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Choreographers Showcase


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#1 Chocomel

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 09:27 PM

Did anyone see it? I was hoping to hear some impressions from people who are more educated than I. I really enjoyed seeing the program.

10 yo dd liked Brian Reeder's "Mad Maidens" best.

My 13 yo ds and my mom liked Kiyon Gaines' dance "Infinite Intricacies" the best, but disliked the music.

My favorite was Sonia Dawkins' "Cu Ture." I don't know if I "got it" correctly, but I thought it was a hilarious send up of the high fashion industry. Some of the screeching electric violin was really annoying.

I thought the dance "Of the Name They Do Not Speak" was mostly interesting, but boring in a few parts.

We were all so impressed by the costumes that PNB Costume Shop designed. They were wonderful.

It was also fun to see the two PDs that will be apprentices with the company next year, Liora Reshef and Leah O'Connor. Both were definite standouts. A couple of the male PD's were wonderful as well. If I have the names straight, they were Mark Wax & Andrew Bartee. Eric Hipolito was exceptional dancing the Swan Lake pas de deux with Liora Reshef in the first school performance. I thought the PD's were quite an impressive group.

#2 Helene

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 10:32 PM

I saw the Choreographers' Showcase, but, alas, not the school performances in the afternoon. I'm so sorry I missed Eric Hipolito in Swan Lake; I thought he was a standout earlier in the season as one of the students who danced with the Company. He and Andrew Bartee are listed as Level VIII Men, not in the Professional Division. I could have this wrong, but I thought that the numbered levels were on a parallel, non-professional track after a certain age, and VIII is the highest numbered division. Hipolito is such a lovely dancer, and it would be a shame if this means he will not be dancing professionally.

I haven't seen all of the student performances since 1995, but of the ones I've seen, I've been waiting for new choregoraphy that puts the PD students on the map since Carrie Imler looked like a star in whatever she danced in that 1995 performance. I thought that happened three times in this workshop: for Leah O'Connor, in the second part pas de deux in Kiyon Gaines's Infinite Intricacies, for Liora Reshef and Andrew Bartee in Olivier Wevers's Liora and Andrew, and for whoever the dancer was in the peacock blue unintard in Melissa Barak's Of the Name They Do Not Speak.

While there was a Latin beat to Infinite Intricacies, it was quite a different piece than last year's Schwa, which was performed at the Celebrate Seattle Festival this April, with its large corps. I was disappointed because I believe that in Schwa, Gaines showed great promise in using a corps, something I rarely see attempted by current ballet choreographers, but there are only 22 dancers listed in the Professional Division, and they were pretty busy. (Barak's piece used 14 of them.) The work did show another side of Gaines's skill in creating a pas de deux (for O'Connor and Mark Wax), as well as sequential solos in a later movement. It also had the only balanced larger cast, with four men and four women.

Liora and Andrew was a true gift to Reshef and Bartee. Bartee had performed in Sonia Dawkins's Cu Ture in the first half and after this pas de deux in Infinite Intricacies, and in neither was he half the performer he was in Liora and Andrew. I don't know whether he was channeling his inner Wevers or Wevers brought out his inner Bartee, but he was riveting in this piece. Reshef is a terrific dancer and like O'Connor in Infinite Intracies is compelling to watch. I think they will make their impact immediately in the PNB corps.

Of the Name They Do Not Speak opened with a female corps in ink blue unitards with some sparkles to music by Vivaldi. I thought it started out a bit slow, but picked up, when the "leader" in peacock blue -- a bit of a Myrtha type -- arrived, followed by a trio of male victims, each of whom took his chance sequentially. There was something tribal about the piece, particularly as the music transitioned to Hollywood composer Danny Elfman, not one of my favorites, but effective here. It was The Cage crossed with a group of anti-Romantic Willis. I didn't get the impression that the female lead had the most technically demanding role of the night, but it required a lot of presence and authority that the unidentified dancer -- all the of the women were listed in alphabetical order -- clearly had.

