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Dance as ever performances in NYC

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#1 Estelle


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Posted 20 October 2001 - 08:06 AM

Did any of the posters of this board attend the performances of Dance as ever? If yes, please write something: I know it must feel a bit strange to post some comments while knowing the choreographer of the works will read your post, but please, don't be shy! :o

#2 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 20 October 2001 - 07:21 PM

Jennifer Dunning's review came out in the NY Times. It's very mixed about my contributions, but I'm pleased that she was fond of the dancers and the production.

#3 felursus


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Posted 21 October 2001 - 03:03 AM

Several of the regular posters on this list, myself included, worked on the production as volunteers. It was wonderful to meet Leigh and Jeff Salzburg in real space, as opposed to cyberspace. Having served as an ASM for the production it would not be appropriate for me to write a critique, however I would like to respond to some of Jennifer Dunnings comments.

As all the regulars on this list must be aware, the production was originally slated to be at the theater at Pace Univ., but the original performance dates had to be cancelled due to the acts of terrorism on Sept. 11th, as Pace is only a few blocks from the WTC and was without electricity or public access for some time after that. Pace, of course, has a proper theater that is used by a number of groups. The Arc Light is a wonderful but very small theater in what was once the chapel of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament on W. 71st St. The stage is correspondingly small, and there are no wings to speak of. (In fact, although I stood off the stage and as far back as I could, I would have been clearly visible to anyone in the audience sitting on the opposite side of the theater.) The dancers had to take great care not to trip over the braces holding up the flats. This made several exits particulary perilous.

As the stage was so small, it required a lot of extra rehearsing for the dancers to get their spacing right, and I certainly think that the choreography sometimes suffered from having to be performed in such a confined space.

Jeff Salzburg created miracles with his lighting. David Quinn's costumes were exquisite, and Matthew Mohr was the creator of the two inventive set pieces - one for Scherzo Fantastique and one for Midare. Masayo Ishigure was the koto player for Midare.

It was a privilege to have worked with Leigh, Jeff, Matthew and all the dancers. Peter Boal was a pure pleasure. As many of you on this list are aware, I once suffered from having to work with Nureyev. It is one of the greatest compliments I can bestow to say that Peter is no...!

I shall look forward to next year.

#4 Manhattnik


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Posted 21 October 2001 - 12:47 PM

Well, I was rather a bit more impressed than Ms. Dunning.

I was very impressed by Green, and I thought Midare was just gorgeous.

More soon....

#5 Michael


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Posted 21 October 2001 - 02:04 PM

The little space was very beautiful and particularly with the extreme rake of the five or six rows in the theater, you were sitting right above the stage well. The experience of being literally right on top of the dancers and the program was something to set off against the difficulties of performing in the small space.

The Koto piece for Boal was particularly beautiful, with a measured and hypnotice cadence. Live music at a chamber ballet performance was a treat. The acoustics were good, the koto score was a gem and I did not think Boal in the least wasted. The simplicity of the choreography matched the resontant simplicty of the music. The opportunity to see Ryan Kelly in a small environment, dancing with Abraham Mia in a duet, was also very nice as I got to appreciate each dancer. That Leigh made the dancers look so good is certainly a great accomplishment. Mary Carpenter, Christine Paolucci and Parise Selitti also. Ms. Paolucci is a radiant dancer and Ms. Selitti has such beautiful natural placement and turn out, lovely arms and hands also. I don't know what Jennifer Dunning's problem is. She appears to want to hold Dance as Ever ad Leigh to an impossible standard.

It is very important that ballet in small environments, by small companies, be supported. It gives a great deal of pleasure. It nurtues the art. And God knows that a lot of what I've seen from major companies the last two years was not as aesthetically satifying as the Thursday night chamber performance I saw. There was a lucid, restrained and simple beauty about all the work, the evening as a whole, that held things together. Congratulations to Leigh and the company.

[ 10-21-2001: Message edited by: Michael1 ]

#6 liebs


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Posted 21 October 2001 - 03:06 PM

One of the things I enjoyed most in the performance were seeing ballets that were dressed with appropriate scenery, costumes and lighting. I was particularly taken the costumes. Another thing that impressed me was Leigh's use of the academic vocabulary. We saw a full range of steps, not just grand jete, arabesque and pirouette mixed up with the Peter Martins "stepless steps." This use of a fuller dance vocabulary was really driven hoem to me, a day later when I saw a program of new ballet choreography in which every piece used the same and very limited range of steps. After four pieces, I could not distiguish one from the other.

Kudos to the dancers - all of whom performed beautifully under what must have been trying circumstances.

Next time, Leigh, I want to see Boal in a group piece or pas de deux. Please!

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