As part of a celebration of women, this program of about empowering female expression featured work choreographed and mostly performed by women. For me, the three most successful pieces were Ne Me Quitte Pas, a modern apache duet with Chad Levy and Alyssa Weidman; Shakambhari, a full-throttle, almost-Bollywood-style, turquoise-and-orange swirl and No Exit, a pure rush of movement danced all out by Levy, Weidman, Lisa Borres, Caitlin Sheppard, Julia Neto, Jillian Foley and Parker Heren.
New York Theater Ballet aims to reexamine classics with a fresh, contemporary look. In this case, most of the evening was a celebration of Jerome Robbins’ Centennial showcasing Septet, Rondo and Concertino. Both Septet and Concertino are performed to music by Stravinsky; the former to Reduction for Two Pianos and the latter to Concerto for String Quartet and Three Pieces for Clarinet Solo. All three ballets are plotless and were danced in simple, unadorned costumes on a bare stage. Florence Gould Hall is small so the audience is close to the dancers and exposed to the bare bones of performing including rosin squeaks and sometimes heavy landings although Steven Melendez managed to make his light, a fine achievement for a good-sized, athletic man.
Lar Lubovitch has been making dances for fifty years creating a body of work that holds up well. Although it doesn’t always thrill it’s solid, well-danced and can be gripping.
This company of all-female dancers, led by former American Ballet Theater principal Michele Wiles, has returned from a hiatus. The reemergence is reported to have been inspired by Wiles’ personal physical journey as a dancer through pregnancy, birth of a daughter and rebuilding her performance dance strength.
Before the talk, for which photographer Paul Kolnik was joined by former New York City Ballet principal Darci Kistler, we had the pleasure of viewing Kolnik’s captivating pictures in a downstairs gallery. Kolnik, who has chronicled NYCB for forty years, is indeed a master and his pictures of dancers and choreographers past and present are gems.
Czech-born choreographer Dušan Týnek founded his eponymous company in 2003 and has received numerous accolades for his intelligent craftsmanship and striking imagination. Both talents and more were on view at the world premiere of Anna, inspired by Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, rendered as an expression of the novel and not a literal re-telling. An evening-length work, the story is a springboard to an examination of impressions of love, infidelity and gender norms within narrow social conventions.
The title of Optimists, choreographed by Gemma Bond of American Ballet Theater, didn’t tell me anything but the dancing, by Amanda Treiber and Erez Milatin, did. The piece is exciting and filled with action with the pair swooping and diving to Piano Sonata no.8 Opus 84 by Prokofiev. Elegant and spare with powerful bodies they move with confidence, Treiber and Miltatin have made this exhilarating piece their own and it was a joy to watch.
What was supposed to be a three-work evening turned into two as an injury forced cancellation of the intended middle piece, The Bind. The two works on view, presented by different choreographers, were so entirely different from each other—in mood, feel, point of view and music—it made for a slightly jarring combination.