Dazzling visualizations of nine, iconic songs are superbly choreographed by Dwight Rhoden in Star Dust: A Ballet Tribute to David Bowie.
The Complexions Contemporary Ballet Company presents this 45-minute piece that feature exhilarating dancing and sensational costumes.
Opening with the cryptic and elegiac “Lazarus,” and concluding with a euphoric curtain call of “Let’s Dance,” the show is an enthralling spectacle. With arresting imagery and stunning compositions, Mr. Rhoden creates dynamic sequences that seamlessly blend from one to another.
With the exception of one number, all of the sequences are set to perfectly amplified, original recordings by Bowie. At times, some of the dancers emphatically lip-synch to them. This adds a moving layer to the production as it makes it seem as though Bowie’s aura is present.
It all vividly translates Bowie’s sound and vision to the stage. Rhoden devises ingenious pictorial takes that capture the moods and tones of these songs that span the decades of Bowie’s career.
“1984’s” pulsating, 1970’s funk is a forceful and seductive tapestry of societal unrest. “Life on Mars” is an epic reverie to nostalgia. “Space Oddity” is a free-form panorama of gliding movements with a unisex twist. “Changes” is an upbeat series of soaring steps and actions.
Using Peter Gabriel’s solemn cover version, “Heroes” is a complex variation of a trio, a couple and the company, that builds to stark reflectiveness with the aid of disco mirror balls.
“Modern Love” is a captivatingly cheerful variety of jaunty movements. “Rock and Roll Suicide” has a frenetic male solo, accompanied by an alluring circle of female dancers. The finale, “Young Americans” has a swirling collection of kicks and clapping that concludes with a rousing chorus line.
The tremendously talented, wonderfully made up and distinctive ensemble is comprised of Andrew Brader, Anthony Javier Savoy, Tim Sticky, Doug Baum, Terk Lewis Waters, Addison Ector, Greg Blackmon, YoungSil Kim, Kelly Marsh IV, Larissa Gerszke, Shanna Irwin, Jillian Davis, Jennie Begley, Kylie Jefferson and Maria Gerasimou.
Christine Darch’s costumes are an eye-catching collection of glittery, skin-tight glam rock pieces that wittily evoke Aladdin Sane, and other looks that evoke the spirit of Bowie.
The bare stage and shiny Mylar curtains are the chief elements of Michael Korsch’s spare set design that convey airy timelessness. Mr. Korsch’s lighting design impressively illuminates each section with evocative flair that includes starry effects. Sporadic smokiness is a further enhancement.
With the glorious sight of a young, talented troupe magnificently dancing to the sound of Bowie singing those monumental songs, Star Dust is arguably the most affecting of the many performance tributes to him held in the last year. The show also demonstrates that now he belongs to the ages.
Star Dust: A Ballet Tribute to David Bowie is the first installment of an intended full-length work. It premiered at Detroit’s Music Hall in May 2016, and was being created before Bowie’s death in January 2016. This is its New York City premiere and it’s being performed as the second half of a program with other works in the Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s repertoire.
Star Dust: A Ballet Tribute to David Bowie (through February 5, 2017)
Complexions Contemporary Ballet
The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue, in Manhattan
For tickets, call 212-242-0800 or visit http://www.joyce.org
For information visit, http://www.complexionsdance.org
Running time: 45 minutes