IU Ballet

Oct. 1st, 2012 09:50 am
kenjari: (piano)
I finally got to one of the IU Ballet performances this Saturday, and it was really good and a little emotional for me.

Sweet Fields - by Twyla Tharp
This piece for about 12 dancers was really nice. It is set to 10 Shaker hymns sung a capella by a mixed chorus. The movements were simple but elegant, and I really liked the whole architecture of the thing - the way the dancers moved across the space and in relation to each other. Sweet Fields has a lot of unity, as several motifs recur throughout the the dance - shaking of hands, certain patterns of moving across the floor, which made for a nice sense of continuity. The simple white costumes and luminous lighting also did a lot to heighten the piece's lovely subtlety.

Eight Easy Pieces - by Peter Martins
This piece for three ballerinas, set to piano music by Stravinsky was well-performed but didn't do very much for me. The choreography seemed kind of over sweet and almost insipid. While Martins was trying for some understated humor, that did not really come through.

Eight More - by Peter Martins
This ballet for three male dancers is a companion piece to Eight Easy Pieces, and uses an orchestrated version of the same music. I like this one better, since Martins got the humor just right here. The three dancers did a great job with it, too.

Appalachian Spring - by Martha Graham
This was the piece I had really come to see. Graham is a (if not the) giant of modern dance, and this is one of her most significant pieces. It's a wonderful depiction of early America as represented by a husband and bride, a pioneer women, a revivalist, and his four followers. The movements are sometimes stark, sometimes achingly lyrical. There's a hint of a story, but nothing explicit - it's more about evocation than narrative. Copland's well-known music takes on a rather different aspect and meaning when heard with the dancing. In other contexts, it can seem a little cliched these days, but here, with Graham's choreography, it sounds fresh, new, and challenging.
It was a little bittersweet to be finally seeing this piece, but not with Y and E or any of the other people I was close to at the dance division. The performers were strangers, too. I admit I got a little teary. I miss them.
kenjari: (piano)
Sorry for the short notice, but I've been so busy with work (mostly on this performance) that I didn't have a lot of time or energy to promote it. I am the assistant producer, and, if I do say so myself, it's going to be a beautiful concert.

The Boston Conservatory presents Celebrating Anna
Feb. 18-20 8pm
Feb. 21 2pm

In honor of Anna Sokolow’s centennial, The Boston Conservatory Dance Department presents her dramatic works From the Diaries of Franz Kafka and Rooms, staged by alumnus Jim May. The program also includes a premiere of a new work by Viktor Plotnikov.
Midway Studios , $22/$20/$12/$7
Directions and tickets.

If anyone wants to come, I have one free ticket left, and can purchase additional tickets for folks at the $7 student and staff price. Comment here or e-mail me.
kenjari: (piano)
As Some of you know, a big part of my job is being the assistant producer for the two mainstage dance concerts each year. The fall semester's concert is coming up, and I think it's going to be very good and very interesting.

DANCE: The Boston Conservatory Dance Theater

A Time For Dance

November 5-7, 2009
8:00 PM
November 8, 2009
2:00 PM
Location: Midway Studios

DANCE: The Boston Conservatory Dance Theater
Three premieres by Gianni Di Marco, Bonnie Mathis and Mary Wolff and excerpts from Jose Limon's There is a Time , staged by Jennifer Scanlon and Libby Nye.
Midway Studios, $22/$20/$12/$7

Tickets are going fast. You can buy them via the Boston Conservatory Box Office. If you're having trouble getting tickets and really want to go, let me know, I might be able to help out.
kenjari: (piano)
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater )

Boston Cecilia )
kenjari: (Default)
Nederlands Dance Theater II, April 17

NDT II is an amazing group of dancers. This performance was very beautiful.

Said and Done - Choreographed by Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon; music: selections from Bach.
This piece started out with an incredible solo, followed by some beautiful ensemble work and partnering. However, I really didn't get the point of the male dancer alone at the extreme left of the stage with feathers falling down on him during the second half of the piece. It didn't fit well with the partnering going on at the other end of the stage, and seemed rather self-conscious.

Sleepless - Choroegraphed by Jiri Kylian; music by Dirk Haubrich
This was the best piece on the program. The electronic music by Haubrich worked perfectly with the choreography, which was wonderful. The piece also made good use of a backdrop of white screens which allowed the dancers to make entrances and exits through the slits between the screens and to project shadows onto them. I really love Kylian's partnering, and this work had plenty of it.

Shutters Shut - Choreographed by Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon; music: a Gertrude Stein poem
Upon reading the program, I'd been very skeptical about how a dance to spoken word might work. Luckily, Stein's poetry lends itself quite well to movement because her work is primarily about rhythm and patterns. The dance used repetition and development in a clever and witty way that aligned well with the poetry.

Sad Case - Choreographed by Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon; music: Perez Prado, Domingues, E. Lecuona, Ray Baretto, Los Tres Panchos.
This piece was light-hearted and fun, but a little insubstantial. While I enjoyed seeing it, it didn't leave much of a lasting impression.
kenjari: (Default)
On Thursday night, I saw the Mark Morris Dance Group, and I have to say, I was not impressed. He has a reputation as a musical choreographer, but, as a musician, I have to disagree. All he does is fallow the melody/foreground. There's no deeper engagement with the music - he's just following along, not adding or interpreting anything. I did think that the choreography itself, the movement, weren't bad at all - I might have liked them better if they had been paired with different music. Morris works in some folk-dancing inspired material that I thought worked well, and the dances had a certain amount of lightness and charm at times.

