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Accent Arpino!Spring season 2005


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#1 Treefrog

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Posted 30 April 2005 - 02:29 PM

The spring program opened Wednesday at the Auditorium Theatre. On this all-Arpino bill:

Viva Vivaldi!

Round of Angels

Confetti

The Clowns


Sid Smith reviewed the opener in the Chicago Tribune:

So often, yesteryear's social commentary and avant-garde fancy make for pretty tired art today: When was the last time someone successfully revived a work by those 1960s experimentalists, the Living Theatre?
Gerald Arpino's "The Clowns," born of the chaos and adventurism of 1968, is a rare exception, partly because it shares so much stylistically with other experimental choreographers associated with the Joffrey Ballet, Kurt Jooss and Vaslav Nijinsky among them.



And Hedy Weiss waxed rhapsodic in the Sun-Times:

It is Arpino, a very gifted yet often underrated choreographer, who over the years has supplied the Joffrey with a highly eclectic collection of works that complements its archive of Ashton, Balanchine, Tudor and Nijinsky. And now, a whole new generation of dancers is bringing his work to life with huge reserves of technical virtuosity, unique dramatic flair and a sense of confidence and grace the match of any company around.



#2 Treefrog

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Posted 10 May 2005 - 08:13 PM

Here's my own very quick review.

First, the running order was changed for the Sunday matinee we attended. I don't know if it was just for this show, or if they changed it earlier in the run. At any rate, the order was Viva Vivaldi, Clowns, Round of Angels, and Confetti.

I was glad they put Round of Angels towards the end, as it was the clear highlight of the program. Victoria Jaiani was elegant and graceful, with beautiful penchées and a lovely line.

I cannot for the life of me understand why Viva Vivaldi was the Joffrey's signature piece in the early days. I don't mean to offend any of the former dancers and afficianados, as I know there are a few hanging out here, but this piece has neither rhyme nor reason. Let's have that fellow over there do ... something! Naw, it doesn't matter if it bears any relation to what these two women over here are doing. Everyone point, now! (Not with the feet, with the hands. Stab them several times for effect.) There was some nice dancing, but within such chaos it's hard to appreciate it.

As for The Clowns, it started off promisingly enough. It was a treat to watch Calvin Kitten's clean, crisp jumps and articulation, highlighted in isolation as that single white figure on the darkened stage. But soon thereafter, I got lost. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was going on, or why, and the pleasure of watching the dancing got pushed aside as I tried to follow the plot. I spent some time wondering if Arpino meant to reference Petrouschka, or whether he simply ran out of clown choreography and borrowed what he knew. In the end, my husband turned to me and said, "It looked like it was by that guy from Canadia" (referencing The Blue Snake in the film The Company).

So ... not, all in all, a wonderful experience. The saving grace, though? This being the last performance of the year, the entire company joined the final bows, in their street clothes! It seemed an entirely Joffreyesque moment. Gerald Arpino joined the company onstage, to their (apparently) heartfelt applause, as did General Manager Harriet Ross, to whom this Mothers' Day performance had been dedicated.


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