If this performance was just slightly subdued compared to some of many years ago, it was neverthelesss vivid and glowing, richly rewarding to see, on such a high level, it left me pleasantly a little unhinged during the intermission: I really wanted to remain in its world awhile longer.
Instead, we got Trey McIntyre's new The Reassuring Effects of Form and Poetry as the program resumed. I did not find it reassuring, and a man behind me remarked to his companions afterward that "Something's missing". McIntyre had invented pointlessly and endlessly tricky choreography to Dvorak's direct and straightforwardly flowing e-minor Serenade for Strings. What seemed to me to be missing was motivation deriving in some way from the music, as had been happening for a heavenly near half-hour before intermission. And the new ballet suffered too by another comparison, in that it sometimes lacks Balanchine's "luminous spacing" (Denby's phrase) which gives us "more" by lettting us see the dancers consistently, though I must say I have seen much worse examples of clumping dancers together than I did in this piece. I hope the dancers enjoy the challenge of executing the tricky bits with apparent ease. At least, the way they look in it is always somewhere on the scale from fine to beautiful.
The program ended with another masterpiece - or so it looked by that time - from a lesser master, Paul Taylor, Piazzolla Caldera. I guess it's nearly inevitable that when Taylor is danced by dancers other than his, whom as it happens I had seen just a couple of weeks ago, although not in this, the effect is a little less: Taylor's dancers have more powers fully to realize what they do, and they are more into the floor while MCB's ballet dancers are lighter and more held up.
Regardless, it was a satisfying performance of a superb piece, and was well led off right at the start by Carlos Guerra, downstage center, whose quality of movement seems to enlarge him and gives what he does throughout much of the increased effectiveness it neeeds. For me, the high point comes in the late section titled "Celos", in which Kronenberg dances with Guerra, Cox, and Luis Serrrano. In this, as in some earlier numbers, one way Taylor's mastery is manifest is by his having dancers crawling on each other or closely hooked together, and yet remaining articulated individuals. No thick clumps here.
When I saw Taylor's company dance Piazzolla Caldera near Chicago a few years ago, I wondered whether Edward Villella would consider it for MCB. Thank you, Edward. And for that intoxicating Divertimento No. 15, thank you, God.
Edited by Jack Reed, 14 December 2004 - 12:31 PM.