Posted 04 October 2003 - 07:50 AM
I went Friday night and thoroughly enjoyed the mixed -- very mixed! -- program. What struck me was this is a company searching for its style, and beginning to find it -- which was fascinating to watch as the program unfolded.
To get them out of the way, I wasn't much taken by two small pieces that came in the middle of the program. "The Poet Acts," a pas de deux by artistic director Septim Webre, seemed slight -- inoffensive, sort of atmospheric, but going nowhere in particular. There was also a solo, "Nocturne Monologue," that was quite impressive in a gymnastic sense -- I wonder if the dancer/choreographer Jason Hartley has thought of developing it into something more, ie part of a larger piece.
The program opened with "Momentum," which I watched with great fondness -- to me, this is part of the company's institutional memory, and it was great to see a new generation of dancers performing something by the late Choo-San Goh. It's one of those neoclassical, unitard ballets, but surprisingly it's held up quite well over the years and the company looked quite sleek and elegant.
The highlight for me, though, was the last piece, "In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated" (which, come to think of it, describes my seat as well!), by William Forsythe. Many on this board seem familiar with this piece, but to describe it just briefly: In a big, harshly lit space, to equally harsh, banging music, a group of dancers in leotards and tights dance dance in various groupings or simply saunter about. I love how the dancers suddenly would break into a very taut, tensile bit of dancing, then just as suddenly stop and walk away. It was also amazing to watch how most of the movements were classical in origin, yet re-imagined into something totally inventive and unexpected. The pacing was just breathtaking -- there was something -- or rather many somethings -- going on constantly on various parts of the stage that it was hard to choose who to watch. The dancers were totally on -- even though I knew better, I would have sworn Forsythe had choreographed the piece specifically to each one of them -- it fit them that perfectly.
Gotta run, but maybe I'll have thought of something to say about "Firebird" later. Over all, I must say I was stunned at how much improved the company is from even the last time I saw them, less than a year ago. It's an exciting time to watch them -- the house was packed, by the way, so I hope others will chime in....