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Steven Pisano

Four Saints in Three Acts

September 21, 2022

Greenspan isn’t always totally clear when switching points of view, but made up for this by turning the entire, long script into a wonderland of gestures, vocalizations, postures and movements.  His eyes and his hands are masterful communicators.  His lean body’s dancelike movements add dimension to the onslaught of words.  This is a performance that must be seen to appreciate how mindboggling his accomplishment is. [more]

The Sarasota Ballet 2022

August 19, 2022

The second Ashton ballet was "Varii Capricci," his clever take on Bronislava Nijinska’s "Les Biches" from 1924.  Her ballet was a tongue-in-cheek comment on the sexually liberated, chic young people of France.  Ashton set Varii to a witty score by Sir William Walton. La Capricciosa (a delightfully languid Danielle Brown, arrayed in Ossie Clark’s diaphanous white dress) is wooed by a gigolo, Lo Straniero (a hilarious, oily Ricardo Rhodes) whose intentions were clearly not honorable. These two were surrounded by a giddy ensemble that gamboled about watching them romantically self-destruct. "Varii Capricci" is light-hearted and lightweight, but impeccably presented. [more]

Paul Taylor Dance Company 2022

June 17, 2022

The new work on the program, a world premiere, was “Hope Is the Thing with Feathers” by Michelle Manzanales, choreographed to John Lennon & Paul McCartney, Bob Marley, Harry Woods and several others.  Using ten of the Taylor dancers, Manzanales produced a work that was charming if a tad repetitious.  Santo Loquasto’s pale costumes had an elegantly informal look. The dancers trooped on in a long line performing unison steps, lunges, leans and twists until movements moved sequentially down the line, mostly soft falls to the stage.  In between these unison sections there were jaunty solos and quick duets that segued into group dances.  The pop song soundtrack underlined the work’s informal feel.  Manzanales certainly put the dancers through their paces.  There’s nothing more appealing to an audience than a line of performers dancing their hearts out in unison! Her work shows promise but also is clearly the work of a novice.  What the ballet had to do with the Emily Dickinson poem it came from wasn’t clear. [more]

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

January 31, 2022

While Gordon has said in interviews that his model for the music was Puccini, in fact, the atonal orchestral score sounds more like operas by Gian Carlo Menotti, Carlisle Floyd and Dominick Argento. The singers are usually so loud that they tend to drown out the orchestra which is playing something different than the vocal score. Placed on the far right of the stage, the orchestra plays to the side wall muffling the sound. The orchestral score suggests background music for a film rather than music for the opera house. On paper, Korie’s text reads fairly well; however, in performance the singers are punching his rhymed couplets so hard that they seem a mistaken intrusion. At almost three hours, "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" feels overwritten though episodes have been left out of the original novel. In the libretto provided to the press in advance, Alberto’s story deviates from that of the novel, but on opening night this was changed back to the book’s ending. [more]

Parsons Dance: Fall 2021 Season

December 10, 2021

Parsons’ first work on the program was the tour de force solo “Balance of Power” performed by the phenomenal Zoey Anderson.  Clad in Barbara Erin Delo’s brilliantly colored tight costume—the bright red left sleeve particularly inventive—Anderson first appeared upside down in a golden spotlight. (Lighting by Chambers.) As she turned right side up, she began undulating to Giancarlo De Trizio’s sparkling score, her body reacting to every nuance of the quite rhythmic music.  Parsons unloaded hundreds of difficult tiny movements on her which she performed with skill and allure, stopping the show with her quickness and sensuality. [more]

Michael Mao Dance 2019

May 31, 2019

Michael Mao Dance is celebrating 26 years of presenting Mao’s work and if his recent program at the Ailey Citigroup Theater is any evidence, there is reason to believe he will continue for another 26 years.  His works are varied, yet clearly come from the mind of the same artist. [more]

Half Moon Bay (2016)

May 29, 2016

That’s the familiar set up of author Dan Moyer’s engaging contemporary romantic comedy of the two-character "Half Moon Bay." As Mr. Moyer’s lost souls get to know each other, personal secrets are revealed. These revelations are sometimes dark but never seem like gratuitous theatrical gimmicks. Just the believable problems that real people could have. Moyer’s excellent dialogue contains so many sharp and wise lines that precisely delineate the characters. A great asset is that they’re spoken by two gifted actors who effortlessly make it appear as though that the play was written just for them. [more]