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A Corona Works: Thorns of the Crown

A fascinating ballet on Shakespearean themes—royalty, fidelity, tribalism and sensuality.

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Alessandra Corona and Alexandre Barranco (foreground) with Nicholas Montero and Michael Bishop (background) in  a scene from Ramon Oller’s “Thorns in the Crown” (Photo credit: Heaven Jores)

Alessandra Corona and Alexandre Barranco (foreground) with Nicholas Montero and Michael Bishop (background) in  a scene from Ramon Oller’s “Thorns in the Crown” (Photo credit: Heaven Jores)

Joel Benjamin

Joel Benjamin, Critic

A Corona Works, the dance/theater company directed by Alessandra Corona, presented the world premiere of Thorns of the Crown, at the Black Box Theater of the Sheen Center, a work choreographed by the respected Spanish-born Ramon Oller.  It was a fascinating ballet in which Shakespearean themes—royalty, fidelity, tribalism and sensuality—tumbled together (both literally and figuratively!)

Two queen-like figures, Ms. Corona and Maricarmen Garcia, dressed in a parade of Aviad Arik Herman’s sumptuous costumes, reigned over four young men—Nick Burrage, Alexandre Barranco, Nicholas Montero and Michael Bishop (dressed in Herman’s tight, revealing shorts). The men morphed into the roles of consorts and warriors, manipulated by the two royal ladies into confrontations involving vividly acrobatic ballet steps and quotes from Shakespeare.

In a series of short sections, danced to the music of Thomas Lentakis and Bruno Axel—evocative of period styles, yet totally modern—the small troupe of dancers moved like beautifully kinetic chess pieces into what appeared to be multiple checkmates, reprieved by one or the other Queen regrouping her male resources.

Alessandra Corona and Nick Burrage in a scene from Ramon Oller’s “Thorns in the Crown” (Photo credit: Heaven Jores)

Alessandra Corona and Nick Burrage in a scene from Ramon Oller’s “Thorns in the Crown” (Photo credit: Heaven Jores)

Ms. Corona was lifted a great deal by the handsome gentlemen while Ms. Garcia performed darkly threatening flamenco steps to express her superior position.

The men were put through their paces, flying through the air, stretching on the floor, extending their limbs in all directions, tilting and crawling, creating pools of movement across the Black Box’s playing area, all the while manipulating props as weapons and shields, and swearing fealty, in dance, to one or the other leading ladies.

In the end no one triumphed.

The entire troupe danced beautifully, led by the two mature ladies whose stage presence was exemplary.  The four young men worked well together, yet exuded their own individuality.

Thorns of the Crown (September 9 & 10, 2016)

A Corona Works

Black Box Theater of the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, 18 Bleecker Street, in Manhattan

For tickets, visit http://www.sheencenter.org

For more information, visit http://www.acoronoaworks.com

Running time:  one hour with no intermission

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Joel Benjamin
About Joel Benjamin (357 Articles)
JOEL BENJAMIN was a child performer on Broadway and danced with leading modern dance and ballet companies. Joel has been attending theater, ballet and opera performances ever since childhood, becoming quite opinionated over the years. He was the founder and artistic director of the American Chamber Ballet and subsequently was massage therapist to the stars before becoming a reviewer and memoirist. He is a member of the Outer Critics Circle.

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