Bedtime - to Schubert Lieder
I liked the second section the best, because of the use of folk elements. Unfortunately, the third section was a too-literal response to the music "Erlkonig".

All Fours - to Bartok's String Quartet No. 4
This piece was the least interesting to me, precisely because I know and love the music so very well. I kept thinking tow things: I already know how the piece goes Mr. Morris, and Does he get this music? The section to the slow movement with the cello solo almost achieved some interesting engagement with the music, but never made it all the way there.

V - to Schumann's Quintet in E-flat Major, OP. 44
Of the three dances, I liked this one the best. While it still followed the foreground and melody of the music, it contained tantalizing hints at a deeper engagement. And it made even better use of folk-style elements than the first piece did.
kenjari: (Default)
On Thursday, I went to see Jiri Kylian's Black and White at the Boston Ballet. The piece is actually a suite of five shorter pieces. I loved two of them, liked another two, and really hated one. Overall, though, I was really impressed with Kylian's choreography - it was inventive, fascinating, and anything but boring. The thread that connected all five of the pieces was the use of elaborate Renaissance/Baroque ballgowns as set pieces, rolling on casters, suspended above the dancers, or used as a combination prop/costume for the dancers. Sometimes the use of the gowns was humorous, sometimes surreal, and sometimes completely inscrutable. I'm undecided about how successful the device was.

No More Play - music by Anton Webern
I thought this piece started out a little dull and unfocused, but swiftly became much more interesting. Most of the piece centered on a pas de trois that made use of many interesting lifts and intricate positioning of the dancers that held my attention as if in a vice.

Petite Mort - music by Mozart
This piece was gorgeous. It started out with the men brandishing fencing foils, using them not just in fencing style movements, but also in more abstract ways. The best part of the dance, though, was when the dancers joined into couples and did a series of achingly beautiful pas de deux. The partnering was just amazing, occasionally edging into the erotic while remaining completely elegant.

Sarabande - music by Bach
This was the one piece I hated. While the first two pieces made minimal use of the gowns, in this one, they were a constant and strong presence. The gowns started out on the stage and then were lifted up, revealing the male dancers below. Also, while the program listed the music as a Bach partita, most of the backing to the dance was electronically processed sounds of breathing, yelling, and clapping. This soundtrack got old very quickly. The dance itself was very surreal, as if Kylian had choreographed a particularly odd and mildly disturbing dream. I'm not opposed to surreality, but this just didn't work for me. I especially hated the section where the dancers had their pants around their ankles (they had another layer under the pants, so there was no nudity). I spent the whole piece thinking "what the fuck", and not in a good way.

Falling Angels - music by Steve Reich
I really liked this piece, choreographed for female dancers only. It was spectacularly and subtlely rhythmic. I think I caught some references to African dance that were very well integrated with the balletic movements that dominated. Like the majority of "No More Play", this piece firmly held my interest all the way through.

Sechs Tanze - music by Mozart
This piece was a farcical, funny battle of the sexes. The costumes were reminiscent of 18th century garb, and the comedy was fairly broad. It was light and fluffy, and fun to watch.
kenjari: (illumination)
This past weekend, I got to see the Boston Conservatory Dance Theater performance twice. It was really beautiful. The dancers were our sophomores, juniors, and seniors - they are very good.
Unfortunately, I don't really have the right vocabulary (yet) to discuss the movements in detail, so I will have to stick to my general impressions.

Braid - choreography by Daniel McCusker; music by Guy Klucevsek
This piece was fun and playful, definitely the most light-hearted piece on the program. The cast was all female and their costumes were skirted and in bright colors; that, plus the nature of the movements brought to mind groups of elementary school age girls outside playing.

Von - choreography by Jim Viera; music by Sigur Ros
I really loved this piece and found it quite moving. Partly this is because I love Sigur Ros, but mostly it's that Jim Viera's choreography was lovely. He also brought out some of the emotional and atmospheric aspects of Sigur Ros' music in a really wonderful way. The duets and trios in particular evoked hope and longing.

Echoes - choreography by Thang Dao; music by Ezio Bosso and Vivaldi
This ballet was amazing, and possibly my favorite piece on the program - I could happily see it a hundred more times. Dao's choreography struck me as being very musical - there were parts that I thought of as being counterpoint or imitation, or other musical devices rendered into motion. The dance also had a terrific sense of depth, and a gorgeous interplay between details and larger structure.

Steps in the Street - choreography by Martha Graham; music by Wallingford Riegger
This piece was really something special. Graham was clearly a genius. "Steps in the Street" is a section of a larger piece that deals with war, homelessness, and exile. The movements were quite simple, but had huge emotional intensity. It wasn't at all like other dance I've seen. It was very percussive and forceful, with stamping and some amazing jumping, but with a deeply affecting stillness and control.

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