballet that’s mass entertainment complete with sward-fighting, clog dancing, folk music and enough revolutionary zeal to please any audience. It also makes the French Revolution look like an event that took place between dessert and coffee – no guillotines, no blood and almost no tragedy if you don’t count the two on-stage deaths that register more as plot lines than emotional grabbers.