I saw the performance on Friday. First it is not clear that this is a ballet company any more, Feld's choreography has long been moving toward some hybrid of ballet and modern dance but more importantly the dancers don't look like classically trained ballet dancers.
Almost the entire company has received their training at Ballet Tech and it shows. Their turn out is weak, their calves are over developed, no one works through the foot (this is especially apparent among the men)and no one can jump. Feld doesn't use petit allegro but even with those overdeveloped calves, no gets any air in their big jumps. At best, the women's pointe work is rudimentary - they looked better in one piece on demi pointe. Since Feld controls the school and the company, I imagine that these dancers are the instrument he is seeking but it is hard to imagine that any of them could dance in another ballet company.
Worst of all, Feld seems uninterested in any of them as dancers, with the exception of Patricia Tuthill. The rest are just a faceless group. Literally so in French Overtures in which they all wear masks. This new piece, to Rameau, is mostly posing with very little dancing. And goes on far too long - the audience thought it ended as least three seperate times but we were wrong.
Endsong is danced in silence. Apparently, it was choreographed to music by R. Strauss to which Feld was unable to get the rights. Hence the silence. It reminds me of Leaves are Fading but without a score it is hard to know what all the gestures and sighs are meant to convey. Patrick Lavoie was brought in to partner Tuthill in this more balletic work.
There were two more negligable pieces. Tongue and Groove, a male solo, danced to clapping. And Lincoln Portrait in which Feld added a bad "Olympic opening ceremony" dance to Copeland and Sandburg.
The highlight of the evening was Mr XYZ for Baryshnikov. The choreography was simple and had a lot of jokes - quotes from Apollo, Prodigal and Giselle - that weren't particularly original. But it was still a real pleasure to see Baryshnikov on stage. His concentration, his comittment to the movement and the subtlety and creaminess of his dancing continue to captivate us.
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