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The Joyce Theater

Ballet Festival 2019: Program D

August 21, 2019

The fourth piece, titled “3 with D” was choreographed by Javier de Frutos and was the only performance that included live music. Patrick Gallagher was on piano in front of the stage and Dan Gillespie Sells sang and played guitar center stage, simply and straightforward, making the most of music, which was a compilation of songs by Ivor Novello, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter. Next to Sells were two chairs – something of a “set” compared to the other bare-stage designs. Danced by Watson and Fairchild, it was more of a drama than any of the other pieces. Although there was little linear plot, it was a gay love story. The familiar lyrics of Gershwin’s “The Man I Love” had a different connotation when referring to two men. The two performers were such gorgeous dancers, and very similar body types, so when they moved in synchronistic unison, it created a beautiful effect. [more]

Ballet Festival: Program A

August 10, 2019

Joseph Sissens in Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Dance of the Blessed Spirits,” in The Joyce Theater’s Ballet Festival (Program A) (Photo credit: Maria Baranova)The Joyce Theater is presenting a two-week Ballet Festival, four programs under the artistic direction of Kevin O’Hare, director of The Royal Ballet.  Each program is curated by a different dance expert, the first by O’Hare, himself.Program A was divided into two parts, the first the more sedately classical, the second showing newer, more contemporary fare.  It was a fascinating, focused study of the state of ballet today, featuring, appropriately, two works by the British master of classical ballet, Sir Frederick Ashton. [more]

Freddie Falls in Love

July 26, 2019

How Freddie resolves his amorous adventures is cleverly handled by Blackstone using an imaginative combination of ballet, modern dance, mime and popular dance forms.  The score is made up of over twenty songs including:  “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?.” “Dream Lover,” “We Are In Love,” “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen,” “La Valse á Milles Temps,” “Makin’ Whoopee,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and a song written and performed live by Mike Brun. [more]

Maria Kochetkova: Catch Her If You Can

July 18, 2019

Russian-born Maria Kochetkova, the petite ballerina who spent the major portion of her career with the San Francisco Ballet, has turned herself into a small-scale Diaghilev.  Her Maria Kochetkova: Catch Her If You Can at The Joyce Theater is a gathering of five brilliant dancers (including herself) dancing the works of seven contemporary choreographers.Even with her name on the program, Catch Her If You Can was pleasantly un-self-aggrandizing, feeling more like a—very expensive—jam session.So ego-free was the evening that Ms. Kochetkova clearly felt no reluctance to pair herself with Drew Jacoby in Jacoby’s duet “Rachel, Nevada” choreographed to an eerie score by Sam Spiegel. [more]

The Bournonville Legacy

July 11, 2019

The second part of the program was a bonanza of Bournonville excerpts, danced to not particularly memorable scores, that worked well even without colorful scenery.  The beautiful, colorful costumes, arranged by Katharina Neergaard certainly helped, particularly in “The Jockey Dance” from From Siberia to Moscow danced exuberantly by Marcin Kupinski and Alexander Bozinoff dressed in brilliant red jockey duds.  The only criticism:  they might have looked less glum in their facial expressions. [more]

Lady5 @ Savion Glover’s BaRoQUE’BLaK TaP CaFé

July 9, 2019

Whatever Glover discussed in the opening – about identity and wearing masks – may have been relevant, but the program could be seen simply as a revue.  A wide variety of recorded music was played. The first music sounded like something you’d hear in a French café, and in fact was recorded by a group called French Café Ensemble. Other musical styles included classical (Bach), jazz, pop, salsa, Trinidadian, hip hop, and more, performed by Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Bjork, and others. The dancing paralleled the music. Special mention must go to Brandon Stirling Baker whose lighting design created the changes in atmosphere, subtly separating the numbers. [more]

Complexions Contemporary Ballet: Program A

February 28, 2019

In “Star Dust,” a 2016 ballet tribute to David Bowie, Rhoden displayed his mordantly campy side in a series of scenes, each devoted to a famous Bowie number, beginning with Brandon Gray leading the company in “Lazarus,” setting the format for the rest of the ballet.  His face streaked with makeup, his hair aglow with color, Gray prowled proudly about the stage mouthing the words that Bowie sang.  He seemed very satisfied with himself. [more]

Balletboyz: “Young Men”

February 7, 2019

The two directors/founders of BalletBoyz, Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, directed and photographed the film which also included Pérez’s choreography.  Although the movie certainly illuminated the dark themes for a screen-crazy audience, it too often was a distraction when the dancers were performing in front of the screen, spread out across the Joyce stage.   Having to choose between the live and the filmed action became a problem even though both were of equal technical merit. [more]

L-E-V:  Love Chapter II

January 29, 2019

Casual strolling was suddenly punctuated by dancers bumping and grinding at each other, these full-bodied movements resonating in slightly different ways in each dancer, sometimes leading to entwining, slithering, sweaty duets.  Faces displayed over-the-top grimaces and uneasy forced smiles which led to desperate, phony-sounding laughing.  Arms were swung or used to produce angular silhouettes with studied nonchalance. Bodies twitched and twisted to staccato beats—music composed and arranged by Ori Lichtik whose score for “Love Chapter II” began with barely audible electronic beats which grew in volume and speed until the score suddenly became a Latino Cha-Cha to which the dancers seemed to glory. [more]

Batsheva – The Young Ensemble: “Naharin’s Virus”

July 16, 2018

Naharin is known for having “invented” a movement language called Gaga.  Frankly, I’ve never been able to distinguish Gaga from any other movement palette.  If Gaga means disconnected bits of movement utilizing hints of modern, ballet, hip-hop, mime and even ethnic movements, then it’s not particularly original.  All these movement vocabularies were on display in “Naharin’s Virus” whose sixteen-member cast was put through their paces for an overlong hour.  (The work could easily have been edited down by at least twenty minutes and been more effective, particularly by eliminating a long monologue about a self-abusing young lady.) [more]

Parsons Dance Company 2018

May 22, 2018

The new work, “Microburst,” was a quartet performed to classical Indian music composed and played live by Avirodh Sharma.  Brilliant and audacious, “Microburst” took the four dancers, all wearing black, fringed outfits—by Barbara Erin Delo— through complex rhythmic patterns that magically fit together as if the four were having a hyperkinetic conversation with their feet.  The agility of the four dancers—Geena Pacareu, Eoghan Dillon, Zoey Anderson and Justus Whitfield—was breathtaking and entertaining. [more]