It took me a few minutes to get the drift of Mad Maidens, which proved to be a study in female competitiveness, as the three girls in blue/green took on the three girls in red/pink. I don't know who many of the students are -- changing their hair around in each piece didn't help -- but the shorter, long dark-haired dancer in the jade green skirt was a standout. Likewise, in Cu Ture, there was a terrific dancer, the shortest woman with red hair. The school is turning out some terrific, shorter women who are fascinating to watch. I didn't particularly like the movement vocabulary, but there was something satisfying about the architecture of the piece. According to the program, this "will be performed in the "Dance This" performance, July 6 & 7, 2007 at the Moore Theatre."

I liked the electric violin placyed by Earl Maneein for Cu Ture (Ray F. Allan aka fierlion) and the music for Infinite Intricacies (Ethel Quartet and Real Quiet), but I tend to like gnarly 20th century classical music which, to paraphrase Rabelais, cleans out your gut with a bristle brush.

I know that Peter Boal has said that the reason the Showcase was done this year on the Professional Division students was because of the extra heavy schedule for PNB this year, with all of the new work in the Celebrate Seattle Festival, but I hope PNB gives it at least another year in this format. In the curernt climate, it won't be often that these young dancers will have works set on them, but they really deserve to have pieces that bring out their best qualities.

#3 doug

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 06:50 AM

The pas de deux in the afternoon performances was Balanchine's Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, and the lead dancer in Melissa Barak's piece was Joanna Curley. Helene, students coming up through PNB School go through Level VIII before moving on to the Professional Division. Level VIII is a new level this year, made necessary because IVB and IVA became IV and V, bumping the higher levels up another number.

#4 Helene

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 09:43 AM

Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux gave Hipolito a more prominent role; I wish I had been able to be there.

Thank you so much, doug, for the explanation of Level VIII leading into Professional Division (hugh sigh of relief), and for identifying Joanna Curley. North Caroline Dance Theatre is lucky to have her next year.

#5 Chocomel

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 07:23 PM

Thank you so much, Helene. I really appreciate your expertise.

I saw the Choreographers' Showcase, but, alas, not the school performances in the afternoon. I'm so sorry I missed Eric Hipolito in Swan Lake; I thought he was a standout earlier in the season as one of the students who danced with the Company. He and Andrew Bartee are listed as Level VIII Men, not in the Professional Division. I could have this wrong, but I thought that the numbered levels were on a parallel, non-professional track after a certain age, and VIII is the highest numbered division. Hipolito is such a lovely dancer, and it would be a shame if this means he will not be dancing professionally.

Yes. Thank you. I hadn't noticed they were in level VIII. I wonder if they will go on to PD next year?

I haven't seen all of the student performances since 1995, but of the ones I've seen, I've been waiting for new choregoraphy that puts the PD students on the map since Carrie Imler looked like a star in whatever she danced in that 1995 performance. I thought that happened three times in this workshop: for Leah O'Connor, in the second part pas de deux in Kiyon Gaines's Infinite Intricacies, for Liora Reshef and Andrew Bartee in Olivier Wevers's Liora and Andrew, and for whoever the dancer was in the peacock blue unintard in Melissa Barak's Of the Name They Do Not Speak.

One of the most exciting dances for me on Saturday (beside the one dd was in :)) was in the second Student Performance when the Men's Division did a dance choreographed by Stanko Milov. It was so strong and masculine. I found it so visually interesting.

I know that Peter Boal has said that the reason the Showcase was done this year on the Professional Division students was because of the extra heavy schedule for PNB this year, with all of the new work in the Celebrate Seattle Festival, but I hope PNB gives it at least another year in this format. In the curernt climate, it won't be often that these young dancers will have works set on them, but they really deserve to have pieces that bring out their best qualities.


I think I heard Peter Boal mention in a Q&A that the Choreographers Showcase will be in April next year.


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